6 Tips for Creating a Wedding Registry When You Don’t Know Where to Start

A wedding guests holding a wrapped gift.

Registering for wedding gifts can be quite a foreign concept, and it adds to the confusion and stress of wedding planning. How will people know where we’re registered? How many items is too many? Is it OK to include expensive items? Do we even want new things? All are valid questions and concerns. Like with all aspects of planning, it’s best to take the registry process one step at a time. If you’re at a loss for the best place to begin, read up on our tips below to walk yourself and your fiancé through the process.

1. Tour Your Home and Make Notes of What You Need or Want

Don’t go in blind! Take an hour or so to stroll through your home and take stock of your belongings. I recommend you focus your energy on the kitchen/dining room, bedroom, and bathroom. Note which items are old and could be upgraded or which items you wish you had for each space. Have you had the same bath towels since college? When did you buy that food processor? Ever wish you had an Art Deco reading lamp for your nightstand? Make notes about all of the potential improvements and additions to your home to keep them in your mind as you start your registery!

2. Collaborate with Your Fiancé

A couple cooking together in a kitchen.

Whether or not you’re living together before marriage, consult your sweetheart on their household opinions! Request that they come up with their own wish list for your future home together, and then sit down and compare your notes. How many cross-over items are on both lists? What did they think of that you completely missed? Are there any items on which you disagree? It’s important to go over these things before you go into any stores to create a registry.

3. Select a Few Stores in Different Price Ranges

It’s great to give your guests options when it comes to price ranges for wedding gifts. Select two to three different stores of varying price levels in order to cover your bases for each group of guests. Younger attendees may not be able to afford much, so having a plethora of $15-$40 items is incredibly helpful, while older, more established guests close to you may feel comfortable with more expensive gifts. Note: disregard the old adage of “your gift must cover the cost of your plate.” Guests are not only oblivious to that number (as they should be), but the kind of wedding you and your fiancé(e) choose to host does not affect your loves ones’ financial situation. Do not make your “low” number the cost of each person’s meal.

4. Browse Stores in Person

This is optional, as online registries have gotten far more comprehensive in the last few years, but many brides and grooms like to visualize certain items in real time. Jet on down to your local Target, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. to see some of those design-specific pieces up close. How else will you know if their Cerulean blue matches your plates at home?

5. Put the Info on a Wedding Website

A couple looking at a laptop together.

Once you’ve gotten your items in place, don’t forget to link to each store (or, in many cases, use a site that will combine your registries) via your wedding website. It’s traditionally thought of as rude to make mention of gifts, including registry information, on your wedding invites, so make the URL of your wedding website abundantly clear on those invites. If you don’t have a wedding website or if anyone asks you in person, simply give the names of the stores through word-of-mouth; it should be easy for guests to search your names on the stores’ websites.

6. If all Else Fails…Don’t Register!

If you and your future spouse have gone through your homes multiple times and still cannot come up with a viable list, maybe a registry isn’t for you! It’s increasingly common for modern brides and grooms to skip a registry altogether (sometimes it’s not worth the hassle). If this is the case for you, guests will often gift cash in the form of checks, which they will bring to the wedding in cards. Be sure to have a card box available to them somewhere at your venue! Or, how about you consider a honeymoon registry?

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