Now that you’ve got that shiny new ring, it’s time to get some shiny things for your new home together, right? Well, before you pull out the scanner and start shooting a million different barcodes for your wedding registry, it’s important to take a step back and come up with a strategy, says Jung Lee, event designer and owner of Jung Lee NY, a concept store that features a curated selection of luxury home and entertaining items.
TODAY.com talked with Lee and her husband Josh Brooks, co-founders of Fête, an event planning and design production firm based in New York City, to find out what couples should be doing — and not doing — when it comes to their registries. See below for their tips!
1. Do survey your inventory.
First thing’s first: When you’re combining your things and planning on adding to that, it’s important to edit as much as you can, otherwise you’re going to have a lot of clutter as you start your new life together (and who wants that?).
“Get rid of the junk that doesn’t mean anything to you,” Lee says. For example, she gave away all of her chipped bowls and mugs so that she could add new beautiful ones to their collection. “Start building your new life together with things you both love.”
2. Do make a list of what you need.
Now that you’ve de-cluttered, see what’s missing. Brooks suggests looking at your lifestyle to anticipate what you’ll need.
“How do you live your life?” he asks. Do you cook together? If so, you’ll want to stock your kitchen with good tools and pots. Do you enjoy having cocktails together? Nice glasses and bar tools should be on your list. Alternatively, if you get delivery most nights, you’re not going to need a full range of professional cooking equipment. And if you don’t drink at home, don’t waste your registry by adding cocktail glasses to it.
“Only get stuff you’re really going to use,” Lee says. “As a gift giver, we all want to give something special,” she adds. And that’s up to you to make sure it will be.
3. Do find your couple style.
The chance of you and your betrothed having the same exact taste in home decor is pretty slim, but that’s what makes blending your lives together so exciting, albeit a bit challenging.
“Figure out your own style first,” says Lee, adding that it’s not easy because most people haven’t really thought about it. Brooks suggests going online and choosing things you like and don’t like. “Things are usually categorized by style online,” he says. You’ll most likely find yourself gravitating towards a certain style. Then, once you both know what you like, you’ll be able to mix and match items to your tastes. Just like you’re two different personalities in your relationship, your home will soon reflect that as well — and that’s a good thing!
4. Don’t put too many items on your registry.
One of the biggest mistakes couples make is putting anything and everything on their registry because they think they’re supposed to, say Lee and Brooks. Even if you think you’re doing the right thing by giving your friends and family options, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
“Get things that are going to last longer,” Brooks suggests. “You can get the blender anytime. Your wedding is a special time to get special pieces.”
It may mean getting fewer items, but it’s going to be things you’ll love and cherish for years to come. Brooks also adds that many guests love to participate in group gifting where they pay for a percentage of a big ticket item, so keep that in mind. “It’s no different than honeymoon funds,” he says.
5. Don’t buy one-off pieces.
When you’re starting a new home together, it’s easy to get excited about decorating it. You may fall in love with a piece of furniture and want to buy it immediately, but Lee and Brooks warn against that.
“A big mistake people make is they go out and buy a couch [by itself],” Brooks explains. And while that seems innocent enough, a designer would put things into a cohesive collection, he says. Try and wait to buy your big items together so that you know everything will go together.
6. Do try to incorporate your wedding day into a few items.
Remember that your wedding day is the reason you’re getting to register for all these fun things in the first place. Make sure to add a few pieces to the list that will make your big day even more special. Lee recalls a couple who used their new china at the head table for their reception. Besides getting beautiful detailed photographs from it, “it’s that much more memorable,” she says. She also suggests getting a beautiful picture frame with engraving to remember the day you got married.
7. Don’t stress too much over the registry.
“The unfortunate thing about the registry is that it’s done in the midst of wedding planning,” Lee says. What’s supposed to be an amazing opportunity to outfit your new home together with things you’ll need often turns into a last-minute scanning session that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. She jokes that many couples have experienced “registers remorse” after the wedding, so try not to fall into that category.
The bottom line is that registering can be an extremely important part of your wedding planning experience — and just like all the other aspects of it, going into it with a clear strategy will help ease the stress.