While building a registry for your wedding is exciting and can be tons of fun, it is also quite overwhelming. The sheer number of options is enough to make anyone second-guess their choices. There are many unspoken items to navigate when you start your registry. In this guide, we will cover the most critical seven tips for creating the ultimate wedding registry.
- Register ahead of time
- Register for more gifts than there are guests
- Think about the present and the future
- Communicate with your partner
- Be realistic
- Forget the rules—get what you need
- Include a range of price points
Registering for your wedding is a big task and is often difficult to navigate. Between advice from family members, the excitement of new things, and differing tastes, you may not know where to begin. These tips are sure to guide you on your journey.
Register Ahead of Time
One mistake many couples make is registering too late and creating stress for themselves and their guests. A good rule of thumb is to aim to finish and send out your registry to your guests five to six months before your wedding date. Registering in advance allows enough time for people to shop around and find the perfect item to gift to you and your future spouse.
Here are a few of the reasons registering ahead of time is essential:
- It can take time for items to ship to guests.
- People like to wrap things themselves.
- Many people like to purchase gifts immediately after receiving the save-the-dates to avoid forgetting.
- Guests like to get gifts from the registry for engagement parties, bridal showers, and other pre-wedding events.
- It takes the pressure off the couple to respond to direct questions about gifts.
Registering well in advance is an excellent idea because it benefits the couple and all the guests. It is socially acceptable to register immediately after getting engaged, and often, many guests appreciate the promptness.
Register for More Gifts Than There Are Guests
Guests appreciate a plethora of options for gifting wedding events. Something that helps you and your guests is registering for more gifts than the number of people invited. When there are fewer gifts than people or a nearly even amount, guests can feel strained or pressured to purchase gifts that don’t match their price range or that don’t reflect what they want to provide you with. It also opens the door to more off-registry gifts that might fall flat.
Here are some guidelines to help you navigate how many things to register for:
- Some traditions say to multiply your guest list by two and add a few extra options.
- Add in multiple amounts of different priced items.
- Monitor your registry throughout your engagement and add things as the list dwindles.
- Keep in mind the average guest will spend about $120 on a gift, which means they may choose one expensive item or multiple more modest items from your list.
Registering for the correct number of gifts can feel impossible—the good news is that you can add and remove items throughout your engagement. People appreciate it when you add new things. For example, if you notice your list is running out of lower-priced items and there are still three months to go before your big day, you can add more low-cost items that didn’t make your first round of choices but that you still want.
Think About the Present and the Future
While it’s easy to register for the items you want most right now, it is also important to remember that your marriage is forever, and registering for things you will enjoy 10 years from now is also a great idea. Your taste and needs won’t remain the same forever; consider adding a few timeless items that can adapt with you and your partners’ lives together.
Here are some items to consider:
- Dishes for hosting
- Items for a house—even if you don’t own one yet
- Kitchen appliances
- Bar items
- Quality linens
- Nice pillows
- Small furniture items
- Deck and yard items
Though it may seem that there are many rules or traditions with wedding registries, nobody is enforcing them. The needs of married couples 50 years ago are no longer in line with the requirements of the modern couple. Tailor your registry to you and your soon-to-be spouse’s needs and interests. There is a common trope that you must register for fine china for your wedding, but with the piles of old, never used wedding china in thrift shops, it’s no longer a popular registry item.
Make sure you register for things you actually want—not what you feel obligated to ask for. Talk to your partner about things you two already have and what you would each like to have for your lives together.
Communicate With Your Partner
While some couples merge their living situations post-nuptials, many couples already live together at the time of their wedding. Living together pre-marriage makes the traditional “starting your life together” items a little outdated, as the couple may already own those things.
One of the most vital things to ensure your registry is perfect is to communicate regularly with your partner. Gifts are for the couple, not the individuals. But sometimes, these desires overlap. Talk with your partner to understand what types of items they want to register for and what items you’d prefer.
Keep in mind that ideas of acceptable registry items differ from person to person. While one partner may want to register for experiences and a honeymoon fund, another may prefer physical gifts. It’s essential to find common ground and compromise—this is a big day for both of you, after all.
Set realistic expectations for yourself on what you want and what your guests will feel comfortable buying or have the budget to purchase.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and register for countless items. There are incredible gifts to choose from at every store or registry location, but they might not all fit your life or needs. Many couples end up registering for cool items and miss the important stuff they would use more than once or twice.
While having practical gifts on your list is vital, it is also essential to have realistic expectations for your guests. The average wedding guest spends an average of about $120 on a wedding gift. Some guests may spend hundreds of dollars on gifts, and some may only spend around $50. Everyone’s budget varies based on numerous factors. It’s vital to register for items that are realistic for your life and the budget of your guests.
Ensure that you register for things you need and want. Also, make sure you register for realistically priced items. Guests are less likely to use the registry if there are only $500 and up options on your list, and you may end up with annoyed friends and family and a bunch of gifts you don’t like or need.
Forget the Rules—Get What You Need
As mentioned above, there are many rules that couples are told regarding what they can and cannot register for. Many items that were once traditional registry items are no longer practical for the modern couple. Some items were also considered taboo by some people but are now entirely acceptable to register for. The critical thing to remember is that this is your wedding, and you can register for whatever you want and whatever makes sense for your life.
- If you’re uncomfortable asking for cash, consider asking for experiences, tickets to shows, and contributions to a honeymoon fund.
- If you’re feeling pressure to register for wedding china but don’t actually want it, consider registering for other kitchen items for entertaining.
- Consider registering for a mix of experience/honeymoon/home down payment fund gifts and physical item gifts to placate every guest’s preference.
As difficult as it is to put the worry of not pleasing everyone aside, it is vital. No option will please everyone on your guest list; instead, aim to please yourself and your fiancé.
Include a Range of Price Points
Including a range of price points within your item list is the best way to accommodate everyone and keep your registry out of controversy. Couples that only register for high-price items tend to get pushback from guests and often receive plenty of lower-cost items that weren’t listed on the registry. Meanwhile, couples with only low-price items on their registry often must field questions about any higher-ticket things they may want or may run out of registry items quickly because guests will purchase three or four items each.
Aim to list many options in the $20-$50 range, tons in the $50-150 range, and a few higher-priced items so guests can stick to their budget and still provide you with a gift you will cherish.
Remember that registering for your wedding is exciting and fun. You get to register for what you want and have fun with your future spouse while doing it. With these seven tips for creating the ultimate wedding registry, you can build the perfect wish list without the headache.