The Ultimate Wedding Registry Guide: Etiquette

Wedding Planning

Today starts a five-week series on your wedding registry. Your registry is basically your ultimate wish list for your home and life together. Registering for your gifts is supposed to be a fun experience, but I know it can sometimes be daunting and overwhelming. However, there are some tips I can give you to help streamline the process.

Today I’m going to focus on the basics and the etiquette of your wedding registry. You want to create balance, and you want to make sure this process is enjoyable for both of you.

The Etiquette

  1. Register early. Chances are, if you’re already engaged, people have started asking where you’re registered. And if they haven’t asked yet, they will. If you’re ready, go ahead and register early so you can have an answer when your loved ones want to start showering you with gifts.
  2. Make it three. You want to try to register at three stores. This gives your guests multiple options without being overwhelming.
  3. Diversify. Make sure all three of the stores you’re registering at are diverse. For example, register at one major department store (i.e., Target), one boutique store (i.e., Anthropologie), and one specialty store (i.e., Best Buy). 
  4. Utilize a variety of price points. You want your guests to feel comfortable buying you a gift. While some will be blessed to spend a large sum of money on you, some others may not have that opportunity. Registering for items that fall in a variety of price points is super respectful for your guests. You’ll also want to check your registries every now and then to make sure there are items available in all price points at all times.
  5. Register for a lot of items. Even if you don’t think you need that much stuff, registering for a lot of items ensures that your guests have a large variety of items to choose from. People like options. Go ahead and register for 2-3 times as many items as you have guests.
  6. Never ask for cash. It’s tacky. I’ll share some alternative ideas for you soon!
  7. Don’t tell guests where you’re registered in your wedding invitation. Once you’ve registered, give the information to immediate family and your bridal party, and let them spread the word. You can also place the information on your wedding website, but make sure guests have to click through to a new page to find the actual store’s name. It’s kind of tacky to have the registry on the first page.
  8. Write your Thank You notes as you receive gifts. Not only is this thoughtful and respectful towards your guests, but this will also save you a lot of time after the honeymoon, too.
  9. Understand that wedding gifts should never be expected. It is not the end of the world if a guest didn’t purchase you a wedding gift. It is also not the end of the world if you think a guest didn’t buy you a large enough/expensive enough gift.

Deciding What to Register For

  1. What are the two of you like? What do you like to do together? Do you enjoy cooking? Do you enjoy the outdoors? Do you enjoy traveling? Answering these questions together can help you decide what to register more of. If you enjoy cooking, then make sure you register for a lot of items for your kitchen or even a cooking class.
  2. Where will you be living? Yes, there are a ton of things out there that are super cool to have stocked in your kitchen or in your entertainment room. But if you’re going to be living in a tiny loft apartment, will you have the storage space? Make sure that you aren’t registering for too much or for items that you will have no place to store.
  3. How many place settings to register for? Eight. 
  4. Where are you in life? If you are in your early 20s, you probably need to register for the basics. But if you’re in your early 30s or older, you both probably have acquired the basics over the past 8+ years, so you could consider upgrading some of your items or registering for an alternative registry (more to come on this later!).
  5. What style should you register for? If the two of you have two different styles and tastes, save yourselves the argument and just register for white. While it may seem boring, white is classic and versatile.
  6. Is he not excited about registering? Give him the gun. You can go around the store selecting which soup ladle you’d prefer while he can feel powerful with the scanning gun. Also, you can let him decide on a couple of bigger items like the tv.

Where to Register

Remember, you’re registering at 3 stores: 1 department, 1 boutique, and 1 specialty store. You’re also going to try to register at stores that meet a variety of budgets. Here are some ideas to get you started:

The Department Stores:

The Smaller and Specialty Stores:

Next week I’ll dive into the items you should register for — beginning with your kitchen.


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