This wedding FAQ page is filled to the brim with the most commonly asked questions (and answers) about wedding / bridal registries.
To make it easier, we’ve broken them down into three main topics.
Wedding Registry / Bridal Registry Basics
Are wedding and bridal registries the same thing? What’s the difference in a wedding registry and a bridal registry?
Yes! The terms are used interchangeably to refer to the couple’s “wedding wish list.” No matter which term is used, guests may use the registry for both wedding gifts and bridal shower gifts.
Why should I create a wedding registry or bridal registry?
A registry is a simple and helpful way to provide shower and wedding guests with gift suggestions. Guests are not obligated to use the registry, but creating one is helpful to both guests and couples!
How does a wedding registry work?
It’s very simple:
- You create a wedding registry.
You can visit stores in person or create your registry or registries online.
- Start adding all the things you want to your registry list.
Your registry is comprised of all the items you and your future spouse will want to have on hand following your big day. You can select everything from color preference to the quantity of any product you’ll need.
- Your guests find your wedding registry and hopefully use it to purchase a gift.
Whatever items you choose to add will be visible to all your wedding guests, which will allow them to purchase a gift that they know you will not only use but truly love.
Many stores and services offer helpful tools, registry-building parties for engaged couples, and help with returns or exchanges. For a list of registry benefits by store, see our handy Benefits and Features Chart which includes all of our recommended Wedding Registry providers.
Are there costs associated with setting up a wedding registry?
Not at all! Whether you’re setting up your wedding registry in-store or you’re opting to build it online, you won’t have to pay a thing to make sure your guests can see and purchase all the items you’ve chosen. In some cases, you’ll find that cash-based registries, such as a Honeymoon or experience registry, may include added fees in collecting payment from guests, but most of the time that cost is absorbed by the gift-giver, not the recipient. And of course, you should always ask about registry completion rewards and other ways to earn money or other items through any registry provider you chose.
Setting up a bridal bridal registry and what you should include in a registry
How to create a wedding registry?
Creating a wedding registry can be really fun and is relatively simple.
- Evaluate your needs – This will help you decide where to register. Do you need towels and sheets, dishes for entertaining, kitchen tools, or all of the above? You can use our Helpful Wedding Registry Checklist to mark what you would like to include in your wedding registry. Once you get a handle on what you want to add, you can decide where to create your registry.
- Select your registry providers – Where do you love to shop? Or where would like to shop? If you need everything for your house or apartment, retail stores like Crate & Barrel, Macy’s or Bed Bath & Beyond can be your go-to stores. If you want to combine products and experiences, you could choose all-inclusive registries such as Zola, Honeyfund or MyRegistry. Do a little research to find out what each retailer offers. Here’s a handy chart that covers most registry providers.
- Create Your Registry or Registries – Go online or visit the stores to create your registries. Many registry providers have registry specialists to help and even sponsor in-store events to get you started. Don’t be shy about adding everything you want to your wedding registry. Your guests will appreciate a large selection of items in all price ranges.
- Include gifts for every guest – This includes the type of gifts and price. If you opt for a non-traditional registry, we advise that you also include some more traditional items for guests that are more comfortable with that type of gift.
For more helpful tips, see our blog post, 5 Tips for Creating Your Best Wedding Gift Registry.
When should we begin our wedding registry? When should our wedding gift registry be complete?
Ideally, you and your fiancé will start compiling your registry before your Save-the-Dates or Wedding Invitations are mailed. This usually translates into 4-6 months before the wedding. If there is going to be a bridal shower, definitely complete your registry at least two months before the bridal shower date. Of course, you can always fine-tune your wedding registry (add or delete items) up to the final day—and that’s totally fine!
Where you decide to register depends entirely on your needs. With so many options of retailers and websites, the decision-making process can seem a little overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve compiled a handy list of our favorite places for your essentials, specialty goods and more, just for this reason. Think about where you like to shop or where will most of your guests like to shop.
How do I share my wedding registry? Can I include it on my wedding invitation?
You should never include wedding registry information anywhere on your wedding correspondence. This includes save-the-dates, invitations, and RSVP cards.
This puts too much emphasis on the gifts and is considered a major faux pas. You are inviting your nearest and dearest to celebrate a major life event. The gifts they give are an expression of their love and well-wishes but should not be the focus of your wedding or part of your correspondence with your guests.
It is now considered acceptable to include the URL or link your wedding website on your save-the-dates. This link provides your guests with all types of information they may need, such as travel and hotel information. Your registry information can also be part of your wedding website.
Let your bridesmaids and shower hostesses know where you are registered, and rely on word of mouth to get the message across to everyone by the time your big day rolls around.
Your guests will also use services like RegistryFinder.com to easily find out where you are registered without having to ask anyone. Between word-of-mouth, your wedding website and our gift registry search engine, your guests will be sure to find your registry.
What should I include on my wedding or bridal registry?
It’s most common to include items that you will use as a couple in your life together. While no single checklist will apply to every couple, it’s always helpful to get a general idea of what you might want to add to your registry. Our handy wedding registry checklist covers the tried and true items most couples need, plus some unexpected gifts a lot of couples don’t think of. Once you have an idea of what you need, you’ll start thinking of plenty of items to add and be able to custom-tailor your wedding registry to your preferences as a couple.
What are the hot wedding registry must-haves? What are the top wedding registry items?
There are plenty of items we absolutely love and would recommend to just about any couple we know creating a registry. Although it’s true that there’s no one-size-fits-all registry, we feel that there are some household products everyone can benefit from adding. Check out our blog posts, Best Wedding Gifts and Ask a Real Bride: Best Wedding Gifts help get you started!
What are the benefits of creating a wedding or bridal registry?
- It’s convenient for your guests. Your wedding guests love you—they’re celebrating your most important day with you —but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know your tastes and preferences. A wedding registry takes the guesswork out of gift giving for your guests.
- You will receive what you really want and need.
- It’s free and easy to create and set up. It’s also easy to modify and update if you change your mind. Most registry providers have an app to access your wedding registry at any time.
- Helps avoid the inconvenience of unwanted or duplicated gifts and accurate information about color scheme and brand preferences avoids unnecessary returns.
- Discounts and other registry perks from the retailers and registry providers. Almost all offer exciting completion discounts as well as other deals on item bundles or collections.
- Many offer free shipping and gift wrap for your guests.
What are some tips for creating the perfect wedding registry?
- Include enough gifts in your registry for all of your guests. A good rule of thumb is two gifts per guest.
- Include gifts in all price ranges.
- Include group gifting on higher priced gifts when available.
- Register for products and services you really want and need. Don’t be afraid to add those dream gifts to your list. You never know; Aunt Matilda may spring for that All-Clad cookware set or Kitchenaid stand mixer.
- Keep your list updated, especially as the wedding date draws nearer. Check for discontinued or out-of-stock items and possibly find replacements. Add more items if the selections are getting too sparse.
- Have fun and don’t stress! If you change your mind, items can be exchanged or returned.
What if you don’t need any wedding gifts? Can you register for experiences? Honeymoon? Travel?
Of course! The great thing about gifting in the modern age is that there are so many options. Several sites cater specifically to helping you build your experience wish list, and they operate similarly to traditional registry sites, so your guests can easily add to a fund for just about anything. Whether you’re funding your dream honeymoon or another non-traditional gift, it’s easy to get your loved ones involved while giving you a meaningful wedding gift.
What are some unique bridal registry ideas?
There are many great ways to maximize your registry, and adding a few (or many) unique items is one of our favorites. We’ve seen everything from kayaks to camping gear, honeymoon funds to circus school passes (what can we say… we’ve literally seen it all)! You can opt for cooking classes, a trip to your favorite distillery or winery, or even a giant cork-board to fit in your couples’ workspace. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to creating your perfect registry, and with so many options out there, you’ll always be able to find that diamond in the rough.
How should shower hostesses include bridal registry information on bridal shower invites?
While we never advise including registry information on a wedding invitation, including it with or on a bridal shower invitation has become acceptable. Since someone other than the bride plans the shower, it becomes more of a suggestion from the host rather than a “ask” from the bride herself. From an etiquette point of view it is considered acceptable to include registry information on a separate card included in the same envelope with the shower invitation, but for practical reasons (cost and paper savings) it seems that many hosts now include it on the invitation itself.
In the case of a bridal shower with a specific theme, such as “Stock the bar” shower or lingerie shower, the hostess may ask guests to buy to the theme and not from the registry.
What price ranges should I include on my bridal or wedding registry?
It’s important to be sensitive to a variety of budgets when creating your wedding registry. While it’s an excellent opportunity to include big-ticket items, it’s good to pay attention to both ends of the financial spectrum. As you build your registry, be sure to add items starting as low as $20-50—your guests will appreciate it!
What are the best bridal registry apps?
If you’re registered somewhere, chances are there’s a corresponding app that will help you keep track of the status at all times! You can use the Amazon and Target apps to modify and monitor your respective registries. Also, check out the Honeyfund and Zola apps. We love the Zola app because it really has everything you’ll need for the ultimate peace of mind regarding your registry.
Are there any bridal registry guidelines?
Your registry should be a true reflection of your needs as a couple. Consider your everyday life, your hobbies, and your future, and that becomes a strong foundation on which you can build a stellar registry.
Still need help? Many retailers and online shops provide a list of recommendations and popular items to include on your registry, which is a great place to start and gain inspiration.
Macy’s is one of our favorite wedding registry stores, and their registry department can answer any question to make sure you cover all the necessary bases. Here is our article, Everything You Need to Know About Macy’s Wedding Registry.
Wherever you decide to register, be sure to ask for any tips or guides they may have to offer before you begin. If you want to get a head start, check out our post 5 Tips for Creating Your Best Wedding Gift Registry.
What are some common bridal registry dos and don’ts?
DO include a variety of price points for your guests to choose from.
DO add items to your registry that fit your tastes and hobbies.
DO register for plenty of gifts in every price point, and consider adding individual items versus the complete set.
DO involve your fiancé in the registry process.
DON’T wait too long to register—and be sure to finish up before you send out your invitations.
DON’T include your registry information or mention the word registry anywhere on your wedding save-the-dates or invitations.
DON’T limit your gift preferences to your life right now. Choose gifts that will grow with you and serve a purpose long after your wedding day.
Can I return wedding registry gifts?
Absolutely! There is always the potential for accidentally doubling up on items or realizing you don’t actually need that mini food processor—or any number of reasons why a certain gift just isn’t the right fit. Send a sincere thanks to the gifter, but don’t feel obligated to include the fact that you didn’t keep their gift. Also, be sure to check a retailer’s return policies before you register.
Where do you announce your wedding registry?
You don’t! It’s an etiquette faux pas to include registry information anywhere on your wedding correspondence. This includes save-the-dates, invitations, and RSVP cards.
Also included in the list of where you don’t share your wedding registry is social media. “But it’s for sharing,” you say. Social media is for sharing your life moments, but it’s not where you ask for gifts. If someone specifically asks you on social media where you are registered, then you can certainly answer them. See also, How do I share my wedding registry? above.
How many wedding registries should I create?
There is no “magic number” concerning how many different registries a couple should have. On average, most couples register at two to three locations.
Consider that it may be best to apply the “less is more” principle. Your guests will appreciate browsing only a handful of registries, and you’ll appreciate keeping track of only a few registries too! Luckily, no matter if you set up one or twenty registries, RegistryFinder.com is a great way for your guests to find every single one without searching each individual outlet’s database.
How do I create a wedding registry for buying a home?
You really can set up a registry for just about anything—even a gift bank for your guests to contribute to a future down payment on your dream home. You can create an account online to receive funds and monetary gifts on sites like Blueprint Registry, Zola, MyRegistry.com and even Honeyfund, for peace of mind and safekeeping until you’re ready to sign on the dotted line.
Can I set up a wedding registry for charity?
You can, but many people have doubts about this type of registry execution. While we are 100% on board with supporting charities (we give 10% of our profits to charities that help children), we don’t think a wedding registry is the time or place to do that. Choosing which charities to support can sometimes be emotionally or politically charged, and your beliefs and passions will certainly not be in sync with all of your friends and family. An alternative might be to give any cash gifts you receive to your favorite charity, but we don’t recommend that you ask your guests to give donations on your behalf. It’s a lovely custom for funerals, but not weddings.
Is it ok to have a wedding registry for a second marriage?
It is definitely acceptable to create a wedding registry for your second marriage. Your loved ones will want to give you a gift to celebrate your union, so set aside any uneasy feelings you have about registering. Even if you feel uncomfortable creating a wedding registry for your second marriage, it’s actually considerate for your guests if you do. You will be helping them by providing some insight into what you prefer, want or need.
If you feel you have everything you’ll need for your future together, think about your hobbies and interests and center your registry around those, such as including recreational items on your registry. Your guests will appreciate the suggestions.
Fifty percent of weddings today are a second marriage for at least one member of the couple so you are not alone. For more etiquette tips for a second marriage, see our blog post Love and… Remarriage: Etiquette for an Encore Wedding.
How long do I have to send thank-you notes?
Instead of thinking of writing notes as a chore, consider how you can graciously express your appreciation to your loved ones and make it a priority. We’ve got lots of tips that will make saying “thank-you” easy!
One of our favorite places to register also happens to be one of our favorite unexpected stationery vendors: Bed Bath & Beyond! They can help you take care of everything from the cards and envelopes to stamps and customization, so all you have to worry about is keeping track of your gifts.
We advise couples to send thank yous ASAP (As Soon As Present arrives). We understand that things can get hectic right before the wedding, but thank you notes should be top of your list as soon as you return from your honeymoon. You don’t want to leave your guests wondering if you received their gift. While fast is best, two to three months after the wedding is the furthest you can push it.
What’s the correct way to register if I just want money versus wedding gifts?
Wedding Registries are a convenience and really a suggestion for wedding guests. Couples should never try to “dictate” what someone will give them for a gift. However, there are some steps you can take to steer your guests in your preferred direction.
- Register at a website that has a cash option. Many universal registries allow you to register for group gifting funds. You can label it a “Future Fund,” “Furniture Fund” or really anything you want. But do consider including some traditional wedding gift items on your list as well. Some guests may not feel comfortable giving cash as a wedding gift.
- You could forgo the wedding registry and don’t create one.
- Inform those closest to you, your parents and closest friends of your preference. Then if someone asks, they can tell them.
- If a guest asks you directly what you would like for a wedding gift, at that time, you can let them know. Say something like, “If I had to choose, I think money would be most helpful because we (fill in the blank – need to pay off that student loan/ really want to save for a house, etc.), but I’m sure we will love whatever you choose.”
If you decide to register for monetary gifts over physical items, you can easily set up an account on a number of sites that will collect and safely hold any cash gifts from your wedding guests. Our top pick? Honeyfund—the easy to set up site is completely free and keeps your information super-private for the ultimate peace of mind.
Can I create a wedding registry if I elope?
We believe that every couple has the option of creating a registry—even couples who opt to elope rather than holding a traditional ceremony. That said, don’t expect everyone who receives an announcement to make a purchase. While most people are understanding around circumstances that allow for an elopement, there are plenty of traditionally-leaning people who may choose not to purchase a gift, even if you do register. Our advice? Register, but don’t take it personally if you don’t get a gift from everyone.
What are the best kitchen items to include on my wedding registry? Cookware? China?
You may not like this answer, but there is no “best” anything to put on a registry! It truly depends on your needs and plans as a couple. While we can’t advise on the most perfect items, we’ve never met a stand mixer we didn’t love, and you can never go wrong with a set of fine china. Not to mention, there are always opportunities to upgrade items you already have. Ultimately, taking the time to inventory what you have, what you need, and what you’d like to replace, will help you curate the perfect list for you and your future spouse.
Looking for someone who has a registry and gift giving etiquette
How can I find a couple’s wedding registry? With so many ways and places to register, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the weddings on your calendar.
Luckily, to find where someone has registered for their wedding gifts, RegistryFinder.com is just one click away from helping you find all the locations where the happy couple has created a wedding/bridal registry. Rather than clicking around all over the internet, you can see everything all in one place and know you’re purchasing the absolutely perfect gift.
What is RegistryFinder.com?
RegistryFinder.com is where you can find all of a couple’s registries in one place, making it easy to gift for occasions like weddings, baby showers, and graduations. Plus, we provide plenty of gift recommendations from retailers we love and trust, helping to take the guesswork out of registry building or gift-giving.
How do you use RegistryFinder.com?
It’s so easy! If you are searching for anyone’s gift registry,
- Go to RegistryFinder.com on your computer, tablet or smartphone,
- Enter the first and last name of one of the registrants (If you don’t know exactly how to spell it, that’s OK, we need a few as the first two letters of each name), and click the Search button.
- We will then show you all the matches to the name you entered.
- Select the correct match (we show you the co-registrant, event date and location to help you find the right match), and then we show you all the places where they are registered.
- Click on the retailer or registry provider’s logo to go directly to the person’s registry at that website.
- Select your gift and purchase. It’s that simple!
What do I bring to a bridal shower if the couple doesn’t have a registry?
If you’ve found yourself invited to a shower or a wedding without a registry, don’t panic! While most guests want to stick to the couples’ registry preferences, some couples choose not to create a bridal registry. In this case, you have to depend on your knowledge of the bride or couple and choose a gift you feel they will enjoy. If you are invited to the bridal shower, then you are most likely a close friend or family member of the bride. If you’re stumped, ask others that are close to the bride what they can recommend. But don’t stress! Choose a gift from a store where returns are easy, and always include a gift receipt.
If I’m in the wedding party, do I still need to give a wedding gift?
While it is traditional for all invited guests to give a gift, for some members of the wedding party the cost of simply being present at the wedding is the most they can give. Many bridesmaids and groomsmen struggle with budgeting for a wedding gift on top of all the other costs associated with being in a wedding.
However, a small gift of congratulations can go a long way. We also recommend group gifting by pooling funds with other members of the wedding party. At the end of the day, it’s up to you, but don’t feel the need to go into debt purchasing a gift for your close friend or family member if you can’t make it happen.
If I’m throwing the bridal shower, do I still need to give a bridal shower gift?
It goes without saying that hosting a bridal shower is a generous act, no doubt taking time to plan and gather preparations, and spending money on any decorations, food, and favors. However, since a bridal shower by its nature is a gift giving event, most hostesses usually include a gift for the bride into their budget. As the bridal shower host, you could arrange for a group gift from you and your co-hosts or others that are close friends, helping to reduce your financial commitment.
What if you’re attending a bridal shower, but the items left on the wedding registry are too expensive for your budget? What if the bridal registry is sold out completely?
Gifts for bridal showers are usually less expensive than the wedding gift so it’s okay to bring a gift to the bridal shower that is not on the wedding registry. You can use the registry as a guide to help you narrow down options that fit the general tastes and trends you see. For example, if the bride is registered at Sur La Table or another kitchen store, but all the gifts left on the registry are higher-end gifts, give the bride your favorite recipe on a cute hand-written card along with a gift card to that store. Gifting should not be stressful. Do your best to give something that you feel they will enjoy, always include a gift receipt and then relax!
What do you do when a wedding registry is sold out? What gift can you give or bring?
Don’t panic! If there are no gifts remaining on the wedding registry, consider giving cash or a gift card, or if you’re comfortable, a gift that is off-registry. Use the wedding registry as a guide to provide you with direction and help you determine their general tastes and preferences.
What do you give for a wedding without a registry?
You have a choice to play it safe, or get creative! You can go with a traditional gift like cash, or go for a unique experience like a couples’ massage. Our ideas on, What To Buy For a Couple That Doesn’t Register will give you plenty of inspiration.
Do you have any additional questions about wedding registries?
What can we say… We’ve seen it all (including registering for circus school passes). We hope that after reading through this FAQ page that we’ve answered any questions you might have about setting up a wedding registry, purchasing items from a registry, and overall bridal registry etiquette.
If you have any additional questions about wedding registry etiquette, just ask Cheryl. She’ll have the answer! Cheryl regularly writes about etiquette concerning weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and other gift-giving occasions on the RegistryFinder.com blog and the HuffingtonPost.