To those recently engaged guys out there, I offer my congratulations. You might think your work is over, but actually it has just begun. One of the first tasks your bride-to-be will approach you with is registering for gifts. Resist this and you're immediately labeled selfish and not interested in "Us." There are many pressures you will face in the engagement process, from dealing with guests lists, family members, you and your fiancées emotions, finding a wedding site, financial strains, etc. The last thing you want on the stress list is the gift registry and a wedding website
My fiancé made the point that registering is an activity where the groom and bride make choices together. Basically, the registry is a chance for you to have control over what gifts you receive - or else you�re likely to get twenty identical picture frames from your guests. Registering is one of the first things on your "to do list" because it allows guests purchasing time. Couples typically register six to nine months prior to the wedding day, and if you register with a store that's nationwide, friends and family from around the country can access your gift list at a store in their area. Be sensitive to price. Most guests will spend anywhere from fifty to hundred dollars, and for higher priced items, find out if the registry allows guests to put a deposit towards the gift.
What is the best day to register? For me, it was Super Bowl Sunday. As a diehard football fan, it certainly wast my first choice. My fiancée picked Super Sunday to register because the mall was close to our friends house where we were going to a Super Bowl party. Reluctantly, I agreed, as long as it was in the morning. As you can imagine, the mall was dead as everyone in America seemed to be home getting ready for the big game. This actually worked in our favor, since my fiancée and I could get a lot done in a short amount of time.
We started at Flatware and Dinnerware, previously known to me as forks, knives, plates and cups. Everything from informal to formal dinner plates, soup spoons, steak knives, salad forks (I still don�t know why we need an extra fork for salad?), tea cups, saucers, serving trays, and, well, you get the picture. All the while, I was wondering when we would be using my chipped plates from college? My recommendation is to let your fiancée pick out a few styles and then you can decide which one you like the most. By the time you get to your fifth choice, make a definitive decision on what you want - or else be prepared to suffer through an endless array of choices that will confuse and frustrate the both of you. You want to move quickly, because you have a lot of ground to cover.
Next, it was on to Stemware and Glassware otherwise know as glasses. Sure, you might never have envisioned yourself holding a crystal champagne flute instead of a football on Super Sunday, but you have to rise to the occasion just like Namath did against the Colts. Be assured that there�s something here for you, especially if you enjoy having a frosty brew. Suggest looking at beer and wine glasses and imagine what it would be like to toast the opening kick-off during next year�s Super Bowl. This kind of proactive approach will impress your fiancé and generate important momentum for you - remember my goal was to run an efficient game plan in order to get through the registry and on to the game at hand, the Super Bowl!
Then we moved over to Cookware (a.k.a. - pots & pans). good to "take yourself out of the game for a play" and observe how other guys are fairing while registering with their fiancées � especially those who probably have no game plan and feel a bit overwhelmed. Take a lesson from these chaps on what not to do and don�t let them discourage you! The first guy I saw looked like he just lost his best friend, as he followed his fiancé�e around, holding a shopping bag full of bridal stuff and a gift scanner in his hand. I asked him, "How�s it going?" and he replied "mind numbing." Yikes! He was in bad shape.
Well, I was determined not to let that happen to me. Showing even more initiative, I suggested to my bride that I take the scanner and let her lead the way. Now we had chemistry. We powered through various coffee makers, can openers, blenders, food processors and toasters, like a John Elway 2-minute drill. I took some interest in the pots and pans, imagining how my cheese and ham omelets would taste without choking on flecks of Teflon pieces from my old bachelor cookware.
We kept up a brisk pace as my fiancée pointed bar codes for me to scan from various juicers, waffle irons and bath towels. While cruising through Linens, I spotted another tribesman and this guy was actually into it, as he enthusiastically scanned in style numbers of bed sheets, feeling for the best quality. I was shocked. He certainly didn'tt look numb like the last guy. I looked to my right and there was another guy by himself registering for comforters. Doesn't�t anybody want to watch football today? Lo and behold, groom number one went over to groom number two and they embraced each other, kissed on the lips and went on to the table linens. Who knew?
Finally, it was time to visit home electronics�Yes! TVs, VCRs, Cameras, Cordless Phones, Stereo Systems. I felt like I was 7 years old again, standing in the doorway of the world�s largest toy store. My advice, take charge here, this is your chance to get some things you really want. A big screen, stereo television set? A 200-watt Dolby Pro Logic Receiver? Speakers big enough to simulate the roar of the crowd at Arrowhead stadium? What the heck, ask for it all. Your fiancé�e might have some eccentric, rich uncle who decides to buy it for you.
Need some more pointers? Here are some key questions to ask the registry representative that are sure to impress your other half:
� Is the gift registry computerized?
� Do they circulate choices to all branches of their stores?
� Do they update selection as items are purchased? (You don�t want duplicates)
� What is their policy regarding returns?
So there you have it. We wrapped up everything in less than an hour and a half and we were at the Super Bowl party in time for the pre-game show. Next year, you will have enough glassware, chip & dip bowls and possibly that new large screen TV to host your own Super Bowl party. Get in the game when it comes to registering and reap the rewards.
John Davis works for a commercial real estate firm in San Diego, CA. His favorite team is the Kansas City Chiefs and his favorite wedding gift is an ice-cream maker. Who knew?
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