You’re standing there, clutching a scanner gun as aisles of items surround you, overwhelming you with hundreds of options: colors and prints and textures. You have to pick right here, right now, what you’ll want for the rest of your life…
This could be your worst nightmare. Or your first trip to register for your wedding.
Registering for a wedding can be a stressful process. We get it. And we’re here to save you from that scenario with nine simple tips.
Be true to you
What’s your style? The whole point of your registry is to create a wish list for what you want to start your new life. It should reflect your own personal look and feel as a couple. Look through pictures together and talk about colors and patterns you both like. Discuss your entertaining priorities. Do you love to cook? What appliances will you actually use? Will you host family for the holidays? That gravy boat might seem superfluous now—until you consider the Thanksgiving meal you want to host in the future.
One of the best ways to figure out what you need is to inventory what you already have. From that list, decide what you want to keep and what you want to upgrade with registry items. Now is a good time to update linens, flatware, and cookware, at least. Fill in the gap with three categories: what you need now, what you’ll need in five years, and heirloom pieces to pass down to your children.
Look for perks
Limit the number of registries to four stores or fewer. A great way to decide where to register is to look for perks for both you and your guests. Do they have a convenient return policy? Some stores offer completion discounts (like Kohl’s) or shopping incentives (hello cute wedding shoes from Bloomingdale’s). Also, consider benefits for your guests like online shopping and direct shipping.
You can (and should) start registering soon after you get engaged. It’s helpful for guests purchasing gifts for pre-wedding festivities, like an engagement party, bridal shower, etc. And you’ll get more items from your wish list. Win-win!
Visit in person
Don’t rely on pictures. The items on your registry should reflect the quality and style you want in your home. The best way to guarantee you’ll love them is to see and compare in person. How else are you supposed to pick the perfect sheets?
Make it a date
Marriage is all about compromise – and so is your registry. At the end of the day, the gifts are for both of you. Go register together to ensure you both get what you want. Macy’s even hosts fun events just for this purpose! Take turns taking lead on areas you’re more passionate about. For instance, you might care more about the china, while he’s focused on the bedding. Celebrate a job well done with fun cocktails or a romantic dinner to cap the day.
Pick price options
It might be tempting to register for mostly high-priced items. It is a wish list, after all! But your registry should consider guests’ budgets. Vary the price points, so friends and family can all find options they can afford. Think about thresholds: under $50, under $100, under $200, etc.
Set the table
Even if your apartment only holds six people and one dog, register for 8-12 complete place settings. Odds are at some point in your life, you’ll host a group dinner or a holiday celebration. And if your “fun uncle” accidentally breaks a salad plate, you’ll have a backup. Register for extra barware too. Wine glasses are notoriously fragile.
Add more items
Rule of thumb: the number of registry items should at least double your guest list. Again, people want options – especially if they’re buying multiple gifts for wedding and pre-wedding celebrations. Check back a few weeks before the wedding. If you’re running low on items, register for more as-needed. If you under-register, you might end up with presents you’ll never use. Or worse, gifts you don’t want and can’t return! Zola is great for this—you can add cash or other special experiences if you ran out of favorite items.
Bonus: Say Thank You
Don’t forget the thank-you notes! Show your appreciation by writing and mailing your notes in a timely manner—two weeks for gifts received before the wedding and one month after your honeymoon for gifts received during or after.
Getting ready to register? Check out our registry guide for more tips, links, and inspiration.
Style Me Pretty Contributor – Madeline Littrell is a Dallas-based writer and PR strategist. Born and raised in Tennessee, she loves big hair, country music, and chicken fingers.