What Is a Wedding Registry?

Where, When and How to Register


bridal or wedding registry is a list of wedding gifts that an engaged couple would like to receive. A registry service is typically provided by various stores free-of-charge. The couple chooses the wedding gifts they want and then their friends and family can access their wish list either in-store or online. The wedding registry gift list is typically updated whenever an item from the list is purchased, showing what is still available for guests to choose from. 

Occasionally couples feel guilty or greedy for making a list of their must-have items and may choose not to create a registry, but it's actually more of a courtesy for your guests rather than a list of demands. A wedding registry is a convenient tool for guests to use to give the couple a gift that they know the couple actually wants and will use, instead of having to take a wild guess and risk purchasing something that the couple doesn't like. 

Items on a Registry

There's no one answer for what you should choose to register for as every couple is different. Popular items on wedding registries include household goods, like kitchen appliances and the like, but if you already live together, chances are you probably already have all of the homewares you need. If you're just moving in together, then your registry is the perfect place to ask for that stand mixer you've been eyeing for ages.

Traditional registry gifts include china, but unless you see yourself hosting an extravagant dinner party every month there's no need to ask for it. If you're not a cook, don't ask for top-of-the-line cooking equipment. Only ask for the things you truly want and know you will use. Your registry should be an accurate reflection of your lifestyle.

Think outside of the box. If you already have everything you need, set up a charitable registry with the I Do Foundation or a honeymoon registry with the Honeyfund. Things like artwork, camping equipment, pieces of furniture and fun things like cooking lessons or art classes are all great things to register for that go against the grain.

Where to Register

Department stores are typically the go-to for wedding registries, but online registries are becoming more and more popular. Furniture stores are also great options, especially if you're moving in together.

It's a good idea to register with at least two stores. This way your guests have options. Make sure wherever you register is accessible to your guests. Department stores vary by region of the country, and remember, not everyone has a computer to visit your online registry.

Keep Price in Mind

Don't get carried away with your wedding registry list. A registry that's too small won't include enough variety in terms of price points for your guests, and one that's too large will probably keep you from getting the items you want most. It's also important to keep costs in mind to be courteous to your guests. A registry that includes a good amount of inexpensive items will likely fare much better than one made up of many higher priced gifts.

Guests typically spend an average of $85 to $125 on a wedding gift, so it's important to select items in a variety of price points to suit every budget. Make sure you have a range of options for your younger friends who have smaller budgets and your older relatives who can afford to spend a little more. At the end of the day, you know your guests better than anyone so you can structure your registry accordingly. 

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