Confessions of an Engaged Wedding Planner // The Registry Experience

If you’re like me, and grew up in culture (and time) that didn’t even have the concept of registries (or showers, or bachelorettes or even engagement rings…) this might be something you’ve never given much thought. It can also seem like another concept invented to make us buy more things, often ones we really don’t need. And while a lot of the critique out there about registries is fair, I think it really depends on each couple.

Ever since “27 Dresses” and the amazing registry scanner scene (hello James Marsden: witty banter! emotional vulnerability! the pig!) I’ve been looking forward to creating a registry pretty much solely because I wanted to walk around the store with that super fun scanner and BEEP BEEP add items to our list. More practically, Nick and I were not living together and while our house has been under renovation we have been slowly buying furniture and small things as we go, but there are a lot of things we do need. I also wanted to use this opportunity to test out various registries and see what some pros and cons are so I can confidently answer my clients’ questions when they come to me. Here’s what I found!

To Register or Not to Register?

We all know we are not getting married for the gifts (physical, monetary or otherwise). However, your loved ones often want to congratulate you with a gift at various stages throughout your engagement. If you have been living together, have a very comfortable, functioning home and don’t need those mixing bowls, vacuums or wine glasses? Maybe you don’t need to register. Without the registry, it’s pretty much assumed that if someone gets you a gift it will be monetary and perhaps can be used towards your honeymoon, condo/home purchase, savings, whatever you want it to be. If you don’t want any gifts at all, you can always consider asking your guests to donate to a charity or cause that’s close to your hearts.

If you feel that it would be nice to register for home and lifestyle items to help your family and friends get you something you actually want and will use, go for it! In my case, the fun of the process was reason enough. Bonus: a lot of stores give you a small discount if you come back and buy the items that were not bought off your list so either way, good deal for you!

The most important thing to remember: never ever write anywhere in your stationery that you are registered, worst of all that you want cash. This is a huge etiquette faux pas and in my opinion, just such bad taste. Your guests are being invited to celebrate with you and for you - not to bring you gifts even if it is the bridal or wedding shower. In all cases, registries should be announced via your website or simply word of mouth (family members, friends can get the word out that you are registered and where).

Think about what you really need

So you’ve decided to register! Go through your home (or your existing items if you are not living together) and think about what you need. It’s easy to go overboard and register for anything and everything, (of course I’ll use this SodaStream every day! Yes I need 3 different Kitchenaid Mixer Bowls!) so focus on the basics and then go from there. Fill in gaps where you do need new items and go for quality which will last you a long time. At the same time, don’t forget to have fun with it and dream up some neat additions. Think of it as an opportunity to add to your dream list - if you get it, amazing! If not, the exercise of adding it to the list is crazy satisfying on its own, trust me!

Tip: Make sure you are registering for a variety of items in multiple price points. This gives all of your guests a good selection and like I said, in the end, gives you the option to buy off of your own registry with an additional discount!

Think outside the box

I decided to try to merge some of our brick-and-mortar registries and have everything in one convenient place. The coolest part of this experience for me was adding “non-traditional” registry items like magazine subscriptions and artwork.

How it works:

We physically went to The Bay (and were subsequently sad that their scanner was broken) and used my phone to scan in some housewares to our Bay registry. We then popped into Pottery Barn (and rejoiced as their scanner WAS working and made all my BEEP BEEP dreams come true!) and made a registry there. Now, I made an account with, and had the option to link my existing registries together. In Canada, you can do this with the Bay, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Walmart. When you merge from these 4, each item becomes part of the main registry.

How the registry link appeared on our website before the engagement party!

How the registry link appeared on our website before the engagement party!

I also made an online registry on Anthropologie and Indigo Chapters. With these ones, a link gets added to the running list of items. In either case, the website simply acts as an aggregate and still links you back to each site to purchase the items directly from them. The con to all of this is you actually need to go back to once the item has been purchased at the original site and marked “Purchased” so duplicates don’t occur.

My favourite part:

Now that I’ve covered how regular registries get linked, the best part is the way you can add virtually anything from any online store to your registry. Clothes, furniture, art - literally anything can be added via a browser button that you can click when on any site. I added a New York Times subscription, a Condé Nast Traveler subscription (which we’ve already received!) and some amazing Gray Malin art we’ve had our eye on for the house among other things. This is super fun for guests as these non-traditional items are a great option to do something different.

Adding items like subscriptions, wine club, artwork to spice up the registry and put on fun, exciting things we’ll actually use

Adding items like subscriptions, wine club, artwork to spice up the registry and put on fun, exciting things we’ll actually use

They also have the option to register for a honeymoon cash fund, although there is a transaction fee that is associated with this part so I would suggest not to go this route and just stick to the registry. People who want to go the cash route will just bring it with them on the day of!

Think about your guest list

Even though I love the online option of and appreciate the way it makes it easy to add non-conventional items to our registry, there is something to be said for the traditional Bay or Pottery Barn registry. Think about your guests - it might be difficult for grandma to figure out the website, let alone the fact that you have to go back and mark it purchased for the website to update. Giving your guests the option to physically go into their nearby store and pick up the exact item you want is super convenient and won’t make them feel like they’re jumping through hoops while already doing something nice for you. Remember to go back and add/update items as time goes on (sometimes items can be discontinued or run out of stock).

Have fun

Like with everything throughout the engagement process, remember to have fun with it! Nick and I made a date night out of it, went to the mall, scanned away and then played around it with it all online. Nick’s favourite part? All the items that it felt like I “bought” without spending a penny! Take it easy and enjoy!