Why have a gift registry?

Unless you want to end up with half a dozen toasters and a score of household items you already have, gift registries are a practical and polite way to let your guests know what gifts you’d appreciate the most.

Nowadays, most couples move in together before marriage, so they already own all the typical wedding household gifts. A registry allows couples to politely ask for items they can actually use, instead of knick-knacks that will gather dust on the shelf.

Registering for gifts can be a tedious task in planning, but it is a great way to let your guests know what you want or truly need for the next chapter in your life together. Here are a few tips to help you with the gift registry process.

Costs

A common misconception with gift registries is that the gifts need to be cheap. It’s actually recommended that you choose gifts in a variety of price ranges so every guest's budget can be accommodated. Register for more items than there are guests at the wedding to give people plenty of choices.

Costs for these items add up fast, so it’s nice to get a little help from your friends and family. Having a gift registry can ease any financial burden you and your spouse may experience in the first couple years of married life.

Variety

Household items are especially popular for registries. Kitchen appliances such as slow or pressure cookers, blenders, food processors, vacuum sealers, etc. are all standard gifts. Others to consider are silverware, cookware – whether its utensils or a matching set of pots and pans - salt and pepper shakers, placemats, and dinner sets. Another popular area to register for is the bathroom. Is your shower missing a curtain? Will you have matching towels when you move in? If you are already living together, go through each room in your dwelling and think of items that are missing or could use replacing. Do you need a clock in the office or new bulbs for your living room lamp? Maybe you've been longing for a beautiful piece of wall art for your bedroom? No gift is too big or too small for a registry. The more items you add, the more options you provide your guests.

Where to Register

Add the registry information to your wedding website. Avoid adding any gift information to the wedding invitation, as this is traditionally considered tacky. There are plenty of websites that help you with the gift registry, including Zola, CheckedTwice, and ThankfulRegistry. There is also the option to set up registries for large department stores and locally owned shops, which will help your non computer-savvy guests. Read The 6 Best Online Wedding Registries, a blog by Ashley Knierim, for a list of available retailers and the pros/cons of each.

In the past, most guests registered at only one location. Nowadays, couples have found it beneficial to register at multiple locations to provide better availability to guests. Something to consider if you do that is to double-check your lists! Don’t put one gift on both lists because then you are likely to receive duplicates.

Trends

A new wedding trend, “honeymoon registries,” has been on the rise. Instead of asking for gifts, this registry asks guests to fund one experience on the honeymoon, like scuba diving, room service, or bike rentals. Online registries like Honeyfund help couples save for their perfect trip with help from their guests.

Another increasingly popular registry trend for more minimalist couples is “charity registry.” The couple lists one or several charities to donate to in lieu of giving a gift. These causes should not be anything polarizing or political.

Thank-You's

Make sure to write thank-you notes to everyone once you return from the honeymoon. It is polite to send the cards within three months of your wedding date. Try to mention the gift specifically and how you and your spouse will use it.

Most importantly, keep in mind that your wedding day isn’t about the great, or not-so-great, gifts you’ll receive, but the amazing experience you get to have with your spouse and your families! It will go by in the blink of an eye, so take it all in and enjoy the day!

Written by Sarah Richards