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Wedding Registries Go Virtual

Lifestyle / Direct: Wedding Issue
November 15, 2010 Deadline
Wedding 2010 Issue

Wedding Registries Go Virtual

A friend of mine adores Williams-Sonoma, the gourmet food and cookware retailer known for unique teas, baking mixes and unusual items like cakelet pans. When she announced her engagement, she included Williams-Sonoma among her list of bridal registries. However, many specialty retailers have yet to open locations in Tulare County.

Though a drive to Fresno to visit some retailers might be a nice way to spend a weekend afternoon, my unfortunate experience has been that specialty retailers do not offer the same selection in the Valley as they do in places like San Francisco or Los Angeles. Also, there are some smaller retailers we might never see in the Valley.

I know some couples who have used Target’s “Club Wedd” to create wedding registries. Club Wedd’s online bridal registry is convenient, especially when you’re swamped preparing for the big day. As my wife has reminded me more than once, every couple needs household basics. But, with apologies to Target, why not dream a little when creating bridal registries?

Thankfully, some unique bridal registries have gone virtual, including that of Williams-Sonoma. By creating gift registries online, it is much easier to have wedding registries with a range of stores.

What makes an online bridal registry special is that items are marked as “purchased” or “ordered” when wedding gift buyers use the registry feature. You do have to remind friends and family to use the bridal registry or you still risk getting duplicate gifts. Be sure you know how each online registry works so friends and family can get the most benefits from the online shopping experience.

The benefits of using the registry go well beyond convenience. Many bridal registries offer special discounts and reduced shipping charges for wedding gifts ordered online. Saving 20 to 30 percent on silverware or fine china is significant.

Some online bridal registries can send Web page links to those friends and family members for whom you provide e-mail addresses. Other registries allow shoppers to enter the bride’s name or e-mail address to access the gift list.

For several years, has included “Wedding Registry” within its “Wish List” menus, but it is hard to consider Amazon alongside Crate & Barrel, Neiman Marcus and Pottery Barn. For some reason, I still prefer to buy a gift from a store with a physical location, even if there isn’t a convenient location.

Pottery Barn, a division of Williams-Sonoma, has an online bridal registry featuring furniture and accessories for your house. The site does charge for delivery on some larger items, though they sometimes offer discounts for bridal registry purchases.

A few people I know love the exclusive nature of Barneys New York. Barneys caters to the Armani and Prada shopper. The online bridal registry is more exclusive than the Neiman Marcus selection. An admitted shopaholic informed me that Neiman Marcus became more “reasonable” when the chain removed the hyphen between the founders’ names.

My wife and I have beautiful silverware from Wallace Silver. The company, founded in 1835, has few stores nationwide, but there is an online gift registry that is easy and convenient. Some Wallace products are available at Neiman Marcus stores, but the entire selection is available online. Plus, they offer promotional discounts online on discontinued patterns. Real silverware gains in value over time, so buying a discounted pattern can be a great investment.

Mikasa, a division of the same parent company, offers an online bridal registry with special discount offers. Several times a year, Mikasa offers 20 percent discounts and free shipping for online purchases. I admit to loving Mikasa china and service-ware and believe they belong on any bride’s wish list.

Remember that not everyone can be expected to buy gifts from specialty stores. Weddings are about something far more important than gifts.

If you want to use online bridal registries, here are some suggestions:

Create bridal registry wish lists two to three months in advance, especially with high-end retailers that have limited inventories.
Create registries with at least four stores, ranging from a basic household needs retailer to your dream retailer.
Send polite e-mail notes to friends and family listing your registries and offering any special instructions for online retailers.
Mentioning discount “codes” is acceptable, as long as you do not imply gifts should come from one particular registry.

Finally, never forget that while online bridal registries are convenient for everyone, you should not send virtual thank-you cards. Notes should be handwritten and signed jointly. Some things are still traditional.


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