WHATCOM WEDDINGS

Know the gift registry basics

FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 30, 2006 

— Marriage offers a husband and wife many rewards: companionship, unconditional love and lifelong friendship. But the most immediate reward is the wedding gifts!

To make sure these gifts are just the first of many pleasant surprises, the bride and groom should create a gift registry that reflects their tastes and needs. Here are some tips:

Make it a wish list. Chuckanut Bay Gallery co-owner Carol Salisbury says a gift registry should be a chance for a couple to ask for the things they've always wanted but have never been able to buy for themselves. "This is a time that you can dream a little bit," she says. Also, many couples are marrying in their 30s, so they already have the essentials for their household. A registry gives them a chance to ask for more personal, decorative items.

Don't skip the little things. While big-ticket items such as coffee makers, pots and pans, dishes and silverware are important to list, they are usually the first thing people think of. "A lot of people forget about the gadgety stuff - spatulas, whisks," says Jen Crane, a sales associate at Pacific Chef. "It's the everyday stuff that slips your mind."

Pacific Chef offers tours of the store to help couples pick out items they might have missed, such as cutting boards, coasters or peelers.

Gift cards are always handy. For guests who can't make it to the wedding, gift cards provide an easy solution to gift-giving without the extra cost of shipping. Though it may be less personal or memorable, certificates or cards always come in handy when the bride and groom settle down and realize that they still need some little extras around the house.

Don't forget the great outdoors. Garden accessories such as bird baths, bird houses and small sculptural pieces are great options for a gift list. Salisbury says outdoor items do not need to be grand or expensive; they can be memorable and artistic at a variety of prices.

Take your time. Like Santa, you should make your list and check it twice. Make sure you would be happy to get every item on your list, and check for redundancy as well as anything you might be forgetting.

Western Washington University senior Chris Huber found himself with five tea kettles when he married his wife, Julie, also a senior, last year. The couple wanted to give guests options of what to buy, so they included multiples of some items. "We didn't realize that probably everything would be bought," Huber says. Whittling down the gift lists could have averted their kettle-filled kitchen.

Make it personal. "Register at a place that you like to shop at," Huber advises. This way even if people get something that's not on your registry, you can still be confident that you will enjoy the item.

Also, choose items that guests will enjoy buying. Greenhouse store manager RaeAnn Hall agrees that guests like to buy gifts that will be memorable and remind the couple of the giver. After listing the necessities, Huber found things that his friends would enjoy buying, such as DVDs and more playful, creative items, such as themed baskets.

Variety is the spice of life and a good gift list. "Register for all around the spectrum," Crane says. Your registry should should include a variety of stores, prices and items to be as well-rounded as possible. This gives guests some welcome freedom when choosing what to buy.

"People who buy gifts like a choice and a wide range of prices," Hall says.

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