Brides, Here's Your Definitive Guide to Wedding-Registry Etiquette

Follow these top tips from our experts and you'll be good to go!

Updated 03/15/17

Getty Images

Your wedding registry can be anything you want it to be, from a curated list of items for your new home to a honeymoon fund to help with that trip of a lifetime. But no matter what you decide to register for, making sure your registry is well planned and organized will make the whole process that much easier for you and your guests. Here are our experts’ top tips that you can’t forget when you’re putting together your wedding registry!

1. Start Registering Early

You don’t need to register the second you’re engaged, but you should start assembling a registry once you have an engagement party on your calendar (and definitely before you send your save-the-dates). This will help out any guests who want to get you a gift to celebrate your engagement, whether they're bringing something to your party or mailing it to your house. Your save-the-date should have the link to your wedding website on it, and some guests like to buy gifts early on to get it out of the way, so make sure that “registry” tab isn’t blank!

2. Choose a Selection of Stores

Even if you’ve got a more refined personal style, try to include a few items at a national store that all of your guests will be able to easily access. This is especially important for those old-school guests who prefer to shop in person instead of online.

3. Include a Range of Prices

Make sure your registry includes gifts in a wide range of prices, from items that cost just a few dollars to that super-expensive vacuum you’re dreaming about. There should be some things that every guest would feel comfortable purchasing, as well as smaller items they could combine into a larger gift (such as a set of mugs, coffee spoons, and a creamer).

4. Add More Items Than You Have Guests

Since some guests will buy you a few items or group some things together, make sure you’ve got more items than you have invited couples or families. Sure, you may not get everything on your list, but it’s better to have options remaining as your wedding date approaches than it is to wind up scrambling to add more choices when your registry is completed four months before your big day.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Nontraditional Options

Honeymoon and house funds (as well as online cash and charity registries!) are an easy and secure way to ask for something other than a new set of dishes. While it’s taboo to ask for money directly, these are great ways to essentially get cash gifts without your guests having to mail you a check. And of course, if it puts a dent in your down payment or helps fund some honeymoon upgrades, that’s always a plus!

6. Communicate Clearly (and Properly!)

Remember, you should never put your registry information directly on your wedding invitation. Instead, include the URL of your wedding website (and any log-in information), where guests can find out more about your big day. Then, on your wedding website, make sure to clearly mark links to your registries and outline important shipping information. And, of course, share the details with your wedding party so they can answer guests’ questions on your behalf!

7. Write Thank-You Notes Promptly

The best way to save yourselves a headache (and hand cramps!) is to write thank-you notes as soon as you’ve received a gift. Keep track of who got you what, as well as whether or not you’ve sent a thank-you, so you’re still organized. Writing some of those cards early on means you won’t be stuck drafting 100 of them on the flight to your honeymoon!

Related Stories