Think back on the most ill-suited gift you’ve received from a well-intentioned loved one. Maybe it was cringe-inducing neon-bedazzled sunglasses from great aunt Marge on your 16th birthday–that she insisted you wear. Or perhaps it was a fountain pen set you had to pretend to love, despite the fact that you never write anything by hand. If you don’t want your wedding day to be a repeat of these episodes, put together a wedding registry. It will ensure that you get items that you really want and need and it will eliminate the guesswork for your guests.
Below we’ll take you through a few easy steps involved in creating a wedding registry, so that you can have it done in no time.
Step 1: Determine What You Need
While it’s fun to drool over novelty items like heated bathrobes, gold-dipped roses, and other knick knacks, focus first on what you actually need. As the two of you start your life together, what items do you need in order to equip you to manage the tasks of everyday life? Do you need cutlery? Items for your bathroom? A doormat? A new cabinet in which to store some of the separate sets of items you’re both bringing into the marriage?
To get you thinking about what you might need, here are some categories to consider + examples of items in that category. Use these or add your own.
- Cookware set
- Coffee maker
- Electric kettle
- Slow cooker
- Electric mixer
- Dinnerware set
- Serving bowls and platters
- Table clothes and napkins
- Mattress pad
- Towels (bath towels, hand towels, washcloths)
- Shower curtain
- Bath mat
- Bathroom accessories (soap dispenser, toothbrush holder, etc.)
- Picture frames
- Wall art
- Throw pillows
- Smart TV
- Sound system
- Game console
- Patio furniture
- Garden tools
- Vacuum cleaner
- Iron and ironing board
- Tool set
- First-aid kit
Again, remember to prioritize inclusion of necessities over luxuries. Whatever your needs are, populate the registry with these items first and keep only a few favorite novelty items as options.
Finally, make sure to register for items with a variety of price ranges to suit your guests’ budgets.
Step 2: Choose Your Registry Type
There are various types of wedding registries from which to choose. You can register at one store exclusively, multiple stores, or online platforms. The online action is especially popular as it allows couples to include items from multiple stores in their wishlist. The Knot’s free registry builder is one such option.
Step 3: Select a Store or Stores
If you decide to register with one particular store, choose one that offers a wide variety of items you want and need–at a similarly wide variety of prices. Here are some of the best options, whether you register with one store only or with multiple stores.
Amazon has pretty much everything you can think of, plus plenty of unique items you didn’t even know you needed until you discovered they existed. If your aim is to register with only one store, Amazon is about as versatile as it gets.
Crate & Barrel
Crate & Barrel products outfit your home with high-quality and stylish items ranging from furniture to to kitchen items, bedding, outdoor equipment, and more. They also provides a 10% completion discount on things that are not purchased from your registry, plus free shipping for orders over $49.
If you want to go easy on your friend’s wallets, Target is a budget-friendly option offering a wide range of goods. It’s also one of the best deals in that you’ll receive a 15% completion discount–that can even be used to add more items after the fact. The week of your wedding, you’ll get a 15% off coupon that can be used up to six months in the future.
Zola is an online platform that allows you to personalize your registry by including items from multiple stores. They also offer cash fund and honeymoon fund options for guests who would prefer to contribute monetarily.
Williams Sonoma is a gourmet kitchenware store that offers high-end kitchen items. Like Target and Crate and Barrel, they offer a completion discount (10%) plus free shipping for orders over $49. As Williams Sonoma is among the pricier options, it would be wise to register at another store(s) alongside this one.
Select the store(s) at which you register carefully; the items in your registry will inform the style of your shared home far into the future of your marriage.
Step 4: Set Up Your Registry Online or In-Store
After thinking through your needs and choosing a store(s), you’re ready to set up your registry. This can be done online or in-store. Most people prefer the online option for a seamless experience that can be done from the comfort of your couch. Simply visit the platform or store website(s) and create an account.
Step 5: Add Items to Your Registry
This is the fun part! Add items in accordance with the list of needs you brainstormed. Make sure to add things at a variety of price points so that your lower-budget guests can make a valuable contribution without breaking the bank. That said, don’t be afraid to include some high-ticket items as well. Your guests might surprise you.
Step 6: Share Your Registry Information
To share your registry info with guests, include it on your wedding website, wedding invitations, and save the date cards. It’s customary to let your guests know that gifts are appreciated, but absolutely not mandatory.
Note that you don’t need to have your registry completely finalized before you publish and send it to guests. As you find more items that pique your interest, you can always add them as you go–in other words, you can continually altar your registry!
Step 7: Update and Manage Your Registry
Regularly update your registry by removing things that have already been purchased (if this is not done automatically, depending on the store or platform you work with) and add new items as you find them. Ensure that the number of items on your registry is slightly more than the number of guests expected at your wedding, so that they can all choose from a variety of options.
Step 8: Thank Your Guests
Sending thoughtful thank you notes to your guests after the big day is perhaps the most important step. Here are our best tips for writing thank you notes that will warm your guests’ hearts and affirm the connection you share.
Send Personalized Thank-You Notes
No two thank-you notes should be alike. Mention the specific gift you received and why you appreciate it, and let them know that you’ll think of them whenever you use that item. Also, consider sending handwritten rather than digital thank-you notes; it conveys a higher level of energy and intentionality.
Send Thank-You Notes Promptly
Don’t delay writing your thank-you notes; doing so could come across as rude or unappreciative. Instead, make it a point to send them within three weeks maximum after your wedding.
Send Thank-You Notes to All Guests
Thank-you notes aren’t just about expressing gratitude for gifts; you should also let your guests know how thankful you are that they were there to witness and support you on such a special day. As such, it’s important to send thank-you notes to everyone who attended, even if some guests did not bring a gift.
Thank Guests in Person
If you see some of your guests soon after the wedding, thank them in person for their gifts in addition to sending a thank-you note. This small extra step demonstrates an extra layer of thoughtful appreciation and makes your guests feel special.
Be Sincere and Genuine
Don’t sit down to write thank-you notes when you’re feeling rushed or motivated largely by the need to check this off your to-do list. Before writing thank-you notes, do whatever you need to do to get yourself into a mindset of sincerity and heartfelt gratitude. It will come across in your writing.
Thank-you notes are instrumental in making sure your guests feel appreciated. Follow the suggestions above to clearly and genuinely convey your gratitude.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) about creating your wedding registry
Q: Is it necessary to have a wedding registry?
A: While it’s not strictly necessary to have a wedding registry, we highly recommend it. Having a wedding registry helps the two of you get what you truly need and want, and it helps the guests select something that they know you’ll like without having to guess what you want and how much money you want them to spend.
Q: How many stores should we register with?
A: There is no set number of stores with which you should register. Choose stores that offer a variety of items that you would like to receive as gifts. Alternatively, make use of an online platform that allows you to register items from multiple stores.
Q: Can we register for cash or honeymoon funds?
A: Yes! Just make sure to select a registry platform or store(s) that provides these options.
Q: When should we create our registry?
A: Create your registry at least six months before the wedding in order to give guests ample time to make a choice.
Q: Is it okay to register for expensive items?
A: Totally! That said, don’t register only for expensive items. Include a variety of price options so that all your guests can find something within their desired range.
Have fun with your registry. Use it as a way to plan for the future and make your guests feel like part of the family. By following the guidelines above, you can create a registry that reflects your style, meets your needs, and makes your wedding day even more special.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]