The Complete Guide To Wedding Registries

Updated April 7, 2024

One of our absolute favorite parts of our engagement was registering for wedding gifts. Neither of us had a lot of nice things for our apartment (hello, $1 Target plates), so we were excited to finally get gifts we'd use for a long time in our future home.

We learned a ton about each other during the process, made a lot of mistakes, and ended up having a blast doing it.

Today, I want to share 15 tips that will make your wedding registry process enjoyable and help you overcome some common challenges (we may or may not be guilty of a few all of these, too).

After we run through those tips, we'll also cover:

  • Registry expectation questions to make sure you start on the same page
  • Items we're glad we registered for
  • Items we never really use
  • Items we wish we would have registered for (& had to buy out of pocket later)

Let's start with 15 tips to get the most out of the wedding registry process

1. Plan for longer than you'd think

If you think registering for your wedding will be a quick process where you'll pop into the store, scan a few items, and you're done... you're sorely mistaken.The registry process can, and will, take a lot longer than you'd think, so make sure you give yourselves plenty of time.

2. Eat before you go

Not to sound like your mother, but you really should eat before you start your registry. Nothing is worse than trying to make lots of decisions on an empty stomach. You'll be working on your registry for a while, so plan accordingly when it comes to your food.

3. Over-register for gifts

While you're registering, it may feel like you're adding so many gifts. The reality is, it's better to have way more gifts than you need than not enough. The Knot gives a helpful formula: Finding the magic number comes down to a simple math equation: Multiply your guest list by two, and then add a few extras.

4. Get lots of different price points

Your guests will likely be more comfortable if you provide them with a range of price points to choose from. (

Blueprint Registry recommends keeping ⅓ of the gifts under $50, ⅓ under $100, and ⅓ over $150.

For example, if you have 75 guests on your list, you'll have 50 gifts under $50, 50 gifts under $100, and 50 gifts over $150. See how easy it is?

5. Don't forget the big stuff

Things like Kitchen Aid Mixers, Vitamix, cookware, bedding, and small appliances can easily cost a few hundred dollars each. While you're creating your registry, it's easy to think, "No one will buy me that."

This just isn't true. We were amazed at some of the high-ticket items we registered for and actually received. There's something about wedding gifts that drive people to be super generous.

6. Think long term

Most stores will give you a "newlywed" discount on your registry for 6 months or a year after you get married. For example, Bed, Bath, & Beyond offers a 20% coupon on any of your registry items. That means you can put items on your list that you might not need right now, but can purchase later (assuming a guest doesn't buy it for you).

7. Ask a sales rep, but get some space

Maybe it's just us, but the last thing we wanted while we were registering was a sales rep following us around all day. Don't get me wrong, we had a couple of great sales reps, but what made them great for us is that they were available, but didn't hover. If we had a question, we could easily find them, but they didn't follow us around the store.

8. Register at more than one store

We decided to go with a "primary" store where we had a bulk of our registry, but also added a couple more stores to make it easy for our guests to find items for us. It also helped us take advantage of newlywed discounts at multiple places!We registered at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Target, and Amazon.

9. You don't need china or fine dinnerware

Seriously. Just leave it off. Please.

10. Check your registry before the wedding

Most gifts are bought between two weeks before and two weeks after a wedding. So, check your registry about two Fridays before your big day and add additional items if necessary to make sure guests have options. (

We had a friend who actually ran out of gifts a couple of weeks before the wedding and people had a hard time getting them what they wanted. No bueno.

11. Know your guests

In addition to providing a mix of price ranges, you should also have a mix of item types. Grandma may want to purchase something more traditional like a toaster or silverware while your BFF may want to get you a modern pouf for your living room. Providing guests with options will help everyone love what they've purchased for you.

12. Avoid seasonal gifts

We registered about 9 months before our wedding. One of the mistakes we made was registering for seasonal items that weren't around once we got closer to the wedding and when guests are actually purchasing gifts. If you want something seasonal, you may need to add it closer to your wedding. If not, opt for more year-round items.

13. Have gifts sent to your house

If you're getting married away from where you'll live or you simply don't want to deal with wedding-day gifts, you can request that gifts be sent to your house ahead of time. We spent most of our engagement in Arizona, but we got married in Wisconsin. It was nice to be able to have gifts sent to family while we were out of the state.

14. Get lots of plates and cups

Most people recommend having 8-12 dinner sets (plates, bowls, cups). Most stores sell their sets in counts of 4, which means you should register for 2-3 sets.

We're guilty of not always doing our dishes right away (oops), so it's nice to have extras.

15. Ignore the rules

Last, but not least... ignore the rules! It's your wedding and your marriage, so who cares what everyone else tells you. Wanna register for a trip or something outside of the norm? Go for it! Wanna register for a TV or something else fun, you do you, boo!

In addition to these tips, here are several expectation questions that will help you start the registry process on the same page (ya'll know how much we loooove asking questions!).

20 Registry Expectation Questions

  1. What gifts do we need the most?
  2. Which stores do you want to register at?
  3. How many gifts do you think we'll need? (Tip: use the formula from tip #3 above)
  4. Do you want a more traditional registry (gifts only)? Something unique (like experiences/trips)? A blend of the two?
  5. What day of the week is best for us to register?
  6. Do you want to try and get it all done in one day or split it up?
  7. Do you want us to get help from a salesperson or try to do it ourselves?
  8. What are some of the high ticket items we want/need?
  9. What are your biggest priorities that we must register for?
  10. What items do we already have that we don't want to register for?
  11. Who will be responsible for maintaining the registry?
  12. Whose address will the gifts be sent to?
  13. Do you have any items you absolutely must get?
  14. What happens if we start to get burnt out?
  15. Will we peek at the registry or wait until after the wedding to open all of the gifts?
  16. Will we unwrap our gifts together? When?
  17. Who will be with us when we open gifts? (We recommend having a sibling or friend with you to write down who gave you which gifts... helpful for thank you notes later!)
  18. What are some gifts we'll still be using 5, 10, 15 years from now?
  19. What are some gifts you'd be okay with us not getting?
  20. Do you want to go in with a plan or just wing it?

Next, let's talk about some items we're glad we registered for, items you might not use as much as you think you will, and items we wish we would have registered for (& had to buy out of pocket later).

Items we're glad we registered for:

(The items linked are what we have. We may get an affiliate commission if you buy these items. This is at no cost to you).

Items you might not use as much as you think you will:

  • KitchenAid stand mixer
  • Muffin sheets
  • Mini Crock Pots
  • Glass cups
  • Fancy plates
  • Small appliances that only serve one purpose (like a waffle maker)
  • Grilled cheese pan or novelty cookware
  • Random decor

Items we had to buy out of pocket later:

  • Grill
  • Little trashcans
  • Cleaning supplies & tools
  • Lawn chairs
  • Christmas tree
  • Misc. utensils (we had to buy silicone utensils that didn't scratch our pans)
  • Cutting boards

There ya have it! Here's to creating a stress-free registry that will help you build your life together.

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