Hey y’all, it’s Landan. I know there are literally hundreds of blog posts about how to create the best wedding registry, what you should have on your wedding registry, opinions on different types of registries – pretty much every topic about building your wedding registry. With that knowledge, you may be rolling your eyes and thinking “so why are you writing another one?”

Here’s why: I”ll include a few “gimme” details you’ve probably heard before, like when to create your registry and how many you should have, but I’m also covering the mistakes I made – like un-packaging gifts when they arrived – and tricks I learned throughout the process – like signing up for a registry you can add anything to  – because I want you to have that first hand knowledge.

I’ve talked about it before, but there are so many aspects of wedding planning you don’t get to know about until you go through it. And, since it’s generally the first time you’ll be going through this experience and you don’t get a do-over (as much as I wish I could have our wedding day again and again, because wouldn’t that be stellar?!?) so the best option is to learn from others’ experiences. Let’s be honest y’all – there are MASSIVE wedding blogs that have dozens of professionals giving their input on every single topic for wedding planning. They’re great. I’m not discounting them at all. But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here for the personal. You get to hear about everything I loved and everything I messed up on because I want you to be able to feel like you’re hanging out with your friend and having a conversation. And, as an added bonus, I throw in gorgeous pictures of other couples that have gotten married at The Chandelier (like Taylor and Matthew in this post!!!) because if you’re anything like me, you’re stalking your wedding venue tirelessly because you’re so dang excited to be getting married there soon. Win-win.

Let’s talk shopping.

Create Your Registry Early

As far as I’m concerned, the earlier you create your registry, the better. It’s a fun engagement activity to do together, plus creating it early means you have more time to look it over, fine tune it, take things off that you might realize you don’t want, and add things as they pop up. That said, I know that there are a lot of wedding planning details that will have a bigger focus for you when you first start planning – like choosing a date and getting major vendors booked. Don’t let the registry become a stressor for you thinking you “have” to have it done in certain time frame. I do think it’s best for guests if you have them set up before save-the-dates or any shower invitations go out, so aim for that if possible, but make sure you don’t lose the fun of it.

Include Items of Multiple Price Points

When creating your registry, it’s really important to build variety into it so your guests feel like they have options. You can still get what you want (and more on this in the next point below), but adding items of smaller monetary value so people can throw them in as a bonus or combine a few things together, mid-range gifts that are easy to pick out, and higher end gifts that your Great Aunt may randomly decide to give or multiple people can go in on together are all important to have. You’re not greedy for having a lot of things on your registry because people like having options and not feeling pigeon holed into buying certain things. Remember, a registry is just a bunch of stuff you want, not necessarily a list of all items you need or expect to get.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Returns

Don’t love it? RETURN IT. Do not feel like you have to keep something just because someone gave it to you (though maybe don’t tell them you returned it in the Thank You note). You are also completely free to change your mind on things. Just because you registered for it and don’t love it when it comes in does not mean that you’re stuck with it. I’ve been married for over a year and still have a store credit from one place because I did returns on things I realized I didn’t actually love or just added because I felt like I was “supposed” to have them on my registry. Now we’re getting a puppy and we’re using the store credit to purchase things for her – AKA things we didn’t know we’d want or need when we built our registry almost 2 years ago.

Save Your Gift Cards

No matter how many items you have on your registry, you’re likely to have some guests who give gift cards plus some items that were returned because either 1. you didn’t like them or 2. they came in broken. A lot of stores give a completion discount where you can get a discount on items you didn’t receive off of your registry for either one bulk purchase or for one year after your wedding. It can be super tempting to stock up because you have the discount, and there’s nothing wrong with using it for things you know you still want or didn’t receive off your registry, but don’t feel like you have to use it just because it’s there. There are always more sales and you have plenty of time to use your credits. As a side note, if you have multiple gift cards/store credits for individual stores, I HIGHLY recommend getting them combined onto one or two cards if possible. It has made it so much easier to keep track and I know exactly what I have left because of it.

Keep Everything Packaged Until the Wedding

This is one of those things no one ever told me about nor did I ever think about it. I thought I had a great registry. I researched items and knew what I wanted. And, for the most part, most of my guests were stellar about buying gifts off our registry or giving us a gift receipt if it wasn’t on our registry. But what I didn’t expect? I didn’t expect my cousin to know about a casserole dish that I love 10x more than my corning ware I registered for or my husband’s coworkers to randomly gift us a bake-and-store set that has made my other similarly-sized baking dishes useless. I have no doubt that you are a genius bride, but I’m here to tell you now that some of your guests may know better than you. Open the gifts, write the thank you notes, but wait until the wedding is over to take off tags unless it’s something you’re absolutely certain you want and love. I registered for a pie dish that I thought I wanted, got another one I loved more after I’d already washed the first one, and now I have two pie dishes (and, for the record, I’ve still not made a pie