A Wedding Registry Guide To Ensure You Get The Basics (And Beyond)

Creating a wedding registry should be fun, but it can come with a lot of stressful choices. Don’t worry, though—we’ve created the ultimate wedding registry guide with general tips, the pros of each different registry, and how to pick what’s on your list.

April 18, 2018
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There’s no denying that creating a wedding registry is one of the most exciting parts of getting married. It’s a fun task that assists all of the well-wishers who want to congratulate you with a wedding gift and allows you to truly begin imagining your life and home with the person you’ll marry. However, even though picking out things you like sounds like an easy task, creating a registry is a process—and one that you should definitely put some thought into.

That’s where we come in. From picking out which registry site to use to selecting the items on your list and making sure you follow up appropriately once the gifts are purchased, here’s everything you need to know about creating the perfect wedding registry for you.

The Sites

Forget the days of registering at one store or another—universal wedding registries are where it’s at. They allow you to keep one cohesive list while adding items from any of your favorite stores, whether that’s Target, Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, or Pottery Barn. While you can’t go wrong with the major universal wedding registry options out there, each one has differences and benefits that can help you choose the one that’s right for you.

Amazon — Aside from having any product you could possibly want to add to your registry, one of the biggest benefits of registering with Amazon is shopping with Amazon Smile. When you create your registry with Amazon Smile, money gets donated to charity with every item that’s purchased, allowing your guests to give back as they give to you. As if that weren’t enough, Amazon will also keep track of when a gift was purchased and who bought it, which’ll make sending thank-you notes a breeze. You’ll even have a one-time opportunity to save 10 percent (20 percent for Prime members!) on anything that’s left on your registry after the big day.

Zola — Zola is a relatively new offering when it comes to universal wedding registries, but it’s already changing the game in a big way. Aside from its perfectly curated selection of products, Zola’s most notable feature allows you to add different experiences to your registry. Instead of a new cookbook, friends and family can buy you a meal plan from Blue Apron so you and your spouse-to-be can get into the kitchen together. You can even request gift cards for Southwest Airlines flights or stays at an Airbnb—perfect for planning your honeymoon or your next romantic getaway.

The Knot — As a huge name when it comes to the wedding industry, it should come as no surprise that The Knot also created a killer universal wedding registry. One of its newest features is also what helps it stand out the most. The Newlywed Fund allows your guests to gift you with cash for different experiences or more expensive items of your choice. It’s perfect for the couple who already has the silverware set and knife block of their dreams; they can create a fund for the bathroom remodel they’ve been dreaming of, their honeymoon trip, or even just for future date nights and experiences.

Blueprint Registry — Blueprint’s biggest advantage is not-so-subtly hidden right in its name. When most people plan their wedding registry, they tend to group things in a logical order—kitchen products together, tech accessories together…you get the idea. With Blueprint, you can step this concept up a notch by actually grouping together all of your similar items in a visual blueprint of the room they’ll go in. You can plan out your registry room by room, and your friends and family can easily browse your selections in the same way.

MyRegistry.com — MyRegistry.com allows you to combine the ease of creating an online registry with the traditional fun of shopping in a store. As you’re browsing a store in person, you can use the MyRegistry.com app to scan the barcodes of items that you like so they can instantly be added to your registry with the benefit of you seeing them in person first. Even better is that you can also add items without barcodes by taking a picture for the registry and writing a note about where your friends and family can find them.

Creating and Managing Your Registry

Once you’ve picked out which registry works best for you, the fun can begin—choosing the items and experiences you want on your list. Although it sounds like a dream come true, it can actually be a surprisingly difficult process. When creating your registry, here’s what you should keep in mind.

Take inventory.

You can’t pick out things that you need without first figuring out what you have. Coffee maker on the fritz? Need new dishes because you’ve broken all of yours over time? Start building your registry with things that you truly need and then home in on things that are less of a necessity and more of a luxury.

Vary the price points.

Let’s be real: Your co-worker isn’t going to buy you a Vitamix blender or a $200 Anthropologie quilt. When selecting items for your registry, it’s important to pick things that encompass a variety of price points so that anyone looking to get you a gift can feel comfortable doing so.

Think outside the box.

If you and your future spouse have already lived together for a while, there’s a good chance that you already have lots of things that might typically go on a wedding registry. While it’s a great opportunity to update some of your basics, it’s also your chance to ask for things that are a little more unconventional.

Luggage

Whether you travel often or you’re in need of a new bag before your honeymoon trip, luggage can be a great addition to your registry.

Art

Are your walls a little bare or are you and your honey planning on moving into a new house after the big day? Add some art to the list.

Cash Funds

Give family and friends the option to donate to a certain experience or project—kitchen renovations, a snorkeling getaway on your honeymoon, or even the cooking lessons you’ve always wanted. You can use your chosen universal registry site for this or try Honeyfund.

Charitable Donations

Instead of a gift for you, ask your guests to make a charitable donation in your name to the charity of your choice. Need a few things but also want to give back?

Both The Good Beginning and CrowdRise are good options if you are looking to exclusively “register” for charitable donations to be made in your name. You can also register through The Knot Gifts Back program, which automatically makes up to a 3 percent donation to a charity of your choice with each gift purchased from your registry.

Register early and make updates.

You don’t have to create your entire wedding registry the day after you get engaged, but starting one earlier is better. It’s great for any friends or family members who’d like to buy you a gift for pre-wedding celebrations or for those who know they can’t make it to your special day.

You should also continue to update your registry as time goes on—not just to add things that you need or want but to give guests more options at different prices. And don’t worry, having a bigger registry isn’t greedy—it actually helps your guests out.

Registry Items

Now that you’ve figured out where to register and gotten a good idea of what you might want to ask for, the time has come to start building your list. You may have a few things in mind already, but we’ve put together a handy list to help you cover the basics—and even a few things you might not have thought of.

Dining

When it comes to your dining essentials, there are a few things to take into consideration. It’s more than just picking out items in a style you like—you’ll also want to consider how many people are in your household, whether you want to ask for extras in case you accidentally break a plate or glass, and things you know you’ll use every day but don’t already have.

Consider asking for:

  • Dinnerware sets
  • Flatware
  • Steak knives
  • Glasses
  • Napkins
  • Napkin rings
  • Chargers

Get Started With Our “Dining” Registry Picks:

Entertaining

If you plan on having your family and friends over often, consider asking for pieces that will be handy when it comes to entertaining guests. When picking out your items, think about what types of gatherings you usually host and how many people you usually have over.

Consider asking for:

  • Platters
  • Ice bucket
  • Coasters
  • Wine glasses
  • Wine accessories
  • Cheese board

Get Started With Our “Entertaining” Registry Picks:

Cooking

If you’re a home chef, you may already have a well-stocked kitchen when it comes to the essentials. But if you’ve been thinking about upgrading your arsenal of ingredients and tools, now’s the time.

Consider asking for:

  • Pots and pans
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Casserole dishes
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cutting boards

Get Started With Our “Cooking” Registry Picks:


Small Appliances

If you already have plates, silverware, and glassware that you’re happy with, start thinking about bigger items that your kitchen is missing. You can even set up your wedding registry so that guests can contribute to the costs of larger items that you’ve been meaning to purchase.

Consider asking for:

  • Blender
  • Stand mixer
  • Toaster
  • Slow cooker
  • Pressure cooker
  • Coffee maker
  • Vacuum

Get Started With Our “Small Appliances” Registry Picks:

Bedroom

Perhaps your bedding needs an upgrade, or maybe you’re looking to start sprucing up your guest bedroom. Whatever the case may be, bedroom items are perfect to add to your wedding registry because they’re essential and tend to vary in price.

Consider asking for:

  • Lamps
  • Bedding
  • Pillows
  • Rug
  • Sheet sets
  • Hamper
  • Curtains
  • Sound machine

Get Started With Our “Bedroom” Registry Picks:

Bathroom

Your bathroom is one of the most used spaces in your home, so you’ll definitely want to think about adding some updated essentials. Think about adding more decorative pieces, too, or even requesting money for renovations.

Consider asking for:

  • Bath towels
  • Hand towels
  • Washcloths
  • Bath mat
  • Shower curtain
  • Scale
  • Wastebasket
  • Vanity containers

Get Started With Our “Bathroom” Registry Picks:

Beyond the Basics

If you’ve already got all the essentials covered, now’s the time to get creative. As we said before, think outside the box when it comes to your wedding registry and add things you want but that people might not always think to get you.

Consider asking for:

Get Started With Our “Beyond The Basics” Registry Picks:

Don’t want or need anything?

Check out these sites and request that donations be made to the charity of your choice in your name:

Or start a cash fund through Honeyfund to receive money toward home renovations or a down payment, honeymoon plans, or other experiences.

Giving Thanks

Perhaps the most important part of the wedding registry process is remembering to thank everyone who spent the time and money picking something out for you. Keeping a gift log (you can download this one for free!) is a great way to track who got you what and at which event they gave it to you, so you can easily thank your co-worker Linda for attending your bridal shower and buying you a new Crock-Pot.

It’ll also help you out when you get a gift that you know you probably won’t use but still want to be appreciative of anyway. At the next family function, you can remind yourself to rave to your notoriously wacky aunt about the sweaters she crocheted for you, even if you’ve never worn them.

Though your family and friends will appreciate receiving any sort of thank you for a gift they’ve bought you, there is an ideal time frame during which your thank-you cards should be sent. As soon as possible is best, but you should aim to get them all sent out within three months after your honeymoon.

If you’re looking for thank-you card suggestions, we’ve linked some good options below. Or if you want something more personalized, we suggest Paper Culture or Paper Source, where you can customize your own thank-you card sets that will be printed on post-consumer recycled paper.

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