How It’s Done: Planning Your Registry

February 7, 2018

In theory, building a wedding registry is one of the most exciting parts of being engaged. After all, when was the last time you were encouraged to make a pages-long wish list?

But if you find yourself overwhelmed, you’re certainly not alone. Like all things wedding-related—from cake tastings to honeymoon itineraries—creating a registry can be stressful if you jump in unprepared. Which plates? With which serveware? What’s a cruet, again?

Luckily, Ariel Okin knows a thing or two about the process. As an interior designer and newlywed—check out her stunning Rhode Island wedding over at bridal hub Over The Moon—she’s an expert on the ins and outs of registries. “The key,” she says, “is to have a plan and stay true to yourself.”

Here, Ariel shares her tips for building a balanced assortment, as well as some picks from her wishlist.

REGISTER EARLY
You certainly don’t have to register. But surveys show that 88% of engaged couples do, and for good reason—gifts are on the way, whether you expect them or not. “When you get engaged, people want to celebrate with you,” says Ariel. “Even if you’re bashful about being the center of attention, presents will show up at your doorstep. You might as well ensure that the gifts you receive are things you can envision in the home you’re creating with your partner.”

Her top tip? Register as soon as possible—at least nine months before your wedding date. Some friends and family will want to send a gift soon after learning of your happy news, and they’ll appreciate the option to shop from your registry. You can always go back to edit and add items as your wedding day approaches.

VARY YOUR PRICE POINTS
The gifts are for you, yes. But a good registry considers your givers, as well. Ensure that there are multiple options for every budget, large and small. “Having a range of price points makes your registry accessible for your friends and family,” says Ariel. “Include a variety of more affordable items as well as some larger gifts for groups who prefer to pitch in.”

Be sure that no matter the price, the gift is thoughtful—no one wants to wrap up a single salt shaker. When it doubt, err on the side of extra items to ensure that well-wishers who wait to shop aren’t left with little to choose from.

BE REALISTIC 
It’s easy to get carried away when registering—in fact, it’s expected. But as you make your list, try to keep your every-day life in mind. “When we registered, I went a little crazy with small kitchen trinkets: avocado slicers, cherry pitters, and other things that, realistically, we very rarely use,” says Ariel. “Once I went back to edit, I replaced them with things we needed and would use frequently, such as picture frames and serving dishes.”

Instead of simply adding “traditional” registry items, consider how you and your partner enjoy spending time together. Love to travel? Add some beautiful new luggage to your list. Rarely cook? Skip the fancy bakeware and register for some new art.

MIX IT UP
There’s nothing wrong with matching place settings, crystal serveware, and crisp white linens. But there’s also no rule that says registries have to be so monotonous and monotone. “While I do believe in the necessity of having a set of simple white plates, be sure to add in some pattern with fun dessert plates, interesting serving pieces and embroidered napkins,” says Ariel. “I like to think of a tabletop like a wardrobe: you have your classics, then you can add to the outfit with accessories. It really creates some beautiful texture on the table, and I like that each piece has its own history.”

The same goes for bedding. This is a good opportunity to add some pattern and playfulness to your linen closet—think kantha quilts, splashy floral duvets, and handwoven throws to round out your basics.

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