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What to put on your gay wedding registry

Revamp your registry

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Your wedding isn’t traditional by virtue of the fact that you are marrying your same-sex partner. So why is your gift registry straight out of the 1960s?

“A lot of people feel forced to do the registry,” says Laura Cattano, a professional organizer based out of New York City who helps couples organize and de-clutter their homes. “A lot of people don’t want to do it, but they feel relatives want to buy them something.”

Cattano has become intimately familiar with the junk that can quickly accumulate if registries aren’t carefully curated. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your registry, instead of a pile of appliances that you will never use:

You can’t beat Ben & Jerry’s

So don’t even bother requesting an ice cream maker.

Cattano has glanced at many clients’ registries. She always has the same question: Have you ever used a napkin ring before in their lives?

The answer, according to Cattano is never surprising: No.

“Then they’re like, ‘Why did I register for napkin rings?’”

To avoid a clutter catastrophe much bigger than a napkin ring (or a bread basket, also unnecessary), Cattano advises that you sit down with your partner and realistically think about what your life, post-marriage, will look like.

Will you be moving in together for the first time? Redecorating? Think about what you will actually need, and then craft a registry around that.

Restock via your registry

You have probably been cohabitating with your fiance for a while being that it is 2013, you are gay, and same-sex marriage recently became legal. That means you may not need pots and pans, dishes, or any of the usual registry stuff. So why not use the opportunity to upgrade what you do have? Fresh bedding and new towels are always a good idea — and the old linens can be donated to animal shelters.

Nix the knickknacks

By far, the most popular gifts Cattano sees in her clients’ homes are pricey decorative items that are gathering dust and cluttering up the room.

“If you’re going to register for those things, make sure you’re not registering for seven chrome vases,” she says, adding that you should know where things like vases, bowls, and frames will go before asking for them.

And beware of trapping thought: I would never buy that for myself, so I should ask for it!

“If you’ve lived this long without it, why would you want it now?” says Cattano.

Spread the love

Your Aunt Myrna is old-fashioned, so you have to register at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for something simple and practical. But a registry doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can create several.

“Register a few things you would actually use, and then think outside the registry,” Cattano says.

Gift cards and donations for dream honeymoons are a great way for friends and family to buy couples something special without overflowing their kitchen cabinets.

“Think about what you guys do as a couple. Say, ‘Here are three of our favorite restaurants, so if anyone wants to chip in and get us a gift card, that would be great’ ” Cattano advises. “Chop up the registry, so not everything’s at Crate and Barrel.”

Quality over quantity

Under no circumstances should you request a set of anything.

“You never need the set,” Cattano stresses. “For the same price, you can get the three pieces you really want, the pieces you’ll actually use, at a higher grade, and you won’t have to store 15 pieces.”

And don’t feel compelled to ask for every kind of cocktail glass. A margarita tastes the same in a tumbler and a margarita glass.

Consider others

Maybe you don’t want more stuff. Maybe you’re worried that you will only get the cheap stuff and no one will spring for the big-ticket items on your registry. Or maybe you’re really philanthropic. Whatever the reason, consider having friends and family donate to a charity — especially one that deals with LGBT rights.

“Think about giving to others,” says Cattano. “Tell your family, ‘They have fought for us and given us this. Now it’s our turn to give to them.’ ”

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