Having survived my college days and early twenties on disposal home products and furniture that couldn’t withstand the test of time, I was excited to get behind the scanner and register for my wedding gifts. As a young couple, we both hadn’t acquired much in the way of quality home items.
My husband and I began utterly clueless with our registry, resulting in a failed three-hour trip to Target and a registry with merely a handful of items to show for our time. As our wedding date approached, we grew better at the wedding registry game. Before the invitations went out, we had composed three main registries where our guests could buy us gifts if they wanted some ideas.
Building a wedding registry is not always easy. Not only are you trying to plan a major life event but you are also tasked with deciding what you need to outfit your new lives together. As I wouldn’t wish a several hour trip to Target on anyone, resulting in the saddest of registries, here are a few things I learned throughout my wedding planning process about building the best wedding registry when you are starting your lives with next to nothing.
Before we dive into the tips and tricks, let's start with where to register.
1. Restoration Hardware - Bedding, linens, furniture, lighting, and all things pretty
2. Sur La Table – For all your kitchen needs
3. Amazon – The Greatest thing about Amazon is that you can register for just about anything. And with Amazon Prime being available, many guests will get free shipping and you will receive your gifts within 48 hours.
4. Bloomingdale’s – From designer clothes to home furnishings, Bloomingdale’s has plenty of options.
5. Target – If you’re already a fan of this funky retail giant and are in the market for household and electronic staples, Target’s the place for you.
6. Crate & Barrel – Classic and contemporary housewares and furniture.
7. Macy’s – As one of the most popular go-to department stores, Macy’s makes in store shopping a breeze for guests.
8. Pottery Barn – Want to recreate the relaxed summer vibes that emanate from the Pottery Barn stores, register here.
9. Williams-Sonoma – Love cooking up a storm in the kitchen? Williams-Sonoma has everything a passionate foodie could ever need.
10. Tiffany & Co – Timeless, beautiful and expensive things that are destined to become family heirlooms.
11. REI – All the sporting gear, camping, and hiking equipment you could dream of.
12. My Registry – Add gifts from any website onto one universal gift registry.
13. Nordstrom - Household goods.
14. Anthropologie - For Kitchen goods, barware, and one of a kind pieces.
15. Bed Bath & Beyond – Perfect for basic housewares, appliances and linens at great value prices.
16. Shop Terrain - For all your outdoor living and garden needs.
Make a List and Prioritize Those Needs
My husband and I made the mistake of initially registering without any sort of direction. You will quickly be overwhelmed if you just walk into a store and start registering. Your registry will also end up looking like a disorganized hodge-podge of items. You and your partner should go over what items are most important to register for at a store. In the wedding registry madness, you can sometimes go overboard, registering for items that you don’t really need.
In the end, items that we didn’t really need are some that were purchased by guests and those that we really needed didn’t end up being fulfilled. Before you start registering, you need to head in with a list of items you need, prioritizing them by order of importance. If your registry fills up quickly, you can leave off those items that aren’t really a priority.
Go Room-By-Room and Day-By-Day
Most wedding registries consist of home items, especially for the couple starting out with very little in the cupboard. As my husband and I registered, to keep things simple and organized, we went room by room in our home. We listed out items we needed for each room and then added them to our registry accordingly. Wedding gift registering can be incredibly overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to begin. By going room by room, it made it easier to see where there were holes that needed filling.
Also, couples should be careful with the time they spend registering. Rather than trying to do it all in a day, know that your registry will evolve. You have more important wedding planning elements to address.
Avoid Registering at Too Many Stores
To build the best registries, you have to simplify the matter. If you are registered at 15 different places, you are certainly pushing overkill. In the beginning, I had tried to accommodate my husband’s family for gifts, thinking they didn’t have many of the stores that we had registered at in their state. I ended up deleting those registries and consolidating my stores to just three places. In today’s world of online ordering, your items can be purchased virtually from anywhere. If you register at too many places, it is hard to manage your wedding purchases and it can also turn off your guests.
Read Product Reviews and See Items in Person
As we moved into our new home and began to actually use our wedding gifts, we quickly discovered that some products could not withstand the length of a marriage, let alone a day. It can be incredibly easy to just click, click and click items on to your registry. However, you need to spend time reading up on the quality of those products.
Also, today’s wedding registries don’t require you to head to your favorite store and pick up a scanner. You can build registries online without ever setting foot in a store. After receiving some wedding gifts and seeing them for the first time, I did have regrets about not actually seeing what I had on my registry in person. While you can add to and edit your registry from the comforts of home, make sure you at least see the items you are registered for and read up on their quality.
Select Registry Items That Make For Good Gifts
At times, my husband and I grew a little clouded with our wedding registries. Whenever we would think of something that we needed, we would add it to the registry. However, a drying rack or a lone whisk doesn’t always make for the best of gifts. In the end, most of our guests avoided those items and went with products that were more complete like a panini press or a set of wine glasses. While there will be things that you will need, they don’t always make for the best of gifts. Save those items for purchasing with any gift card you receive and keep your registry filled with gifts that your guests actually want to give.
Register For Gifts at All Price Points
I remember scanning a registry for a wedding I was attending and finding most of the items in a high price bracket. It made it difficult for me to find something that I could actually afford for the couple. Having seen this registry error, I knew not to make it with my own. We filled our wedding registries with items that covered all price points. Rather than only requesting the top shelf items, we tried to add gifts that wouldn’t break the bank for those guests who didn’t want to spend too much. While some guests will want to get you your fine china, others will want a gift that is more affordable.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
As a kind elderly salesperson told us as we registered, “Wedding gift registering is really almost a job.” He wasn’t lying. Registries can be time consuming to manage, edit and add to as you try to stay on top of wedding planning. It can be even more stressful fretting that you have put too many towels on your registry and not enough dishes. It is important to ask for help, even if you think your wedding registry is merely your personal preference. Those who have been through wedding gift registering before might be able to offer sound advice toward molding a registry.
How did your wedding registry building work? Are there mistakes you made or pieces of advice you wish you knew before the wedding? Share your ideas and stories with us in the comments below.