Why You Need a Pre-Engagement Party Registry

Plus, What to Put on It

Couple looking at woman's engagement ring

Getty Images

Who’d have thought that a list of gifts you’d like to get could be so complicated? While the concept seems simple (and you’ve been making birthday wish lists since before you could write!), putting together a registry for your wedding comes with its own set of etiquette rules and some serious subtleties. For example, have you ever thought about when you should put your registry together? If you assumed it will be fine as long as it’s done before your invitations go out, you’re wrong. Your registry should actually be started before your engagement party! Before you object, hear us out—and take a look at the registry items you should add first.

A wedding registry before the engagement party? Yes, we’re serious, and here’s why. While gifts aren’t expected at engagement parties, many of your friends and close family members will still want to mark the occasion with a little something. Sure, they could show up with a bottle of bubbly or a classic silver-toned frame, but it would be nice as the guests of honor to give them a little guidance before they head to the store. Starting your registry early means that you might end up getting a few items you and your partner actually want, even this early on in the process.

So what should you register for? Since it’s not quite time for guests to splurge on bigger-ticket items (which usually make an appearance at bridal showers and the wedding itself), stick to items that fall in the $100 or less category. You and your S.O. may not have taken stock of your lives (or browsed the shelves of your local Target or Williams-Sonoma) quite yet, so opt for classic registry items that you know you’ll want no matter what. Not sure where to begin? Here are six items that are tried-and-true registry staples, and will fit seamlessly into nearly any home design scheme.

Champagne Flutes

Champagne flute
Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to toast one another in the coming months, so add the correct glassware to your early registry. These modern flutes have clean lines and a delicate stem, perfect for weekend mimosas or New Year’s bubbly.

SHOP NOW: Crate & Barrel, $6.95 each

Cake Plate-Punch Bowl Combo

Monogrammed cake plate
 Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Sticking with the entertaining theme, a glass cake plate is a great way to display everything from birthday cupcakes to holiday pies. As a bonus, this cake plate flips over to serve as a base to hold the inverted lid, turning it into a punch bowl perfect for batch cocktails.

SHOP NOW: Williams-Sonoma, $39.95


Wine bottle with glasses
Meg Baggott

Yes, you can register for wine! If your guests are going to send you a bottle to celebrate your engagement, it may as well be one they know you’ll love. With ThirstyNest, you can pick and choose what you love, or use one of their one-click collections for a variety approved by Wine Enthusiast.

SHOP NOW: ThirstyNest, prices vary

New Sheets

Courtesy of Brooklinen

Planning a wedding can be stressful and exhausting, so we love the idea of making your bed an even cozier escape from the to-do lists early on. These crisp percale sheets will make heading to bed feel like a treat so you can face your planning tasks feeling relaxed and refreshed.

SHOP NOW: Brooklinen, $129

Classic Frames

Silver picture frames on wall
Courtesy of West Elm

There are so many moments worth remembering throughout your engagement, and a few pretty frames are just the encouragement you’ll need to get some photos off of your phone and into your home. The brushed finish on these antique silver frames will blend seamlessly into nearly any design scheme, and the variety of sizes is perfect for that gallery wall you’re working on.

SHOP NOW: West Elm, from $29


Man and woman cooking together
 Courtesy of Zola

Don’t forget to keep dating your partner while you’re engaged! The gift of an experience, whether it’s a cooking class, a restaurant gift card, or theater tickets, is the perfect opportunity for you and your S.O. to reconnect amidst the craziness. Your guests will love playing a part in keeping your love alive.

SHOP NOW: Zola, prices vary

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