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The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Wedding Registry

Your Kitchen
June 18, 2020

In The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Wedding Registry, I walk you through some of the basic but most important steps to building a wedding registry that'll serve you well. Wedding registries are all about you, anyway, so I want to make sure you benefit from your wedding registry as much as possible.

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Believe it or not, building your wedding registry can be a bit complicated. What should go on my wedding registry? What should I avoid putting on my wedding registry? How do I create a wedding registry? And, for some, what even is a wedding registry?

Don't worry. No judgement here. Especially if this is your first wedding—why should you have to know these things? First wedding or not, I want to help you out. Think of this post as covering the basics. Along the way, I'll recommend some quality tools to help you get started on your wedding registry.

And now, for the ultimate guide on building your wedding registry.

What is a wedding registry?

Let's start with the super-basics: what is a wedding registry? In short, it's a way to organize all of your deepest gift-desires. Nowadays, you'll rarely find one that's not situated on the internet. This is for good reason. Could you imagine having to send out paper copies of your deepest gift-desires to everyone on your wedding invite list?!

Some of the most popular wedding registry organizers out there include Amazon, Target, & Crate & Barrel. With each of these companies, you simply go on their website, set up a free wedding registry account, and away you go.

It's sort of like writing a virtual Christmas list that everyone can see. You literally scroll down through all of the merchandise and with a couple clicks, you can instantly add almost any of the items you want on your registry. Before you know it, your list will be very, very full. Trust me.

What's next? Well, it depends. Typically you'll set your privacy settings in the way you want. You can make your wedding registry public so that anyone can stroll on to it and buy you a gift. You'd be surprised at how many people might buy you a gift even though they weren't invited to your wedding.

Another common option is to make it private and only viewable to those with the link. It's all up to you here. But the Newlyweds Toolkit recommendation is to make it as public as possible.

The only thing you have to lose is potentially more gifts...

Wedding Registry Do's & Don'ts

With the basics now behind us, I want to give you some practical do's and don'ts for your wedding registry. Take em' or leave em'.

1. Add EVERYTHING You Want

Some people treat their wedding registry very conservatively, only putting on the things they think they "need." That's important. Do add the things you need. But also add everything that you want. This is one of the few moments in life—if not your only moment in life—where you've got a large amount of people dedicated to buying you and your spouse something.

Take advantage of it. Don't be conservative. Add the needed and the wanted. You'll regret it if you don't.

Some good ideas for starters might include that really nice chef’s knife you’ve always wanted but never bought yourself because you felt like an amateur. You really can’t beat the current deal on this knife.

More on this particular chef’s knife in a future post.

Are you a coffee drinker? Shoot for the stars and maybe your grandma might be extra kind to you by purchasing you this coffee grinder.

More on this in the future too.

2. Think In Categories

When you and your significant other sit down at the computer to start your registry, the first emotion you'll feel is "overwhelmed." No surprise; you've probably never done this before. The best way to put yourselves at ease is to think in categories:

  • Kitchen
  • Living Room
  • Bed Room
  • Dining Room
  • Garage

(Side note: you might also think outside these "classic" categories and think through things you do for fun. Do you like to camp? Add some camping gear! Remember the golden axiom: add EVERYTHING you want and need.)

Go through each of these categories one by one for the smoothest gift-adding procedure you've ever had. Moving on to point three now.

3. Start Without Your Significant Other

I know this sounds weird. After all, aren't these gifts supposed to be for both of you? Well, kind of. What I discovered is that when you try and sit down and choose things together, things can get a bit more chaotic. I'm speaking from experience.

Rather than just selecting the items you want, you're now having constant conversation about each item selection. This will bring the process to an end much sooner than you thought.

So, start separately. Let each person go through and add the items they want, then come together after and see if anything was missed. Trust me. This will save you time and arguments. There will be enough arguments for the future.

4. Put All Your Wedding Registries In One Place

Wouldn't it be nice if your guests could go to one place to see the gifts from all of your different registries? It turns out, they can. With websites like The Knot you can attach all of your different wedding registries (Amazon, Crate & Barrel, Target) so that they'll appear in one place. It's amazing.

The Knot does so much more than house your wedding registries. But I'll save a fuller explanation of The Knot and all its goodness for a later blog as well. I'll also compare it to its competitors incase you're wondering which website to use to handle all of your wedding details.

Okay, I got distracted. Back to do's and don'ts. Here's the last one. And it's a don't.

5. Don't Only Add Expensive Items

Diversify your price points on your wedding registry. Chances are that you have people of all ages with wide-ranging incomes attending your weddings. Be sure to have "low-ticket" items on your registry as well as "big-ticket" items and everything in between.

Here are a few examples: kitchen towels, a plate set or maybe some coasters.

You'll be surprised by what people buy you. A diverse selection only broadens the amounts and kinds of gifts you'll receive.

I want to help you make decisions about what to put on your registry and what not to. This will save you some return-hassles in the future.

Some Final Tips

So, you’ve come this far. You now know what a wedding registry is—absolutely essential—and you’ve got some important do’s and dont’s in your back pocket. What’s next?

I thought I’d close with some final pro tips to keep in your mind to get the most out of your wedding registry. This is supposed to be the “Ultimate Guide” after all.

Pro tip #1: Leave Your Wedding Registry Live Long After Your Wedding

What I’ve discovered (and also what many other married couples will tell you) is that the gifts keep on flowing, sometimes months after your actual wedding date.

You’ll be three months out from your wedding and all of a sudden a random Crate & Barrel box will show up at your doorstep or you’ll receive the “Hurray! A gift has been purchased!” email from Amazon.

It’s incredible. Really, it’s like the wedding registry that keeps on giving.

There will be people who either forgot to buy you something, weren’t invited but are still fond of you, or were invited and couldn’t make it, who will search for your wedding registry and send you gifts after the big day.

Leave your wedding registry live for as long as possible.

Do you have anything to lose besides more gifts?

Pro tip #2: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

You don’t want people having to ask you where to find your wedding registry. This will happen inevitably, and it’ll likely not even be your fault. But the more you can communicate—in tasteful and appropriate ways, of course—where people can find your wedding registries, the better.

As mentioned before, housing it all in one place on a wedding site that can do that for you is the preferred option. It’ll limit the amount of communication you’ll have to do and places people will have to go.

It may feel weird or awkward, but over-communicate these details: in your save-the-dates, in your invitations, and your wedding website.

Be creative.

Now, for a final pro tip.

Pro Tip #3: Update Your Wedding Registry Regularly

Because you are likely hosting your wedding registry through merchants like Amazon, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, and the like, you’ll notice that items are subject to going out of stock. Unfortunately just because an item is on your registry doesn’t mean it’ll always be there.

Check up on your wedding registry regularly.

Make sure your favorite, must-have items are still in your stock so that you can find alternatives incase they’re not.

You might also discover that you want more or less of something. I recommend keeping notes on your phone when wedding registry ideas come to your mind. Write it down and add it later when you get the chance.

I hope that this Ultimate Guide to Building Your Wedding Registry was helpful. Keep your eyes for more from the Newlyweds Toolkit for the advice you need.

As the husband who does all the cooking, I’ll be especially focused on the kitchen.

Ready to start your wedding registry? Do so now here!

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