Let’s Talk about Wedding Registries

The Purpose of a Wedding Registry

The main purpose of a wedding registry is to essentially serve as a wish list of items that you’d love to receive as wedding gifts. The initial idea behind a registry was to help the couple start their new life together and get all the stuff they’d need to start their new household. Now, as people get married later and are often already living together, most couples already have a lot of the household essentials, but I still think registering for gifts is important! People are going to get you gifts for your wedding (they want to celebrate with you!), so registering gives you the opportunity to direct what that gift may be.

Where to Register

Creating a wedding registry can be overwhelming and the first thing you need to figure out is where you want to register at. I find that typically registering at three stores is ideal. Generally, you want to have a variety of stores that will give you a good selection of gifts at a variety of price points. You should include at least one brick and mortar store in your registries because although many of you guest will shop online, you will probably have guests that want to shop in person. When you are selecting registries online make sure to look into the perks they include with a wedding registry. A lot of stores offer extended exchanges or discounts on the remaining items on your registry, so take that into account when you are selecting the place you’ll be registering.

I briefly want to mention the online all-in-one registries. I have never personally used one, and I’ve heard mixed things about people’s experiences. Some people love them, some people hate them. I think if you are registering at a couple of big box stores, it’s probably easier to just register through those stores and keep things simple. However, these all in one registries might be a great option if you are want to register for things from everywhere, as they act as a master list.

What to Register For

I believe that the sky is the limit for items to include on your registry! If you are lost at where to start, there are essentials lists out there to help you figure out the basics. (I’m a fan of this one from Martha Stewart). While you don’t necessarily need everything on this list, it can give you a great place to start. If you already have a lot of the basics, think of this as an opportunity to upgrade your items to pieces that will last a lifetime.

Make sure you aren’t just picking things because you’re “supposed to.” Even if you are picking essential items, make sure to select the patterns and styles you love and would love to have in your home for years to come. Try to see items in person if you can. While creating a registry online is super easy, for some of these items (like plates and flatware) that you’ll be using every day, take the time to see the pieces in the store.

While I think an essentials list is a great place to start, consider adding things that are specific to your interests and a little more outside of the box. Do you love game nights with friends? Add some new board games to your registry. Are you both fitness enthusiasts? Add a couples membership to the nice gym in town. People love getting you things that they know you’ll actually use.

There are varying thoughts on how much you should put on your registry, but I recommend at least 2 items per guest. You want to make sure guests have a good selection for any events they are attending (ie bridal shower, etc.). You also want to make sure you also include items at every price point. Your guests will have different budgets, so you want to make sure they can find something appropriate. I think it’s also nice to have a good variety of types of items. People like to give you something they have a connection to, so having everything from serving trays and tea towels to luggage and artwork, should give everyone something they love. Keep an eye on your registry as your event gets closer, so you can fill in any gaps if things are looking a bit sparse on your registry.

Cash Registries, Honeymoon Funds, and Other Registry Alternatives

There are a ton of options if you want to include a cash registry option. These can be great, but I still think you need to have a registry of physical gifts. Some people (myself included) want to give you a tangible gift for your wedding. If you don’t have a registry, they’ll still get you a physical gift, it just might not be something you want. For your cash registry get specific about what the money is going towards. Guests feel more included when you list specific experiences or goals that you are saving for rather than you just including your Venmo. I think sometimes guests dislike cash registries because it can feel like a cash grab, but if you list specific experiences (like a wine tasting on your honeymoon or a new home fund) guests feel more included in helping shape your new life together.

Where to Share your Registries

There are a few traditional rules about how and where to share your registry information. It should not go on your invitation, however, you can include a link to your wedding website on your invites. Etiquette also indicates that the registry shouldn’t be on the homepage of your wedding registry, but can be on a secondary page. If you aren’t doing a wedding website, word of mouth is the best way to share your registry information. Make sure your immediate family and the bridal party knows where you are registered, so they can pass that info along to other guests. Also, make sure your both of your first and last names are attached to the registry if possible because then it will often pop up in a google search.