All The Best Wedding Registry Tips For Every Budget And Lifestyle

Let’s be real: imaging your future gifts is one of the most fun aspects of wedding planning. This is where wedding registries come in. Registries will recommend gifts that your guests can buy and keep track of everything purchased for you. But what’s the best way to navigate wedding registries?

Certain registries can come with surprising benefits, such as funding your honeymoon and sending gifts at different times. Play the registry game smart, and you can replace all of your hand-me-down dishes, and furnish the rooms of your new home. Here are the best tips and tricks for handing your wedding registry.

Why Have A Wedding Registry?

A Turkish couple signs the wedding book following a mass wedding ceremony organized by the local government and a non-profit organization Nehir Foundation, for some 90 low-income couples
Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

If you want wedding gifts from your friends and family, a wedding registry allows them to pick from a selection that you know you’ll love. Your guests won’t guess what you’ll want incorrectly, and the registry will keep tabs on which items have already been bought, so there’s no risk of duplicates.

On top of all that, most stores offer post-wedding discounts on the remaining items. If you still want a product that you didn’t receive as a gift, you can buy it afterward for a lower price. Major department stores will even let you know who bought what for thank-you cards.

Remember To Check The Return Policies

Thanksgiving Day shoppers with loaded up carts during the
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

While having a registry can recommend gifts that you’ll love, you might change your mind at some point in the process. Perhaps you found a better item that you bought for yourself or inherited a family heirloom that you prefer. To remain fully prepared, explore your registry’s return policy.

Many registries will allow you to return an item with a receipt for only a certain amount of time. In some cases, it’s one year, while in other cases it’s only 90 days. Write down your registry’s return policy to ensure that you won’t be stuck with a suddenly unwanted gift.

Register At Several Stores With Different Price Ranges

Guests attend the Zola NYC Pop-Up Store Wedding Invites + Paper Launch Guests attend the Zola NYC Pop-Up Store Wedding Invites + Paper Launch
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Zola
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Zola

Not all of your guests will want to splurge on a gift for you. To avoid embarrassment and competitiveness, offer a wide range of price points to select from. Plenty of registry ideas provide affordable prices, and others supply more expensive gifts if your family chooses to spoil you.

To guarantee this wide range, you may want to register at several stores. Not only does this produce a broader range of selections, but it also hands you more post-wedding discounts that you can spend your cash gifts on.

Utilize The “Send It Later” Feature

Megan and Luke Chesek show off some of their favorite gifts from their 2013 wedding registry.
Lauren Loftus/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Lauren Loftus/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Have you ever thought about the stress of receiving dozens of gifts all on the same day? It becomes overwhelming quickly, especially during your ceremony. Fortunately, some registries offer a “send it later” feature, where the couple can choose when to receive their gifts.

If you’ll be flying to your honeymoon soon after the ceremony, or prefer to receive the gifts after moving into your new place, you’ll benefit from this registry feature. Most wedding registries include an app where you can update, delete, and add gifts at any time.

Choose Items That Suit Your Lifestyle

Family's red and white kitchen in Bangalore, India
MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images
MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images

If you’ve explored wedding registry lists online, you may have discovered options that you never thought of or will never need. Sure, that elegant tea set may be your sister-in-law’s perfect gift, but will it really fit you if you never drink tea?

You don’t have to choose gifts simply because someone recommended them to you. Explore products that you can see yourself using. Most guests want to give you a unique present, and they’ll be happy to hear that it improved your life in some way.

Pinpoint Gifts That Will Benefit Both Of You

Choose wedding registry gives that will help you and your spouse
Twitter/@Macys
Twitter/@Macys

You and your spouse will give each other personalized gifts for years to come. Marriage celebrates a union, so why not bestow presents that help both members in the marriage? You may not have another chance to recommend couple of gifts again in your life.

Home goods are an obvious choice for gifts that you can both use, but you can also consider experiences and events. If you’re experiencing a block, don’t worry. This article will list plenty of ideas for you to explore.

Speculate On The Season

A wedding couple posing in front of a tree during an autumn wedding
Ina Fassbender/picture alliance via Getty Images
Ina Fassbender/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you open your registry a year or several months before the ceremony, remember that products change with the season. Some might sell out, and others will go on sale the closer you get to your wedding. Seasonal updates can work for or against you, depending on the circumstance.

Registries allow you to update and delete your list over time. If you need to replace an item, or find another one at a lower price, update it. Chances are that some guests will wait until the last minute to buy a gift. Some registries will even import products from other stores.

Not All Presents Are Material

A newly wedded couple at the Moskvarium Center of Oceanography and Marine Biology, where a registry office has opened.
Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images
Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images

While material gifts are always useful, some of the best presents stem from experience. Perhaps you’ve been eyeing an upcoming concert, or could use some day tickets to your local spa. Some registries will extend vouchers or subscriptions such as Blue Apron or Airbnb.

Experience present ideas include a museum membership, zoo tickets, a coffee subscription, or a restaurant gift card. If your guests prefer to give you cash, you can add honeymoon, house payment, or airfare funds to some registries. These perks only come with certain registries, so explore your options carefully.

Empathize With Your Guests

A bride takes a selfie photo before celebrating a multiple wedding ceremony in Lisbon
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images

Yes, this is your wedding registry, and you can do whatever you want with it. But taking some time to empathize with your guests will make the process easier on both you and them. For instance, you’ll want to open your registry early on, so that your guests won’t have to scramble for gifts last-minute.

You’ll also want to provide a mix of goods that you can envision your guests buying. For instance, your grandparents may want to get you traditional tableware, whereas your best friend from high school might choose something more fun and affordable. Providing these options keeps the shopping process stress-free.

Consider Helpful Kitchen Gifts

A view of Lea Michele's favorite registry picks at the Zola
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Zola
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Zola

Whether or not you and your fiancé live together before marriage, chances are that you could use some new or improved kitchen supplies. If you have all the pots and pans you need, consider products that simplify your life.

For instance, a Vitamix or Magic Bullet can make smoothies and soups easier for you both. A durable baking dish can hold plenty of desserts or pot luck additions for years to come. Perhaps you want better-quality knives, or a new 15-piece kitchen set to replace your cheap college utensils.

Include Some Travel Goods

Relatives and family members with a suitcase of the bride's dowry on the day of wedding in Chechen capital Grozny
Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images
Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images

You and your spouse may fly off to your honeymoon sometime after the wedding. In your registry, include some travel essentials that could benefit both of you. Some registries even involve international plane tickets that’ll fund a future vacation for the newlyweds.

For travel commodities, you could request a GoPro, outdoor backpack, new suitcase, or even a tent. Tailor your travel gifts to the kinds of vacations and day trips that you like to go on with your spouse. Perhaps a couple of travel containers will work better for you than a fire-starter set.

Don’t Forget Yard Furnishings

Outside deck chairs and table with umbrella.
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Many newlyweds nowadays begin living in an apartment. As a result, they focus on indoor commodities rather than outdoor decorations. Keep in mind that you and your spouse may have a house or apartment with a yard at some point in your life. When you move there, wouldn’t you want to have furniture already available?

Save money on your future or current home by requesting lawn chairs, umbrellas, a grill, or even a starter garden set. You can also ask for particular plants and herbs for an inexpensive, personalized gift option.

Keep Your Gifts Clean — Request Hygiene Products

Demonstration of the Roomba vacuum cleaner at the headquarters of iRobot in Bedford, Massachusetts.
James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images
James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

You’re probably thinking, “who would want cleaning supplies for their wedding?” Thing is, everyone needs to keep their house tidy, so why not request some more expensive products to simplify your life? For instance, a free Roomba might make your life a lot easier.

The cost of handheld vacuums, fabric steamers, mops, and dust sweepers can add up fast when you’re shopping for your new life. These products last a long time, and your guests can rest assured that you’ll use them often.

Add Some Things You Wouldn’t Buy For Yourself

wedding ring heart-shaped ice try
Pinterest
Pinterest

Some people like to give presents that they would never purchase for themselves, but still enjoy. Although these products aren’t necessary, they can add a little fun to your life. Perhaps you and your partner would have a blast with a nifty star-shaped ice cube tray or a custom pack of Cards Against Humanity.

Some unique, non-essential wedding gift ideas include: wall tapestries, a chess set, classy coasters, elegant candles, an Amazon echo, a cookbook, a bread maker, throw blanket, an alarm clock, or creative lamps. Talk to your spouse about what would be fun to receive besides must-have goods.

Give Back: Offer A Charitable Gifting Option

ulia Recana delivers a box of cash to the charity Christian Outreach in Long Beach, CA
Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images
Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

If you don’t want presents for yourself, you can still assuage the friends and family who are itching to give you something. Certain registries feature the option to donate to a charity or nonprofit in your name.

According to an American Express survey, family members spend $127 on a wedding gift on average, while friends spend around $100. Your wedding could raise a lot of money for a charity close to your heart, even if only half of your guests choose to donate.

Let Your Friends Help With Your Wedding

Man comforted by his partner and a friend during a wedding ceremony
SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images
SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

It’s no secret: weddings are expensive. Fortunately, certain registries allow guests to help the couple before the ceremony even takes place. You can set up funds for the wedding cake, flowers, or even the venue.

In some registries, people can contribute to “group gifting,” meaning that more than one person can pitch in on a single gift. Some programs have a limit for this (such as $100), but if your wedding funds add up to this amount, then several friends or family members can all chip into the ceremony.

Don’t Forget Gift Cards!

supermarket Gift Card Display.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Want to have a shopping spree with your significant other after your wedding? Through several registries such as Target and Amazon, guests can buy you gift cards for your wedding gift. These include Visa cards that you can spend almost anywhere.

This is an excellent option for if you’re not sure exactly what you’ll need when you move into a new place. You’ll have free money without having to hassle with the cash donations.

Give Your Bedroom A Makeover

red flower petals sprinkling onto a bed, forming a heart
Pinterest/Cathy Martinez
Pinterest/Cathy Martinez

You’ll be sleeping in the same room with your partner from now on. What better time to redesign your room? You can request softer, or even customized, sheets and pillows from registries like Pottery Barn and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Aside from the bed, you can ask for some throw blankets, picture frames, a bedside table, comfy robes, a rug, wall-hanging shelves, or an essential oil diffuser. Consider what you and your spouse like to do at night; you aim higher and request a new video game or television.

Upgrade Your Bathroom

Wedding bathroom basket on Pinterest
Pinterest/Cheryl Flynn
Pinterest/Cheryl Flynn

Although some people don’t think about bathroom design often, the fact is that we spend a lot of our time there. A new rug, mirror, laundry basket, hand towel, shower curtain, or bathtub caddy could refresh both you and your spouse in your new life.

If you and your partner like skincare or hair care products, consider options that you wouldn’t usually buy. Maybe you’ll request a new face mask, hair mask, bath salts, or perfume can help you feel spoiled. These gifts last for a long time, and receiving them won’t feel like you’re shopping at CVS.

Furnish With Formal Items

At sunset, two glasses of white wine stand on the wall
Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images
Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images

Can you see yourself serving a family Thanksgiving one day? If so, your wedding is a great time to request for formal plates and place settings. Regular dinner parties usually sit six to eight people, so plan for that amount.

When shopping for formal dinnerware, simple word choice can drastically affect the price. China is usually more expensive but better quality than casual china. Formal or fine china involves porcelain and bone china, which casual chine includes stoneware and earthenware.