Your wedding is sure to be one of the most memorable moments of your life.
Before the married bliss, however, comes the planning—and a wedding registry is no exception. A wedding registry shouldn’t be an afterthought. It requires serious decision-making between you and your partner, and ideally some long-term planning and maintenance throughout your engagement. This isn’t just another item on your endless to-do list. Trust us—this step doesn’t have to be so daunting. We want you to be equipped with the right resources to guide you.
Here you’ll find instructions on how to start your wedding registry, maintain it, and what comes after the big day. We’ll outline the dos and don’ts of wedding registries to maximize the registry experience, and discuss common mistakes to avoid when putting it all together.
We’re Engaged! When Do We Start A Wedding Registry?
Depending on the length of your engagement, things like securing the venue or finding a dress may be big priorities, but so is your registry. It’s also never too early to start your wedding registry, even if you’ve only been engaged since yesterday. In fact, the more time you have, the better.
Before registering, do:
Do talk to your partner about your lifestyle and the “style” of couple you are.
The gifts you choose will depend on your interests, home decor aesthetic, and many more factors. Both partners should be on the same page when it comes to choosing gifts. Spend time and work together to add them to your registry. Both of you should be account co-owners on any online registries.
Do take inventory of your home and life.
What do you already have? What things to do you need to replace? Include items you need on your registry, but don’t forget to also include items suited to your personal tastes that you want. Also think about if you want guests to contribute to a cash fund (honeymoon, home renovation projects, charity, etc.)
Do pick 2-4 retailers to register with, with at least one big retailer.
Non-local and non-tech savvy guests will be able to access your registry should they prefer to visit a physical store. Universal online registries, like Blueprint, give you the ability to consolidate existing online registries, and add gifts from anywhere (as long as the retailer has an online store) so you can keep them all in one place.
Do choose an online wedding registry service like Blueprint.
—and start registering for gifts as soon as possible. Registering early means you won’t make last minute gift decisions. It will also give your guests enough time to browse and purchase stress-free.
Do set up your registry an password protect or make private until you are ready to share.
That way you can take your time building your registry without stressing what people may see while it’s still unfinished and in-process.
Do keep your guests in mind when choosing retailers and brainstorming gifts.
Be conscious about what stores traditional guests will have access to, their tech literacy, and their budgets. Not everyone is comfortable using an online tool, and not everyone has a ton of money to blow on gifts.
Before registering, don’t:
Don’t wait until the last minute to register.
Have a goal to have your registry set up at least 4-6 months before your wedding date. If not for your own sanity, then do it simply to be courteous to your guests. Allow them enough time to browse, shop, and ask questions.
Don’t go overboard when choosing retailers.
This depends on how you wish to use and share an online universal registry, like Blueprint:
- Situation 1: The couple wants to use a site like Blueprint for cash gifts, along with their in-store registries. They plan on sharing every individual retailer they are registered with. In this case, we suggest no more than four retailers.
- Situation 2: The couple wants to use Blueprint for cash gifts and all other registry lists. They only want to share their custom Blueprint link. In this case, they’re welcome to register with multiple stores. Their guests will only be directed to shop at Blueprint, and is essentially like shopping one store.
We’re Ready To Start Registering!
You’ve discussed your registry goals over with your partner, have chosen retailers and/or online registry tool, and you’re ready for the fun part—adding the gifts. Registries, however, need to be maintained, customized, and updated during the length of your engagement.
During your engagement, do:
Do personalize your online wedding registry.
Add photos, a personalized message, and—if possible—edit custom gift descriptions and pictures to match your and your partner’s voice and tone. Your guests will love any and all personal touches!
Do register for a variety of different gift types.
Include the traditional household gifts (we see you Gram and Gramps!), but don’t be afraid to venture outside the norm. Register for experiences (honeymoon funds, for example), charitable causes, or even home improvement projects. Blueprint even offers group gifting options to split the cost of big-ticket items on your registry.
Do register for enough piece sets.
A plate set of 4 may be enough for two people, but what if you want to host guests at your home in the future? Consider registering for 8 or even 12 place settings.
Do register for more gifts than guests.
Based on historical data, we’ve found that a 1:1.5 ratio (number of guests x 1.5) generally works well.
Do register for gifts in varying price points.
This can’t be stated enough—it’s unreasonable to expect every guest to be able to splurge on a gift to you. It’s important to give your guests enough options, so they can get you a meaningful gift without breaking the bank.
Do include a personal message for cash gifts.
Although asking for cash gifts out loud is still somewhat frowned upon, cash gifts on online registries are much more common. Add a personalized description—your guest are more likely to contribute if you do.
Do add registry information and links to your wedding website.
Your wedding website is a one-stop-shop for all the details surrounding your wedding will live, including your registry. Your guests will appreciate the convenience.
Do ask your engagement party or bridal shower host to include your registry on their invitations.
It’s not taboo if the invitation doesn’t come directly from you. (Hey, that rhymes!)
Do routinely check your registry for buying trends.
What kinds of gifts are your guests buying? If they’re running through the more inexpensive gifts, add some more so other guests will have enough budget options, too. If you’re guests are loving contributing to a charity, consider increasing the target amount.
Do keep a list of gifts purchased and who bought them.
If you’re sticking to a traditional registry, you’ll thank yourself later when you sit down to write thank you cards. Blueprint’s Gift Tracker, however, makes it super easy and keeps track this for you in one convenient place.
During your engagement, don’t:
Don’t include registry information your wedding invitation.
This implies that gifts are required for attendance. You can include your wedding website on the invitation, which will have a registry page with your registry information.
Don’t register for too many seasonal items.
If you’re registering early, seasonal items may be out of stock or discontinued by the time guests start buying gifts. Check back a month out from the big day and make sure nothing on your registry is out of stock.
Don’t be afraid to call registry customer service or sales reps.
They know planning is stressful, and are happy to walk you through any questions. They’ll be more than happy to help your guests too, so include contact information on your wedding website.
We’re Married! What Else Do We Need To Do?
The big day has come and gone. Now you have loads of gifts to sort through, thank you cards to write, and maybe even some returns to make. Although the wedding planning is over, there are still a few to-dos to sort out post-wedding.
After the wedding, do:
Do leave your online registry up and active.
Many online registries allow you to keep your registries active for several months, and even years, after your wedding. Etiquette states that guests have up to a year post-wedding to send you gifts. Definitely keep your registry active as a resource for them.
Do take advantage of completion programs.
What if you have items on your registry that weren’t purchased? Many registries allow you to purchase the remaining gifts at a discount (Blueprint offers 10% off up to a year after your wedding!)
Do return gifts you don’t need.
Most retailers offer free return shipping for gifts. Because you used a physical retailer, you should be able to return those gifts in-store even if they were purchased online. Be sure to check with the individual retailer first to save yourself a trip to the store.
Do write tailored thank you cards that reference the gift purchased.
It will make your guest feel appreciated. Most registries will track that information for you so you can easily craft customized thank you cards.
After the wedding, don’t:
Don’t open or use your gifts until after the wedding.
We hope for the best, but it’s always safe to have plan for the worst. In case wedding plans change or are cancelled altogether, you don’t want a bunch of open and used gifts you can’t return. For gifts that were shipped to you pre-wedding, returns are much easier when you have the original packaging and return labels.
Don’t procrastinate on writing your thank you cards.
We’re going to say it: Waiting too long to send thank you cards—or worse, not sending them at all—is disrespectful. Show your guests how much you appreciate them, and practice great thank you card etiquette.
Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge to create your dream wedding registry, go forth and plan for a beautiful life with your partner. We’re rooting for you lovebirds!
Did you know that you can schedule a free concierge call with Blueprint’s customer service to get started? We’re here for you every step of the way.