The 8 Best Wedding Registry Sites and Stores Every Couple Should Know About

wedding registry review

Wedding registry sites have changed a lot in even just the past couple years. There used to be a question of online vs. in-store, but it’s not really an either-or anymore. In fact, it’s very rare that a couple chooses to ONLY register at a store with a brick and mortar location (or two). For example when I got married way back in 2009, that was basically the best option. We registered at Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn and called it a day. Now, you really don’t have to limit yourself.

That’s because wedding registry sites like Zola and Joy have made the process so much easier AND robust. Not only can you choose to make an OG registry at, say, West Elm, Crate & Barrel or Target, but you can also add gifts from the curated selections that Zola has AND add a cash fund while you’re at it. And if you use a wedding registry site that offers a not only a registry, but a wedding website and other wedding planning tools like several of them do, you and your guests can get everything you need in one place. It’s really never been easier to register for cool gifts. I think all of us who got married before this new era of wedding registries should get a registry do-over!

Being in the wedding industry for over a decade, I’ve had the chance to try out practically every registry out there and review them at length. This has given me a unique insight into not only how they work and the pros and cons, but to determine which ones I think are the best for couples today.

Lindsay Goldenberg Jones, Founder and Editor,

In this article we’ll review each of my top picks for the best wedding registry, as well as some important basics. However, if you’re rushed for time and want the TL;DR version, these are the best wedding registries I think every couple should consider, below, broken down by type: Wedding registry sites vs. traditional stores. While they each have their pros and cons, they all check our criteria for a top registry, which means they offer the best selection, have the best discounts, are easy for you and guests to use, and in some cases have great tools that can help you plan your wedding. And remember, if you choose a wedding registry site (like Zola or Joy) you can ALSO add store registries to it, so keep that in mind!

Best Overall Wedding Registry Sites

  1. Zola
  2. Joy
  3. The Knot

Runner-Up: Honeyfund

Best Stores to Register At

  1. Macy’s 
  2. Target
  3. Crate & Barrel

Runner-Up: Amazon

registry site vs store

First, what is a wedding registry site? 

It’s important to note the difference between the two types of registries couples have available today. Chances are you already know what a traditional store registry is. These have been around for decades, and it mostly involves selecting gifts from stores that also have physical locations, like Pottery Barn, CB2, and Crate & Barrel. Guests can access these registries in-store or online, and once a gift is purchased the store sends you the gift directly. (The exception on this list is Amazon, which we still consider more like a traditional registry.) Aside from the tangible gifts, most of these stores don’t typically offer a way to register for straight cash, or other wedding planning tools like online RSVP.

Wedding registry sites such as Zola, Joy, and The Knot on the other hand allow you to register for tangible gifts (such as a stand mixer, towels, or sheets) as well as a cash or honeymoon fund. Most of these sites have their own curated selection of products from hundreds of different brands. (Zola has 800 currently). These sites commonly use a drop-ship model, meaning they don’t hold inventory, but instead work with brands to ship directly to customers. 

In addition to offering their own shops with lots of brands such as Kitchen Aid, Caraway, and Riedel, several of them (and all of our top picks) also offer a robust suite of wedding planning tools, including a guest list manager, wedding website creator, and more.

Most wedding registry sites now also offer what’s called a universal registry. In the simplest terms, a universal registry can pull in registries you create at various sites/stores to one main registry. So while a guest will be viewing all your registry gifts on one site (IE: Zola), if they select that pair of Pottery Barn pillowcases that you added via your Pottery Barn registry, a guest will then be taken to the Pottery Barn site to make the purchase. The best universal registries will make this process as seamless as possible, making sure your guests have everything they need to complete the purchase, and then marking the gift as “bought” on your registry so there are no duplicates purchased.

There used to be just a handful of registries that offered a “universal registry,” but now almost all the wedding registry sites have the option. There are still some sites such as Blueprint or MyRegistry that are ONLY universal registries and do not offer their own products. While these might have been near the top of our list a few years ago, now that the top registry sites offer such a great mix of their own curated gifts, cash funds, wedding planning tools AND a universal registry capability, I think there are better options.

If you are thinking of using a universal registry feature on any of these sites, be aware that it can get a little clunky at times, however some try to make the process as smooth as possible. For instance on the Joy wedding registry, they do a great job of making sure guests have all the information they need to make the purchase on an outside registry you set up using their universal registry feature, such as by providing guests the address so they can easily input it during the checkout process. (You can see my communication with Joy’s SUPER HELPFUL help desk, below.) If you do choose to use a universal registry, make sure you reach out to the registry site to see how the process will work for guests.

The Best Wedding Registry Sites: Our Top Picks

Now that we’ve gone over some of the registry basics you’ll find offered today, here are our top picks for the best wedding registry sites. It’s important to note they all offer their own collection of wedding planning tools such as free wedding websites as well as an app.

1. Zola

Zola registry

I love how when you get to their registry page it’s very clear what you can do next. I’m given the option to shop a curated checklist that also gives me pre-filled amounts of items such as plates and wine glasses (something I always find confusing on other registries). I also think they have the most robust selection of gifts available to register for, which is why it’s currently our #1 pick. One thing I didn’t love was that they didn’t have a registry chat option like Joy and The Knot, but it wasn’t enough to sway our vote since we e-mailed support with a question and heard back in a few hours.

Other features include:

  • Free wedding websites
  • Matching Save the Dates and wedding invites
  • Guest list manager
  • Customizable gift tracker
  • Universal registry, with options to connect your registry from Amazon, Anthropologie, Bloomingdale’s, Crate & Barrel, Etsy, Macy’s, and Target
  • Cash and honeymoon fund options with zero fees if guests use Venmo. Otherwise, if guests contribute to a cash fund using a credit card, there will be a standard 2.5% processing fee which you or guests can choose to cover.
  • Price matching
  • Group gifting
  • Free shipping/returns for Zola items, plus you can control how and when you get them (or even exchange them before they ship)
  • 20% off remaining Zola registry products after your wedding

2. Joy

joy registry
Joy registry

Both Joy and The Knot are newcomers in the registry space, even though they are names you’ve heard forever. When it comes to wedding registries, however, Joy is quickly climbing the ranks. I really love their “collections,” where you can see the favorite products of celebrity chefs, style influencers (like Rachel Zoe), and sommeliers. I find their registry a little harder to navigate than others on this list, but they get major points for cool tools like their “registry advisor” (which told me exactly how many gifts I should register for) as well as their quick customer service chat experience. I tried out both Joy and The Knot’s as well as Zola’s e-mail support, and Joy’s was by far the most helpful, with detailed responses that felt like they really knew what they were talking about.

Other features include:

  • Personalized gift reccs
  • Free wedding websites
  • Address Collection and other wedding planning tools
  • Cash/Honeymoon Funds with zero fees if guests use Paypal, Venmo, or CashApp. A standard 2.5% processing fee would apply if guests use credit cards
  • Ship gifts when you want, or swap gifts for cash
  • Group gifting
  • Free shipping/returns for gifts ordered from the Joy shop
  • Thank you note writer
  • Universal registry. Add gifts from any other store
  • 20% off remaining Joy registry products after your wedding

3. The Knot

knot registry
Knot registry

The Knot’s registry keeps getting better and better every year since they launched with their own shop in 2017 (before that it functioned primarily as a universal registry). However, it’s also the one with the least amount of bells and whistles on this list. It feels more basic, but that’s not always a bad thing. They have a good selection of products, and their universal registry syncs to a handful of other sites and registries such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, Traveler’s Joy, Etsy, Bloomingdales, Target, and even GoFundMe. They do have a live chat customer support option which is nice, but even though they promote “the most helpful customer service,” our experience was not as helpful as others on this list.

Other features include:

  • Create a cash fund with a 2.5% credit card processing fee (there is no option for Venmo and Paypal right now).*
  • Matching wedding invitations and free websites
  • Free shipping/returns on Knot Shop items
  • Guest List Manager
  • Add registries from most retailers, including Amazon, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, and Sur La Table
  • Wedding gift tracker
  • Online RSVPs
  • 20% off remaining Knot registry products after your wedding
  • Select from their Registry Award winners, which are products selected as the “best of” from editors and couples
  • Robust suite of wedding planning tools

* You do not have the option to pick up the processing fee for guests. The Knot says their research points to guests preferring to pick the fee up, so we’ll have to trust them on that.

Runner Up: Honeyfund

honeyfund registry
Honeyfund registry

If you ONLY want to register for cash, you can also do that on wedding registry sites like Zola, Joy and The Knot. However, if you’re not interested in using their wedding planning tools, this is where Honeyfund would move up the list. They specialize in cash and honeymoon funds in particular, and in some cases you can even find travel discounts and perks.

Another bonus? Honeyfund is the only cash registry that offers free gifting without guests having to go to Venmo or Paypal. Instead, guests can pay with a debit/credit card, Apple Pay or Google Wallet with no fees. You won’t pay fees either since funds are deposited into your “Honeymoon Wallet,” and can redeemed via Paypal, Venmo, and 200 gift card brands. They also make it extra easy to create a cash fund, with “starter” honeymoon registries that allow you to add a slew of honeymoon-specific registry items in one click, such as their “African Safari” or “Brazil” starter registries, where guests can contribute towards gifts such as roundtrip airfare and a full day-trip of Rio.

Read our in-depth breakdown of the best cash fund and honeymoon registries.

The Best Wedding Registry Stores: Our Top Picks

Want to add a registry store to your list? You’ll want to pick a retailer that has a wide selection of gifts, brands, and styles that you like, first and foremost. After that, you’ll want to narrow it to the one or two stores that have the best wedding registry perks. 

These are the stores (online and in-person) that top our list for their selection, quality, and perks.

1. Macy’s

macys registry
Macy’s registry

One of our favorite things about Macy’s is that they seem to always be having a sale, which guests AND you can take advantage of. My husband and I bought an expensive set of luggage here for our honeymoon, and after combining discounts it ended up being close to half off. 

WGM Says: Supply chain issues in the past few years have really limited the stock a lot of these brick and mortar retailers carry. So if you have your heart set on going into a store and seeing ALL the gifts you want to register for in person (what used to be one of the major perks of registering at a store with a physical location), you might not be able to.

  • 10-25% off coupon for select categories
  • Earn points on purchases with Star Rewards
  • 10-20% completion discount
  • 90-day return policy
  • Free bonus gifts from select brands
  • Get a $25 Macy’s Gift Card when you book a virtual or in-store registry appointment
  • Registry Checklist

2. Target

target wedding registry
Target registry

This a great place to stock up on basics such as kitchenware and linens, even furniture. Plus, the one-year return policy is extremely useful! We wrote a comprehensive review of Target’s wedding registry if you want to learn even more about the pros/cons.

  • Return and exchange items for up to a year
  • 15% completion discount
  • Gift Tracking
  • Personalized registry page with a custom url
  • Smart Checklist
  • Price Match Guarantee
  • Free 2-day ship, order pickup, same-day delivery, and drive up available at select locations

3. Crate & Barrel

crate and barrel registry
Crate & Barrel registry

While you can’t get everything for your registry here, there are some great items for your tabletop, kitchen, and even your home bar. We dig more into what they offer in our recent review of their registry and how it works.

  • Add Crate & Barrel AND CB2 items to your registry
  • 15% completion discount
  • Group gift option
  • Thank You Manager
  • Earn Reward Dollars with the Crate & Barrel credit card
  • Private registry events with pro advice to help you curate your list
  • Gifts ship free

Runner Up: Amazon

amazon popular wedding gifts
Amazon registry

In terms of versatility, you get the benefit of registering for products from thousands of Amazon retailers (and get to see their product reviews BEFORE you register for it, something that irks us about other registry sites/stores). You also get the option to add items from other stores such as Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel with their Universal Registry. If wedding guests are Prime subscribers they’ll also benefit from free shipping. We go into even more detail in our Amazon registry review. The reason it’s a runner up for us is because I generally feel quality can be hit or miss from Amazon, and that their selection of higher-end brands for sheets, dishes, and other homewares are not as great as other stores on this list.

  • Giant selection of items
  • 20% completion discount on eligible items
  • Free shipping for prime members of $25 and 180-day returns
  • 5% back on big items with Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card (btw we also use this at Whole Foods to get the same perk)
  • Group gifting. Guests can also contribute to a gift card fund with no fees
  • Personalized registry page 
  • Gift tracker

Wedding Registry Tips

Before you even start creating your registry, you’ll want to keep these wedding registry tips in mind.

1. Don’t register at the last minute

Even though your wedding may seem far away, get ahead of the curve by starting your registry shortly after you get engaged. Just make sure you periodically check in on it and replace any out of stock items.

2. Register for items at all different price points

When you’re thinking about gifts you want, be sure to include a wide range of prices. You know your guests best, but having high/low options will help guests find something that works for their budget. Bottom line? Aim to have an array of gifts between $50-$250+.

For gifts over $300, we also recommend using the “Group Gift” option if your wedding registry offers it. This will allow guests to contribute any amount they want towards the gift. Or if someone wants to buy it themselves, they can do that, too! 

3. Only invite guests to your online wedding registry

Most of the time, the only people that should receive info about your registry are those you send wedding invites to. Unless a person specifically reaches out to you to request access to your online wedding registry, such as your boss or a co-worker, it’s best to leave the topic of wedding gifts off the table.

4. Plan for Thank-Yous

It can seem like a daunting task after months of wedding planning, but you should plan on sending a thank-you for any gift you receive, and plan on sending them as the gifts come in. I remember each and every wedding gift I never got a thank-you card for.

Additionally, if you created a cash registry, don’t forget to make your thank-you cards specific. For instance, don’t just say “thank you so much for the generous gift.” Instead, focus on what you plan on using it towards. And yes, handwritten is still preferred.

How to Set Up a Wedding Registry

Now that you’ve figured out WHERE you want to register, the fun part begins! You can set up your wedding registry as soon as you get engaged (just in case family and friends want to send you an engagement gift), or have it ready right before you send out your Save the Dates.

Next, you’ll want to sit down with your partner and decide what you need, as well as what style you like best. For instance, are you more into brightly colored Le Creuset pots, or is a copper cookware set more your thing? The beauty is it’s completely up to the two of you! The only gifts you’ll want to avoid registering for is anything that isn’t for the both of you, like shoes and clothes or anything else that’s too personal. 

Then, make a list of items you want to add to your home, as well as those you want to upgrade. It’s best to do this room by room, or in the case of your kitchen or dining room, cabinet by cabinet. We’ll go into more details about our favorite wedding registry ideas for each of these rooms, below, but when it comes to your list, this is a good blueprint:

Wedding Registry Checklist

  • Kitchen
  • Dining Room
  • Bar
  • Living Room
  • Electronics
  • Entertaining (Games, etc.)
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Patio/Backyard
  • Home Upkeep/Misc. (Tools, etc.)
  • Travel/Camping Gear
  • Experiences (IE: Cooking class for two) or honeymoon plans if registering for a cash fund option

Not sure how many gifts to register for? Plan on 1-2 per invited guest. So if your guest count is 125, you should register for between 125-250 gifts. 

Where to Include Your Wedding Registry Info

The best place to let guests know where you’re registered is on your wedding website, and never on your invite! The url of your website on an invite, however, is completely fine (and even recommended). This should go on the back of your Save the Date, invitation, or on a separate insert.

Your wedding website should have a prominent “Wedding Registry” section with links to your registry (or if you’re registered with sites like Zola, Joy, or The Knot, it will be embedded on your wedding website, which is a huge plus). This way guests see the registry info as soon as they visit your website.

If you’re worried about older relatives not being able to access your wedding website, you can have your family or friends relay your wedding registry information to them as well.

Hopefully this gives you all the info you need to not only find the best wedding registry sites and stores, but what to do once you start one!

Have you registered with any of the registry sites or stores on this list:? Tell us what your experience has been like in the comments section, below!

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