20 Years of Wedding Wisdom: Registering for Gifts
Create your dream registry, with our guide on where to get started.
Here is one present you don’t need to register for: tips on putting together your ultimate wish list that have been gathered by us over two decades helping brides and grooms personalize their I do’s. In celebration of our special anniversary, here is our seasoned advice—tried and tested just for you.
Register No Matter What
Even if you already have all the household items you need, it’s still a good idea to register somewhere; guests who would like to buy you a gift often find such guidance helpful.
Macy’s Wedding & Gift Registry
“One of the most common mistakes is not registering for enough gifts. Have about twice as many gifts on your registry as invites sent out. This way your guests have options for your shower as well as your big day. It is also important to register for a range of price points so it offers your guests a wide selection of options.” —Macy’s Wedding & Gift Registry
Spread the Love
When registering, stick to two or three stores you adore. Choose a national department store or chain that has lots of household basics; and you may also want a local specialty store to add to your registry.
“While the kitchen will always be the heart of the home, adding things like art, a great chair, a cool lamp, or a fresh set of sheets to your registry can really breathe new life into the other spaces in your house.” —Victoria van Roijen, Manager of Registry Marketing, Williams-Sonoma
When you’re shopping for your registry, follow your heart, not the latest trends. Fill your home with things you love and plan to use.
Complete your registry four to six months before the wedding. This will give guests time to purchase gifts for the big day, but also for your engagement and a shower.
“When you register, it’s the perfect opportunity to upgrade what you already have—dishes, cookware, bedding—so choose quality brands and products you’ll enjoy for years to come.” —Kohl’s
Consider a Range
Think about who your guests are, and register for gifts in a wide range of prices, or choose individual items rather than sets, as with pots and pans, for instance. It is fine to put a few expensive items on your registry, but balance them with equally lovely options that are more affordable.
“Revisit and update your registry frequently, after showers and engagement parties, and when you think of a new item to add. It helps to offer fresh ideas for guests who are still searching for the perfect gift, and groups who may like to go in on a large gift together!” —Janie Sellers, Bridal Manager, Belk Inc.
Spread the Word
Once you have registered, give the information to immediate family and the wedding party, and let them share the news. If you are asked where you have registered, it is fine for you to provide the information, but it is not proper to include registry information in a wedding invitation. Registry information can be included on a wedding website, as long as the actual name of the store is not included on the same layer; organize your website so that guests must click down one level to find the details.
“Don’t forget the flatware! There is often a lot of time and effort put into registering for dinnerware and the flatware tends to be an afterthought. Beautiful flatware can be the finishing touch for a table display. Look for durable flatware that is made of 18/10 stainless steel and is dishwasher safe.” —Holli Draughn, Vice President, Vietri
Go a Nontraditional Route
While it’s still taboo to ask for money directly, financial registries try to make this less awkward. Saving up for a house? Some banks have programs that let brides and grooms establish a special account to which guests can give money earmarked for a down payment.
“Make your own choices—don’t let yourself be influenced by your mom and registry consultants. But be sure to discuss home options with your fiancé(e)!” —Jamie Sanford, Internet Marketing Manager, Noritake
When you open presents, immediately record who gave you what, either in your log or right on the gift cards, which you could keep together in a specially designated box. Despite your best efforts, a few gifts may become separated from their cards. If the gift was from your registry, call the store to see if it has a record of who purchased it. If not, you may have to try figuring it out by the process of elimination.
“Use your fine china and crystal as often as possible—for casual or formal entertaining. These are the most durable products you own and can stand up to everyday use.” —Vincent Mazza, Marketing Director, Waterford Crystal
Ideally, you should acknowledge every present immediately; writing a note the day you receive it is best, but sending it within two weeks is also acceptable. Of course, the period surrounding your wedding is a busy time; if you fall behind, just make every effort to send a thank you as soon as you can—but no later than three months after the event.
“Entertaining is about enjoying time at home with friends and family. Decorate your table with all the things you love, and don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns.” —Jennifer Morganelli, Vice President of Marketing, WWRD
Don’t Worry If You Don’t Get Everything
If you don’t receive all the gifts you registered for, don’t fret. Many stores have a completion program, which offers a discount on remaining items, or will keep the registry active for anywhere from a few months to a few years, so friends and relatives can continue to purchase presents from it as other joyous occasions arise.
Monique Lhuillier Waterford
“Brides often register for really nice china and then store it away and never use it. China is durable and meant to be used every day. You can mix your china with your casual ware to add personality at the table. Infusing pattern and color with your china is a great way to do this.” —Monique Lhuillier