Your wedding registry puts down on paper everything you could possibly need and want after the rings have been exchanged. For most couples, it’s a chance to get everything you need for your home in one hit. Registering for gifts takes the guesswork out of gift-shopping for your guests, and ensures that you begin married life with all the basic necessities.
A wedding registry is the once in a lifetime chance for you to ask for, and receive, all the items you would ever want for your home. If it looks appealing or it’s something that you really, truly need, don’t be afraid to put it on the list!
We always recommend that your registry be a mix of must-have home essentials, things you’ve always wanted and items that reflect your hobbies — DIY and home improvement tools, sporting goods and even bottles of wine. Mix it up a little!
When starting your registry keep the following tips in mind:
Create a Registry: Friends and family want to buy you something you want and need so not having a registry for them to turn to will make the process more stressful for them. In addition to household items you can create a registry of products that reflect your hobbies or interests, a list of charities guests can donate to or a travel program to treat you to meals and activities while you’re on your honeymoon.
Register Early: You should register pretty soon after getting engaged. People are going to want to buy things for you fast, so being ready with your registry makes everybody’s life easier.
Register At Multiple Places: No one store has everything you need so register in several places to make sure you get great coverage. We’d recommend limiting it to no more than three places, because otherwise it all gets a little overwhelming.
Choose Stores With Rewards Programs & Great Website: Many retailers offer special discounts and gifts when you register with them so find out what benefits they offer before you start scanning. Choose at least one store which allows gift givers to shop and ship from the comfort of their home. A great website also matters because you’re going to want to add and edit things all the time. Trust us when we say that a great website is a godsend.
Register For Enough Gifts And Price Points: Not everybody can afford to buy you a $300 plate. Cover all your guests by having a whole range of price points covered. Also, make sure you register for two gifts for each person on your guest list (that’s a good guide).
Get Your Groom & Mom Involved: Yes, he needs a say as well, plus he is going to love holding the scanning gun when walking around the store. Also, don’t forget about Mom. She has run a home before so she is going to have great advice, plus you know she wants to be involved.
Think Longer Term Too: You may not be entertaining the whole family for Thanksgiving this year but you probably will in the years to come. It’s important to register for both the basics (everyday dishes, bed linens) as well as items you may need in the future like a gravy boat!
Quality Matters: Select items for your table (china, crystal, flatware) and kitchen (pots and pans, appliances) which will last years and in the case of tabletop items, become family heirlooms.
If you don’t find something you like here, don’t worry because we found an awesome list of the 30 Best Wedding Registry Stores that has more than enough choice.
10 Common Wedding Registry Questions
1. Should I register online or in the store?
We suggest to do both! Give your guests options and yourself as well. Building a registry online is super easy and can be a lot fun for both the bride and the groom. You can add things that aren’t easy to find in stores and get more unique items placed on your lists.
Physically going to the stores and grabbing one of those scanners is an entirely different experience though too. Do both and have a blast with each!
2. This is my second wedding. Can I still register?
A new home, a new marriage and lots of guests means that a lists of possible gifts are needed for your loved ones to peek at.
3. Can I register for incredibly pricey items like China?
Yes, you can! If you’ve fallen in love with something, there’s no harm in putting it on the registry. As long as you don’t have a list full of only high-priced items and your guests have options to choose from, you’re in the clear!
4. How much do I register for?
Always go with more rather than less. The rule of thumb is to register for at least two gifts per person. This way all of your guests have lots of options to choose from and none will become frustrated or pigeonholed.
5. What kind of retailers do I register at?
Register wherever you’d like. Popular stores include, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillards, Nordstrom and more. But even Amazon has a spot to house your wedding wish list. You’ll need to register at more than one so mix it up a bit.
Have a list at a more expensive retailer, something more mainstream and then something a bit more unique like a honeymoon fund or charity.
6. Do I need separate registries for the bridal shower and the wedding?
No, you don’t. Of course, you’ll be creating different lists at different stores but the gifts are essentially all going to the same place – the newlyweds! You don’t need to specify, allow guests to do what they want in terms of bringing presents to the shower and/or to the wedding.
7. When do I take my wedding registry down?
Most retailers will do this for you. Usually, the registry will stay active for a year after the wedding and you’ll be notified of its closure. Of course, you can always close it yourself a month or two after the wedding is over giving guests a chance that couldn’t attend a way for them to send something in lieu of their absence.
8. Do I have to register for only traditional items?
The content of the registry is completely up to you and your partner. If you don’t cook much at home, you don’t need to have a plethora of kitchen items taking up space on your list. Mix up the items that fit both your needs but also your wants and interests.
9. Can I have someone come with me besides the groom?
Of course you can! Moms and best friends, sisters too, whether the groom is there or not, it’s okay to have someone else by your side offering up advice. As long as the almost-newlyweds are both comfortable and happy with the decision, go for it!
10. What are some things to register for that I may not think of?
There are lots of practical items that people forget to register for or don’t think they can! For example, storage bins for the attic, garage shelving, mattress covers, iron & ironing boards and even patio furniture are all great options!
DO Get the word out but DON’T include registry cards within the actual wedding invitation.
It should be general knowledge as wedding etiquette rule number one to never include registry cards in with the wedding invitation. Directing your guests towards your own wedding website, however, that so happens to contain a registry – as well as all of the other details of your wedding – can be a little more tactful. Just include the domain URL to your wedding website on your invitations and let your guests do the rest.
With the various list of new top level domains on the internet, you can even get creative and include your name and your fiancé’s name in the domain, with .wedding instead of .com or something else cute and to your taste.
DO set up your registry at least 4-5 months before the main event.
You want to set up your registry early enough that people aren’t scrambling to buy a gift at the last minute. Normally 4-5 months before the wedding is a good enough amount of time to finalize your registry. If you do go the personal wedding website rout, which includes your registry, you will be able to add to or revise items at will, which can help aid the time constraint of seasonal items, as well as give you more freedom if something comes to mind or your wishes change.
DON’T register at over three different stores.
It is important that you practice a little restraint here. If your guests visit your registry and see 20 different stores on it, they will most likely get overwhelmed by too many options. The general rule of thumb is to limit your store choices to a maximum of three, and don’t register for similar items at each store. If you choose stores that have a wide variety of products instead of incredibly specialized, you are more likely to cover all of your desired gift areas.
On the other hand, if you already have all of the things that you need, you can easily set up a specialized registry for guests to give contributions to charities of your choice, or even set up a honeymoon registry so that guests can contribute to your honeymoon instead.
DO mix up item price points and types.
Ultimately, you should stick to a price range that you yourself are willing to pay at a friend or family member’s wedding. Or, if you do have “big ticket” items, then set it up in a way that more than one guest can contribute towards that gift. Also, stay away from anything that seems like a “gift grab.”
Although you may want a hot tub or a plasma TV, you should include gift items on your registry that seem practical as well as romantic. After all, you really want your guests there to share the day with you, gifts themselves are a secondary kind gesture and not the reason for the invitation.
What About a Honeymoon Registry?
If you’re a couple that’s already settled into a home with all of life’s major necessities, a honeymoon registry may be more your speed. It’s a wonderful alternative to traditional wedding registries and your guests will love contributing to such a memorable, beautiful moment in your lives.
There are lots of different spots to set up your Honeymoon Fund online where guests can hop on, read about your travels and donate as much or as little as they’d like. Some places even allow you to do some serious breaking down of your trip so your loved ones can see exactly where their money is going.