08/28/2012 05:12 EDT | Updated 10/28/2012 05:12 EDT

Five Things You Should Know Before Setting Up Your Wedding Registry


Weddings are funny things. They're riddled with etiquette dos and don'ts, complex social dynamics, and conflict between family members as you go through the wedding planning process. One of the areas where there seems to be the most confusion is your wedding registry.

Why? It's partially a generational thing. For example, cash wedding registries are trending among today's brides and grooms. And most people in their 20s and 30s have no problem with this. But when speaking with an older generation, you often hear the opinion that asking for and giving cash is taboo.

To help you avoid some common wedding registry pitfalls and get what you really want from your registry, here are five things you need to consider before you start:

1. Don't Register With Your Mom

When it comes to your wedding registry, it's a team effort. By team, I mean you and the person you're going to marry. Your mother is undoubtedly well intentioned, but she's not the person you will be living with. Use your wedding registry as an opportunity to take stock of what you have and decide what you want and need moving forward.

2. Stop! Put down the scanner and walk away slowly...

The first place that comes to mind when people think "wedding registry" is often a big box store. However, one of the most frequent comments I hear is "we're already living together and don't need most of that stuff" -- sound familiar? You're not alone. About 60-70 per cent of couples are already living together before marriage.

Rather then following suit with what your sister, cousin or best friend did for her wedding, evaluate your options. You might be surprised by the creative alternatives available beyond the big box stores. From mobile apps, to online wedding registries you can ask for what you really want and need to build your future together.

3. Your Wedding Guests Will Judge You

Perhaps the word judge is a little harsh, but be certain that everyone will have an opinion -- good or bad -- about the gifts you have included on your registry. So how do you avoid the bad? Make sure your registry has something that everyone can afford and will enjoy buying. For example, if everything on your registry is over $500, you'll have many unhappy guests.

4. Even if you register, people will still give you random gifts

The purpose of a registry is to tell people what you need to start your lives together. Even the original concept of a modern wedding registry established in 1924 by Marshal Fields, was to help wedding guests choose gifts. Unfortunately, not everyone sticks to the registry, even though couples prefer it. Why? We're all egocentric gift givers. We want to give something that the couple will love, but that is also reflective of whom we are, giving a gift a that we love -- not always considering whether or not the recipient will enjoy it.

So, how do you increase the chance that people will buy from your registry? Read on!

5. Create A Wedding Registry Your Guests Will Love

First, make sure your registry is easy to use and accessible. For example, if many of your guests are travelling for the wedding, registering at a local boutique shop might not be ideal. Convenience is a big factor here. Second, tell your story through your registry. It's more then just a gift list; it's an expression of how you plan to live your lives. Share that with your friends and family. Third, vary your price points to make sure there is something for everyone. Lastly, update it regularly. There is nothing worse then trying to find something that you feel good about giving on a picked through registry. Who wants to be that person who gives a set of tea towels and one steak knife?

And remember, creating your registry should be fun. You get to sit down with your partner, dream about your future and choose the gifts you need to make it happen. Does it get much better then that? Happy registering!