I got married about a month ago. People would always ask how I was doing, how I was finding being so busy, and were all the preparations difficult and overwhelming? Well, they were – just not in the way I think they meant.

People would assume it was the dress, the flowers, the caterer, and the photographer that were stressing me out – but it wasn’t.

It was the presents.

I had lived with my pre-husband for about three years before we got engaged, and being an Ikea-whore, we had pretty much everything we needed. But what about a knife set? Yeah, we had that. Oh, every couple needs a slow cooker! Well good, because we had one. Guest towels? Extra bedsheets? Nice pots? Yes, several, and plenty.

We had planned to ask our guests (tactfully, regardless of what my future mother-in-law thought) for “donations” to our future house fund, since the only thing a young couple living in Toronto trying to buy a house really needs is money. And for the most part, people were okay with that.

But we still needed to register for gifts. We knew there would be some people on our guest list who felt better buying gifts, so we had to give them something.

So off we headed to The Bay – the ultimate destination in bridal registry. We ended up registering mostly for things we already had – just nicer towels and nicer sheets. And a $500 Hudson’s Bay wool jacket was apparently “advised against” by the woman helping us (so were the pair of Jessica Simpson neon heels that looked fabulous on me).

Feeling accomplished, we headed out, thinking we were set until the wedding. What we hadn’t counted on was that our entire registry (all ten items!) wouldn’t really last the three bridal showers I was being given, never mind the wedding (surprisingly though, no one purchased the cheapest item on the list; silicone baking cups that were actually the one thing I was desperately after).

What we hadn’t anticipated was that our guests were too awesome for registries. While the bridal showers stuck fairly faithfully to the list, with some practical gifts like wine, baking ingredients, wine, night-apparel, and more wine thrown in for good measure, our wedding gifts were surprising and wonderful.

We received a cast iron pan, complete with a wooden spoon, that as it says, “is meant to complement and complete our wooden spoon collection.” We also received two books on enneagrams, a type of personality test that was the subject of a random conversation with the giver months before the wedding. All thoughtful, useful, and fun gifts.

So here’s my advice: when planning for your wedding, don’t go overboard on a registry if you don’t really want to make one. Your guests, at least the ones that know you well, will surprise you with their thoughtfulness. Also, register for those shoes, no matter what your bridal representative says. I bet they look fantastic.

Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer available at The Bay.

~ Shannon Mitchell