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Wedding Registry, From a Man’s Perspective

Girl Ninja and I have embarked on an epic journey. A journey into the world of pots, pans, and garbage cans.

That’s right my friends, it’s wedding registry time. Registering is no child’s play, this is serious business. It’s my one&only chance to get a lot of nice crap without having to pay a cent for it. Being new to this whole registry game, I thought I would share a few of the things I have learned.

1) It’s okay to register for really nice things 

I was having issues adding All-Clad pans to the registry. Those things are freaking expensive and I felt terrible asking for them. We are talking upwards of $200 bucks for a pot. For a rather crappy chef, like myself, I doubt I’ll notice the difference between a $20 pot and a $200 pot… after all, they’ll both boil water the same won’t they? I wrote a few weeks back about my internal battle with accepting generous gifts. In an attempt to combat my awkward frugality, we have registered for quite a few “luxury” items. I realize that just because we want the $200 skillet, doesn’t mean someone HAS to buy us the $200 skillet.

I was treating every item we registered for as a “is-this-really-necessary” item instead of a “how-sweet-would-it-be-if-someone-got-us-this” item. In the world of wedding registries, quality is what’s important.

2) Register at places with AWESOME return policies

Girl Ninja and I have registered at Crate and Barrel and Macy’s. These two stores both have amazing, and I mean amazing, return policies.

Since Girl Ninja and I both live in San Diego, are getting married in Seattle, and have no clue where we will be living after we get married, there is a good chance we will need to return 99% of the gifts people get for us. It’s kind of a bummer and will probably be a headache, but there isn’t much we can do about it except register at places with good return policies. Crate and Barrel, for example, will give you straight-up CASH for all items purchased through your registry.

How epic is that, most stores will give you gift cards or store credit, but C&B would hook me up with Benjamins. That gives GN and I a ton of flexibility in our shopping. While Macy’s only provides store credit, they still allow up to a year to make the return and have some pretty sweet perks if you register through them. The coolest perk is that Girl Ninja, and I will get a 5% store credit bonus on every dollar someone else spends on our registry. If people buy $2,000 worth of Macy’s product, Girl Ninja and I walk away with a $100 gift card. Boo to the Ya for free money.

3) There is a lot of crap to be bought

I’m a guy. We don’t need a lot. Give me one bowl, one plate, a spork, and maybe some toilet paper, and I will consider myself adequately provided for. Apparently, Girl Ninja has different plans. We registered for cupcake tins, cupcake trees, cupcake carrying cases, and a whole slew of other things I never knew existed (mostly baking goods).

I’m overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of items. we have registered for, especially knowing that we are only about 50% through the registration process. There is some crazy stuff out there, for example, I have no idea what the heck this kitchen thingy majigger is…There ya have it, three things that stood out to me as I embark on this wedding registry process. I can tell ya right now, it’s totally a chick thing as I haven’t met too many guys that get excited about picking out what color hand towels they want.

And now, as always, I leave with some questions…primarily for the femALIENS out there.

What are some things you wished you would have registered for, but didn’t?

I have heard it’s always better to ask for too much than not enough (i.e. dinnerware for 12 instead of 10). Is it against proper etiquette to register for things like tools and a BBQ? If you could do one thing over again with your wedding registry what would it be? ANY AND ALL ADVICE IS HIGHLY APPRECIATED! I definitely want to take advantage of as much “free” crap stuff as I can

p.s. if you didn’t get a chance to see all the comments people posted up yesterday about their financial secrets, I highly encourage you to do so…there are some interesting ones in the bunch!!!!



  1. awesome gifts we received for wedding/shower gifts:
    *my ice cream maker – as much as I hate single purpose items and clutter, I love love love this thing! It's super easy to use, I can make cool sweet treats exactly how I like it with fresh berries I pick myself.
    *the good pots – yes they were about $150/pot, but they're fantastic, they cook everything evenly, and I use them everyday.
    *an industrial grade meat slicer – I love it! Everyone in my family has one – we buy bulk meat and slice it at home (as opposed to getting the deli to do it) – and it does everything (cheese, onions, tomatoes, etc) I love love love it!

    My husband and I had been living together for 3 years (in our current house for 1) before getting married, so I made passed along the message to the parents, that the wedding registry was a bit slim, but cash would be appreciated to buy larger items – a dining room set (we still have one that we used when I was in college – and it was my grandma's before that), new living room furniture, etc. When writing our thank you cards, we made mention of what we intended to use cash gifts for – I think some people like to actually know that it's being put towards.

  2. We didn't register for our wedding, since a) we'd been sharing a household for 3 years and had everything we wanted and b) DH HATES shopping, I HATE Shopping – so why inflict semi-mandatory shopping on the folks we love?! Anyway, our 'info' sheet with the invitation (with directions, nearby lodging, etc kinda info) was titled: "Things M&D would like you to know…" and the first line was: "That you have chosen to share this day with us is the greatest gift we could receive and the only gift we want." Which meant that folks just gave us BENJAMINS and gift cards. Unintended side-effect, as we really didn't expect that!

    And make sure (if you / fiancee like to cook) you register for these:…
    or a selection of open-stock wustof's. Best. Knives. Ever. Ninjas need good knives…Wustof's santuku is the number one knife in my kitchen.

  3. First, congratulations!

    Here are some tips from my registering experience.

    1) Don't go out registering unless you are well rested, fully fed, and mentally prepared for a long day. This isn't anything against women – my wife isn't your traditional shopper. We're not picky at all, but it still took us a good 4-6 hours to register at two places.

    2) Register at places with a good return policy, and that have many things you like. You'll probably get gift cards for the places you register, so it's best to sign up at places with a wide selection of products. We chose Bed Bath and Beyond and Target

    3) Some places will give you discount coupons when you register. BB and B was one of those, giving us a discount to use for ourselves as well as an automatic discount for anyone who came in and asked for our registry.

    4) It's OK to ask for nice things. Just make sure you'll actually use the nice things you ask for. If you won't notice the difference between a $20 and $200 pot, then why get it?

  4. 5) Don't go crazy on kitchen stuff. I love cooking and any kitchen gadgets, but we have a lot of serving and display dishes that we haven't used yet.

    6) (this isn't my tip, but I'll pass it on) Make sure to register for sets of pots/pans and knives, even if you don't need them all. Then if you get the set, take it back, and just re-buy the pieces you need. That way, you have extra money/credit to work with

    7) When registering, try to keep the mindset that you're spending your money – because that's what your effectively doing. Splurge a little, yeah, but keep it reasonable

    8) Make sure to register for really cheap things as well as expensive things. Give everyone options to choose from

    As far as what I'd do differently – I would've registered at Home Depot. I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for tools. Home Depot is just as important for furnishing a house as is Crate and Barrel or any other store, so I don't see anything wrong with asking for tools

  5. It’s been 16 years since we got married. We still have and use most of the things we got that we had registered for. But, the things that I treasure and I remember who got them for us were not from a registry. For example, my coach got us a painting of the university we graduated from and Grandma made us a quilt. We also got things that we did not register for that were diposed of quickly. So I guess my advice is to the buyer, not you (sorry). That advice is that if you shop outside the registry it can be great if you put the effort in to make it special. If your not willing to put in that effort, stick to the list.

  6. I think China is useless and a waste of money. Who wants a set of plates that are used 2x/year. Then, you can't or won't put them in the dishwasher, are afraid to break them, etc. I love my cheaper white plates and love that I can go out and buy another 4 when a few break here and there.

    I'm a great cook and people don't ever comment on my plates, but my food.

  7. My tips: Make sure you register where people can actually shop. Not everyone likes to order things online. If you register at stores that aren't where the majority of your guests are, you may get very little off of your registry.

    That said, don't be afraid to also register at unconventional stores through the use of Kaboodle, Amazon or other wishlist services. Your more tech savvy guests would probably get a kick out of buying you less traditional items like power tools or computer parts.

    Recognize the budget of your guests. Where I come from, guests generally give $100+ so I didn't feel too guilty registering for nice china, etc. because I knew my family would be happy to give it (and that I had given similar gifts when they got married). On the other hand, Mr's family is awesome, but not so well off, so we had to make sure to have lots of less expensive items as well. Asking for big ticket items when you know people can't afford them isn't going to make you popular.

    Ignore the list of 'thing you should register for' that stores like to give out. Register for what you need/use, not what people think you should have. If you don't think you'll ever use fine china, then don't register for it. On the other hand, while a registry is a wishlist, don't go too crazy or you may find yourself with a egg separator, a crepe pan, a fondue pot and a spice rack but no actual standard cooking pots.

  8. Don't register for furniture at wal-mart, target, Meijer or any other general goods store. 95% of the time the furniture is cheaply made, looks cheap in real life, and you will end up being slightly disappointed with the product after you assemble it. At this stage of your life, buy real wood furniture.

  9. Best advice I can give you, (from someone who has done it before), you must select your wedding registry gifts with both the high-end and low-ends “customers” in mind…

    Lets say for argument’s sake that everyone can buy you a $25 dollar gift, correct? So go ahead, and tag your gifts with those who have AT LEAST a $25 value… Get lots of $25 items, a few in the $30 and $40 dollar range, and then, select what you REALLY want… you never know if some uncle decides to give you a kitchen for example (I got 2!!!)…

    This way, you set a minimum that is accesible to everyone, so that you receive a lot of gifts, but don’t end up with $10 crap…

    And afterwards, you return all or most of the gifts, and buy something you really, REALLY want, like a 46 inch LCD TV, or whatever… just be sure to talk and plan about it first with Ms. Ninja… 😉
    .-= UniversidadPeru´s most recent blog ..ARTICULO: ¿Es esto Globalizacion? =-.

  10. I actually got heck that we didn't register for expensive enough stuff. We were the first of our friends to get married-we were young with inexpensive taste. Plus, at the time, there was no way we could have afforded to finish sets of fancy stuff if we didn't get the whole thing (e.g., china). My family wanted to get together to buy us something as a group, and there was nothing to choose from. I think tools or a bbq are totally cool to register for. One couple we know mainly registered for camping gear, because they had their toaster oven and plates etc., and wanted to camp for their honeymoon.

    I focused on the kitchen stuff when we registered and we ran out of steam before doing the linens, so I would say ensure you register for plenty of nice towels. I never want to spend the money to get good ones now, even though they are so much nicer and last longer. Have fun!

  11. Don't register for the china and crystal. Register for the stuff you are going to use daily like everyday plates you love, glasses that are just right for milk, tongs (use these all the time), and a cooler for trips. The other stuff will just sit in a china cabinet. 🙂

  12. word to the wise: Register for the most expensive knives you can- you get what you pay for and they're indespensible.

    • Second that! And all you really need are 3. An 8" chef knife, a 8"-10" carving knife and a 3"-4" paring knife (Santoku's are great, but not necessary). I love my Japanese made Global knives.

      And don't pay for expensive steak knives…my set of kitchen aid one's have served me well.

  13. So I'm not married, but I am STEALING all of these tips. This is great.

    What I do know is that when I get married, I'm registering at Bed Bath & Beyond. That store is crack on wheels. But, with a wedding registry, I will have an excuse to spend my life there. Right now, there really is no good reason to go there…

  14. Oh I know, I know. It's an egg seperator. Are you impressed people?

    We had been living together already so I wish we had had a wishing well. 11 years down the track and we have 3 bowls that we were given. That's it nothing else.

  15. 1) Don't forget your friends!! Your buddy probably doesn't want to buy you a spatula set or throw pillow. My wife and I did all the traditional registry stuff for our family's sake, but also registered on Amazon for things like board games, cook books, video games and other fun things we enjoy but don't usually spend money on. That way our 20-something friends could pick up 2-3 small items for the same price as a single champagne flute or candle stick. You'll enjoy those small things way more often than your china set.

    2) If you own a home (or plan to soon), ask for tools….man I wish I had asked for tools. We were still in an apartment when we got married, but were able to move into a house 8 months later (after the collapse). A good drill and circular saw would be on my list (I recommend corded, they can be a pain to move around, but cordless batteries won't last. Corded tools will last decades)

  16. We registered at a big department store and a sporting goods store. We found that women wanted to buy le femme items, and guys wanted to buy….well, guy items. Guys don't want to buy hand towels, you know? We registered for kitchen stuff and then went crazy registering for our dream canoe, camping equipment and sports tools! We also told everyone we were starting to build our house that year, so we got a lot of extrememly useful gift certificates to the local hardware/lumber shop.
    Oddly, folks didn't use our registries hardly at all….maybe it's an independant Alaskan thing….

    8 years later, the stuff that was the best:
    Gift certificates to hardware/lumber shop (built the house, check)
    Really fancy coffee pot with timer (lasted 7 years)
    Skill saw (see: house building)
    Wine collection…being consumed at the rate of one bottle a year

  17. i know the return policies you're mentioning seem great, but if you are getting married far away, and if you think you won't be able to keep 99% of the stuff, why go through the trouble of getting the gifts, having guests pay for all the shipping, and then spend your weekends hauling gifts back to the store? trust me, it's not fun.

    not sure if you know about it, but there is a great site called where you can register for cash gifts. you can list all the same things like what you are picking out at the stores (or you can register for your honeymoon or a home down payment or anything), but it's virtual, so you ultimately get the cash and then you can shop later. i wish we could have used it but we just didn't know about it, so now i just tell my friends to learn from our mistake and not do what we did… it's really easy to get caught up in the registry thing, but i think this is a better option. not that we didn't appreciate all the gifts, but it just wasn't practical for us and ended up resulting in a lot of waste time and energy, and unfortunately wasted shipping costs for our guests. one of my friends has already signed up with deposit a gift and says it's been awesome so far.

  18. Congratulations Ninja!

    You'll have more fun later on in life when it's time to register for babyshower gift registries as well.

    I LOVE Crate and Barrels as well. Are you going to the one in Fashion Valley? Is there also on down by La Jolla UTC?

    Anyhow, i swear by C&B. I would say 50% of my household items are from C&B. I remember going gaga over that store every week when I first bought my new home.

    You should also ask them to wrap your gifts in their nice squared boxes that you can carry around. I keep those boxes as storage around my house as well.

    I'll go visit their websites now. Good luck and have fun with your registry!

  19. How funny… my first married friends registered at Macy's and Crate & Barrel, too! I got them a $50 C&B gift card, which they used towards a gorgeous wine rack, since they are wine aficionados! I thought that was a really awesome use of the gift cards/cash they got.

    I'm not getting married, but am definitely stealing all these ideas, too!!! 🙂

  20. Welcome to the wonderful world of marriage! (Well, almost!)

    I tried to convince the Honeybee to have our wedding registry at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. I even gave her a list of what I wanted: $5, $10, $25, and $100 chips.

    She ignored me and registered at some lame place like JC Penny's.


    Len Penzo dot Com

  21. Definitely an egg separator.

    And we didn't register for fine china – and haven't missed it in the 4+ years we've been married. I'm sure that when we're like 60 and having the extended famdamly over for Thanksgiving, we'll wish we had the 'fancy' tableware but right now, not worth the space it takes up.

    Good luck and have fun!!!

  22. Yah! it's an egg separator. You can get those at the dollar store, you don't need to register for that! =) If you want, I can send you my plastic one in the mail. lol. I bought it at the dollar store.

    They are handy. I'd recommend them.

    That's cool that Macy's gives you 5% bonus. Kind of like.. commission in a way! I don't think we have anything like that in Canada.

    I personally would feel weird to register expensive stuff! But that's just me and my issues. I'm giving gift cards/ money to my friend when she gets married this summer- they already moved in and pretty much have everything they need.

  23. I'd say the top items I use in my kitchen are: programmable meat thermometer/timer, tongs, knife set, cast iron skillet, quality cutting boards, and pepper mill. One 'oddball' gadget that comes in handy several times weekly is a lettuce spinner. As far as kitchen appliances go, a high quality blender or food processor comes in handy. If you're into a lot of baking, which I'm not, I hear the Kitchenaid mixers are a Godsend. Microfiber cloths and good cotton dish towels are always a good cheapie item for the list.

    And if you can, register for useful household repair items and tools. Most family members seem to really appreciate these as 'common sense' registry options. This will probably make up the bulk of our wedding registry as we've already been living together for nearly 2 years and have a pretty stocked apartment as it is…

  24. ay yay. my bf and i are getting engaged soon (yay) and we'll be dealing with registry issues. my biggest issue: i hate clutter and don't want a lot of things, but i feel like i have to register because people will want to buy us gifts. i'm going to register for as little as possible…nice knives, nice towels (i'm too cheap to buy the organic bamboo fluffy ones i want) and some nicer kitchen supplies….and then hope for gift cards and CASH…i don't want a bunch of crap around the house, and i don't want china or crystal. why would i ever want to get upset about a plate breaking???

    i like the amazon idea…registering for games, sporting equipment and such…stuff that we'll actually use…i mean…who needs a mellonballer anyways??

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