Is this one of the first things to take care of or one of the last?

Credit: Courtesy of Blueprint

They say timing is everything, and that's certainly true when planning a wedding. You have to book a caterer early on to ensure you get the one you want. The same goes for the photographer and the band or DJ, and, though it's a product and not a service, a custom wedding dress must be ordered many, many months before your big day to guarantee it's ready on time. But when it comes to filling out a wedding registry, what's the deal? Here are a couple of things to know about when to register.

Book the foundation vendors first.

Get all of these out of the way before you start picking out Roombas and beer mugs. This essential group include the ceremony and reception venues, caterer, and wedding planner, if using one. It's easier to make these decisions if you're not fretting about china patterns and bakeware at the same time.

Do a registry "lite."

In case some family and friends want to buy you a gift for any engagement parties thrown in your honor, create a registry a few weeks before the party. Don't register for much: Most people will bring their hearty congratulations and no gift to an engagement party. Choose a handful of gifts at lower-end price points, like a pair of glass candlesticks or wine coasters. For more ideas, see this list of gifts under $50.

Then go at it for real.

If your wedding is a year away, register with gusto at the nine-month mark. This is when you can ask for the moon-or that $500 coffee machine. Be sure to pick out many different items to fit many different budgets and occasions. Remember, guests will rely on your registry when it comes to shower gifts too, and they usually spend less for the shower than the wedding.

Replenish regularly.

Registering isn't just a one-time thing. Keep checking that there are enough gifts at varied prices throughout your engagement and especially a few weeks before the big day when guests do most of their buying. Add more gifts as needed. Lucky you!


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