– Ask Cheryl Question – Help! My Daughter Is Stressed Out About Her Wedding Registry

Question from a reader …

Dear Cheryl,

sad woman sitting on bench with shopping paper bagMy daughter is trying to register for her wedding. She started a new job so does not have time to shop. Also, she knows it will be awhile before they can buy furniture because her fiancé is still in school. She is stressing so badly that she is having trouble deciding on anything, much less enjoying it. If she likes something, it doesn’t go with their run down house and furniture. I told her to get what she likes and don’t worry about her furniture or the run down house they’re in. Eventually she can change all that. But I think she is so stressed she cannot even decide what she likes. I don’t know what else to tell her to do. She is spending her evenings and weekends shopping. She comes home frustrated and empty. Any suggestions? Thank you!

– Kim M.

My answer …

Dear Kim,

What is your daughter’s wedding date? Registering does not have to be the first thing she does. Is she up against any time deadlines? While it is recommended to register six months before the wedding, that is not absolutely necessary. As long as she has some of her registry completed about six to eight weeks before a bridal shower (if there is one) or two to three months before the wedding (depending on when the invitations are mailed) she should be fine. Of-course, there are always some early birds.

Here are some options that may help ease the stress:

  1. Start with the basics. Pick a basic white dinnerware and everyday flatware from her favorite store. Crate&Barrel has some great choices. You never get tired of basic white plates. Then you can dress them up with placemats and accessories that can be replaced as your tastes or budget changes.
  2. Tell her the decisions she makes today are not written in stone. Register for some things from her favorite stores. If she changes her mind after the wedding (or even before), she can return the items and get something different. Just make sure to pick a store with a good return and exchange policy.
  3. Don’t register. While most couples do create a wedding registry, not all do.  It is really done for the convenience of the wedding guests, but it is not absolutely necessary. If she doesn’t register, she will receive gifts picked by the givers and may love their choices. If not, she will be able to exchange most of those that she doesn’t like.

There are so many details in wedding planning, and making decisions is just more stressful for some than it is for others. Unfortunately, there are no real shortcuts to registering. Some people love it and some find it a chore.

It sounds like you’re giving her good advice, however, if I may be so bold, I’d like to make a suggestion to you. As mothers, we are always worried about our children. They often use us as sounding boards, and when they’re upset, we’re upset. To ease your stress, try to stop worrying about her decisions. They are, after all, her decisions. When she talks to you about her frustrations, simply listen and realize that you can’t solve her problems. She is choosing to stress out about registering and until she decides to relax, you can’t change her emotions. Possibly say to her, “I know you can handle it and will be able to figure it out.” Telling our children that we have confidence in their abilities, sometimes gives them the confidence to complete the task.

No doubt, the role of the mother-of-the-bride is challenging. Good luck! I hope you are both able to enjoy the day.

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