Wedding Registries: The Basics

As per the wedding registry’s rich history, the bride’s family would contribute a dowry of homemaking items (linens, china, and silverware) for a groom’s family’s piece of land. Today, registries can be created at one or multiple stores, can be managed online, and can even be dedicated to one specific theme, such as the newlyweds’ honeymoon. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your wedding registry.


The Perks of a Wedding Registry

  • The newlyweds get what they want/need – the couple can rest easy knowing they will receive at least some of what they’ve suggested. The core advantage of using a registry is that it allows for the exact item and quantity to be displayed for all. Guests will see when all necessary gifts in a certain category have been bought, and choose accordingly.
  • It showcases the couple’s style – perhaps a guest, maybe an extended family member, hasn’t seen the couple in years. A registry is a quick way of expressing who the couple is, and what they desire. Even those not buying from the registry will have an easier time discovering items fit for the couple’s style.
  • It saves time for guests – not everyone has the time to create a hand-crafted wonder for the newlyweds, and lots of guests will have multiple weddings to attend during wedding season. A registry, in its simplest form, is a list of gifts for guests to grab, wrap, and deliver.
  • It’s optional – guests can choose the tea towels to match your kitchen décor, or give you that heirloom quilt they’ve been working on for months. The registry is a suggestion, not a requirement.
  • Prevents double-gifting – save traveling guests from hauling, or non-attending guests from shipping large, expensive items that have already been bought by other guests.

Registry Guidelines

There’s no one right item to put on your registry, but there are certainly guidelines in helping your wedding gifting experience run smoothly. Below are some simple ways to ask for what you want, without any unnecessary stress!

  • Plan and present the registry early – start by speaking with your spouse-to-be and create an as-you-go list. Then, decide which stores to register with, and create your official registry. Then, include your registry information on all wedding-related stationary including save-the-dates and invitations, and your website if you’ve got one.
  • Make sure guests know it’s optional – a simple way to diffuse the “I have to buy WHAT? From WHERE?” issue is to inform all guests that the registry is optional. These are suggested gifts that you selected but are not guaranteed.
  • Provide both larger and smaller ticket items – being mindful of the guests’ budgets is vital. Make sure you have gifts of various price points in your registry. I personally love to buy lots of less expensive items on the list, some items not on the list, and then personalize the wrapping.
  • Include some traditional items – even if you are a modern couple with a registry full of camping gear or tech-savvy gadgets, including some traditional items like fine dinnerware, bed linens, and cooking accessories will pay homage to the dowry-style registries of the past, and acknowledge older or less-contemporary guests.
  • Choose around three stores – most big box stores will have everything you need and then some, and choosing a small number will save you from confusion. On the flip side, choosing a variety of stores should ensure that no matter what the guests’ budget, they can participate in buying a gift from the registry. Consider the ways in which guests can purchase and deliver items, such as in store, online, or by phone.
  •  Update the registry – have some items in various price ranges hidden on your registry until right before the wedding. When you see that guests are purchasing gifts, “replenish” the list so that later-buyers have more options to choose from!
  • When in doubt, ask for gift cards – It is considered almost vulgar to ask for money right-out, so don’t do it! Instead, choose some restaurants or stores and ask for gift cards!

Some may claim the registry to be tacky or too old fashioned for a young couple to use, but with the number of registry gift options available, you’ll be well on your way to a perfectly balanced registry in no time at all.

Trends in Wedding Registries

  • Honeymoon Registry – lots of couples these days have already been living comfortably together, and don’t need homeware- related gifts. Certain online registries even let you itemise your honeymoon registry so guests can contribute for your hotel stay, airfare, and newlywed experiences like surfing lessons or romantic dinners.
  • Homebuyers Registry – similar to the honeymoon registry; couples looking to save for a new house, but not ask for money right out, can assign monetary amounts to different aspects of their new home. A few dollars for a welcome mat, a few hundred for a window, and so on and so forth.
  • Local Lifestyle Registry – always wanted to learn a foreign language but never had the spare cash to do it? A local lifestyle registry can help with some unique newlywed experiences. Go on a wine tasting tour, learn how to play an instrument, or enjoy other local attractions with your new spouse!
  • Foodie Registry – delicious gourmet food for free! This registry is dedicated to the experimental eaters who want a taste of the best things in life.
  • Charity Registry – for the benevolent couple, using a portion or all of your registry gift funds for a charitable donation is certainly a welcomed option.

Don’t Forget the Thank You Cards!

Save your wedding invitation address list, and if choosing an online registry, make sure there is a clearly-defined method to identify who purchased which item or experience. You will want to send personalised, handwritten thank you cards within 3 months of your wedding date at the latest to each person who presented a gift. Having everything on file will save you the headache of tracking down addresses. Now start thinking of what kind of registry fits your future.