Weekends are for weddings! If you’re like me, with 9 weddings each year, the weekends are, quite literally, for weddings (attending them, that is). Also if you’re like me, the weekend is a time to think about planning your own wedding. Lots of people carve out a certain time each week for to wedding planning (Wedding Wednesday seems to be very popular). It ensures the wedding doesn’t take over their whole lives; however, I find that confining wedding planning to a specific time is too pressure-filled and bicker-prone. I plan my wedding when inspiration strikes. Weekends, in particular, offer the time to let my mind roam and plan my own wedding in a stress-free environment. In this series, I’ll take you through some of my major planning steps – hopefully this will help you plan your own wedding!
One of the biggest differences between Northerners and Southerners (I would even say it’s a difference between the Tri-State area and the rest of the country) is how they approach wedding gifts. Where I come from, you give gifts from the registry for the wedding. For things like showers, you give cutesy stuff with special meaning. The idea is that you’re giving gifts to help the couple build their lives together. It’s nothing extravagant – it’s all a celebration.
In the North I’ve noticed a different mentality. They give gifts from the registry for the shower (we’re talking big ticket items like a set of China) and then cash for the wedding. I’ve heard it explained that the couple putting on the wedding has shelled out a lot of money so you should essentially help defray the costs. Personally, I find that kinda gross. Besides feeling tacky to give cash, I don’t think guests should be paying for their plate. I don’t want to feel forced to give a large sum of money just because the people hosting the wedding happen to be wealthy and put on a fancy affair – that’s on them. Just the same, if someone plans a wedding on a budget, I wouldn’t use that as an excuse to give a lesser gift. I’m going to give a gift with a price tag matching the level of our relationship, within my means.
While I think my way is the right way (naturally), I respect that it’s all about what you know. Having grown up in Connecticut, Albert and his friends/family have the Yankee perspective. That means our guests are split – half will likely give cash; the other half, physical gifts. That meant we didn’t want to put a million items on our registry because they simply wouldn’t get bought. Also, since we’re a little older, we already had a lot of items and didn’t need all the things people often require when they’re just starting out.
Here are my tips for building out a registry:
- Limit the number of stores. With a large chunk of our guests avoiding the registry, it seemed silly to register at a lot of places so we streamlined with two stores: Anthropologie for fun decor and everyday dishware and then Macy’s for the rest since they have everything from China to appliances.
- Register for China anyway. So many of my friends don’t register for China because they don’t entertain in such a formal manner. I wanted it because I’m old school but also because, though I may not entertain like that now, I probably will later in life. When you’re 45 and hosting Thanksgiving, you’re not going to want to drop all that money for 12 sets of China. Take advantage of the fact that for a short window of time people want to buy you nice things.
- Get a middle set of dinnerware. Some events require something nicer than your everyday dishes but not the big guns. It’s nice to have something a little elevated that you won’t freak out about breaking. This is also great for people like me who already have wedding China passed down for generations.
- Register for things you want but wouldn’t normally buy yourself. For us, that included Judaica. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get a Seder plate that I needed but would never have purchased on my own. For you, this category may include random kitchen appliances, like a panini press.
- Don’t forget luggage. It’s not like the housewares you typically think of, but it’s practical and nice to get a matching set for the family. Also, you’ll be happy to have a garment bag, trust. Luggage might be too pricey for any of your guests to purchase, but you need to keep in mind that – HOT TIP – after your wedding, the big stores like Macy’s will give you up to 20% off to finish off your registry yourself. You probably won’t get that $350 suitcase…but you won’t mind buying it for yourself when it’s all of a sudden $280.