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What to Know About Wedding Registries

Insider Perspective

Dur­ing grad­u­ate school, I used to work in cus­tomer ser­vice at Bed Bath and Beyond. Like with any oth­er cus­tomer ser­vice depart­ment, I pri­mar­i­ly focused on returns and exchanges. Aside from that, I also answered prod­uct ques­tions and assist­ed cou­ples with their reg­istries. The job may have only been a six-month stent but it undoubt­ed­ly strength­ened my peo­ple skills and taught me a thing or two about the wed­ding reg­istry expe­ri­ence.  

Com­pared to oth­er com­peti­tors like Macy’s and Tar­get, I came to view Bed Bath and Beyond as the “top dog,” so to speak. At that time, one key dif­fer­ence that made Bed Bath and Beyond stands out to me is that it offered a life­time guar­an­tee on its prod­ucts. This means that if some­thing bad hap­pened with a prod­uct out­side the lim­its of the manufacturer’s war­ran­ty, Bed Bath and Beyond would hon­or the pur­chase and pro­vide a new prod­uct. Essen­tial­ly, it was like hav­ing an extend­ed war­ran­ty at no extra cost. To me, wed­ding or not, this seemed like a no-brain­er for any con­sumer seek­ing house­hold fur­nish­ings.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I recent­ly learned this isn’t hap­pen­ing any­more. As of July 2018, poli­cies changed. When it comes to returns, it’s now either based on the manufacturer’s war­ran­ty for cer­tain items or return pol­i­cy for said oth­er items. While I find this dis­ap­point­ing com­pared to the pre­vi­ous offer­ing, I still think Bed Bath and Beyond is kind of THE place for any­one in the mar­ket to reg­is­ter for a wed­ding. Here’s why:

bride in robe reading card from groom


When you’re engaged, fig­ur­ing out what to reg­is­ter for is usu­al­ly only half of the bat­tle. Think beyond the wed­ding. If for any rea­son you may need to bring an item back, it’s valu­able to know the store’s return pol­i­cy since it pro­vides a frame­work for what’s accept­able and what’s not. Like any­one else, you prob­a­bly want the expe­ri­ence to be easy and as pain­less as pos­si­ble.

Out of the three places already dis­cussed, Bed Bath and Beyond, in my mind, wins here. Basi­cal­ly, any­thing pur­chased from a Bed Bath and Beyond reg­istry can be exchanged or refund­ed in the form of a mer­chan­dise cred­it for the amount paid, for up to 365 days from the date of pur­chase. In addi­tion, if you don’t have a receipt, Bed Bath and Beyond will do its best to find the trans­ac­tion and the amount paid.

The return pol­i­cy at Tar­get says you have up to one year after the event to return most new, unopened items at a store using a return bar­code, which is acces­si­ble through the Tar­get reg­istry app. What makes this less cer­tain; how­ev­er, is that it says most items and men­tions unopened. Keep in mind, the return time frame is 90 days for every­thing else. If for some rea­son one of your guests doesn’t get the gift marked on your reg­istry, you more than like­ly will have to adhere to the 90-day return pol­i­cy.

Macy’s states that any return from a reg­istry must be made with­in 180 days of the event date. Again, this feels a bit iffy, espe­cial­ly if an item is not marked prop­er­ly on a reg­istry. In the event this hap­pens, it sug­gests, at least to me, that the item has to be returned with­in 180 days from the time of pur­chase, which is the return pol­i­cy for every­thing else. In addi­tion, Macy’s men­tions bring­ing a receipt for returns and exchanges. It’s not incred­i­bly clear as to what hap­pens when there’s not a receipt, but let’s face it, most peo­ple who buy some­thing from a reg­istry gen­er­al­ly don’t attach their receipts.

cards and gifts sign for wedding reception


There are a lot of rea­sons to love all of these stores. I mean, when is the last time you went to a Tar­get and didn’t spend any mon­ey? What about Macy’s unbe­liev­able hol­i­day sales? It’s hard to not shop at these places or have a fond­ness for them. They get so much right!

Of the three, though, it’s evi­dent that Bed Bath and Beyond’s focus­es its efforts on wed­dings, par­tic­u­lar­ly reg­istries. It offers in-store and online con­sul­tants to assist with your reg­istry; it pro­vides tools like an inter­ac­tive check­list, mobile app and a way to track gifts online, which stream­lines send­ing thank you notes; it accepts price match­es; and, it dis­counts 20% off any remain­ing items on your reg­istry. I think all of this speaks for itself. 45

Other Registry Considerations

  • If you’re in a small town or your guests live in areas far­ther away, it’s not a bad idea to reg­is­ter at a cou­ple of places or sev­er­al. You may want to do this regard­less for the sake of options.
  • Not every store car­ries the same line of prod­ucts. You may pre­fer din­ner­ware at Macy’s and flat­ware some­where else. That’s OK. Reg­is­ter at mul­ti­ple places and go for what you tru­ly want.
  • You may already be at a point in your life where you already have every­thing you want or need. If this is the case, an online hon­ey­moon reg­istry like Hon­ey­fund can work well to fund expens­es like flights, hotels, meals, and excur­sions.

At the end of the day, it’s your spe­cial occa­sion. Reg­is­ter for what you want and need, and where it makes the most sense for you and your guests.

Fea­tured image by David and Sarah Lynn

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