How to Register For Wedding Gifts – A Guide to Maximizing Your Wedding Registry

August 26, 2008

Creating a wedding registry is one of the best parts about getting married. (Besides the fact that you’ve found the love of your life, and you’re about to embark on your happily-ever-after.) Here’s the quick and simple guide to get the most out of your wedding registry with the least amount of stress:

  • Understand that not everyone is going to use your registry – No matter how well meaning she might be, your Aunt Fanny is going to go right ahead and buy those $30 faux crystal candlesticks. Love her, and let it go.

  • Skip the fondue pot, pasta maker, and anything else that slices, dices and also makes julienne fries – Trust me, you are going to regret it later when you only get four place settings of china and have a brand new chocolate fountain. Don’t put this stuff on your registry at all, or people will buy it for you.

  • Do keep your registry simple – Put only the things you really want on your registry, and you will not end up with assorted items that gather dust and take up space in your future garage. Many of us get giddy at the idea of all those gifts, and the result is that we go hog wild with the registry. Please don’t make that mistake! Better to register for fewer things that you really want than to have pages and pages of possible gifts for people to sift through when they print your registry.

  • Do register at a store chain that is available to all of your friends, family, and guests – It’s important to understand that not everyone who will send you a gift will live close to you. I had friends of our family on the other side of the United States send me gifts. Please keep your far-flung relatives and friends in mind. Choose a store chain to register with that is big enough for them to get to locally, or has an easy to use online registry search.

  • Consider creating at least two registries, one high dollar, one low dollar – We registered at Dillard’s, and Target – While neither one of them is particularly high dollar, Target was a definite value option for those friends and family who did not have a lot of money, but still wanted to give us a gift.

  • Do register for your basic household appliances if you do not already have them, or need new ones – A vacuum, a microwave, a good set of knives, even a carpet steamer, or an iron and ironing board would not be out of place here. I mean really. would you rather spend your hard earned money on a carpet steamer, or be grateful that your family loved you enough to buy you one and spare you the expense? You might even end up with a nicer one than you would buy for yourself.

  • Do include a shipping address on your registry – Not everyone will want to bring your gift to the wedding, and you need to have a secure shipping address listed so that they can have your gifts sent directly to you.

  • If possible, allow your guests to choose gift cards as a registry option – Target offered this when I registered, and many more stores are now starting to. This will help you fill in the gaps between what people bought you, and what you still need for your new life together.

  • Do register for china, silverware, and enough place settings for at least 8 people – You in-laws will come for Christmas eventually, whether you want them to or not. The best you can hope for is to at least have matching place settings!

  • Encourage your guests to pool their money – If you have several expensive items on your registry, then it makes sense to ask people to pool their money. You only need so many salad spinners, bathroom towels, and kitchen gadgets.

  • Do not be afraid to ask for money, but DO tell your guests what you plan to use it for! – Many of your guests may buy you a gift for your bridal shower, but give you money for your wedding. A polite thank you note explaining what you intend to do with the money is a beautiful thing to do to repay their kindness.

  • Do not register for duplicate items – We made this mistake and ended up with a couple of duplicate items. If you register at more than one place, make sure you print the list from your first registry and have it handy when you do the second one. Also, do not assume that you can remove items from your registry. We found things that we liked at both Dillard’s than Target, but Dillard’s was slow to remove the registered items when we tried to fix them online.

  • Stay on the lookout for freebies, warranties, and rebates on the items your guests give you – Save any gift receipts, and get money back where you can.

  • Be prepared to return duplicate or unwanted gifts – You will probably get them, there is no way around it. Make sure you schedule a day to go around and return things for cash, or store credit whenever possible. If possible, keep the gift giver in the dark about it, they gave the gift out of their love for you, and it’s better not to embarrass them or make them angry over returning a gift.

  • Do get everything you can for free before you register – Before you register as a couple, talk frankly to your parents and family on both sides. Find out if they have used items like vacuums, etc. before you register for them. If you can get some things for free, or very cheaply from your family members, you can register for other things that you need instead.

Above all, please remember that registering for practical items will serve you best. The intent behind wedding gifts is that in a way, they help give the new couple the foundation of their future home together. If you register for things that will not help you build your new home into a happy place, then both you and your guests will miss out on this opportunity.

Be sure to check out ways to save money planning your wedding and how to save money on a destination wedding.

This checklist of tips on how to get the most for your money when you register for wedding presents is part of the Marriage Money Guide.

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7 Responses to How to Register For Wedding Gifts – A Guide to Maximizing Your Wedding Registry

  • ldw

    This is great advise, but people don’t usually include a reciept. I have a set of silverware that I can’t find out WHERE to return it. Any suggestions??

  • Elizabeth Nichols

    I support having a wedding registry wholeheartedly. It is the best way to get all the things you need or want in colors and designs you love. If you don’t have a registry you could end up with 3 salad bowls and flatware in a style you can’t stand. It is also a good time to get the groom involved in your life together.

  • Leslie

    I was a bit reluctant to do an registry but after doing some browsing and research. I see there are many benefits to it andI love the options and convenience of it. Plus some of my friends are horrible shopper. Thanks for the post.


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