Thursday, April 14, 2011

Step 47 - Find and Register a couple of Bridal Registries

(4 Months to 6 Months before the Wedding)
Finding the perfect gift for the wedding couple!!! When you attend a wedding you are expected to get them a gift and very often you just don't know what the couple wants and needs. This is where a bridal registry can save the day. Back in 1924, a department store by the name of Marshall Fields came up with an ingenious idea and started a bridal registry which became a hit and are still popular today. What if a wedding couple comes in to the store and selects gifts they would like for their wedding and the store can put those items on a list and family and friends can buy those gifts for them.

How does a bridal registry work? Usually, in just about every city and community there are a number of department, gift stores and service stores have set up bridal registries at their place of business.  Engaged couples seek out stores that have gifts that they like and sets up an appointment with the store's registry associate on a particular date and time. They meet at the store, which is typically filled with household items and signs up for the registry.

The associate accompanies them throughout the store and picks out items they would like to receive for their wedding. The associate marks down all the items they select and adds suggestions which all go on the couple's registry list. There may be items currently not in stock, the associate asks the couple if they would like to include those items suggested. Once the list is complete, all the registered items go into a database under the couple's bridal registry. In the last few years, some registries, provide a bar code scanner and have the couple scan the gifts that they want. The information on the bridal registry is usually maintained at the customer service desk.

The wedding couple is recommended to set up bridal registries in a couple of stores. Bridal registries will provide a discount to the wedding couple if a certain threshold of gift buying occurs. You want a couple of choices available for the gift buying of your wedding gifts. You don't want to set up too many bridal registries, because if your guests buy gifts in a number of stores, you may never reach a threshold in your registries to take advantage of the threshold discount. Ideally, it's best to set up two, but no more than three bridal registries.

The bridal registry is set up under the couples names and/or might be set up under some type of coding scheme, depends on how the store manages it. The store will provide you with the information on how your guests should contact the store. You will need to inform all your guests of the bridal registries that you have registered for your wedding and include the name of the couple and/or the code associated with the registry. Your guests may call or walk into the store. If a guest calls, the list may be reviewed over the phone or the guests may be asked, if they have access to the internet, review the list from a website data file under the couple's name.

If items are selected from the couple's bridal list, the items are deleted from the list, so the next guest that contacts the store will be shown the remaining items on the list. This allows duplicate items from being picked from the list. Your guests don't have to buy from your bridal registries. The bridal registries are an option for your guests. Your guests may contact a registry, not find an item they would be willing to buy or find items out of their price range and move on to find a wedding gift elsewhere.

For many bridal registry stores, gift cards are another option. Couple's love getting gift cards from their favorite stores, it gives them an option of getting gifts they really want and need themselves. You just present them a gift card in an envelope at the wedding. Gift cards are appreciated from stores other than bridal registries too, but be careful, be sure the gift card is from a store the couple likes.

Now to share what the experts say about how to handle a bridal registry. First find out what bridal registries are available in your area, almost all the major department stores in your area have registries. Some of your well known companies with bridal registries include Macys, Pottery Barn, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohls, Belk, Crate and Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Pier 1 Imports, Home Goods, Dilliards, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Target. Many gift stores in city areas have bridal registries too. Some bridal registries can be found in wedding related websites, yellow pages, and under Gifts & Registries elsewhere in this blog.

As you begin your search for bridal registries, you want to look online and in person. You want to identify the style of department and gift stores you like. You want to start be identifying 5 or 6 higher priced items that are similar in each of the stores. Maybe note major brands of china which includes Mikasa, Lenox, Noritake, Waterford, and Wedgewood. Top name brand cookware includes Cuissinart, Calphalon, Le Creuset, Rachael Ray, and Kitchenaid Gourmet Essentials. Top flatware includes Oneida, Wallace, Cambridge, Gorham, Dansk, and Lenox. Compare prices of the higher end items at each of the store. most often the items will be the same, and which stores offer the better pricing, that's the store you should most consider to have your bridal registry at.

Once you have identified which stores to have your bridal registry at, you want to go both online and to the store with a pad and pen in hand and write down the items you think you would like for the registry. You want to be sure to include items in all price ranges. Include items in the $20 range, $50 range, and all the way up to the $400 price range. You want items for all your guests who contact the registry whether it may be on the low end of gift giving or the high end. When you select gifts for the registry, make sure you select the gifts as a couple so you are both in agreement on all the gifts.

If the store you choose has a bridal registry online, you want to register online before going to the store. This is so when you go to the store, you are already registered and you don't have to wait 30 minutes for the bridal registry associate to get freed up and to spend a bit of time setting you up in the store's registry. It's recommended to make bridal registry appointments Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 11:30 in the morning or 1:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon. Avoid setting up bridal registries on Saturday or Sunday and in the evenings, the stores are busiest and the bridal registry attendant won't be as focused on you. Always choose your bridal registry as a couple, leave mothers and friends behind or you may find things being put in your registry that you really don't want. You could go to the store beforehand to get ideas from your mother just don't have her come along the day of the registry.

Be suspicious of the wedding registry associate on stores you are not familiar with. Many registries are well run, but some registries are run by scrupulous individuals or inexperienced persons. Make sure you are working with a good bridal registry. Ask a lot of questions when you look at gifts to register. Many stores show a MSRP "Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price". This number most of the time is a phony number is a sales gimmick to get you to think you are getting a good deal. Always disregard an MSRP figure. The important figure is how the price compares against the same item found in other stores.

As you go through the store and select items for your bridal registry, you want to understand what is all included in the gift registry. You may look at a place setting, and ask the wedding registry associate, how many pieces and what pieces comprise the place setting? The place setting ought to have at least five pieces. Some stores will put out a bunch of items on display, but only half the items form the place setting, the other pieces are a-la-carte. Verify what pieces make up a place setting and identify the pieces you would like. Some items you might be able to negotiate on price. I may be interested in the place setting as part of my registry if you include the soup bowls at the price or you may ask for a lower price. This is the case for when you are reviewing items for the registry and when you come back and get more gifts after the wedding.

Be observant of the bridal registry associates when you start out, if there is any sense of chaos maybe consider another store for the registry. If it takes time to look up things in a computer, or hear people complaining around you, or see the registry sales person yelling at the help, or see only one or two registry associates running all over, or not putting down in writing what they told you verbally, these are all signs that you may be dealing with a scamming bridal registry and might be better off taking your business elsewhere.

You should start looking at what stores to set your bridal registry around 6 months before the wedding. You should sign up with the bridal registries, a couple of weeks before your wedding invitations are to go out so the guests can be notified of the bridal registry when they receive the invitations, this should be around 2 to 3 months in advance of the wedding. A little trick, you should stop by your bridal registries in person beginning with three weeks before your wedding. The best days to stop by are Thursdays or Fridays to be sure the products in your registry are on hand and if anything is sold you can find a replacement item in the price range. Most guests buy wedding gifts 2 weeks before the wedding and a few might buy gifts up to two weeks after the wedding at a bridal registry.

If you are working with an unscrupulous store, the items you chose for your registry may be no longer in stock and unavailable for your guests to buy, if there is nothing to buy your guests may hardly get anything from that store and you end up with zero discounts for things you really wanted to buy. If you stop by the registry, each three weeks before the wedding you insure the store is handling your bridal registry properly and you make adjustments so guests have options at many price levels.

Some other tidbits. Some of your guests will buy gifts online and others will come to the store in person. Believe it or not, often the best deals come from online, what you see is what you get. The place setting is all laid out online. Some stores have a tendency to gimmick in their displays or the store doesn't display the china set you wanted in the store, the china set may or may not be in stock. If the china set is ordered online, the china set better be available or the store may find itself in trouble.

The better bridal registries put your gift list online, where both you and your guests can verify prices. Some unscrupulous registries may quote you one price, and later when your guests see the item, the prices have been jacked up a lot. The wedding couple and guests are not suppose to communicate on wedding gift selections so the guests have no way of getting feedback to what prices the wedding couple was quoted for on the gift price in the store. Store bridal associates later deny they quoted you a price. If there is no online price list, see if you can get information so you can lay out your bridal registry prices on your wedding website, or even Facebook page, or even if you write blogs, so your guests know what was quoted and they have a case to argue if they are overcharged. Mention you are planning on putting the bridal registry gifts online, so the bridal registry store is less apt to work in any monkey business with pricing.

Make sure that anything that is agreed to in your bridal registry is put down and signed in writing. Get a copy of the stores bridal registry checklist guide and policies and ask for a business card from the person that was your bridal registry associate so you have a person as a reference if any issues come up.

If you have a good registry, a lot of gifts you want will be bought and you will get a good discount on the remaining gifts you want to buy. Make sure you find and register at a good bridal registry where your guests and you can find good gifts for your wedding and have a pleasant experience with the registry!

See you on the other side!

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