Confessions of a Bridal Registry Consultant

The other week, we were discussing the APW theme that you don’t, in fact, have to Buy All The Things for your wedding (because you already have all the things that matter). Emily, who you’ll remember from her lovely New Orleans elopement and her post on the immigration process and marriage, piped up to say, “As a former bridal registry consultant, I would love to write a post about how the WIC wants you to buy all the things. Or at least register for all the things.” So of course I begged her to write exactly that post. So here, in our ongoing discussion about registries, is an exposé on how the industry wants you to buy it all (Hint #1: Maybe register online? Hint #2: The registry isn’t exactly for you, so it’s still probably worth doing, your own way). Let’s dive in:

Confessions of a Bridal Registry Consultant | A Practical Wedding
Due to the joy of one-year leases and unexpected elopement, Ian and I spent our first year of marriage in the master suite of a three-bedroom apartment with my brother-in-law and one of my husband’s friends. Nesting wasn’t possible as we were essentially living inside the saying, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

So imagine how much fun I thought it would be to work at Bed Bath & Beyond* as a bridal consultant. I’d get to help people build their new homes, help them pick out everything they could possibly ever need or want. For two months, between helping customers and climbing up and down ten-foot ladders, I took classes on housewares. From bakeware to window treatments, I learned it all. My whole life was thread counts, cast iron, and place settings and I loved it. The problem, however, came once I completed my training and became an official registry consultant.

The idea of a bridal consultant is different in practice than it is in theory. In theory I was there to help customers pick out what they wanted. In practice however, consultants are judged by their numbers, and there’s a lot of pressure to build “good” registries, although there’s no real reward for doing so. (Other than the happy feeling of helping someone make good choices. That doesn’t pay the rent though, unfortunately.)

So what makes a good registry? Well…

  • Our goal for the number of items on your registry is the number of your wedding guests times two. At least. In theory this is to make it easier for your guests to shop, but really the higher the number, the better of a job we’ve done. The total dollar amount of your registry is another number we’re judged on, so we’re always going to steer you towards higher quality items.
  • We want to register you for fine china. Twelve place settings. Formal and casual if possible, which makes twenty-four place settings. And flatware and glassware and napkins and napkin rings and placemats, also times twelve. (Or twenty-four if we’re lucky.)
  • A certain percentage of your registry should be from the fine china department for our numbers to be good. If you don’t want china, we will walk you around the room and offer you everything that sparkles until we hit that number. Toasting flutes, crystal vases, cake cutting sets, all wedding themed with hearts and pearls and bows. Some of those things will cost more than what I made in a month; you will probably use them once.
  • We need you to register for luggage. Even if you don’t want luggage, even if hardly anyone ever buys luggage off a registry, we can’t have a zero in that category. We sell you on luggage by asking you how much you travel. If you say you don’t travel much, we ask how much you plan to travel in the future, and it works every time, because who doesn’t want to go on vacation?
  • We’re not just selling you on the items you register for, we’re selling your guests as well. When they come in, we print your registry on colored paper and all of us in the store are supposed to keep an eye out so we can swoop down like helpful little locusts. Bridal consultants get judged on how much of your registry is purchased for you, too.

Most of the WIC wants to sell you a wedding. Registry consultants want to sell you on the idea of an entirely new home, whether you’re moving after your wedding or not. New sheets and coffeemakers and chef’s knives and shower heads and tissue holders and wall art and cleaning supplies. And yes, you probably will want some of that! But if you don’t want all of it, don’t feel pressured to register for it. Because, as we like to say around here, marriage is the thing.

*Before I go on, I would just like to add that I genuinely believe that Bed Bath & Beyond is one of the best places to register. The consultants really do know their stuff, there’s a huge product selection so you can get everything done in one store, and the return policy is fantastic.

Photo by Emily Takes Photos from the APW Flickr Stream

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  • Erin Gilbert

    Interesting but not surprising! When I registered at Bed Bath and Beyond, one of the consultants told me she would “help” us by steering our guests to the most expensive items on our registry. I think she really meant she would herself.

  • For someone who is not from the US this is rather.. eye opening. Thanks for sharing, Emily! It’s very informative.

    I don’t think registering is really a tradition where I’m from, but I’m now extra happy that we’ll just offer people some charities to make a donation to. I suck at saying ‘no’ to salespeople..

    (Not that I don’t like nice things, but we have so many of them already).

  • We just registered, grudgingly, at the behest of our family. We ended up registering for bits and pieces for 4 different places (but I admit I didn’t end up at BB&B). It seems like a lot, but what I really did was pick four places that run the gamut of cost/ease (including Amazon because most people are traveling and free shipping is awesome).

    For us, the best experience by far was Crate & Barrel. That’s where we registered for dishes, flatware, and a few decor items. The gentleman handed us a scanner, asked what we were most interested in, and showed us around the dishes. He did explain the differences between dish types, and he also helpfully pointed us toward the much more inexpensive “everyday” dishes. I do wonder if perhaps we didn’t get a consultant because the store was so darn busy, but I noticed other couples wandering around too on their own. I must say that plenty of shoppers felt free to chime in some helpful ideas when we mused aloud about how many serving dishes we needed. Anyway, at the end of registering, we turned in the gun, and we were surprised to find out that C&B gives out a little gift for registering. That just sweetened the pot more :-)

    I do still feel quite a bit of guilt for “all the things” that we registered for. We only did 10 place settings (our table just fits 6, so I don’t see us needing more now, and we picked plain white so we can always add more). We tried hard to think of our needs now and not try to fit all our future hypothetical needs like some brides suggested (I did a lot of internet reading about registries). We’ll see how it all ends up at the end. On the bright side, with pretty much everything we picked, we can afford to buy things bit by bit as we can afford if they didn’t get bought for us.

    • I don’t think C&B actually has consultants. We went to one of their “registry” events, but even there they just explained how the gun worked, and provided us a book with a list of item types they “suggest”. The people helping us were in their own sections of expertise, so, for example, one woman was able to tell me that the only difference between two pan sets … besides price … was that the more expensive set could be put through the dishwasher. Otherwise they let us be .. but were around to answer questions/give demonstrations should we request.

      All in all, it was a painless, pressureless experience. =)

    • I like C&B because we went on a special registry day and there was food and beverages. Why, yes, they sold me on the concept of a panini maker, with all those hot and tasty sandwiches.. (Which, uh, I bought from somewhere else with a gift card.)

      • Rachel

        I like C&B too, in fact it was the best registry experience we had. It was pressure free, fun, and my darling now-husband got breakfast snacks.

    • We registered at C and B too, but we did it online only and never set foot in the store. Turned out great! :)

    • Mandy

      I have a total conspiracy theory based on our C&B registry (that we loved doing, btw!) – It’s been 2 years since our wedding, and C&B has stopped sending me their regular catalog, but lo and behold I’ve started receiving their In the Land of Nod kids’ catalog. Do they think it’s about that time for me to move on to that level or what? :)

      • KEA1

        I have heard of that phenomenon on more than one occasion–that the average for people to start having kids after they marry is 2 years, or something along those lines. Sigh.

  • We were so annoyed when we registered at BBB. The consultant wanted to escort us all around the store asking us what we needed and decided to explain everything to us. Once I started explaining the difference between cooking using cast iron, stainless, and copper, and when I explained why I wanted a 5qt vs. a 6qt stand mixer, I think she finally realized that we had done our research on what we wanted. We just wanted our darn scan gun and to register for the things we had already identified. By far, BBB was the most annoying place we registered for.

    • SpaceElephant

      We had a similar experience. Our consultant was VERY snotty when I explained that we didn’t want to register for china and that we didn’t need her to walk us around the store. I had a spreadsheet with me WITH MODEL NUMBERS AND UPCS, and she was still claiming that we couldn’t possibly have remembered everything or know “what we needed”. Yuck. If it weren’t for the fact that BBB was obviously the most convenient place for the majority of our guests to get to/order from, we would have turned right around and left.

    • Let me preface this by saying that I love Bed, Bath & Beyond and their return policy is out of control awesome.

      BUT. I did have a pretty awful experience registering there. After telling the registry consultant about five million times that I didn’t want to register for fine china and hearing all the many reasons why I just wasn’t thinking long-term enough, she finally said, “But consider times in the future when you may need to host formal parties that reflect well on your family. Like, what does your husband do for a living? Don’t you think you might ever need to have his boss over for dinner?”

      I think my head almost exploded. It was like she was trying to make me believe not registering for fine china was the equivalent of not thinking my husband’s career was very impressive. Also, hi, how about asking what I do for a living?

      • That phrase came straight out of the 1950’s. Maybe she learned it in the training manual. I’m surprised you didn’t smash something!

      • JEM

        that would have made me rage and I would have left. uuuuuuugh

    • Roadrunner

      Huh…my experience at BB&B was pretty different. Our consultant wasn’t pushy at all, and we weren’t registering for much–actually, mostly what we registered for was china and flatware (and pans and knives) so maybe that checked enough boxes to satisfy her. But our registry list was less than half as long as our guest list, and we didn’t go for towels, sheets, vacuums, etc.–just kitchen stuff we’ll have for the rest of our lives. So maybe if you’re already planning on registering for china, BB&B isn’t a bad choice?

      • Caitlin L

        we went into the store, wrote down everything we wanted in BBB and then went home and registered only, kinda backwards but no person following us around :)

      • Kim

        We had a good experience at BB&B. Our consultant was very helpful, both when we registered, and when we’ve brought things back to return. He definitely figured us out pretty quickly – we knew what we wanted, had chosen BB&B because they had the major things we wanted (casual ware, pans and knives, and the lovely 20% coupon for guests to use), and were not interested in basics (we merged our two households which amounted to a ton of stuff, mostly usable hand-me-downs). So, we registered for a few big ticket items, and that was it!

        Good luck to all the other folks going through this process out there – this is a tough challenge. We didn’t want to register for too much or not enough, but by wishing for a bit of the traditional (china, flatware), the modern (wii from Target), and the giving (ASPCA registry – so great!), we hopefully struck a balance.

  • KW

    Thank you for sharing! Two months of training…. wow. I’ve never been good at sales but it sounds like being a registry consultant would be the absolute worst job for me ever!

    I will also say that BBB is currently carrying at least one of the exact same china patterns as a department store with a Thanksgiving day parade… for $50 less.

  • Like Leah above we had a pretty hands off experience at Crate and Barrel, and it definitely wasn’t busy when we were there. Pretty much just got the gun and headed off! We also registered at REI because we were backpacking for 4 weeks on our honeymoon and I’d say we had a much more involved escort there, though we know way more about camping gear than plates. I’m pretty sure this is why we ended up with a water purifier that would have required us carrying like 15 pounds of batteries to actually use on the trip.

    • Uh! You can register at REI? That is so much fun! Hubs and I are planning for a very belated honeymoon (a little over a year after the wedding) and we’re going to Iceland so that would have been perfect for us if we’d had any idea of when we were going to be able to do the thing. I’ve seen people do registries for late honeymoons but I don’t think I’m that ballsy.

      • Ahhh Great Minds think alike. My honeymoon is going to be iceland too! I can’t wait to see that Blue Lagoon.

        • Dan

          the blue lagoon is the least cool thing in Iceland. in a land of natural wonders, it is a plastic amusement park. The locals actually call it the sperm bank. Yes this is gross, but it is true. they call it that. Please dear lord get excited for everything else!!! Iceland is amazing, the blue lagoon may as well be in florida.

          have fun.

      • Couldn’t you register for the gear you would need as part of the “household stuff” you register for? (Regardless of when the honeymoon actually will be…?) I would think it would be fun for a guest to buy atypical registry stuff like that for a couple, especially when they know the couple likes to do that kind of stuff!

    • <3 REI. The only reason we didn't register there is that we camp enough that we have almost everything we want. We did tell a few guests (who are even better campers than us) about some specific needs we have, and I expect they'll buy off-registry, which is great.

  • This is not shocking but I am retroactively pleasantly surprised at my BB&B consultant, who took us at our word to bypass the entire china section and she never mentioned luggage. Maybe she wasn’t good at her job or maybe she was refusing to suck us in, but either way I appreciate it! We genuinely had fun with her!

  • Carbon Girl

    I have to say I heard mixed reviews about BBB but we had a good experience there. They did not push us on China or luggage. I get very overwhelmed shopping and we had a printed list of what we wanted. I found it very helpful to go around with our list and have the consultant show us where things were. Also, my family thought they were the easiest to deal with buying-wise.

  • Abby C.

    I registered at and I used Simple Registry (which is a cash registry) to break my ‘big-ticket’ items into small pieces. has been great – no pressure to pick out things we don’t need, so we’ve just been registering what we do need. It also keeps a ‘Thank-you list’ of all the people who have purchased for you, what they purchased (minus prices) and their addresses. Very handy for note-writing-time.

    • I need to check out SimpleRegistry then. We still need to do one and well I keep trying to figure out how can I get people to buy me a new fence lol.

      • JEM

        new fence, awesome! can you make a section for “Home Improvements”?

      • Abby C.

        It’s cool, pretty easy to set up. You can design your own size increments for bigger things. I broke my stand mixer and luggage up into multiple $50 pieces for friends on a budget (isn’t everyone these days?).

    • We used SimpleRegistry too. It was great. Easy to use, and not overtly wedding-y (by which I mean, a lot of other cash registry sites have wedding bells or doves, etc in the site design. Which was totally not representative of anything about our wedding)

  • Miriam

    I used Bed Bath and Beyond and Williams-Sonoma. BBB had some of the same items for less and they have stores everywhere so it was convenient for guests, but when we went back to the store after our wedding to try to buy some of the things we didn’t get as gifts we found that most of the stuff wasn’t in stock and we haven’t been back since.

    Anyways, my tip is do not go to BBB and try to register when you are fasting. I mistakenly thought we could walk around the store with our grumpy hungry selves and as this post points out its not true! I know they are just doing their jobs, but trying to convince us that we need to register for towels for all of our potential future children was a little over the top.

  • We registered at Macy’s, Wal-Mart, and made one online for furniture where anyone could contribute any amount to certain items. We listed all three on all of our invitations (wedding and showers) and I can honestly say that out of dozens of gifts, we only got about four things from our registries. While I was okay with that because about half of our guests and loved ones gave us cash, I was baffled by people who would approach me and say, “we don’t want to just get something off your registry, tell us what you really need.” I mean, there were people who were just against the idea of buying from a registry in general. I don’t know if they felt it was impersonal somehow or what but I remember a handful of people asking me where I was registered and then getting me kind of random gifts from different places. It didn’t irritate me or anything (although we spent about a week afterward finding odds and ends we didn’t need and figuring out ways to return them) but I guess I thought when I registered those ways that at least most of our gifts would wind up being from them.

    • People are against buying from a bridal registry for the same reason they will ignore a baby shower registry: Gift giving is not actually about giving YOU what YOU NEED, but it’s about THEM buying what THEY LIKE for you. Gift giving is the most selfish thing we Americans do.

    • jayne

      haha, the fact that they asked you what you really needed makes me laugh. We registered for the things that we really needed! Our wedding was last week, so we’re going through gifts now. Let me say: I in no way EXPECT people to get us gifts, or to pay a certain amount for a gift. A gift is just a lovely way for people to wish us well in our new lives together, and to give us something to either commemorate the marriage, or to provide us with something that we need. To help guests, we had a 3 fairly small registries of things that we really needed, in a wide variety of price ranges.

      I would understand if someone went off-registry to get us something really classic, and unique to us, like a crystal vase, or something that plays into our interests…..but a quesadilla maker? We didn’t register for one because we don’t have room for one in our tiny apartment. We have a cast iron skillet – that is our quesadilla maker. We didn’t register for a crock pot because we already have a crock pot. I just don’t understand the thought process behind getting gifts off registry that we COULD have registered for, but didn’t. Shouldn’t that have been a clue that we don’t have a need for it?

      I actually think that some of the items that we received off registry were items that they’re re-gifting. The boxes look suspiciously old.

  • carrie

    So interesting! We had a pretty hands off experience at both Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Crate and Barrel. We had a little explaining, and honestly, I might have liked a little more in some respects.

    What’s really interesting to me though is that the consultants get judged for the registries, even though there’s no commission. It’s not surprising either, really. I wonder if some places are more hands off now because of this? Because their personal bottom line isn’t affected?

  • Amy

    We registered at both Macys and Williams Sonoma, and I have to say, I loved the Williams Sonoma registry the best, but the Macys people were pretty hands off too. I do travel a lot for work, so I wound up buying luggage myself with some gift cards but nobody at Macys even mentioned that we should register for luggage, or pushed anything on us. Maybe its more of a reflection of how busy the main NYC store is, but the woman on 34th street just handed me a gun and let me go at it.
    Williams Sonoma was hands down the easiest registry to modify on line. I set up a total bare bones registry in the store, and then my husband and I did the rest online. Super easy, and they had waaay cheaper ‘plain’ white china than the other stores I found.

  • I don’t find this surprising or shocking. Money is all a numbers game. The percentage of people who buy at any given store increases by 60% if they’ve been greeted by an employee. That number increases to 75% if the employee follows up throughout their shopping experience.

    The likelihood of someone buying fine china or luggage is zero if they’re not listed on the registry. The likelihood of a couple returning a fancy gift is very slim, because that takes effort. Put enough sets of luggage on enough registries, and you’re bound to increase your sales. Those sets of luggage have a percentage of return, so BB&B wants to counteract that percentage of return with enough sales.

    It’s all marketing and math. The thing is, if none of it really mattered, then why pressure the couples? Unless you were going to be fired, why do something you didn’t like? If you were going to be fired for pressuring where you felt uncomfortable, why stay in that position?

    I’m not mad at big business setting up their registry goals to increase potential sales. There are much bigger issues at play, and all of us contribute every time we shop at the mall or at a box store.

  • Hils

    We started our day at C&B — at one of those creepy parties. Hated it. Hated that the other girls dressed up in fancy outfits to register. And hated that I put my real name instead of Janet Snakehole on the nametag they made us wear.

    We then went to Macy’s — which had nothing in the store that we needed.

    So we ended up at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I wasn’t excited to go there since the sheer size of the store has always overwhelmed me, but everyone was awesome. They had everything, basically, we wanted. And we were never pushed into anything in terms of what we registered for. Store employees definitely went out of their way to be nice to us (spotting either the colored paper or the gun, I guess), but never in an annoying way.

    (We kept some registry items at Crate and Barrel too for variety, but I’ll give BB&B full credit for getting us to the finish line of a very long day of registering.)

    • Out of curiosity, where do you live? We went to one of the “parties”, too, and no one dressed up … nor did they make us wear nametags.

      Sounds like one store that went WAY overboard. Ugh. If that’d happened to us, I would have left.

      • Hils

        Hi Sarah! I’m in D.C., so it was the Tyson’s big store. They also had a lot of other vendors there shilling other things (Mary Kay!), which detracted from being able to register. All in all, it felt like I was on a game show.

        • lolo7835

          I went to the Tyson’s store to! Except I went in sweats to the registry event since it started at 9 am on a Sunday (way to early for me) I didn’t see any folks dressed up, but I did see the Mary Kay person (and ran away)

          Overall I had a great experience at the Tysons C&B. Now the one in Richmond on the other hand….my mom went with me and the person who ended up walking with us totally deferred to mom on everything. I just went with the flow and deleted stuff online once I got home, but it was mega annoying.

        • Ok, WEIRD. We went to the same one and there was none of that! The only other vendor I saw was the Nestle rep doing their new espresso machine … but they were in store for a good 6 months straight, so I didn’t think anything of it. I wonder why we had such different experiences?

          • Hils

            Maybe they ramped up their parties. Who knows? It was definitely weird. I think registering needs to be kind of a personal experience and going with a lot of other people at once also made it feel like an episode of Supermarket Sweep or something. I’d recommend C&B for registering — but I’d skip the party next time, free “gift” (tiny vase) be damned.

  • kayakgirl73

    We actually had three registries and I had a good experience with all of them. We had different ones because of different sales and what was available near our guests. The BBB people left us alone when we said we didn’t need help, they would check on us periodically. One registry that we used that I haven’t seen mentioned was Kohl’s. They have great sales and a fantastic return policy. They also tend to be in smaller towns where a number of our guests lived. Our Kohl’s registry was very popular for shower gifts. Macy’s had a neat cash back program that gave you cash back (via gift card) on your guests purchases and you own purchases, so I can money back on the clothes I bought for my honeymoon and we got money back on the things left on the registry that we bought after the wedding.

  • When my husband and I registered, we definitely felt the pressure. “You need x number of towels in sizes xyz…You need x number of place settings…Your registry just isn’t complete without xyz.” So I took that gun and zapped everything that they told me to.

    When I got hom I had major registers remorse, so I hopped online and deleted a number of items from the registry. I’m so glad that I did. We still ended up with items that we never use (pizza stone, waffle maker, cheese grater – note: getting married does not suddenly make you cook if you don’t already cook), but I would have had 10 times more items that I didn’t want if I didn’t edit my registry after caving to the pressure.*

    • You know what’s entirely ridiculous is that if you’re pressured into scanning a bunch of stuff you don’t want, the numbers you have when you leave the store are the ones we get judged on. It doesn’t matter if you go home and delete half your registry.

    • Jen B

      Haha, my fiancé and I did the exact same thing– registered in-store at BBB, got home, and promptly deleted about half of what we’d just registered for. We did not do enough preparation before going in and we were blindsided by the china; eventually we picked a fine china pattern and an everyday dinnerware pattern, and the consultant actually added “all the items we need” to the registry. BBB will also scan an entire WALL of kitchen tools (whisks, spatulas, meat tenderizers, shrimp cleaners…) FOR YOU, so you can spend your time zapping the rest of the store. I was pretty (naïvely) surprised to get home and find that we had registered not only for shrimp cleaners and citrus squeezers and apple dividers, but also twenty-four place settings (12 fine, 12 every day) plus extra dishes and serving pieces for both sets. That means 2 gravy boats, 2 sugar pots, 6 serving platters, 12 “rice bowls”… it was capitalism at its most excessive and most insidious (“think of having holiday dinners in the future, when you and your siblings have children– won’t you want 12 place settings then? Here, let me create desire for something you didn’t know you wanted.”). We axed most of those “luxury” items (I won’t be cleaning many shrimp, and I can use a knife to divide an apple just fine) and most of the china extras– the gravy boats were the first to go. But hey, at least I helped our consultant look good, I guess.

      • All advertising is just creating solutions to problems you didn’t know you had. Once you realize that it all becomes rather ridiculous.

      • single-use kitchen tools are one of the worst things happening to america! maybe i am exaggerating but no one needs a sstrawberry huller or an avocado slicer or a tiny whisk and tiny frying pan for an egg. they may be cute but boy are they all useless, each and every one of them. i will cancel my entire registry if i find out that a salesperson went and scanned a wall of useless shit in my name.

    • Marina

      That’s exactly what we did too. :) Zapping things with the scanner gun is fun and all, but it really really doesn’t have to mean you’re 100% committed to everything you zap.

      Plus there were also several times where we couldn’t decide between two similar versions of something, so we zapped both just to remember what we were looking at, then went home and did more research and deleted one.

    • We registered for a waffle maker. Got it. And have almost worn it out since our marriage.

      • My husband already had a waffle maker before we got married and I have been using it and loving it. Mmm. Hmm, maybe waffles for dinner tonight? :)

        • He had a small one when we got married. We registered for the deluxe 6 slice one. We use it for Sunday dinner every week.

    • Melissa

      I signed up online with BBB for a registry beforehand, and then went in to the store. Instead of having someone give us a whole tour and everything, we just told them we were already signed up but just needed to update our list – and they gave us the scanner and let us go wander on our own. This was way better, because I didn’t want to get pressured into anything. I still went home and deleted/changed things online afterwards too.

  • Kashia

    We didn’t want to register. But, under pressure from family we did. And it turns out only 2 people actually bought something off the registry. The rest gave us money or beautiful handcrafted pottery or paintings or embroidered pillowcases. And it was awesome. Because then we were able to go back to our registry and decide what we actually wanted/needed and purchase that with the gift money. Its funny though because I was so uncomfortable with the idea of a registry, and it turned out that if we hadn’t registered, no one would have really noticed.

  • I used to sync up registries at Macy’s, Target, Amazon, Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel and add random items from etsy and the like. We also used for a cash fund to help finance the honeymoon (which meant we could have a honeymoon, which was amazing).

    I don’t buy off of registry just to buy off of registry, but if I have a gift to give someone that I know they’ll like that’s not on there, I’ll buy it for them. I used to knit afghans for couples a lot, but there are a few problems with that. It always takes longer than I think it will (I have one couple who got divorced before I finished it!) and just because you spend time making something doesn’t mean they’ll value it. I spent three years working on a gorgeous entrelac afghan for some friends of mine. It became their dog’s blanket.

    (Though, frankly, with that one, if I hadn’t made it out of the cheapest acryllic possible, I probably would have kept it)

    • I make quilts for certain people (or I should be, I’m a bit behind, but they understand). I only do that when I know that the time I put into it will be appreciated. Because of my reputation, it’s actually expected I’ll give quilts for certain occasions. I like being the “quilt maker” in my family.

      • DUDE, ME TOO!

        And, I actually had an ex-friend once tell me that quilts weren’t a wedding present because they didn’t cost enough. UH, have you a) seen the price of fabric lately, and b) know the time it takes to make a quilt? I love doing this, and often use the “Wedding ring” pattern on the quilts :) (Or, make a quilt AFTER the wedding with photos of the wedding IN the quilt).

        • I think the important word there is ‘ex-friend.’ Because… WHAT.

        • What the what?? A quilt is something to be cherished! I still have two little quilts that best friend’s mom made for me, not even twin sized, that I will not stop using from years ago because they were Quilted For ME.

          I think it’s awesome that you quilt as gifts.

        • Jess

          We were given a quilt as a wedding present – it came from one of my grandma’s friends who we didn’t know well, but essentially invited so my grandma could bring a friend.

          It is hands down one of the best gifts we got. It is this crazy purple color that I don’t necessarily like (haha), but snuggling under it – thinking that someone out there made it specifically for US – seems to make everything right with the world.

          At first the fabric was very stiff (it felt “new” if that makes sense) and even after a couple of months, it is softening up. I can’t wait to see how cozy it is in a few years.

          So, all you quilters? Keep giving quilts!

        • Rhubarb

          WHAT. There is something wrong with your ex-friend’s brain.

          One of the few wedding things that I want that I’m sure won’t happen is a quilt. My friends aren’t quilters (and that’s ok) but I. WHAT. The mind boggles at the idea of someone thinking that’s not enough.

        • That’s why I could never do it for money. People wouldn’t pay what I’d charge for the materials let alone my time. It’s a rather expensive hobby (I got a part time job at a fabric store for a while to feed my addiction. I’m still using what I stockpiled. Never made any money there.) But for me it’s a therapy.

          • Jessica

            My mom is the quilter in our family. She used to make quilts for everyone as shower/ wedding/ baby presents, but she’s scaled it back in recent years- now you have to know to specifically ask her for one, unless you’re one of her daughters (*squee*). I probably didn’t act as I should at our shower when we opened our quilt (I knew it was coming) but my in-laws were (and still are- they’re still talking about it) amazed at the effort she put into it. I think people don’t know how to react nowadays to a homemade quilt because so few people actually have them anymore.

          • Cassandra

            This is off-topic, but how do you *learn* to quilt? I got it into my head that I really would like to learn (too much fabric from travels + probably moving to the US on a dependent visa next year, so need a hobby!). I’ve googled a bit, but it doesn’t seem there are many good sources for learning how to get started.

          • Cassandra – Grab my email off my blog and I’d be happy to talk to you about it. Or Meg could give you the email I use for comments.

      • My wife does too – she’s made a quilt for a friend using fabrics from their wedding (she thrifted sheets and used them to make napkins & bunting) and… well, it seems like she’s constantly working on quilts for weddings and/or babies. It’s the season!

      • ellobie in Chicago

        Christina, we used, too, and loved it! I still use it for Christmas/Birthday gift ideas. I add things to the “registry” and my husband and family have a nice list of things I’d love. If only I could get them to use it, too!

        As for making gifts, agree 100%. I’ve learned my lesson (hello handmade baby bonnet I spent 60+ hours stitching and embroidering, only to see it at my friend’s house in the goodwill pile) and pretty much only make gifts for other crafters, they’re the only ones who seem to understand what a gift it is!

      • KW

        Me too! The first one was on a lark, but now I always ask if it’s a gift they’ll want and use. I enjoy learning new skills, doing something productive with my hands (I’m not very creative), and having it be used.

      • Seriously, that is about the perfect gift.

        I’d rather have something made with love than something less personal off a registry, any day.

  • Mary B.

    We registered at Sears, and because it was an “event” the bridal consultant pretty much left us alone. We did have a recent clash with the registry consultant at Babies R Us…apparently we must own EVERYTHING WE WILL EVER NEED until our child is a toddler. She wouldn’t listen when we tried to explain that: we have an extremely limited amount of storage, and that we are also getting hand-me-downs from several cousins, and that we couldn’t really anticipate our needs for the next two-three years, because we are likely to be moving across the country at some point. We ended up leaving the store and I deleted the registry and made a “wish list” document for my relatives. Of course, my relatives all hate this (despite the fact that the wish list includes what I want/need, why I want/need it, and where to find it at local stores) but BRU left a very nasty taste in my mouth and I refuse to send any business their way if I can avoid it.

    • Shelly

      I think that this is the best mentality to have when registering: that your registry (for weddings or babies) doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all of what you want to own FOREVER. I found that the knowledge/insight of people at places like BB&B can be helpful, but shouldn’t override my own wisdom on what selections to make (or not make).

  • Amber

    Thank god I went to a no-pressure place like Target, where my husband and I walked around scanning maybe 20 things (no place settings or luggage). We also put a PayPal link on our wedsite and had a small list. We only had 30 people coming to our wedding and even what we did register for was too much.

    WTF do I need 24 place settings for? The cats sit at our dining table more than we do. It’s so disgusting how people are pressured into getting all these useless things and how many cave and think they can’t have a proper wedding without them, though I can certainly understand the feeling.

    Maybe weddings will be reclaimed in our lifetime.

    • We made a wishpot list too and liked it because it allowed us to list random stuff from places that didn’t have registries (Ikea, for example). It worked well. Wishpot, C and B, and a few things from BBB, but we did EVERYTHING online.

  • moonitfractal

    I had a perfectly fine time at Bed Bath. They just gave us the gun and let us roam the store, but were available when we had questions. It’s possible that I had a good experience because my fiance and I registered for luggage (we travel regularly and are currently using borrowed suitcases) and fine china (my parents use theirs on holidays and I intend to host holidays at my home in the future) of my own initiative.

    • Alyssa

      After reading all these comments, I’m starting to think our BBB hated us; they gave us a gun and sent us on our merry way! I don’t think I got talked to ONCE during the process.

      To be fair, I might have scared them off; I threatened to do bad things to my fiance with the registry gun if he didn’t pick something other than beige.

  • I also had a very hands-off, but very good experience at BBB. My husband and I started it online, at home. We came in, and the guy who ended up helping us spent a good amount of time with us when we needed the help, he checked in on us to make sure we didn’t need him to unlock any cases or anything like that, and he helped us reach the one registry incentive we were close to (and it was actually one we wanted to meet). It was excellent, because my husband was anti-registry in the first place, because we already combined two households into one. We had two of everything, including luggage and dishware/china. And we never got pushed into either one. Once we said we already had them, he dropped it.

  • We used HoneyFund to register for our honeymoon. We both lived on our own & did not want a house full of (no offense) crap that we didn’t actually need/want/would ever use. So we figured we may as well register for something we’d like: a nice honeymoon.

    It was pretty awesome & alleviated a ton of pressure. Because of it, maybe all of 4 people actually bought us things. Everything else was cash, and after paying for nearly the entire wedding our selves it was greatly welcomed.

  • We pretty much guessed all of that stuff as we drove away from our non-on-line registering experience.

    What we found funny was they insisted on including our parents’ addresses so people could send gifts to our parents. We explained that we had our home we would be living in (he was already living there) and that our parents lived in different states than we do so guests sending our presents to our parents would’ve been highly inconvenient for all involved.

    We went to the store an hour before closing. That’s the best time because while they offered to let us stay after they closed it did make it very convenient for us to leave soon.

  • Rhubarb

    Can I put in a quick plug for the I Do Foundation? You register at normal places to register (Target, Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma, REI, whatever — they have a list), it doesn’t cost you or your guests anything, but the retailer donates 3-5% of the purchase price to a nonprofit of your choice. WINSAUCE.

  • Our poor BBB consultant. We didn’t touch linens, luggage, china, flatware, or glasses. All we registered for in store was pots and pans, knives, and cooking tools. No wonder they kept trying to give us beverages and lock up our coats so that we would stay longer and scan more. Whoops.

  • Megan

    We registered at BBB and had a good experience. Our consultant was not very pushy, although she did mention china a few times. We were pretty much left alone, which I think may have to do with the fact that we went an in an hour before they closed and they consultant was more focused on going home than helping us (fine by me!). However, we did experience all kinds of pressure from family/friends. People could not believe that we only had one registry, that we weren’t registering for china, etc. We didn’t really want to register at all but we ended up caving and registered for a bunch of stuff we didn’t need/want/have room for (no fine china though). We returned a lot of our gifts, as we have a severe lack of storage space and now I feel incredibly guilty about not keeping the gifts from our incredibly kind and generous guests. I really wish we had not listened to everyone else and just done what was right for us.

    • We went an hour before they closed too but they offered to let us stay and have complete run of the store so they could suggest more things for us.

  • I have never been more grateful or happy that I registered online- very easy & no pressure!

  • Jen

    Honeymoon registry all the way!!!

    We also had small registries for Amazon and Crate & Barrel (loved them both, btw) but the most popular option for our guests was our honeymoon registry. We made it really specific (buy Chris a couple books for his Kindle, for example) and had a lot of fun texting photos of ourselves doing the stuff that people bought us.

    FWIW, I stopped shopping at BB&B because their shipping packaging is so ridiculous. I once got 4 dishtowels in a giant box with a ton of paper packaging. You know, cause dish towels are so breakable.

    • Edelweiss

      Late to the comments, but where did you register? I was looking into it last night and all the sites I found charged transaction fees. Did you find a solution you liked?

      I’m leaning toward doing Traveljoy through the I Do Foundation, but it looks like I Do Foundation might be changing as of August…..

  • We registered for fancy china at Macy’s because I had this romantic idea of building memories with my future children of pulling it out for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mind you, we have been married now for 2 years and live in a super small Brooklyn apartment where our 2-seater dining table shares the same space as our living room couch.

    That china, all 6 place settings that my grandmother bought us, live in my mother-in-laws attic right now. I’m only hoping that when it comes time for us to host a holiday, in 10 years when we have a table that sits more than two people and more than one kitchen cabinet to store said china, I’ll still like the pattern.

    When it comes down to it, it’s kind of pointless to be sold this idea that we should have EVERYTHING WE WILL EVER NEED before we’re married for one freakin’ day. We’ll have a whole lifetime to acquire these things, if we want them. No need to be sitting on a gravy boat and 12 matching coffee mugs from day one.

    • I think there is a certain romance to having a beautiful set of china. …that is if it fits with your life. And it sounds to me like you want for it to fit with yours too, someday. That’s okay. People are buying you gifts for your marriage, like Meg mentioned in her post about coming to terms with the registry, and at some point in your marriage you’ll start building those memories around a holiday table decorated with that china.

      Registering for luggage, sheets, towels, and china aren’t inherently bad, it’s just sad and unnecessary when you feel FORCED into all the things.

    • meg

      I do love my china, I’m not going to lie. My grandmother gave us her set when we got engaged. Hell, I would have gotten SILVER if the price wasn’t so dizzying. But, you know, that’s me. The idea that everyone should be forced to get things they don’t want is a little bit problematic.

      • I’m all for silver and china … I just don’t think that, for me, they make sense as something to register for.

        However, I’ll admit that I’m also the first person to pull out my mom’s fancy china and silver … it’s so special and fun that it’s worth all the extra work hand polishing and washing!

      • I was just thinking someone needed to mention getting China from somewhere other than the store. I do like the idea of having special place settings for special occasions. But I love the idea of having the same ones as Grandma. Makes it feel like she’s part of the occasion even though she’s been gone for 30+ years.

    • I love china. The only reason we didn’t register is that I am my mom’s only daughter, so I will get her china and silver at some point (y’know, when she’s no longer using it).

  • Marina

    For us, the best part of registering at BB&B was the discounts on stuff on the registry immediately after the wedding, and the 20% off coupons they kept mailing us for about a year and a half after the wedding. We didn’t need new linens when we got married, but a year later when we did it the coupons saved us some good money.

    I think if you register in person it does help to go in with a pretty firm ability to say no. You don’t need to explain why you don’t want luggage or china or a $400 toaster, you just need to say “We’re doing fine, thank you!” and end the conversation.

    • A $400 TOASTER?!?? If anyone tells me I need a toaster that expensive that thing better slice and butter my bagel.

      • meg

        Dude. We pooled some of our wedding money and got that toaster (Dualit). It is BRILLANT and will last literally till we die. It was the #1 thing I wanted. So, you know, those things are fine to have. But no one should ever tell you to have them, because hello, it’s a SUPER EXPENSIVE TOASTER.

        • Fawmo

          I kind of really want the toaster now. It’s so sleek looking and clearly durable!

        • em_perk

          This is somewhat off the original topic, but I’ve gotta give a shout-out to the insanely expensive small appliances too…a few coworkers balked at my blender the other day when I was talking about how awesome it is because it’s a $500 blender (I didn’t even know, it was a gift from my parents years ago) but even if I had bought it with my own money, that thing would be worth every. single. penny.

          • Cassandra

            I’m still in grad school, so every appliance I own is of the 30$ variety, but I totally agree. The seriously high-quality (and $$$) appliances my parents and mother-in-law bought ages ago? Still in perfect working order. I’ve had to replace my stupid blender twice in the last two years, and my $50 microwave is on its last legs. Sigh. It also makes me feel bad because I’m throwing out these plastic and metal monstrosities into the world whenever I have to buy a new one.

        • Just looked it up….that is a monster sized toaster and 6 slices????!!!! Holy Crap!

          And Dualit has cheaper colored toasters! Super Pretty Blues or classy Reds. ….maybe I do need a colored toaster over $100…

  • I definitely agree that you don’t need all the things in the world. Don’t register for stuff just because you’re supposed to. My husband and I live in a tiny loft, and there’s barely any storage space, so we didn’t register for anything we wouldn’t use.

    If you’re going to register for “things”, I definitely suggest going for a place that you feel good about – whatever that means to you. We registered at a big store, and didn’t love it so decided to go for a place that felt more “us.” Enter Heath Ceramics. It’s a lovely store based in Sausalito, California (we live in San Francisco, so we may be biased because we’re so close to the original location, but still…) They have beautiful dishes that are made in the USA by real people (not machines), support local manufacturing, and provide fair compensation to their staff. Heath was started in the 40s by a woman, Edith Heath, which alone makes it pretty great. I mean, the website has a “history and values” link – I’m guessing lots of big box stores don’t have that. We now have lovely dishes that we use every day, and feel really good that we used our registry power for good, not evil :)

    • Rhubarb

      I don’t even know how to express how much I love Heath. The plates just feel good. I doubt I’ll ever own a set (too expensive for us/our situation) but I had no idea it was possible to love plates so much until I used Heathware at someone else’s house.

  • ellobie in Chicago

    The day we set aside to register during our 6-month engagement, our good friends’ daughter came down with appendicitis. We had rented a car specifically to get to all the stores we (I) wanted to visit. We used that car to get to our friends’ house and took care of their two younger kids so mom & dad could both be at the hospital with their daughter. We ended up doing our registry completely online. No pressure at all and we ended up only registering for the stuff we really wanted/needed.

    We also synced our store registries with, which allowed us to add items from Etsy and other businesses that don’t have registries. Boom – one spot that 95% of our guests could visit to pick out gifts. And for the 5% who are not internet-savvy, they could still go to Macy’s, Target, etc. and print out those individual lists.

  • goodheart

    this is really fascinating to read and very much relate to. because i’ve moved so much in my life (never lived anywhere longer than 4 years as a kid and 2 years as an adult) i’m one of the most anti-stuff people ever – imagine a complete purge everytime. i used to pride myself on all of my stuff fitting into one small vehicle. but now…. i was telling my husband yesterday that i truly enjoy cooking more now that we have decent knives, pots and pans, and all the requisite little things that just make life a bit easier (a dishwasher should be included on every registry ;-)).

    i was pretty surprised at how much i enjoyed all of our registry gifts given my purging tendencies – we registered at BBB and CB and both were smooth and easy. aside — i have to say that my local, small-townish BBB was THE friendliest, most helpful store i’ve ever shopped at – i never felt any pressure to buy anything, and of course the return options are great.

    back to stuff — neither of us really had grown up kitchen stuff, and that was the majority of our registry. i can’t even explain why my cabinet full of matching wine glasses, beer glasses and champagne glasses makes me so happy….

  • Marley

    We finally got around to registering two weeks ago (me complaining and spazzing out the whole way there) and it was so much less painful than I feared! We went to Macy’s and lucked out. The registry specialists were all out that day so a very nice, but overwhelmed young woman signed us up, handed off the scanner thing, and left us alone the entire time! I was ecstatic! As she sent us on our way she read off her computer screen that we should have twice as many gifts as guests then laughed and remarked that it must be a typo. I was so happy that things worked out that way, I don’t do well with salespeople hovering because I feel if I don’t purchase what they recommend I will hurt their feelings or disappoint them (yeah, I know. working on that!).

  • Yikes. Our wedding consultant didn’t do so well then. Though, I think he was just the customer service guy filling in for the actual wedding consultant. He didn’t push ANYTHING on us. He gave us the gun, showed us how to use it and we were on our way.

    I always assumed that the consultants got commission on that stuff. My friend said that she didn’t want any fine china and when she got home found that the consultant had registered some expensive Lenox that my friend had no interest in. We figured that she worked on commission. I guess she was just trying to fluff her numbers instead.

  • Rachel

    This is a great post. Our family and friends were chomping at the bit to help us build our new home together so we decided to register for gifts but, we ended up at one point with six registries at six different stores. Yikes! It wasn’t on purpose, we were just trying to figure out what we liked, what made sense, and what we needed. My husband is a chef and we own a small specialty food business so it made it that much harder. We deleted three of the registries immediately and stuck to our guns when the “really sweet but trying to hit their numbers” bridal consultants kept trying to get us to register for more. We kept the following rules close to heart:

    1) Is it something that needs to be replaced but we just can’t afford it?
    2) Is it something that we will use in the next six months?
    3) Would it fit into our guests budgets? We didn’t want anyone breaking the bank for us.
    4) Would you jump up and down and do the chicken dance if you received this in the mail? (i.e. pressue cooker – yes my husband did this when he received it)

    We did register at BBB but they kept calling afterwards saying our registry was awfully small and wouldn’t we like to add more?? HELLO! We have two other registries, we are just fine, thank you. When they called for the third time I finally told them that unless they were willing to pay for a storage unit to store all of this unneeded extra stuff then no we would be registering for anything else.

    • Fawmo

      The chicken dance litmus test seems like a great pillar for ANY purchase?

      Coral skinny cords? Chicken dance. Sold.
      Slightly ill-fitting but on sale pencil skirt? No chicken dance. Pass.

  • Haha, I was so terrified by the horror stories of dealing with registry salespeople that I ended up doing the BBB portion of the registry in the most roundabout way possible. I’d get online, pick out stuff I liked, then write down the numbers/descriptions of these things, go into the store to actually touch/look at them and narrow it down (when there are a bazillion choices for plates, you’d better believe I want to handle them a little before choosing one), THEN write down those names/numbers as well as other things I’d discovered in the store, go back online and officially register for them.

    I feel a little embarrassed admitting that.

    It did sometimes cause untold headaches when items would mysteriously stop existing between the various steps of this process, and we only ended up with a couple dozen things spread out over like 4 stores in the end. But even the small registry was helpful for guests who would’ve had no idea what to get otherwise. And I just really, really… don’t like dealing with pushy salespeople.

  • Has anyone else done a nonprofit registry? We registered at Crate & Barrel (they were super helpful and wonderful to us, plus we went to the party and had lots of free mimosa & pastries) but also added a note on our wedding website that we’d be honored to have guests donate to a specific nonprofit that we are very involved with in honor of our wedding. We just told the nonprofit to let us know when they received those donations so that we could send thank you cards appropriately, and it worked out really well. Some guests gave small gifts plus made small donations, and some just did one or the other. I’d highly recommend it if you are personally connected with a nonprofit that you care about.

    • Rhubarb

      I have tons of friends who’ve done nonprofit registries, including one couple who did only a nonprofit registry. (They were moving abroad and just did not need any physical objects.) There’s also the I Do Foundation, which I mentioned above, and which works with Crate & Barrel.

  • Karen

    Many many years ago, from a previous relationship in which I had a civil union, we registered at Dillard’s. The sales lady was a little squeamish dealing with a two-bride couple but they didn’t exactly say no. They give you a book that is very gender specific, which I could tolerate. But then, AFTER they must have clearly seen two female names, they were sending us feedback notices and updates with opposite gender (bride and groom) stuff that made me crazy! I was furious that while they’re willing to accept same-gender couples on their registry, they’re not willing to look at the wording on the follow up cards, books, etc. Is that so difficult???

    • Darcy

      This! I was very surprised by the corporate magazine the Bay sent us for months after we registered. I figured with Canada being all cool with gay marriage they would have at least one picture reflecting this reality. I flipped through looking at the couples and was sadly disappointed. The vast majority were Caucasian couples and about a quarter were bi-racial couples where one of the pair were Caucasian. Not a single image of a gay couple! Do they not need waffle makers too?

  • This is why I’m scared of making a registry, exactly.

    Also, I kind of wonder now how consultants would handle people with small weddings – is it even worth their time to help someone with a couple dozen guests?

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Also, what about flubbing the number of guests or just saying “We haven’t completed the guest list yet” to avoid the double-the-guest-list pressure?

  • Alyssa

    Mostly off-topic, but I have to share: We registered at BBB also, but since my husband’s family has lived in his small town for about 50 years, we were told we HAD to register at the local pharmacy. And by register, they meant you go in and in lieu of registering online or with a gun, you just go through and pick things that you like. You also submit a photo of you and your partner and as your date approaches, you get a table full of all the things you’ve registered for. That way people can just walk in, coo at your picture and then pick things off the table and pay for them. It was so fun and WAY better than walking around with that gun and being tempted to brain my fiance with it. (We were stressed.)

    Granted, the selection was limited (but still nice) but we had friends of the family show up who were just there to pick up a prescription and then ended up showing us why the Oxo containers were better than the cheaper ones we picked and exclaimed over our taste and how much my fiance had grown and how pretty I was…it was like being in a Hallmark movie.

    I wouldn’t take that experience for a million Sham-wows. (Maybe for my Keurig. I can’t tell you how much I love that thing….)

    • Michelle

      I also registered at my hometown place… the hardware store. Seems odd, but they also have candles and kitchen ware. It’s a small town and the nearest mall is an hour and a half away. So at my shower with all of the ladies from my home church, I actually got quite a bit from that little registry. It felt good to support a small local business that way.

  • Our registry lady was nut-so. I had been trying to get my fiance (now husband) out to BB&B for a while to build our registry. In hindsight, we should have just walked around the store to get ideas and gone online and built it, but whatever. Anyway, we waited FOREVER for her to come over (dude, just give us the gun and let us have at it already!), and then she was just … crazy. We were visiting his parents that weekend, and she recognized the last name. I guess she used to babysit his brother’s wife and her siblings way-back-when.

    Anyway, she liked us a lot less when I cut her off at the pass regarding china (we have no room for it), cutlery, and pots and pans (which we already have nice ones of both). She tried to come over and “help” a few times, but we dodged her.

    After we finished, we still had complaints from family and friends, wanting us to register for All The Things. My mother, however, intervened on our behalf and explained that, yes, the step-stool is a boring gift, but practical as I am only 5’2″, and we need that more than china and picture frames. (For example.)

  • Thanks for sharing. Registering was a super complicated thing when I was getting married, this sounds like it makes it even more daunting for a new bride.

  • Christy

    We registered at Bloomingdale’s and Crate & Barrel and fortunately didn’t feel pressured at either store. We were quite purposeful in developing a list of what we needed ahead of time and then scoped out a few stores to see which ones had the most things we liked. This helped us avoid wasting time registering at a store that when push came to shove we only liked one or two things at that couldn’t be found elsewhere.

    Since we live in a one bedroom apartment our strategy was to only register for those things that we would use within a year of getting them. This meant that I decided to forego the traditional Kitchenaide stand mixer (in spite of all the pretty colors) since we don’t really have a great spot for one. That said since my husband moved into the apartment that I had been living in on my own previously it was nice to have some new things to make the place feel like “ours” rather than “mine.” As we use each item we really enjoy thinking about the people who gave them to us. It’s not just and immersion blender, it’s the immersion blender from my dear friend XXXXXX.

    Now that I’ve gone through the registering process I am far more inclined to buy from registries, as I understand how much time and effort goes into creating them. That said for couples who don’t register or who have nothing left to buy off their registry I like to get a gift certificate for a night out at a really nice local restaurant wherever they live. The gift of a date night to a newly married couple that may be just starting out or at the very least just got done paying for a wedding is always greatly appreciated.

  • Jessica

    We actually had three registries, mostly cause we got free stuff when we registered at Macy’s and Williams-Sonoma, but we also had a BBB registry. For shower gifts, it was really nice to have registries- most of our shower gifts were either off any one of the registries or something basically the same, just off brand. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t gone so overboard (we only received maybe 1/10th of what we registered for- for wedding gifts we mostly got money) and had used my brain a little more. It was pretty much a certainty that my grandma was going to get us a Kitchenaid mixer- I didn’t need to register for it. And did I need to register for more china (my grandma gifted me her mother’s set)?

    Registries and china don’t have to be bad though. I can’t wait to use our china in a nice dinner- my parents are coming up the Sunday after Thanksgiving to see us and have Sunday dinner with us, and I’m already planning the mix of classic and new china settings.

  • We registered at BBB and it was ridic. The consultant told me to register for items amounting to the number of guests x 2. Your post was so reminiscent of the lady it is scary. All I wanted was to add 1 set of sheets to my online registry. Stop pressuring me with casserole dishes and luggage! I don’t want crystal! I left in a tizzy.

  • lolo7835

    We registered at C&B, William Sonoma, and REI.

    I can’t tell you the number of my parents friends and in-laws friends that were horrifed that our REI registry was larger than the rest. But we had destroyed our camping gear on a month long camping/road trip (mostly second hand things from friends or target), and it was what we needed. Not china as between grandparents and parents we have 9 sets to choose from. Not silverware as I inherited a set from my grandmother. Not glasses as we bought our own after living together for 3 years. My mother swore up and down no one would buy anything off it.

    But my friends know me-it was the first one to clear.

  • We couldn’t decide on the registry thing… We’ve lived in our own places for a combined 2 decades and we needed nothing so we thought a cash or travel registry but that’s so controversial so ultimately we just couldn’t decide what to do so we did nothing. Everyone, much to our surprise, gave us cash and it ended up paying for our reception in full. Go figure.

  • We registered in-store at C+B, which was fun and enjoyable. I knew from past experiences just buying off others’ registries at BB+B that the consultants wouldnotleavemealone, so that one was all on-line (and was for more basics/functional stuff compared to pretty things and plates/flatware, which I wanted to see in person to pick out).

  • Jamie

    this post totally confirms all my suspicions and is the reason i was so scared away from the registry process, not to mention the fact that we had all the ‘stuff’ we needed. the only site that reaffirmed my feeling that NOT EVERYONE in the wedding industry wants to rip you offer were the kind folks at it’s a cash gift registry. it let us customize our gift list exactly as we wanted it, for things we actually needed. it was perfect. and what made it so great, besides being simple to use, was frankly the customer service. i’ve never been treated so nice, wedding or not: quick responses, help with setup, total guidance when i was freaking out about not being the typical bride and just wanting to create something that felt like ‘us.’ in the end, we had a registry that represented our taste and needs, got us what we wanted and let our guests still have a registry to work from. we registered for furniture, stuff on etsy and honeymoon excursions. you just break up the big ticket items into parts, kind of like a group-gift thing. it works great and i felt really taken care of.

  • I have only one thing to add, about my registry on Amazon. I love Amazon mostly, and mostly for the registry they were great.

    The one thing I absolutely hated? Despite the fact that I very carefully added only items that were listed as sold by Amazon, LLC instead of a third party seller, they will always (they think helpfully) list the lowest price version of the item you registered for. Even if it is from a third party seller with higher shipping costs and without the awesome Amazon customer service. Even if the istem is a lower price BECAUSE IT IS USED CHINA INSTEAD OF NEW CHINA. I did NOT want used china! There was no way to override the setting. My poor grandma called me in utter confusion about why I would have registered for used china, and at that point I switched it (the china) over to Macy’s where it was constantly “on sale” for the same price as Amazon and BedBath.

    Phew. Glad I got that out of my system. But for everything else, Amazon was fine.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I think it’s fine not to want used china, but I inherited most of a set from my great-grandmother when my grandmother passed away in 2000. I’ve registered at to fill in the set’s broken pieces. My mother is excited about it, which I was glad about because there was a bit of drama (the WASPy passive-aggressive kind) when I inherited the china rather than my aunt-by-marriage.

      A few more notes: 1) The registry feature for was hard to find. Someone on thekn*t pointed it out to me, so thekn*t not always evil (of course). 2) What is it with waiting to give heirloom china as a wedding gift? why not a graduation gift? Granted I couldn’t really use great-grandma’s china in 2000. I was still a teenager. But once I finished school and got my own place, I started using it every day. Sure it’s strange to only have “good china,” but I don’t have room for 2 sets.

  • Carrie

    Hahaha. When we registered at BB&B, we sat down with the consultant, he handed us the gun and showed us how to use it, then told us to go do our thing and come back when we were done. He was clearly not interested in walking around with us telling us what to register for.

    And that was fine with me. I am always overwhelmed in that store anyway — it’s like CRAZY VISUAL NOISE EVERYWHERE!!! — so a pushy salesperson might have caused me to snap. I don’t know if that store just doesn’t have bridal registry consultants and we were just dealing with a regular employee, or what. But he was clearly not concerned about his numbers.

    We actually did most of our BB&B registering on their website, which was nice because we could look at things, think them over, and talk about them at our leisure. We only went to the store to look at a few things in person, because the website didn’t provide quite enough detail. We could theoretically have done all of our registry online.

    We did not register for fine china, silver, or crystal. Or luggage. The economy has hit a lot of our friends and family hard, and we felt like registering for a bunch of expensive luxury goods would be inappropriate, knowing that most of our guests couldn’t afford those items but would still most likely want to give a wedding present. Also, we simply do not have the space to store 24 place settings of china and crystal goblets and silver tea sets that we might use once a year.

    We mainly registered for affordable, decent-quality things we would use often — and we do use them all constantly. Here’s how I thought about it. You know how, when you write a thank you note, it’s generally good to add a line about how you’re going to use the item? I registered for things I could honestly write that line about.

    We picked BB&B because they carry the kind of things we were thinking of in the price range we wanted, because they’re a national chain with online ordering (convenient for out of town guests), and because their return policy is good (though we didn’t end up returning anything).

  • Jen

    So, I too was a registry consultant. I have to say, it was by far one of the most exhilarating jobs I’ve ever had. Fortunately, the area in which I worked is high-end and traditional and the GUESTS would complain when the couple hadn’t selected a sterling set. But our numbers did factor into our job performance. I was lucky to be on a team that was Couple orientated more than Sales orientated.

    You weren’t considered a Full Consultant until after a year. Because we had to meet all the vendors, work the floor in all the departments to know the merchandise and know the policies and systems for the whole store. And even after that, we still would need to keep abreast on wedding trends.

    In that job, I tracked back-ordered orders for a full 10 months to make sure that the gift was delivered; researched dishware that a bride had seen online, and when discovered that I wouldn’t be able to have it in our store before her wedding, I sent her to a competitor after confirming that they did in fact carry it (she asked if she could take me with her), I kept in contact with my couples and built relationships. I hand-held, backed off, and mediated as needed or indicated by my couple.

    Now, I have to admit that a lot of this occurred because of my Lead Consultant, who was always pushing us to do better FOR our couples. Her motto “Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Right”. Not all Registry teams were like that, though. Unfortunately, my store went through restructuring and I was laid off.

    But I loved my job and being able to be part of those couples’ event.

  • I am from the wedding registry business and I will definitely tell our brides-to-be on how to make a good wedding registry.

  • EKS

    I’m having trouble saying my guests have to buy from certain stores. Is there somewhere online where you can make a list of all the products you want, and then when people buy them they check them off (kind of like a doodle list, but for weddings)? I realize some people might buy things and not check off the list, and this could lead to doubles, but for some reason it rubs me the wrong way to have everyone buying from a certain store. This is in part because I’m a bargain hunter, and always shop around before I buy something, and I know my friends and family are similar in their shopping tendencies. Any suggestions?

  • Jen

    Wow. This explains so much! We just did started our registry last weekend and everything you wrote is reflected in how we were treated. My honey and I are in our 30s, so we have most everything we need but were registering for odds and ends to fill in the gaps (Attachments for our KitchenAid, specialty pans, chafing dishes, etc.) and don’t like the any of the BB&B dishes or stemware, so we’re getting those elsewhere. We could tell the consultant was NOT happy with us.

  • Emily

    I also worked at BBB and this is all so true! I was so excited to help couples shop, but the numbers always got in the way. I wish management would take notice. They are already #1 in registries.
    Also, I’ve been wanted to start a blog about this. My name is Emily, too! How weird.

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