A wedding registry gives you the chance to create the ultimate wish list for your new home and life together. It can be one of the most fun parts of planning your wedding, yet at times it can seem so overwhelming and stressful. The main purpose of a gift registry is to make sure that you don’t end up with multiple pots, toasters or coffee makers. It’s an efficient way to let guests know the items you really need and want for your future household. To help guide you through the process, we’ve laid out some of the most important things to know before starting your gift registry. We’re also breaking down the top wedding gift items that couples are registering for today!
PLANNING YOUR REGISTRY
Before you begin registering, take inventory of the items you both already own and may not need. Sit down as a couple to discuss the gifts you will be registering for. Compare your lists and then create a master gift registry list of items that you still need to help complete your new home together. Avoid the mistake of “planning” your registry as you walk through each store and scan items. That way you’re truly registering for the items that you really need, instead of items that you may never use.
WHEN TO REGISTER
It’s never too soon to begin your gift registries. Some friends and family may want to purchase gifts as soon as they hear about your engagement. Although it’s not necessary to purchase gifts for all pre-wedding events, some guests will end up bringing gifts to your engagement party, shower and bachelor/bachelorette party. It’s best to set up your registry within a month of your engagement. If you plan to have a longer engagement, you can hold off on registering until a few months before your first pre-wedding event.
WHAT TO REGISTER
Consider the activities that you enjoy doing as a couple. Do you like entertaining or cooking? Prioritize your registry list based off of your interests and needs. Try to stay away from choosing personal items, for instance, a men’s electric razor or a women’s curling iron. Those are items that will most likely go unpurchased since they can be seen more as personal items for the bride or groom instead of the couple. Instead, choose items that you can share as a couple in your new life together. Register for individual items instead of sets to give guests the option of purchasing a variety of less expensive items. Make sure to register for more gifts than there are guests, so that there will be plenty of items to choose from. It’s also a great idea to set up a separate shower registry with lower-priced items since guests will typically spend less on gifts for the shower than the wedding.
HOW TO REGISTER
Browsing for items online is a great way to narrow down your selection. Although, you will ultimately want to visit your favorite store to see and feel each item in-person so that you know the exact style and quality of every item on your list. Once you’re ready to begin, notify the sales associate that you’re there to register and they will help you get started.
CONSIDERING YOUR GUESTS
Choose gifts for every type of giver. Include a range of prices for guests to choose from. It’s best to register at 2–3 different places to give guests the option to choose the location and price point that works best for them. If possible, make sure your registries are available online to provide guests the option to easily purchase from their home. You should also check with your registry stores to make sure your gift registry will automatically be updated each time a new item is purchased from a guest to avoid receiving duplicates. If not, be sure to update and edit your registry lists often. Use your updated registry to help you organize your thank-you notes.
CHOOSING ITEMS YOU REALLY WANT
There’s no need to feel bad for choosing items that you really want and need. Not every item on your list has to be the least expensive item that you can find. Guests can always purchase a gift card in the amount that works best for their budget that will ultimately help you purchase those more expensive items on your list. Take the time to look around for different stores that have items that fit your style at a reasonable price.
ANNOUNCING YOUR REGISTRY
One of the best ways to inform guests about your gift registry, while still being respectful, is to include your wedding website on your save-the-dates or wedding invitations. This gives you a terrific option to include a gift registry page on your website that provides links to your online registry or store information. Bridal shower or wedding shower invitations are also a great way for those planning your shower to notify guests of the stores you’re registered at. Traditionally, it’s not proper to include your registries on your wedding invitations. This can send the message to guests that you want them to attend your wedding for the gifts that you may receive, rather than inviting them to be present on your special day. Share where you’ve registered at with your closest family and friends and let them spread the word for you. Always remember that guests aren’t required to buy you a gift or directly from your registry.
WHEN TO SEND THANK-YOU NOTES
Ideally, if you receive a gift before the wedding you should send a thank-you note within 2 weeks of receiving it. Thank-you notes for gifts received on or after your wedding day should be sent no later than 3 months after the event. Be sure to personalize your thank-you cards by making reference to the person and the gift that you received. Thank them for their thoughtfulness and even mention how you intend to use the gift in your new life together.
WHERE TO REGISTER
Our Top Wedding Gift Registry Tips:
• Make a plan. Sit down as a couple and write down a list of the items you already own and begin a new list of items that you still need to start your new life together.
• Start early. Set up your gift registries as soon as you can to avoid receiving duplicates of items and to help inform guests of the items you really need.
• Prioritize your gift list based on your interests as a couple. Keep in mind the interests you share and the activities you enjoy to create the most efficient list of items that you will actually use.
• Visit your favorite stores to view and feel items in-person.
• Include a range of prices. Give guests more options by registering at 2-3 different stores. Don’t forget to update your gift registry lists often.
• Choose items that you really want and take the time to find them at a reasonable price.
• Let family and friends spread the word. To be polite, don’t include your gift registries on your formal wedding invitations. Instead, provide links on your wedding website or let family and friends notify guests on shower invitations.
• Promptly send thank-you notes to respectfully acknowledge when you’ve received a gift. Send thank-you notes within 1-2 weeks for pre-wedding gifts and no later than 3 months after your wedding for gifts received on or after your wedding day.
Photography: Iwen Exposures