NEW YORK -- (MainStreet) -- A wedding registry is such a guilt-free opportunity for couples to get the things they want that sometimes what they need gets lost somewhere behind the espresso machine.
Wedding site TheKnot, part of the XOXO Group of Web properties, put together a registry study last year and determined that 1.5 million couples registered for gifts each year. Nearly 70% of couples strongly prefer getting gifts from their registry and their guests, for the most part, are more than willing to stick to the list in exchange for a free meal. Last year, about 54% of wedding gifts came from couples' registries.
Getting the stuff is the easy part. Setting up the registry is the portion of wedding planning where everybody feels they can weigh in. More than 80% of couples said family was somewhat to very influential in helping them pick out gifts, while little less than 80% relied on the Internet to build their gift list. Perhaps it would be a different story if more than 44% of fiances were extremely involved in picking out registry items, but couples that would never post an online poll asking "What do I want this holiday season?" are suddenly crowdsourcing their registries.
When 38% of couples have their mom picking out wedding gifts for them and another 20% are leaving the window shopping up to friends, there's a strong chance a few things folks actually getting married need or want are going to get left out of the mix. That couple is going to be told to make sure there's a lot of variety in the price of its items, which is how 72% of couples determined how many gift ideas to put on the registry. They're going to be told to consider the number of guests they invited (as 50% did) or just to shut up and listen to your mother (as 30% did). About 65% put some thought into what it would actually take to equip their homes, but that's just another voice in a cloud of noise whiter than most bridal gowns.
That jambalaya of input has a big impact on where a couple is going to do its shopping. When 91% of couples say they're picking a place based on the breadth and diversity of its selection, this is how Bed, Bath and Beyond and its racks of "as seen on TV" products becomes the most popular registry destination in America, with 61% of couples surveyed filling out their list in its square main aisle. Who's No. 2? That would be discount-chic Target with 51% of registered couples, followed by Macy'swith 39%, Crate & Barrel at 26% and Kohl's with 11%. Places where people might spend a fair amount of time shopping once the rings are on -- Amazon, Dillard's and Home Depot -- checked in between 6% and 3%. It's just not that simple. In those months leading up to the wedding, couples have visions of mixers, blenders and coffee makers (44% consider them the most important items) as well as baking sheets and multicolored pots and Dutch ovens (37%). Few (11%) consider that they might have to vacuum a rug or carpet sometime after the honeymoon. Only 16% seem to think they'll ever have to repair or install something during their bout of wedded bliss, as power tools rank just above movies, books, games and personal care items on registry lists dominated by bakeware (on 91% of all registries), kitchen appliances (90%) and kitchen accessories (87%).
With help from a crack team of wedding experts including WeddingWire editor Kim Forrest and Sharon Naylor, the author of more than 35 wedding books including The Ultimate Wedding Registry Workbook (Citadel, 2005), we've come up with 10 items most couples aren't registering for, but probably should: