December 13, 2007
How to get your favorite things without losing your mind
(Page 2 - Previous Page)And don't plan to get everything in one day, especially at larger stores. It might take two or more trips to a single location. And try not to hit more than one store in the same day. By the time you get to the third store, exhaustion could leave your list with an unwanted cuckoo clock or neon green placemats.
And Now for Something Completely Different
If you are among the couples who really don't need anything except money for a honeymoon, sites like www.honeymoonwishes.com have "honeymoon registries" where guests can sign up to give the couple dinners, spa treatments and even Jet Ski lessons at numerous locations around the world. Cruises Inc. operates honeymoonvoyages.com for cruising couples, which allows guests to give money toward such things as the price of the cabin, tips or shore excursions. The couple also gets a pre-wedding-day album containing the names of all gift givers. But be aware that a 5 percent service fee is added to each gift, and you can only register for free if you book your cruise with the company.
The Center for a New American Dream's Alternative Gift Registry (www.alternativegiftregistry.org) goes one step further, allowing a couple to register for nonmaterial items, recipes and environmentally friendly gifts.
The Web site justgive.org lets the couple select from 1 million charities where guests can donate in lieu of a gift. There are nearly 2,500 charities on the site involved with Israel and more than 8,000 Jewish-related ones, including L.A.-based MAZON, Jewish Family Service, The Jewish Federation, Hillel and Bet Tzedek.
Don't forget to have fun with your registry, and let the store reflect you: outdoor enthusiasts might want to look into R.E.I.; amazon.com's wedding registry lets couples choose from every department -- not just books, music and movies, and with a Target registry, you can get all the plasticware, paper goods and toiletries you could ever want.
Spreading the Word
There are many ways to let your guests know where you are registered: use word of mouth, put it on your wedding Web site or include it with the shower invitations. But adding a registry to a wedding invite is a major etiquette don't. It practically screams: "We're getting married. Buy us something."
Some guests prefer to give -- and many couples prefer to receive -- cash, checks or gift cards. If you are hoping for more money than material goods, let your families know in tactful, diplomatic ways.
Once that first item is on your list, the gifts will begin to arrive. Make sure that wherever you choose to have them sent is a secure place. If no one will be home all day, it might be safer to have the boxes delivered to your office.
If something arrives and it is broken -- or there's an error and you have a duplicate item -- take the gift and gift receipt to the store. Some shops have wonderful return polices: "No receipt? No problem." Others have a strict policy of only giving store credit for a specific department, as long as you've returned the gift within a specified time. Before registering at any store, ask about their return policy. It will save a lot of hassle and headaches in the long run.
Thank You Very Much
It's not fun, but writing thank-you notes is a necessary evil of weddings. People have sent you a present or check and they want to make sure you received it. Sit down and write a few every night (make sure you have a healthy supply of stamps and return-address labels). Try to get all the notes written as soon as possible, but you have about three to six months after the wedding to get them done (and it's something the bride and groom can do together). As for what to write, it can be very simple and heartfelt:
Dear Nathan and Doreen,
Thank you so much for the beautiful candlesticks. They look great on our dining room table. We're so glad you were able to be at the wedding and hope you had a good time.
Sara and Aaron
Many brides and grooms find registering to be a fun bonding experience. And since you aren't going to do this ever again -- you hope -- enjoy it now. And remember: The "perfect registry" won't necessarily make for a perfect wedding or a perfect marriage -- but it couldn't hurt.
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