Everything You Need to Know About Your Bridal Shower Registry

When it comes to your bridal shower registry, there are several things to consider. Read on for everything you need to know.

By Anni Irish

 Everything You Need to Know About Your Bridal Shower Registry
Photo by Zola

When it comes to organizing your bridal shower registry, there are several things to consider. Your bridal shower registry, an increasingly more popular option, generally functions a little differently than your wedding registry.

Keep reading to find out how these two registries differ, plus learn how to set one up, what items to include, when to thank your guests, and more.

Table of Contents:

What Is a Bridal Shower Registry?

Though the bridal shower registry differs from your wedding registry, you can choose to have both. Here’s what to consider in terms of the kinds of gifts you want and how you want to organize them.

Part 1: What Is a Bridal Shower Registry?

One of the main differences between a shower and a wedding registry is the kinds of gifts on it. Often, couples will choose to ask for smaller and more personalized gifts on their bridal shower registry and leave the big-ticket items like dinnerware, flatware, and gadgets for their wedding registry.

How to Organize It

While each engaged couple has their style of organizing things, there are a few elements to keep in mind as you set up your bridal shower registry. There is no one way to organize your registry—you can do whatever works for you and your partner. That said, having a simple system in place can help keep things organized. This can be as straightforward as you and your partner getting together and making a big list of all the things you need and want for your wedding.

Aim high, but also try to be realistic. Try to also think about what people can afford to get you as well. From there, you can divide the list up into two smaller parts and decide which items you’d like for the shower and which you'd like to receive at your wedding. Then, you can start to designate the two lists as “shower” and “wedding” and can start to manage both.

Generally, when it comes to bridal shower gifts, guests tend to get very personalized items, such as framed photos, books, wine, or even a cooking class. But remember: Not everyone is in the same place financially, so it’s polite to ask for items that range in price.

Also, think about where you want to have your registry. Doing it online and through a wedding website that has an assortment of items that’s easy for people to access and has all the information that your guests will need will make it a more seamless process.

Think About the Timing of Your Bridal Shower Versus Your Wedding Registry

Because your bridal shower will take place before the wedding, you should put anything you need immediately on the bridal shower registry.

Part 2: What Items Do You Include on Your Registry?

Deciding what to include on your registry can be a little overwhelming, so here are some tips and ideas to help you narrow it down:

  • See what items you already have
  • Think about items you might want an upgrade for
  • Be realistic about what you’ll use
  • Think about who will be using the registry
  • Consider having your bridal shower registry act as a honeymoon fund

See What Items You Already Have

Another aspect to consider is that you and your partner may already have some household items. As you put together your registry, take stock of what you already have in your home. This way you can fully assess what you already own and come up with a more realistic list of what you want and need.

Think About Items You Might Want an Upgrade For

If you have multiples of certain items, asking for duplicates is redundant. If you both have older items and want an upgrade or a nicer version of something that you haven't been able to afford yet, this is the time to ask for it. Seeing what you and your partner both own first and adjusting your list to that can also be another good gauge in terms of how you will tackle your registry and the items you will put on it. If you’ve been wanting new things as well or have some household things that are on the fritz, adding them to your registry list is a great way to upgrade what you have.

It Also Helps to Be Realistic

The sky's the limit. Asking for things you both want and need is another great way to approach your registry. That said, you also need to consider the fact that you may not get it all. Some bigger and more expensive items may be out of people's budgets. It helps to be realistic about what you’re asking for and pick a range of items that hit a few different price points.

Who Will Be Using Your Registry?

When you’re putting together your registry, you want to consider who will be using it. Will it be a combination of older and younger guests? Will some older guests possibly not understand a bridal shower registry or possibly take issue with it? Or are your guests on the younger side and more familiar with less traditional approaches to weddings, showers, and registries? These questions can serve as a guide for you.

If you’re inviting both younger and older folks, there may be a little bit of a disconnect in terms of weddings they have previously attended and the idea of a bridal shower registry may be a little foreign. If that’s the case, talk to your guests ahead of time, send an email or letter, and explain how you are planning to ask for gifts or what you would like people to do in terms of gifts.

Think About Using Your Bridal Shower Registry for a Honeymoon Fund

Some couples choose to ask for other nontraditional items, such as gift cards, cash, or even monetary contributions to their honeymoon. Over the last decade, a honeymoon fund, a fund set up to pay for a honeymoon has become an increasingly popular thing for couples to ask for. For example, if there’s a specific restaurant you want to eat at on your honeymoon or specific activities like spa treatments, figure out the cost, and add that to your registry. Guests will love the idea of contributing to creating a lasting memory.

Part 3: Where Do You Register?

Now that you've done the fun part of picking out all the gifts that you want, the next thing to do is to figure out where you want to register. If you’re wondering where to register, there are endless options. Today, almost every store allows you to create a registry. Although this can be convenient and exciting, an endless amount of choices can prove overwhelming. Consider organizing everything in one place online through registry sites. This makes it easy for your guests to find everything you want and allows you to pick and choose from a variety of options.

Zola's online registry offers couples fast and convenient ways to get their lists up and a ton of resources to help you with all aspects of your wedding. From great features like group gifting, price matching, virtual exchanges, and more, Zola makes it easy and fun to set up your registry online.

If you prefer to go the more traditional route and find gifts all through one place, you might choose a large online market space like Amazon where there is a wide range of gifts available. Or, you may prefer to support local stores. Bed, Bath, and Beyond and major department stores are also popular places to register.

When selecting your registry site, keep in mind what you and your partner want and what your style is, then pick a store or stores/websites that reflect this. With everything currently going on in the world, it’s also helpful to make sure your guests can shop either online or in person.

Part 4: When and How to Thank Your Guests

Once you've opened all of your gifts and the party's over, the next thing on your to-do list isn’t always as fun: writing the thank you notes. And depending on how many people you invited to your shower and how many people bought you gifts, there may be over 100 cards to write. Although the thought is overwhelming, there are some things you can do to help make the process go more smoothly.

How to Thank Your Guests

Be sure to keep track of who got you what with a master list, a spreadsheet, or another method of organization. This system should include specifics, so there’s no confusion later. And plan to send a thank you within two weeks of getting the gift.

Traditionally, thank you notes are handwritten. It’s a simple gesture that shows you took time and care to write the note and that you thought of the person. While sending an email or text may seem like it has the same sentiment, it may come off as impersonal.

Stock up on stationery and postage stamps. A simple blank card can do the trick, as well as others that say “thank you,” or other kinds of personalized stationery.

The general rule of thumb is if you received a gift, you should send a thank you. Work in batches. Knocking a few out at a time will help make the process seem less daunting overall.

When writing, express your appreciation for the gift and be sure to name what it is you were given. If you were given cash or a check, tell them what you did or plan to do with the money. And even if a guest didn't get you a gift, send a thank you to express your gratitude for their presence at the event. Having a general template of what you say on each one can help speed up the process, but don’t forget to personalize each one by adding specific details about each gift.

Embrace the Process

Creating your bridal shower registry is an exciting part of the wedding planning process. But it can, at times, seem overwhelming. Luckily, Zola offers a variety of tools to help make it easier for you and your guests. We offer one of the most comprehensive wedding and bridal shower registry amenities online, and the best part is that it's free!

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