We can see it clearly: You've made it to the department store, fiance by your side, scan gun in hand, preparing to kick off your registry...then, out of nowhere, you hear a voice urging you to pick the stainless steel mixer over a fire-engine red one. You see an image of a head shaking in disappointment when your place settings total 13 rather than 12. What's right? What's wrong? Now you can put an end to the guessing game. We asked two masters of the trade to give us the real deal on what's fact and what's plain fiction. At last, here are the answers.
Myth 1: You have to register for both everyday and formal china.
Yes and no. If you've been dying for your own formal set, then by all means, add it on. But if you're looking forward to some day receiving the china that's been in your family for decades, then hold out if you can. Is your entertaining style pretty low maintenance and casual? Then consider doubling up on the everyday. Yes, this really can be done. Jorge Perez, Waterford Crystal's US Director of Bridal and Special Events, suggests that you add two different patterns to your registry to make it a bit more playful and to separate your everyday china from your entertaining dishes.
Myth 2: You must add silverware to the list.
"Must" is a very strong word. Silver is definitely more formal and pretty pricey, but if you're sure you'll use it and think your guests would be willing to buy it, then add it on. Perez advises couples to register according to their lifestyle. If you ask for the sterling silver, be prepared to actually break it out -- and to keep it polished.
Myth 3: Trends will never last. Skip them.
Before jumping on any bandwagon, step back and think about what you and your fiance like. Tangerine and turquoise might be the hottest colors of the season, but will they still be as fresh on your table 10 years from now? View your registry as a companion to your marriage. Sure, new pieces come with time, but they'll be additions to what you already have, not their replacements. Add the trendier items as accents. Go for the golden-edged serving bowl, even if your china has a platinum band. Let your registry show off your sense of style.
Myth 4: Bedding always needs to match.
If you're a pair who likes coordinating sets, then you should stick to it. But if you're a daring duo who prefers the look of striped sheets with a damask duvet cover, then let your creative spirit run wild and add both to your registry. Having access to different patterns means that you can make quick seasonal swaps without a complete room decor overhaul.
Myth 5: Monogramming is so old-school.
On the contrary, we like to describe it as classic with serious staying power. Today's choices for fonts and colors make this a chic and updated accent to just about every home item. Celebrity wedding and event planner Mindy Weiss loves monogramming: "It's a special and personal way of setting your gift apart from someone else's. Plus, it makes it only for the two of you." Almost anything can be monogrammed, from pillows and blankets to barware and coasters. Our advice: Keep it tasteful by not going on initial overload. Avoid clicking the "Personalize It" button for every item on your registry.
Myth 6: It's greedy to have a registry at more than one store.
Greedy? No. Smart? Yes. We recommend that couples select two or even three places to make gift buying as convenient as possible for guests, especially the out-of-towners. Try your best to be considerate here: Don't just set up a registry at a little boutique that's near your house because they carry one fancy vase that you love. Making a special trip there is a lot to expect of your guests. Instead, you should set up at least one registry at a major department store (with a website) so all of your guests have easy access to what you want. Keep in mind that if you end up registering at too many places, returns will become an even bigger hassle for you!
Myth 7: Never register for items that are too pricey. You'll look tacky.
Nothing should be off-limits, but you need to maintain your perspective. Register for an assortment of gifts that target different price ranges -- you want to have a variety. Chances are that avocado scooper will be just as handy as the KitchenAid mixer. Guests actually like to look at your lists and handpick items they know you'll enjoy. They can bundle some of the less expensive items together. For pricey items, don't forget about the group gift. Coworkers, schoolmates and friends like to chip in together so they can buy a more expensive present. "Go on, give them the chance!" says Perez.
Myth 8: If you're already living together, you have nothing to register for.
Nothing could be further from the truth! You might have all of your place settings, but are they equipped to take on hosting Thanksgiving? Now's the time to request the turkey platter, gravy boat and soup tureen. Maybe you've been saving up to try and fill that big, bare space above the sofa. Pick out that scalloped-edge mirror or piece of modern art that you've had your eye on for months. In fact, more and more stores are adding wish list options (kind of like registries) so you can get gifts that the two of you will use. Need surround-sound speakers? Create an Amazon.com wish list. Want a new front door? Open a registry at Lowe's.
Myth 9: It's bad to put "fun" items on your registry instead of "practical" ones.
What's practical these days? If you two spend most of your weekends outside on the trails, then it makes complete sense to request new mountain bikes and accessories. If you're more the homebody types who like to host parties, then it's a good idea to add items that you'll use all the time, such as a hammock, charcoal grill and fire pit. Make practical choices to suit your lifestyle. Weiss adds: "This is your registry, so if you want fun items, then register for them!" Leave it up to your guests to decide what they would like to purchase for you.
Myth 10: You need to register for no less than 12 place settings.
Not so. Think magic number eight! That's the minimum number you should aim for. But you can definitely register for more. Consider your entertaining personality before you make any decisions. For example, if you're a couple who prefers buffet-style dining, then you may want to add more dinner and charger plates than a couple who prefers hosting in a formal style.
Myth 11: It's wrong to add honeymoon activities and flat-screens to your list.
Absolutely not. Really, it's not. "This is a great option that so many brides and grooms are on to now," says Weiss. The trick to doing it well is to make a conscious effort to have traditional and nontraditional items. But don't feel guilty or weird. Friends and family want to buy you things you'll really use. You're not doing them any favors by letting them buy you a second food processor just because that's what they expect you to register for. If you have what you need, let 'em treat you to an afternoon scuba dive at the hotel where you're honeymooning.
We stopped keeping score. There's really only one rule we insist you obey: Create a list that caters to your lifestyle. Having a customized registry doesn't mean adding monograms to every linen and throw pillow. It does mean selecting items that you and your fiance want and need. And if you'd rather skip the double old-fashioned glasses and triple up on the margarita ones, then go for it. We promise that we won't judge (and neither will they).