Weddings

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How to build a wedding registry

Many once-popular wedding traditions have fallen by the wayside. But one wedding tradition that has withstood the test of time is the wedding registry. Couples about to tie the knot still build a wedding registry so their guests know what to buy them as wedding gifts. This saves guests the trouble of agonizing over what to buy the couple getting hitched and also ensures that couples won't receive two or more of the same item.

Building a registry can be fun, as couples can act like kids in a candy store and add items they might otherwise not be able to afford. But there is a method to building a registry that can ensure the process of giving and receiving gifts is comfortable and convenient for everyone involved.

• Choose a national chain. Many stores will allow couples to establish a registry, but it behooves couples to choose a national chain or chains for their registry. A local boutique store might sell several items you would love to have, but that store may only be accessible to guests who live nearby, and such stores may be more expensive than larger national chains that can afford to charge less for similar products. Choosing a national chain ensures all of your guests will be able to access and purchase a gift from your registry, and make those purchases without breaking the bank.

• Choose a store with an online presence. When choosing a store for your registry, it also helps to choose a store with an online presence that's user-friendly. Ideally, pick an online retailer you have already had positive experiences with. This not only will make it easier for your guests, but also for you should you decide to return items down the road.

• Choose more than one store. You also want to choose more than one store when building a registry. Some guests will prefer to shop in-store rather than online, so you want to give them some options so they don't have to drive far and wide to find the lone brick and mortar store for your registry.

• Visit the stores and do your homework. Though some stores allow you to develop a registry entirely online, it still helps for couples to visit the store together and build their registries in the more traditional way. Visiting a store as opposed to browsing the store website allows you to touch and feel products, which can give you a more accurate idea of their quality. In addition to seeing the products in person, read online reviews of products before putting them on your registry so you can ensure you're getting quality items.

• Choose items that vary in price. Many couples are sheepish about putting expensive items on their registries. That's not surprising, as the cost of attending a wedding, especially one that features lots of out-of-town guests, can be substantial. But some guests, such as the bride and groom's parents and siblings, may want to give a more high-end gift, so don't be afraid to include items in a range of prices, from the inexpensive to the more costly, on your registry.

• Don't abandon the registry after your big day. You won't end up getting everything you include on your registry, but that doesn't mean you should just forget about those items that never made their way into your home. Many retailers offer couples significant discounts on items from their registries that were never purchased, and those discounts may extend for as long as a year after the big day. Revisit your registry after the wedding to see if you can find great deals on those items you never received, and continue to do so until the registry expires.

Building a registry can be a fun activity for couples about to tie the knot. But there are some guidelines to follow to make the process go smoothly for guests and couples alike.