There is one secret to compiling your registry, and one secret only.
***COPY SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK***
No, that is not a misprint. With the power vested in me by Squarespace, I am encouraging you—no, URGING you—to think of all of your stylish friends who got married in the last couple of years, stalk their registries online, and copy them outright. (Or just use them as models.)
Here’s the thing: I thought that making a registry would be fun, but it is so, so overwhelming.
You get to essentially ask for presents to fill your real life Barbie dream house—it sounds like it would be heaven! It's your own personal episode of Supermarket Sweep! Or the Nickelodeon Super Toy Run! Except that you don’t know where to start, you have to make a huge number of joint decisions, it brings up all kinds of questions about your future home at a time that every single other thing in your future life is in flux...and you have no idea if/when you would ever need a roasting pan.
The only way I survived was to look at a couple of registries of people I knew, and then add similar stuff to mine.
Which stores should you register at?
I had registries at five different stores at one point, and then I narrowed it down to Pottery Barn and Macy’s. I also created a conglomerate registry on MyRegistry.com. (More on that last one below.)
Here’s the scoop on store registries:
There’s a huge amount of stuff you can register for, and there is a Macy’s pretty much everywhere…two compelling reasons to choose Macy’s. There is a packet of goodies you get for opening a registry (I never used any of them), and you get points for every dollar your guests spend. There are always coupons, which your guests will love. I had no duplicates and whenever I had to exchange something, I didn’t need the gift receipt. Macy’s magical computer system the prices everyone paid for the items, so they didn’t need to see any paperwork.
Okay, well obviously I love the products, and there’s a varied amount of stuff, which is great. But I got several duplicates (not sure how), a couple of items are listed as purchased but I never received them (I should call about that), and I had the WORST return and exchange experiences. For items without a gift receipt, THEY WILL GIVE YOU THE CURRENT SELLING PRICE. So annoying. So if your Great Aunt Bertha bought you a luxury blanket for $90 and you want to return it without a receipt, Pottery Barn will give you the amount the blanket is selling today, even if it’s just $14. It seems insane that the registry doesn’t contain all the purchase info, but there you have it.
Oh, West Elm, I do love you so. I wanted a West Elm registry, and I even went there and asked for the laser gun—I went the whole nine yards! And then I realized that there just weren’t enough items there to include it. West Elm has a very specific style and not a whole lot of products. So I picked my bedding from West Elm and added it to MyRegistry.com.
Crate & Barrel
Crate & Barrel was another place I really wanted to register, but again, there wasn’t enough variety of products for me. So I added a couple of things from here to my conglomerate registry.
Bed, Bath, & Beyond
I have always enjoyed purchasing registry gifts at BBB, so I immediately thought of registering here, but I realized that Macy’s had all the same items, and more! Note: BBB will gift wrap for you!
I do love Target, so it's surprising that I didn't register there, but again, I felt as though Macy's had similar items.
MyRegistry.com is a bit tricky to use (both for you and for your guests), but it was worth it because I could pull items from a number of different stores into one list. Unlike other similar registries, there is ZERO cost to either me or my guests. When guests clicked on an item, MyRegistry.com would simply send them to the correct page on the store’s website with my mailing address. I added items from Target, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, Anthropologie, and more.
As for what to put ON your registry...there are lists absolutely everywhere on the web, and honestly, they're all very similar. Just make sure that you register for items at a number of price points--not everyone will be able to afford 2,000-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, and some people really like buying all your lower-priced baking supplies and putting them together in one package.
But how can you possibly know what you need now that will last the rest of your life? My best advice is this:
When in doubt, register for it.
Why? You can always return it. :)