Though dress shopping, cake tasting, and selecting your stationery are thrills in their own right, many couples find that creating their registry brings a new level of enjoyment to wedding planning. After all, what’s not to love about creating a shoppable wish list—especially one that will help you and your partner begin married life on the right foot?
A wedding registry is a curated list of gifts an engaged couple creates to make the wedding gift experience easier and more guided for their wedding guests. To help ensure you cover the must-haves, fun-to-haves, and everything between, we consulted registry expert Emily Forrest Skurnik.
Meet the Expert
Emily Forrest Skurnik is the director of communications at Zola, a one-stop site for wedding registries offering gifts from over 1,000 brands.
Read on for our ultimate wedding registry checklist along with answers to important registry etiquette questions.
Wedding Registry FAQs
Before you start building your registry, you may have a few questions. Here are answers to the most common ones.
How Many Registries Should You Have?
Most couples have between one and three wedding registries. A versatile super-site like Zola allows couples to register for material goods and cash all in one place and is always a good place to start. From there, a couple might also register at a department store (Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s), a big box store (Target, Bed Bath & Beyond), or other national chains (West Elm, The Container Store).
A couple might also have more niche goals for their early married life—home renovations, art purchases, major honeymoon adventures—or could be interested in supporting a charitable cause in lieu of gifts. Registry sites exist for all of these options, and couples often find that using a combination of a few is the best way to cover everything.
How Should You Share Your Registry Information?
“Integrate your wedding registry into your wedding website, and share the link to your wedding website on all formal communication about your wedding, such as save-the-dates and wedding invitation [suites],” says Skurnik. “There is no need to share the link to your registry specifically.” In fact, it's considered poor etiquette to include registry information and/or directly ask for money or gifts on your wedding invitations.
When it comes to blasting out your registry on social media, different cultures have different takes. Some feel fine sharing at large, especially if it is customary in their community to celebrate marriages even when they won’t be attending the wedding, while others feel it’s inappropriate to share if not all followers will be invited to the wedding events. Go with your gut on this one, or take a cue from what close friends or family with similar guest lists have done in the past.
Is It Okay to Ask for Money Instead of Gifts?
“It is completely acceptable to register for cash,” says Skurnik, who recommends creating specific cash funds so guests can get excited about contributing to something tangible. Many couples use this opportunity to cover honeymoon expenses—hence the rise in popularity of the honeymoon registry—but there’s no need to feel limited to that.
“Create a fund for round-trip airline tickets, theater tickets for two, or a just-married dinner at a fave local restaurant,” suggests Skurnick. “My husband and I registered for a cash fund to frame our ketubah.”
Some family members or guests may feel inclined to bring a card with a check or cash to the wedding. Consider purchasing or crafting a custom card box and leaving it in plain view at your reception for people to drop their gifts in.
Should You Be Paying Attention to the Cost of Items?
“The value of a gift is not tied to the price tag, and it’s important to give guests options they feel comfortable with,” says Skurnik. Each guest will approach your registry with a different price point in mind. Guests that want to spend more will often bundle items together to reach that goal, so it’s good to include a mix of items $50 and under, between $50 and $100, and over $100.
Don’t feel self-conscious about registering for a few higher ticket items as well. “Loved ones often like to join in on gifts together, and you never know who might want to spring for something extra nice,” says Skurnik.
Is It Okay to Keep Adding to Your Registry?
“Absolutely!” says Skurnik. “Your registry is an evolution. The best way to get started is to take an inventory of your home—think about what’s missing, what needs an upgrade. As wedding planning continues, it's natural to think of more ideas and to continue to add as gifts are purchased. Nobody is going to think there are too many gifts, but they might feel disappointed if all of the gifts are purchased.”
Is There Anything That’s Not Appropriate to Register For?
“I really believe that anything is on the table,” says Skurnik. “The rule of thumb is to make sure a registry is balanced between partners, so if one partner wants to register for the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer, the other partner might want to add a super-plush bathrobe or some cookbooks. Partners don't have to have the same taste or hobbies to be married; they just have to create a comfy home.”
Wedding Registry Checklist
Ready to start building out your registry? Here’s a helpful category-by-category breakdown of items you should consider adding to your list.
Kitchen Registry Ideas
- Cookware (nonstick skillet, sauté pan, pasta pot, saucepan, etc.)
- Bakeware (roasting pan, casserole dish, baking sheets, loaf pans, muffin tins, etc.)
- Knives (serrated knife, paring knife, chef’s knife, etc.)
- Cutting boards
- Dutch oven
- Cast iron skillet
- Stand mixer
- Food processor
- Hand juicer
- Measuring cups
- Mixing bowls
- Wooden spoons
- Rubber spatulas
- Salad spinner
- Meat thermometer
- Meat tenderizer
- Oven mitts
- Salt and pepper mills
- Pasta maker
- Rice cooker
- Pizza stone
- Immersion blender
- Toaster oven
- Specialty appliances such as Instant Pots and air-fryers
- Combo coffee and espresso machines
- An electric kettle
- A high-powered blender
- Carbonated water maker (SodaStream, Aarke Carbonator)
- Grill pan
- Barware (muddler, cocktail shaker, jigger, bar spoon, Hawthorne strainer, specialty ice trays, ice-makers, etc.)
- Toaster oven
- Motion-sensor garbage bin (Simplehuman, ZitA)
- Compost bin
Dining and Entertaining Registry Ideas
- Everyday dishware (eight to 12 settings—dinner plates, dessert and/or salad plates, bowls)
- Everyday drinking glasses (eight to 12)
- Mugs (eight to 12)
- Flatware (eight to 12 settings)
- Steak knives (eight to 12)
- Wine glasses (red and white)
- Champagne flutes
- Salad bowl and serving utensils
- Serving bowls, platters, and trays
- Additional serveware
- Coffee creamer and sugar holders
- Butter dish
- Gravy boat
- Pitchers (for coffee or water)
- Cheese and charcuterie boards
- Cheese knives
- Specialty glassware (margarita glasses, martini glasses, rocks glasses)
- Colored stemware (like Estelle Colored Glass)
- Bar cart
- Cake stand
- Wine decanter
- Decorative trivets
- High-quality game sets (chess, mahjong) and playing cards
Linen Registry Ideas
- Two everyday sheet sets
- Flannel/cold-weather sheets
- Down comforter
- Duvet cover
- Sleeping pillows
- Mattress topper
- Four bath towel sets (body towel, hand towel, washcloth)
- Additional hand towels and washcloths
- Bath mats
- Placemats (eight to 12)
- Linen napkins (eight to 12)
- Clothing hampers
- Clothes drying rack
- Mattress upgrade
- Silk pillowcases and sleeping masks
- Makeup removal towels (Weezie)
- Reusable alternatives to cotton rounds
- Fast-drying hair towels
Home and Décor Registry Ideas
- Picture frames
- Throw blankets
- Grilling gear
- Candles and candlesticks
- Flower vases
- Storage and organizing essentials (baskets, bins, makeup holders, etc.)
- Gift cards to home improvement stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot
- Patio furniture
- Firepits and patio heat lamps
- Indoor plants and pots
- Cash funds towards original artwork
- Gift cards for custom framing services (Framebridge, Artifact Uprising)
- Home office essentials (desk accessories, task lamps, computer monitor)
More Wedding Registry Ideas
- Personalized stationery
- Camping equipment (tents, sleeping bags, camp chairs, etc.)
- Sporting equipment (paddleboards, kayaks, skis, etc.)
- Airbnb gift cards
- Gift cards for online home decorating services (Havenly, Homepolish)
- At-home workout equipment (Peloton, The Mirror, etc.)
- Meal service subscriptions (Hello Fresh, Daily Harvest, etc.)
- News and magazine subscriptions
- Pet gear
- Yoga mats
- Grocery store and farmers market totes
- Eco-friendly cleaning subscription (Blueland)
- Portable coffee mugs and insulated tumblers
- Bath caddy