Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wedding and Registration, ma'am

Jenny's wedding was today. I bought her present Thursday so you can imagine how "out of the blue" it felt to me even though I knew it was coming.

I must be acting like a chicken with her head cut off or something.

I wanted to get 'em something "good" but even after weeks and weeks and weeks of thinking about it I still ran into a brick wall so I settled for simply buying off registry. After all, that's the reason why it's there; to make people's lives easier when you just don't know what they'd like. If they shot their registry gun at it one can only hope they'd like it.

Waking up early was the worst part of it. Not that we got stuck in traffic. Not even that it was all that bad outside...just that it was way too early for any of our liking. We had to be down in the 203 in time to pick up Emily and still get to the 10am wedding at a church I've never been to and when you're used to waking up at around 10am on a normal Saturday waking up at 7am is quite horrible. I intend to sleep to my little heart's content this evening that's for sure.

In any case the wedding itself was a beautiful church ceremony. Long and Catholic and really long and really Catholic but beautiful. Not terribly romantic after being preached at for like an hour about...a checkbook of some kind, but aesthetically very lovely. The church was huge. Gigantic organ in the back jutting out of the wall. Jenny looked so beautiful...and I know people say that about all brides but really she did a particularly fantastic job picking a flattering dress for her coloring, height, weight and body shape. I can't imagine it's easy to find a suitable dress when you're hardly 5" tall and everything you try on doesn't fit right away.

The ceremony, apart from being a slightly confusing drive away from the church was pretty nice too. They had it at The Waterview which Trevor lovingly referred to as a Wedding Factory. It was very nice; right on the water (a lake to be exact) with beautiful marble floors, crystal chandeliers...very swanky. It was very, very nice and I can totally see why it's such a popular wedding spot but personally it felt a bit sterile and impersonal like a really really big hotel lobby.

The music was far too loud; I couldn't talk to Emily very easily. Emily also being very soft spoken didn't come in handy. The DJ was entirely unclear as a result of old and semi-cruddy speakers. I entirely missed the cake cutting because I never heard him announce it and I was outside on the balcony. lol Trevor was particularly upset that he kept throwing a mic (turned on) casually in the air to see it flip and catching it so it made a mild thud each toss.

I suppose if you see one set of people cut a cake you've seen every couple cut a cake. I'll have different feelings about this when it's my own wedding but pretty much every cake cutting is similar in that there is a whole cake and then a piece is taken out of it with some kind of cutting apparatus and the couple playfully feed one another a bite. Everyone gets a chuckle and then they wheel the cake away to be sliced up. Other than that it was fantastic to see Emily because I love her. We hardly got 8 minutes with Jenny before she got pushed in another direction since it was quite a packed reception but perhaps after her honeymoon is done we'll get the opportunity to catch up for real. I'm sure there's been tons going on with her that I haven't heard a peep about.

She did mention she'd go to the shower and she'd carpool with Emily since she is a car-less individual but one that still wants to attend. Since I only invited like 4 friends to the shower I'm happy that all of them are going to be attending. I guess for what I lack in quantities of friends I at least make up in having kind hearted friends who want to come and spend a little time driving really out of their way to give me a present.

Speaking of presents, Kim has been delegated to arrange Cathy's bridal shower. I'm happy it's a bridal shower in lieu of a Jack & Jill. J&Js always reek of desperation to shake money out of your friends. At least a bridal shower is considered a tasteful event. However considering that Cathy lives in MT and she'd have to ship any and all gifts she received back to her home I can see where a J&J might be more reasonable since money is ever so easier to transport than blenders and dishes. I can see both sides of the coin but it seems the final decision was to shower. It might be helpful if Cathy registered somewhere first though.

In my adventures registering I can tell you that all registries are not created equal. Of course all your major stores have registries. (Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany's, Macys, JCPenney, Sears, Kohls, Sharper Image, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Sur la Table, Target, Walmart...etc.) So it's good to start with a major retailer because then a larger number of your guests will have access to them.

For more modern couples the online registry is a new option. Of course all major department stores also have shopping online and online registries but you can go 100% e-registry and do one at Amazon.com, Cooks.com...etc.

Here are some of the ones I am familiar with:
-Sears. I guess you can actually register for big stuff here like refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, grills...unlike most other registries that do not include big ticket items.

-Macy's. They have a reward system where if you have a credit card with them they'll give you 5% reward as a giftcard after the wedding is complete. There is a long laundry list of other details but the gist is that you get not only a beautiful registry present but also a giftcard to spend on other things. Cons: you can't register for non-home goods. So no Chanel purse, no Escada perfume, no leather sectional :( but since it's Macy's your chance of running into a one day sale are pretty high. It seems every other weekend they're having one. Oh, and you get a little tote bag as a gift for registering.

-LNT. I love them but ever since they registered for bankruptcy decided to delete my registry with them just to be on the safe side. They do however let you have a 20% registry completion discount. So for anything you didn't get gifted you can buy it...20% off regardless of the fancy brand name (which usually isn't applicable for coupons).

-Bed Bath & Beyond. Much like LNT but has yet to file for bankruptcy. They accept competitor coupons and have a very flexible no questions asked return system. They rarely have sales, but are known for being very coupon generous. I get mailings from them all the time with $5 off coupons. You can shoot your gun at everything and anything in the store; no limitations.

-Lowes & Home Depot. Weird, huh? I just thought that was cool. Particularly for those folks who already have a home together and don't really need plates and cups but do want a nicer kitchen to put the ones they have in to.

-JCPenney. I didn't go there but I guess they have a partnership with David's Bridal and those leeches send me emails constantly. They give you a bridal planner when you register and I think a 8x10 engagement portrait. I think that's very nice though if you're the kind of people who enjoy that. We didn't bother with engagement portraits since we don't care to spend the money on it. I figure there'll be 100's of pictures at the wedding to remind of how we looked anyhow.

-REI. For the outdoor enthusiast.

-Traveler's Joy. For the vacation enthusiast. Be aware they do tack on a "processing fee" so you don't get 100% of the value that someone sends to you.

-And finally Myregistry.com for the couple who can't focus on one registry and instead want everything from everywhere.

Those are my two cents on the most interesting registries. I know there are more exotic ones but I think these cover the main bases people want to be covered. The major things you should ask are A.) Are there limitations on what I can register for or is the whole store up for grabs? B.) What is the return policy on gifts you changed your mind on or inexplicably got duplicates of? C.) Are there any rewards or incentives to registering with that store?

I've heard people have issues with Target registries because they limit how much you can return in a particular period of time and their registry is slow in updating itself to show purchased items so duplicate purchases happen more than they should.