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You know those cute couples in romantic comedies that head to a home store together and start clicking away, registering for a bunch of things with no plan in mind? Yeah, don't be like them, unless you want to wind up pouting post-wedding about all the useless clutter that's piled up in your place over the past few months. For a wedding registry with absolutely no regrets, we asked professional event designer and lifestyle expert Jung Lee to share her insider secrets.
1. Register together
After all, your registry should be a shared vision, right? It should honor your combined tastes and lifestyle as a couple, and it should be a joy to put together, says Lee. "Too many people see registering as a chore to rush through." If you're having a tough time getting your future hubby on board, try peeking his interest by letting him pick out a few gifts, like that fancy poker set and whiskey glasses, he's been eyeing, first.
2. Start early and often
Because someone's probably going to throw you an engagement party, and people will show up with gifts, warns Lee. You don't want to get stuck with a well-intentioned vase you'll never use, which is exactly why she recommends starting early and adding to your registry often, especially after events, to make sure it isn't depleted.
3. Don't stick to traditions
Turns out, one registry does not fit all. Instead, really think about who you are as a couple and what your needs are, advises Lee. "If that means not getting the gravy boat, by all means don't get the gravy boat!" Checklists are great when used as a rough guide or to get the wheels turning, but you should never, ever feel obligated to fulfill them.
4. Have fun, but do take it seriously
Your registry should cause so much delight; you get to play! But it's also an investment, reminds Lee. "Think of it this way: If 150 wedding invites equals roughly 125 gifts, and if each couple spends $100 per gift, that's a $12,500 investment in your future together. That's big! And you should treat it as such."
5. Embrace the group gift
According to Lee, it's not just a trend anymore; it's a thing! A thing you should most definitely embrace, she says. "Now that guests can pool for bigger ticket items, you're free to register for that bar cart or brand new headboard if you love it."
6. Walk through your daily routine for ideas
Then seek meaningful pieces that will enhance those everyday moments, Lee suggests. "For example, if you cherish your morning coffee, take time to find the perfect mugs or cups and saucers that will elevate that everyday experience into something extraordinary."
7. Focus on quality over quantity
A well-done registry leaves you five, ten, fifteen years down the road with a collection of pieces you're proud of, points out Lee. Pick a few things you'd consider passing down as heirlooms. And remember: If you choose high-quality pieces, they will last." In fact, the more you use them, the more valuable they become, as long as you take good care of them, that is.
8. Let the past inspire, not define, you
If you're lucky enough to have inherited china and the whole set doesn't speak to who you are as a couple, find a way to integrate it into a new set that does, offers Lee. Bring an accent piece into the store and shop around with it in hand. "I always say that if you mix and match well, then one plus one should equal three."