Wedding registries can be ridiculously confusing. A lot of the old “rules” no longer apply—since couples wait longer to get married, they often either live together or already have a lot of basic necessities. But wedding registries are a great opportunity to upgrade the things you already have or receive money for things you truly need.
First, think about your individual situation. Wedding registries no longer have to be china and gravy bowls. Of course, they can be if you want, but today couples are choosing a lot of different wedding registry options. If you and your groom have plenty of dishes, consider Honeyfund, a service that lets guests donate towards travel or activities for your honeymoon. Die-hard campers? Register at an out-of-the-box place like REI. Can’t choose between stores? Zola is like the Pinterest of wedding registries, allowing you to choose different items from different stores. Have everything you could possibly need, but a passion for non-profits? Consider asking a particular charity if you could solicit donations on their behalf as gifts.
But if you’re going for the traditional wedding registry, here are some mistakes to avoid making.
- Not registering for enough gifts. Etiquette usually calls for about 2-3 registries at different stores, and registering for at least one gift per guest per occasion (don’t forget bridal showers). Guests appreciate having options that they know you’ll enjoy.
- Registering for too many gifts. Although you may think the more the merrier, you may run into trouble if what you really need is basic silverware and you wind up with that elaborate gravy boat instead. Definitely include some fun items, but make sure they don’t outnumber the necessities.
- Waiting too long to register. You’ll want to register as soon as possible. That gives guests plenty of time to buy gifts for any engagement parties or wedding showers.
- Forgetting a room.
Go room by room and think about what you’ll need. Here’s an example, just to get your gears turning—
- Dishes (silverware, bowls, plates, glasses, mugs, nice knives)
- Cooking supplies (pots, pans, cookie sheet, cooling rack, cutting board)
- Small appliances (ice cream scoop, rolling pin, meat thermometer, pizza cutter, measuring cups and spoons)
- Serving platter
- Large appliances (toaster, microwave, blender, coffee pot)
- Shower curtain
- Bath mat
- Toothbrush holder
- Bath towels
- Hand towels
- Outdoor chairs
- Outdoor lights
- Welcome mat
- Lawn games
- Duvet cover
- End tables
- Wine rack
- Speaker system
Here are some things to be mindful of doing when creating your wedding registry:
- Registering online instead of going to the store. Color and quality can look super different in person, so you may want to select some big-ticket items in-store that might be more complicated to return (especially furniture!).
- Only picking items in a particular price range. You’ll want things your just-out-of-college little sister can afford, as well as nicer options for friends of your parents. Don’t feel weird about registering for a few high-price items if they’re things you’d truly like—people often go in together on wedding gifts. This is the time to go big; if you’ve always dreamed of having a KitchenAid or a juicer, go for it!
- Allowing yourself to be carried away by the store clerk. While it can be helpful to have a clerk accompany you, you may want to make a round by yourselves first. Clerks want people to buy, buy, buy from their store’s registry, so they may browbeat you into adding things you don’t want or need. (Remember, though—you can always edit things online later!)
- Forgetting mom. This may seem like a fun task for you and your partner, but it’s moms who think of things like paper towel holders and dish racks. They may not be the coolest gifts, but they’re things you truly need! If your future spouse is up for it, consider a fun girls outing to one of the stores on your wish-list. You can always browse with her first then go over the items online or the next time you’re in the store with your partner.
- Worrying too much. At the end of the day, some people will definitely just write you a check. If you don’t get a certain gift you really needed or had your eye on, you can always use your cash gifts to buy it yourselves!