Exactly When You Should Set Up Your Wedding Registry

Updated 11/11/19

Ira Lippke Studios

Congratulations, you've said, "Yes!" and now your ever-growing wedding to-do list won't stop until you say "I do." Amongst the slew of wedding-planning tasks between celebrating your engagement and walking down the aisle is registering for wedding gifts – a fun, yet time- and thought-consuming task that you certainly won't regret. But determining exactly when to register within your giant timeline of events can be confusing, so we're here to help.

Start Early If You're Having an Engagement Party

If you and your new fiancé decide to have an engagement celebration or if a close friend or family member is throwing one for you, it's important to create your wedding registry beforehand (unless it is a surprise, of course!). While some couples opt for a "no gift" message to spread before an engagement party, most people will still want to give a gift to celebrate your milestone. Without registering prior to the celebration, you might end up with a ton of "Mr. & Mrs." decor, or stuff you don't really need (or want). While all gifts should be graciously accepted and appreciated, if you can register before your engagement party, it's ideal.

The Must-Register Deadline: Your Bridal Shower

This is a must. As long as you're having a bridal shower, you really need to register for wedding gifts. Whether you opt for filling your wedding registry with traditional housewares, honeymoon funds, or newlywed adventures — guests at your shower will want the guidance to help them select the perfect gift, and you'll be happy that you did.

Even if it is a surprise, you should aim to have your registry completed at the time your bridal shower invitations are created and/or mailed.

What's a Good Time Frame?

In terms of general etiquette guidelines, most professionals agree that within the 7-9 month range before your wedding date is the ideal time to register. Within this time, it's implied that your bridal shower and any other pre-wedding festivities will take place, and with your registry created and ready to go, gift giving (and receiving) will be a breeze.

Consider Your Needs

Don't feel obligated to register at one of the "standard" retailers all your married friends registered at before you. You don't need to stick to classic stores or traditional wedding gifts. If you and your fiancé already live together or don't have a need for new bakeware or monogram towels, don't register for them. Your guests want to give you gifts you will truly love, not that you've added out of obligation.

Remember, nearly all registries are digitized now, and you can edit and update your lists at any time, so if you go in person to scan for wedding gifts, try not to feel too pressured into making the perfect registry.

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