Building a wedding registry is supposed to be one of the “fun” parts of wedding planning, like tiaras and cake toppers and why shouldn’t it be? Selecting the items that build a cohesive home is exciting, especially when you get to wander a department store, completely unsupervised, wielding the power of an industrial barcode scanner. There are a few things I wish I was better prepared for when I built my own registry, however, and I’m here now to impart that wisdom to you:


1. The Time Commitment
I popped into Bed, Bath, and Beyond with my fiancé, while my car was getting its oil changed just to entertain the idea of starting a registry there. We ended up staying for so long that we had to designate a lunch break to give our whirling minds a rest. We’d browsed BB&B’s website a little beforehand and thought that we only really wanted a stand mixer and some real measuring cups (instead of eyeballing the hand-etched measurements on the inside of a plastic bowl), but a grand tour of the store was peppered with realizations like, “Well, our bed sheets are pretty ratty” and “We should probably graduate to bath towels that don’t have cartoon characters on them.” It was a long day.

The same will probably be true for many couples just starting to build a home together. Stores with entire departments dedicated to wedding registries, like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, will also have employees who will lead you from department to department, making suggestions and handing you brochures. It’s a time-consuming venture.

One suggestion I have for managing the time commitment? Come with an aesthetic/color scheme/theme/pattern for your future (or current) home in mind. We didn’t have one, and the hemming and hawing over differences in style ate up a lot of our day. Because we live in a tiny apartment with no aesthetic direction now, I thought that coming in with a “color palette” in mind was ridiculous. We ended up figuring out what we liked, but only after we’d made our way through half of the store.


2. The Online Reviews
One of the frustrating things about registering in-store is the lack of knowledge we had about each individual item. When we make a purchase for our home, it’s usually informed. We spent time looking up reviews online and shopping around. When everything that you register for has to come from one or two places (any more and you start to make life harder for your guests), and you’re largely uninformed about what it is you should be noting. Registering can get frustrating. How am I supposed to know what to look for in a good non-stick turkey pan when I encounter one?

We wasted a lot of time worrying for no reason. I thought I was going to have to sift through our registry and Google each item individually to find reviews, but I found that our online registry info (at least at BB&B) links right up to the Amazon reviews. I suggest that any couple looking to build a registry goes online after making the first grand sweep of the store. If something you scanned isn’t up to par when faced with the harsh judgment of the internet, strike it from the world. It’s way less of a pain to swap out a few unsightly items online than to pull out your iPhone every few minutes in-store to make sure you’re selecting the right knife block. And by the way, it turns out I know nothing about turkey pans. Thanks, Amazon reviews!


3. The Uncomfortable Terminology
Here’s something I wasn’t expecting: I really hate being referred to as “the bride.” The sales associate assigned to follow us around the store would not stop referring to me as “the/my bride,” and it drove me absolutely nuts. He introduced me to every passing floor salesperson and assistant manager that way, and it happened frequently enough that I complained to Facebook about it later. It was really that bad. It bothered me for two reasons: I had told him my name at the beginning of our journey, and it was written down on the clipboard he had under his arm, and my fiancé was there with me. By referring to me as “his bride” and introducing me (and only me) to the other employees that way, I felt as if he was ignoring my fiancé entirely.

Now, the lesson here isn’t that no bride or groom should be referred to with their traditional title or that the person helping us was wrong to do so, it was that I didn’t say anything. I made my registry experience less fun by not asking him to refer to my fiancé and I as a unit.

So, the advice here is to be straightforward with whoever is helping you to build your registry – be it a salesperson or your maid of honor or your mother. Don’t be pushed into registering for things you don’t need and don’t sit and stew in anger over terminology that rubs you the wrong way. Registering should be fun and being straightforward about your needs and preferences will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone!