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Tips for Creating the Ultimate Wedding Registry

If you’re looking to get married, the next step is to create a wedding registry. It’s your opportunity to let your guests know what gifts you would like, and it can be both fun and helpful for them in choosing their gift.

Have you ever gone to a wedding and wished you had known about the couple’s registry before the event? Or, have you ever been invited to a friend’s wedding and asked what their registry is?

You may have heard of the term “wedding registry” before, but are you familiar with what it is? A wedding registry is a list of items that newlywed couples register for at various stores to receive gifts. In this blog post, we will go over creating an ultimate wedding registry checklist that will help make the process easier and more efficient.

Every couple is different when it comes to what they want for their wedding. Some couples will get married and have a very simple reception, while others might want to throw an extravagant party with all the bells and whistles. No matter what your wish list includes, there are a few essential items that every couple should register for at their local retailer.

The most important part of any wedding is the registry. Whether you’re looking for appliances, china, or a set of pots and pans, your registry should have everything you need to create a comfortable home with your new spouse. But keeping track of all those items can be difficult, so we’ve put together this list to make it easy for you!

This post will provide an in-depth guide to creating the perfect wedding registry. From deciding on what’s necessary to assemble the right pieces that fit your needs and style preferences. We’ll also give tips on how best to use it once you get married!

Putting together a wedding registry is hard enough, but adding in all the items, you want to gift your guests can seem daunting.

There are lists of items that can be used as gifts for both the bride and groom, including games, books, kitchen supplies, and more! So whether they’re into cooking or not-you’ll find something everyone will love here.

Read on to learn about some tips and tricks for creating a well-rounded list!

Why Have a Wedding Registry?

It may feel weird to register for wedding gifts, but it’s totally expected—and honestly appreciated. A registry takes the guesswork out of wedding gift-giving. It gives guests the confidence that they’re purchasing something meaningful and useful to the couple.

Plus, it shows them what other guests have bought. That way, your loved ones aren’t accidentally ordering duplicates.

Meanwhile, you can track guest purchases on your end, making writing thank-you notes so much easier. On top of that, some wedding registries offer couples extra perks, such as post wedding discounts on their ungifted items.

What is a cash or honeymoon registry?

Now, what about your lifestyle? What kinds of things do you do together? Hobbies, travel, philanthropic pursuits? What do you dream of doing together in the future?

Luckily, the types of wedding registry have evolved – as have attitudes generally — to allow you to register for “experiences,” a honeymoon fund, contributions to charity, and other such non-traditional gifts. So even if your marital household will be pretty well equipped with what you already own, there are lots of options for your wedding registry.

If you decide that what you need is cash, you can set up a registry for that. But guests like to know what they’re contributing to, so you should explain the purpose of the funds: a down payment on a house, for example, or a renovation.

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What Should You Add?

A well-rounded registry has a mix of practical and personal picks at a range of different price points. Base the size of your registry on the size of your guest list, with options for everybody. As you’re searching for good wedding registry ideas, keep these types of products in mind:

  • Items you’ll often use: Which kitchen accessories do you need to cook your favourite recipes to perfection? What entertaining essentials are you constantly borrowing from family or friends? If it’s something you know you’ll use regularly, it’s an excellent wedding registry item.
  • Items that suit your style: Think about your shared style, the types of designs that bring you joy, and the colours and patterns that’ll look amazing with the rest of your home decor.
  • Items that are made to last: The best wedding registry items can be cherished for years to come and won’t need frequent replacing.
  • Items reflect your relationship: Think about your shared passions and hobbies and honour them on your registry. Guests will love seeing your personalities shine through, and it’ll make their gifts feel more special.

What Should You Skip?

Think about what you already have and what you’ve happily lived without. What kinds of things are collecting dust on your shelves? Are there certain gadgets and gizmos that you’ve never found a use for? That’s the type of stuff to skip.

It’s also good to think about the intent of the item. Super-personal gifts meant for only one of you are best saved for a birthday or holiday wish list. For your registry, focus on the things you and your partner will both appreciate and enjoy.

Creating Your Wedding Registry

A wedding registry is a curated list of gifts an engaged couple creates to make the wedding gift experience easier and more guided for their wedding guests.

We know you have a wedding checklist as long as your arm: shop for a bridal gown, choose a reception venue, order wedding stationery, etc., etc. Create a wedding registry better be on there, too. It’s an important part of planning both your wedding and your married life. Follow these wedding registry tips, and you’ll create a wedding gift list that both you and your guests will love.

Though dress shopping, cake tasting, and selecting your stationery are thrills in their own right, many couples find that creating their registry brings a new level of enjoyment to wedding planning. After all, what’s not to love about making a shoppable wish list—especially one that will help you and your partner begin married life on the right foot?

1. Get started early

It takes more time than you might expect to create a wedding registry and deserves your attention. After all, your cake and flowers make your wedding day special, but the wedding gifts you choose are for the rest of your life! Besides, your friends and family will be looking for wedding gift ideas before you know it (bridal showers, hello!).

2. Make it a joint project

Hey, you’re in this together. So put aside some quality couple time to contemplate your future life together and think about what kinds of gifts would make you happy. Then, when it comes time to create a wedding registry, make a date for it.

3. Assess your household needs

Even couples who already live together should do this… in fact, especially those couples. Go from room to room in your home. Look at the furniture and decor. Open the drawers and cupboards.

What’s missing? What needs to be upgraded or replaced? What would be a welcome addition? Then make a list of wedding registry ideas. We’ve put together this wedding registry checklist to help you out.

4. Do your research

For example, if you have decided you would like new pots and pans, figure out what would best suit your cooking habits (tri-ply? copper-bottomed?). Need bed sheets? Look into the nuances of fabric content and thread count. You get the picture.

5. Think ahead

Can you imagine your future selves hosting big parties or family gatherings? Register for the appropriate number of place settings (we recommend at least 12). Are you likely to travel? Register for luggage. At the same time, be realistic: do you have enough storage space for the stuff you hope to get?

6. Shop in person

You might end up doing most of your wedding registry-related stuff online, but even if you do, go to the store and examine products in person.

How does that crystal highball feel in your hand? Is the colour of your dinnerware pattern the same in person as on your computer screen? Is that vacuum cleaner easy to manage? Do you both find the luxury mattress comfortable?

7. Things to put on a wedding registry

Nowadays, you can think outside the gift box and register for all kinds of things. Consider a honeymoon registry, experiences, cash fund, gift cards and even charitable donations. One rule of thumb: they should be things for you as a couple.

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8. Shop around

Wondering how to choose a wedding registry? First, make sure you choose reliable, reputable gift registry retailers. Pro tip: here are all the questions to ask your wedding registry consultant.

9. Be considerate of your guests

Who are they? Older or younger, affluent or scraping by, traditionalists or non-conformists? Put yourselves in their shoes and give them choices they’ll be comfortable with: a range of price points, traditional gifts or unusual ones, the ability to shop online or in person.

Of course, some of them will be last-minute shoppers, so check on your wedding registry regularly as your big day approaches to ensure there are still many options.

10. Be grateful

Appreciate that this is a wonderful privilege. And don’t forget those thank-you notes.

Major Wedding Registry Don’ts

Your friends and family want to contribute something to your new married life together. Something… but what? If you’ve already settled into your place, it may be hard to figure out what to get you.

That’s where your wedding registry comes into play. While writing your wish list shouldn’t be too difficult, there are some things you’ll want to avoid.

From not rushing the process to not waiting too long to send those thank-you notes, we’ve got etiquette tips and advice to make the wedding gift experience great for you and your guests.

1. Don’t rush through the registry process

Like other wedding tasks, creating a wedding registry that works well for you and your guests takes time. If you are registering at a retailer, plan on making a few visits.

Start by setting up an appointment with a wedding registry consultant to learn about their services, ask questions and look at their products. Once you’re ready to start adding items, you may want to break it down into two visits to allow time to make some decisions and do any necessary research.

Finally, it would be best to visit the month before your wedding to add more seasonal items and ensure enough things are remaining for guests to choose from. Pro tip: use our wedding registry checklist for wedding gift ideas.

2. Don’t think short term

If you’re going the traditional route and asking for gifts to outfit your home, you’ll want to focus on the future. For example, will you host large holiday gatherings? Will you have dinner parties? Will you buy a home with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms? Also, think about what items you already have that could use an upgrade, like kitchenware and bed linens.

3. Don’t make the gift options too limited

Between bridal showers and wedding gifts, your guests will be doing a fair amount of shopping for you, so they’ll want options. Be sure to register for various items at different price points so that they can select something that suits their style and budget.

These days, you can also register for group gifts, gift cards, a honeymoon and even experiences, so feel free to add some of those to your list. Also, be sure to monitor your wedding registry (this can usually be done online) throughout your engagement, especially the days right before a bridal shower or your wedding day, to ensure gift ideas remain for those last-minute shoppers.

4. Don’t just ask for cash

Your crew might be cool with this practical notion, but some older friends and relatives may have more traditional ideas. If you don’t register for some gifts, they are likely to take matters into their own hands and choose one for you that may not be to your taste.

Register for a few “traditional” gifts that will hold meaning for you for years to come, like picture frames for your wedding photos, some stylish barware, a statement vase and a gourmet kitchen appliance/cookware.

5. Don’t be too vague

If you do primarily want cash, then use your wedding website to tell guests what you plan to do with it — outfit or renovate your home, make your dream honeymoon, put a down payment on a house, etc.— so guests know exactly what they’re gifting you.

Pro tip: if you aren’t going the traditional route, set up a honeymoon registry or cash registry and have a card box at your wedding reception to make it easier for guests to give monetary gifts.

6. Don’t register too late

Your friends and family will probably start brainstorming gifts for you when they see your engagement ring, so create your wedding registry ASAP. Seriously, unless you’re open to unwrapping a few surprises on your big day, the job should be done well before your bridal shower(s) and before you send out your wedding invitations.

7. Don’t forget to tell your guests

Once it’s crafted, you’re going to need to let your guests know about it. You shouldn’t mention your gift registry on your wedding invitations according to traditional etiquette, although it is acceptable to include it with bridal shower invitations.

If you’re more modern about things, you might put registry info on your save-the-date cards. One popular option is to include the URL of your wedding website on invitations, etc., and have the registry information posted there. In many instances, guests will ask — you, your parents, or members of your family or wedding party – so make sure everyone has your wedding registry details.

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8. Don’t keep score

It’s a tremendous privilege to receive wedding gifts. However, it’s not your right to receive them, nor your guests’ obligation to give them. And it’s certainly not a tit-for-tat proposition — that is, don’t expect a guest to provide you with a gift whose value is at least equal to what you paid for their meal at the reception.

9. Don’t wait too long to send those thank-you notes

The retailer holds most registry gifts until after the wedding so that you can receive everything at once, but they’ll let you know a purchase has been made, giving you all the info you need to send out your wedding thank-you notes.

If the gift is given before the wedding or at a bridal shower, send out a thank-you note within three weeks of receiving the gift or the notification from the retailer that the gift purchase was made. If you received the gift on your wedding day, you have a bit more time, but don’t wait too long — 3 months at most.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How should you share your registry information? 

Integrate your wedding registry into your wedding website, and share the link to your wedding website on all formal communication about your weddings, such as save-the-dates and wedding invitation [suites]. There is no need to share the link to your registry specifically.

When it comes to blasting out your registry on social media, different cultures have different takes. Some feel fine sharing at large, especially if it is customary in their community to celebrate marriages even when they won’t be attending the wedding.

In contrast, others feel it’s inappropriate to share if not all followers will be invited to the wedding events. So go with your gut on this one, or take a cue from what close friends or family with similar guest lists have done in the past.

2. Is it okay to ask for money instead of gifts? 

It is completely acceptable to register for cash; we recommend creating specific cash funds so guests can get excited about contributing to something tangible.

Many couples use this opportunity to cover honeymoon expenses—hence the rise in popularity of the honeymoon registry—but there’s no need to feel limited to that. Create a fund for round-trip airline tickets, theatre tickets for two, or a just-married dinner at a fave local restaurant.

3. Should you be paying attention to the cost of items?  

The value of a gift is not tied to the price tag, and it’s important to give guests options they feel comfortable with. Each guest will approach your registry with a different price point in mind.

Guests who want to spend more will often bundle items together to reach that goal, so it’s good to include a mix of $50 and under articles between $50 and $100 and over $100. And don’t feel self-conscious about registering for a few higher ticket items as well.

Loved ones often like to join in on gifts together, and you never know who might want to spring for something extra nice.

4. Is there anything that’s not appropriate to register for? 

We really believe that anything is on the table. The rule of thumb is to make sure a registry is balanced between partners.

For example, if one partner wants to register for the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer, the other partner might add a super-plush bathrobe or some cookbooks. Partners don’t have the same taste or hobbies to be married; they have to create a comfy home.

5. Is it okay to keep adding to your registry?

Absolutely! Your registry is an evolution. The best way to get started is to take an inventory of your home—think about what’s missing, what needs an upgrade.

Then, as wedding planning continues, it’s natural to think of more ideas and continue adding as gifts are purchased. Nobody will believe there are too many gifts, but they might feel disappointed if all of the gifts are purchased.

6. How many registries should you have?

Most couples have between one and three wedding registries. A versatile supersite like Zola allows couples to register for material goods and cash all in one place and is always a good place to start.

From there, a couple might also register at a department store (Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s), a big box store (Target, Bed Bath & Beyond), or other national chains (West Elm, The Container Store).

A couple might also have more niche goals for their early married life—home renovations, art purchases, major honeymoon adventures—or could be interested in supporting a charitable cause instead of gifts.

Registry sites exist for all of these options, and couples often find that using a combination of a few is the best way to cover everything.

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