How to Create a Wedding Registry That Best Suits You and Your Partner

Congratulations on your engagement! Now comes the fun part of your planning: your wedding registry.

We know what you may be thinking. Fine china. A toaster. Fancy serving stuff you’ll never use. There’s nothing wrong with any of these, as long as they’re what you actually want. Your wedding registry reflects you as a couple. It’s your chance to look ahead and choose kitchen and other items that will suit you in the years to come. Whether you first move in together after the wedding or you’re already living together, your registry is an opportunity to blend your tastes, needs, and wants – and maybe do some upgrading, too. With so many store and online options available to create wedding registries, the whole process can be daunting. But we’re here to help!

Tip 1: Make sure your registry reflects what you want

A wedding registry, also known as a bridal registry, is a wish list of wedding gifts that can be purchased from a particular store or stores. The registry lists the items you’ve selected and which ones are still available, so your friends, family, and colleagues can choose and purchase the right gift for you.

So what can you register for? Couples often think of household items first, but today’s wedding registries accommodate your needs and desires both in and outside of the home. It’s good to have a mix of traditional and personal options, but ultimately your registry is about what you want and will use the most. Sometimes couples register for travel or outdoor equipment, or skip the smaller stuff and request funds toward a honeymoon, a down payment on a home, or donations to an important cause.

Tip 2: Create your registry early (but don’t use gifts until after the wedding)

After announcing your engagement, be prepared to field lots of questions. Other than basic logistics – like the date and location of the wedding – people may also ask where you’re registered.

Wedding guests ask this because they want to support you with gifts they know you want and need as you enter married life. If it helps, don’t think of your registry as something there to serve you and your partner; think of it as a way to show friends and family how they can help you. By completing your registry early, guests can also purchase gifts for your engagement party or wedding shower, and you won’t have to deal with returning a lot of repeat or unwanted items.

Speaking of returns, if you receive presents before the wedding, wait until after you get married to use them. While it’s likely the last thing on your mind, in the event the wedding gets canceled, it’s in your best interest to return all of the gifts. (And that’s a lot easier for everyone if the items are unused and still in their boxes.)

Wedding Registries: The Dos and Donts of Creating a Wedding Registry Tip 3: Make a list of what you already have and what you want to upgrade

As you and your partner dream out loud about the future, have some honest conversations about:

  • What you have
  • What you want to get rid of
  • What you want to have, replace, or upgrade

Use these conversations to make a list of what you want on your registry. And remember, it’s about what both of you want. Create your wedding registry together so you have gifts you’ll both enjoy.

If you want fine china, register for it. But if you don’t want fine china, you don’t have to resign yourself to having plates you never use. Instead, register for dishes that are both sturdy enough for years of daily use and nice enough for anything from pizza night to Thanksgiving dinner.

Wedding Registries: Some common items you may have left off your wedding registry and wished you didn't! Tip 4: Register at more than one store

You aren’t limited to registering at just one store – but on the flip side, having 15 registries may look greedy (and requires too much of your and your guests’ time). Registering at two to four stores is just right. Include a mix of in-store and online options at local, specialty, and national stores.

Where you register depends not only on what you want, but on where people live. If all your invited guests live in a common area, then you may want to focus on local stores where you know people can easily shop. But like many folks, your friends and family may be all over the country. This is where chain stores and online registries are essential.

Tip 5: Register for a variety of price points, and items big and small

Some guests want to spend big, so don’t shy away from pricey items. But if you’re big coffee drinkers and want your registry to include two inexpensive red plastic pour-over coffee makers and filters that you can use for camping, then go for it. A registry doesn’t have to include only expensive stuff. Be conscious, though, of constrained budgets by including a range of price points.

It’s also a good idea to have a large selection. If you invite 100 people, have 125 to 150 items across all your registries. Spread your items equally across these three price ranges: under $50, between $50 and $100, and more than $150.

Wedding Registries: How to choose where you should register for your wedding Tip 6: Think pieces, not sets, and ask for more than you think you need

Consider requesting more place settings than you think you need – anywhere between eight and 12 settings. This is especially useful for plates and bowls. For each place setting, you may want:

  • 1 medium salad plate
  • 1 large dinner plate
  • 1 small dessert plate
  • 1 soup bowl
  • 1 mug

It may be just two of you now, but if you’re planning on expanding your family, you’ll need more. Dinner parties, holidays, and other special events also call for more place settings. And, as unfortunate as it is, some items will break. (Consider storing a setting or two as replacements.)

Cookware and knives are two categories where it’s often best to select individual pieces rather than register for a whole set. Sets may contain pieces you don’t need, and you may be more likely to get all the pieces you want when you register for them individually. Here are some ideas for essential cookware pieces:

  • 1-quart saucepan with lid
  • 2- to 3-quart saucepan with lid
  • 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven with lid
  • Medium 10- to 14-inch sauté pan with lid
  • Medium 10-to 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy skillet with lid

Tip 7: Save some items to buy yourself

Lastly, don’t feel like you have to put the entire wish list on your registry. If there are things you would rather buy yourself down the road, feel free. After all, it’s nice to know your guests want to help you and your partner get started in married life – but it’s fun to do things for yourself too.


With so many stores and items to choose from, the wedding registry process can be stressful. Selecting gifts you’ll cherish for years to come is a great way to set yourselves up as a couple and start your new life together. Give yourself plenty of time to do a little research and choose what best suits you and your partner. You’ll be glad you did!

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