Ready, set, shop! It's time to compile your wedding gift registry - and if you're feeling a little guilty, then it may be helpful to know that this is supposed to be fun. Lots and lots of fun.
Gift registries have undergone a reputation makeover in recent years. Where before it was considered a little self-indulgent to compile a wedding wish-list, it's now a life-saver for your guests. Shopping from a registry ensures that guests are given wedding present ideas, will buy a gift that the bride and groom really want, and helps avoid awkward calls requesting purchase details for refunds or exchanges. Best of all, for the happy couple it means that you'll get a real chance to begin building or restyling your home together. So don't waste your energy feeling guilty about your gift registry! Instead channel it into creating a wedding gift registry that will provide your friends and family with the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to your future together.
Plan to be personal
A lot of couples are concerned their guests will see a bridal registry as a little impersonal. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth! A well-compiled registry offers your guests plenty of choice and allows them to make a selection that's tailored not only for yourselves, but for them as well.
Be sure that your registry includes far more wedding present ideas than there are guests. This way, even the last loved ones to make a selection will still have lots to choose from - and won't feel forced into making a decision they're not comfortable with. You should also make sure that not every single item on the list is lace-embellished and lavender - boys often prefer to give boyish gifts, after all.
Where do you begin? Is it better to go online? Hit a department store or a specialty shop like a kitchenwares or furniture store? The choice is entirely yours. If you want to spruce up your kitchen cupboards or upgrade your hi-fi, the answer seems to be obvioius. The important thing when deciding where to create your registry is that there's a wide range of products your guests can choose and the registry service itself is easy to use.
Online regstries offer guests the option of shopping from anywhere in the world, and because they're designed specifically with brides and grooms in mind, they're bound to provide a hassel-free experience for both the shoppers and the shoppees. If you feel a bit dubious about filling your new home with products you've never actually seen before, many online registries have a showroom where you can browse in the traditional manner and lay your hands on all your future goodies.
Department stores are another fantastic option because your guests will have no trouble finding a branch near them, whether they're based in Perth or Parramatta. But for the couple who know exactly what they want, a specialty store may be the way to go.
The price is right
Your registry should include choices to account for people on any budget. Take care that you select some great gifts in the more modest price-range: this will ensure that even your uni-stident cousins can feel great about the presents they contribute. In these technological times, don't overlook your home entertainment needs, as DVDs, CDs and cybertunes all make great budget gifts. If you're a computer buff, there are loads of gizmos for the home office that are both practical and funky - make sure you have a good look at the gadget section of the store where you create your registry.
Then again, some guests will want to form a syndicate to buy a gift on a grand scale. So if you've had your heart set on a plasma screen, new kitchen or lounge suite, now is the time to pick and choose.
Perhaps you'd like a Wedgewood dinner service or a new plasma screen? A piece of art or a garden shed and the goodies to fill it? Your guests can make contributions to a larger item rather than selecting separate gifts. This is a great way to go for a little luxury without making your guests feel pressured into spending more than they can afford.
Fabulous and flexible
Remember to think outside the square when compiling your wedding gift registry. Think: armchairs in the shape of a giant hand, lava lamps and spice racks fashioned from disused ballpoint pen springs. They'll be a great talking point for years to come and your friends and family will enjoy contributing something truly unique to your new life. Regardless of what you put on the list, be it a new fridge or the world's greatest DVD collection, some people will prefer to choose something different. The point of your gift registry is not to prevent every single instance of off-the-wall Aunty Maude giftology, but to give it pride of place by making it the only set of laquered human-hair salad servers you receive. This year, at least.