Wedding Registry Tips

Summer is here, and with it Wedding Season. My sister’s getting married, and a flock of couples on my Facebook feed have just gotten engaged! I decided to draw on my knowledge and experience of registering and helping others register to share a few tips.

In-store vs. online

I always, always, always, recommend registering in-store first. It’s hard to know what a product is really like until you see it in person. Take the time to hold the flatware in your hand, hold up the towels with an accent color–picture how these items will be in real life. Feel the bedding and make sure it’s soft enough–or does it seem cheap? There’s nothing worse than receiving a registry item that falls apart less than six months later. What a waste of your time and your friends’ money! That said, it’s very convenient to add more items online as those you registered for get discontinued or if the date approaches and many items have already been purchased, especially if you have seen the items in-person ahead of time.

Wedding Registry Tips

Items: 1, 2, 3

Fill the Home

If you’ve lived on your own for a while, there is a good chance you have enough “stuff” to fill up a house. Use this opportunity to fill in the gaps–to replace the ratty towels you used for 4 years in college, or the toaster that still technically works, but you suspect will cause an electrical fire any day now, for example. Register for a few nicer pieces of cookware, to replace the $5 skillet you got from IKEA a while ago. If you’re just starting out, this is a good time to get the basics. Registering at somewhere like Target is great for someone who needs everything, just know that many items will wear out much more quickly than their higher-end counterparts, and it will be up to you to replace things. (Example: I am approaching the 3-year mark and have begun replacing the cookware I received from my Target registry, as it is wearing out).

Wedding Registry Tips

Items: 1, 2, 3 

“Forever” items

If you’re getting married at an early age and have a whole home to fill, it’s tempting to register for quantity over quality. However, there are gift-givers who truly want to give you an item that will last forever. Don’t be afraid to include a few “forever” items in your registry… for some people, fine china (around $150 per place setting) is still a priority. For others, a high-end juicer or Vitamix ($650) is something they would use daily as part of a healthy lifestyle. Remember that it’s common for people to pitch in together to get a big-ticket item! Don’t worry about looking greedy–just mix in a few high-end items with a majority of things at an accessible price-point. Remember, this is a big life event and many people want their gift to reflect that.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about registries without feeling greedy or like you’re a part of the Wedding Industrial Complex. I want to remind you that people will attend your wedding and most will feel led to bring a gift. This is because they love you and want to celebrate the milestone with you! Take all “wedding registry must-have” lists with a grain of salt and register for what you will actually use. If you don’t bake much, don’t feel pressured to add a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer just because all the kitchens in magazines have one. Be true to yourself!

Your turn: Anything to add? Leave a comment!


[QUEST] Halloween Wedding Inspiration

Readers, get comfortable. This might be the longest post I’ve ever written (800+ words). I had a lot of fun.
Also, I’ll use this to introduce the QUEST tag. Most of the stuff I do here is focused on me and my house.  Posts marked QUEST will be labors of love I’ve done for a friend or someone who’s asked me what I think about x, y, and z.

I was incredibly flattered when a friend from college contacted me on Facebook and asked for my opinion regarding her wedding. (She said I was the most creative person she knows! This has gotta be impossible and I’m trying not to get a big head.) She has been shipped out to Afghanistan and will be planning from a distance. The themes that inspired her most for a fall wedding were Halloween, masquerade, and fall colors.

With that as my starting point, and the goal of making it fun without venturing into what I call “The Tim Burton Gothic Halloween Black Hole,” I consulted some of the blogs I followed religiously when planning my own “Big Day. ” This has actually been a lot of fun for me. Part of me thinks I’d love to be a wedding or event planner, so I could do this kind of stuff all the time. Then I realize that the kinds of brides that actually pay people to come up with this stuff for them are probably not the kind I want to work with.

Fall Halloween Masquerade Wedding

Click the image for the huge version! All sources at the end of the post.

In this imaginary Fall Halloween Masquerade wedding (see? I worked in all 3 themes) the bride and groom are celebrating outside in the crisp fall air that hasn’t turned cold quite yet. Preferably, at a park or on somebody’s property that has majestic large trees. If there are leaves on the trees, perfect–fall color. If not, perfect–more Halloweeny. A rustic setting and rustic “base layer” for all the decor, colors, accessories, flowers, etc will lend the perfect “old” (which can lend itself towards “creepy”) foundation to keep things from getting too 5th Grade Halloween Party.  And I don’t want to see any bats, unless they’re done right ;)

A vintage-looking ivory wedding dress blends in with the surroundings and isn’t too harsh against the warm colors. Black bridesmaids’ dresses let the fall-colored decorations colors pop without worrying about finding the “perfect” orange, red, or yellow–nothing clashes with black in my book. Plus, if you give the bridesmaids guidelines but let them pick out their own dress, they’ll go home with the perfect LBD that every closet should have in it. Keep them knee-length or a little shorter, preferably, to keep things fun & avoid the event from getting too stuffy. For groomsmen, black is generally the go-to color so that’s easy. Perhaps some of your guys already own a black suit–make life easier on them and let them wear it. Pick various jewel-toned ties (dark orange, dark red, navy blue) to keep from looking too cookie-cutter.

[Author’s note. This is the weak section because I really don’t care about flowers. At my wedding I left it up to the florist]  The flowers feature in-season fall flowers from a warm color scheme. However, somehow purple has worked its way into being a “classic Halloween color” which is fine because rich, dark purple flowers or dark purple leaves would look great in a fall-colored bouquet.

Ceremony Decor
The bride and groom would have preferred black wrought-iron looking chairs or benches (think Haunted Mansion at Disneyland) but who has that?  They opted for natural wood folding chairs over plastic white chairs to keep the muted color pallet going. Along the aisle, each chair has a small pumpkin next to it, with fall leaves (fake ones sewn onto a rope to outsmart the unpredictable Kansas winds) running the length from back to front. Again, due to the wind, programs are not pre-set on the chairs. Ushers hand them out as guests arrive.

Reception Decor
At the reception, as soon as guests enter they encounter two rustic baskets filled with plain black Halloween masks. The bride and groom have a white and black one (respectively) pre-set at their table.  The cake is a rustic-looking apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting, with exposed layers for graphic appeal and to set it apart from a sea of regular wedding cakes. Since the reception’s small in attendance, the bride opted for a 2-layer 8 inch round cake at each table instead of a giant one to feed the crowd. This way, guests can mingle without waiting in a long line for treats. Each place has a small clear bag with pieces of nut brittle in it for a take-home favor. Table decorations incorporate small pumpkins and small flower arrangements but aren’t too tall–this way the guests can see the person across the table from them.


BHLDNTulle Era Dress
The Knot: Ceremony 1, Ceremony 2, Flowers 1, Flowers 2, Bridesmaids Dresses
Bon Appetit: Fuji Apple Spice cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Martha Stewart: Centerpiece, Place Cards, Nut Brittle

If you want, you can check out my ever-evolving pinboard with photos you see here and perhaps some new ones! Plus, sometimes I put my opinions in the description.

The Search is Over

Ever since the wedding, and even before the wedding, I have had my heart set on a multi-opening picture frame for photos of the event. Not the most original idea in the universe, I know, but I thought it would be a more tasteful way to display my pictures than having them in small frames all over the room. So I looked at Kohl’s, Target, and Hobby Lobby (my home-decor resources are limited due to where I live) and couldn’t find the perfect one. Granted, the one I had in mind was more or less exactly what my friend got from Costco in 2008 so the chances of finding the exact same one were limited. BUT!  The search for the perfect multi-window picture frame has come to an end, as I found, ordered, and received one from Crate & Barrel! Here’s the frame…

Here’s what it would look like in my expertly-styled entryway (assuming I had the extra $100 to get two more of them)…

But all joking aside, I really do have a picture of how it turned out with pictures of me and people I know in it instead of strangers and strangers’ pets. And it was a one day job, thanks to Wal-Mart being able to print an 8×10 in-store. Trust me, the only time I’ll endorse Wal-Mart is for the photo lab.

Funny story, about actually getting the frame. You may have noticed me talking about never seeming to connect with the UPS/FedEx guy (due to being at work) and how a few intended packages have slipped away. Like the mystery package from Georgia I never got and don’t know who it’s from. Anyway, yesterday as we were shutting down Amics and I was taking the trash out to the dumpster, I saw the FedEx truck, ran over, and waited till the guy came back. I signed for my package and asked him to please leave it at the door even though I wouldn’t be home. Worked like a charm.

That was a little rabbit trail, wasn’t it? Well, here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Let’s play another round of Watch Staci’s Camera Turn Straight Lines into Bended Lines! I mean, um, a picture of the finished product.

I’m not as into black-and-white as the Crate & Barrel product stylists are. I like to think I’m a little more colorful than that. Not to say that I won’t someday put black and white pics in it. Just not today.