How to Create a Registry If You Already Live Together

We're here to tell you why building a wedding registry is still really necessary, regardless of whether you live together before marriage.

By Emily Forrest

man and woman holding hands in front of a mint green door seen only from waist down
Photo by Zola

Why Cohabiting Couples Still Need a Wedding Registry

Today, many couples live together for years before tying the knot. This means many of you already have tons of dishes, several sets of bedding, all the kitchen appliances you need, and rooms full of lovely décor. But if from where you sit (in your fully stocked home) you think you don’t need a wedding registry, think again:

1. Create Your “Together” Home

This is your chance to build the home of your dreams together, filled with things that bring you joy—not just the random assortment of stuff you’ve combined from past living quarters. Is your cookware a hodgepodge of scratched pans you used in college? Is your couch a relic from your SO’s first apartment (that’s seen it’s fair share of house parties)? Your wedding registry is the perfect opportunity to upgrade old, worn, or not particularly special objects with items you two can pick out together—items that match your lifestyle, your interests, and your tastes as a couple.

2. Guests Want to Buy You Gifts

Your guests will want to buy you gifts to celebrate your big day no matter what, so why not give them a little guidance to ensure you wind up with gifts you actually want? There’s nothing sweeter than thinking of a favorite loved one when you use his or her wedding gift on a regular basis. Allowing your friends and family to gift you special keepsakes (or luxe upgrades) means you’ll be surrounded by reminders of love and support in your newlywed home.

3. Register for Your Future

Wedding registries have evolved beyond standard gifts. If you feel as though you already have all the necessities you and your partner could possibly want, register for intangibles to help set up your married life. At Zola, couples can register for cool experiences (like cooking classes), gift cards for airlines and hotels for use on your honeymoon or other future travel, and cash funds for major expenses like a home down payment or a new car.

The Fives Types of Registry Gifts for Cohabiting Couples

When it comes to building a wedding registry for couples that already live together, there are four types of gifts you should focus on:

  1. Everyday-item upgrades
  2. Memorable pieces to collect
  3. Unique experiences and gift cards
  4. Cash funds for future expenses
  5. Charitable donations

What To Put on a Wedding Registry If You Already Live Together

Based on the five registry gift categories above, here are some of our top suggestions for what couples should put on their wedding registry if they already live together:

Everyday-Item Upgrades

1. Le Creuset Cookware

Even if you have everyday pots and pans, you should register for a few pieces of Le Creuset cast iron cookware. These items are simple, beautiful, high-quality, and will last you a lifetime. Upgrade by registering for a classic Dutch oven or a few baking dishes and donate any old cookware that’s scratched or stained.

2. Prep Bowls

Start off your life as newlyweds by decluttering your home: throw out all of those mismatched plastic bowls you have lying around and register for Duralex’s Lys Nesting Prep/Mixing Bowls. Whether you’re making a salad, beating eggs, or need something to hold a dipping sauce, these are versatile and classic.

3. Fancy Wine Glasses

Think practical. Wine glasses are something you probably use often, and you can never have enough of these for when you host parties. Get beautiful white, red, and champagne glasses that all match with Schott Zwiesel’s Forte Collection.

4. Chef-worthy Pans

If you cook at home regularly, do yourself a favor and upgrade your cooking experience with a set of premium pots and pans. This Nouvelle Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set from Anolon not only looks attractive, but cooks foods quickly and evenly thanks to its stainless steel and copper construction.

5. Linen Sheets

How many hours of your life do you spend in your bed? We aren’t going to do the math, but we know it’s a lot. Improve your sleeping environment with a light and airy Linen 4-Piece Sheet Set from Parachute, which is made from 100% Portuguese linen that will only improve with time.

Memorable Pieces to Collect

1. Classic China

Registering for china is a classic wedding tradition. You might have cups and plates in your home, but owning a set of beautiful, special occasion china from your wedding is something you will cherish forever. We love Wedgwood’s Arris 5-Piece Place Setting. These plates and bowls are detailed and ornate as well as clean and timeless, making them a perfect addition to your registry.

2. Custom Wedding Photo Albums

Your gorgeous new wedding photos deserve a home as beautiful and enduring as they are. Register for your own Zola wedding album with customizable options from thick, luxe paper to beautiful foils, linens, leathers, and more. And we can't forget this Float Frame for displaying one of your favorite shots from the day.

3. KitchenAid Stand Mixer

One of the most popular wedding gifts on Zola for good reason, the KitchenAid stand mixer has stood the test of time as a high-end appliance that looks gorgeous on your countertop and takes care of all your baking needs, forever. Go big with the 5 Qt. Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass.

4. Cut Crystal Vase

A timeless piece of crystal, especially made by renowned brand Waterford, is a gift you’ll use and treasure forever (and maybe even pass on to future generations). Start your crystal collection off with the Waterford Giftology Lismore Bud Vase, which is the elegant, year-round solution for a simple handful of blooms.

5. A Piece of Art

Begin your art collection as a married couple with a print from famous New York photographer Gray Malin. Register for a Gray Malin art gift card to use online at the artist’s website, where you can choose something that speaks to you as a couple, and will always remind you of your newlywed days.

Experiences And Gift Cards

1. Gym Membership

Get fit before the wedding with Equinox’s 12-Pack Duet Training that offers twelve personal training sessions for you and your partner to tackle together. Or utilize Group Gifting to ask for a 1-Year All-Access Membership to any Equinox gym, so you can rock your pre-wedding bod all that way to anniversary #1.

2. Home-Cooked Meal Plan Kit

Put those new pots and pans to work in your kitchen with a Blue Apron 2-Person Meal Plan delivery that’s perfectly portioned for two people. Let Blue Apron do the recipe hunting, grocery shopping, and ingredient-portioning, so you and your spouse can focus on the fun part: cooking (and eating) together as a new family.

3. Travel Gift Cards

Jet off to exotic destinations thanks to your wedding guests, who can buy you gift cards to major airlines like Southwest or Delta in specific cash increments from $100 up to $500. Travel by sea more your thing? Zola’s got gift cards to Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Carnival cruise lines as well.

4. Airbnb Gift Cards

You’ll need a comfy home base once you arrive at your destination. Register for Airbnb gift cards (again in specific cash increments) to enjoy a home away from home for your far or near adventures. Or register for gift cards to or Mr & Mrs Smith if rental homes aren’t your style.

5. Winc Monthly Wine Club

You’re going to need something to pour into all of those new wine glasses. Register for a 1-, 3-, or 6-month subscription to Winc’s monthly wine club, where you’ll be able to handpick bottles of superb vino from top winemakers to be sent directly to your door.

Cash Funds

Whether it’s for a general Honeymoon Fund, specific honeymoon upgrades like a top-end resort or surfing lessons, or any other big-ticket expenses you want to start saving for now, register for cash funds on Zola. We’ve come up with tons of cash fund ideas—from a home renovation fund to a puppy fund to a fund for ballet tickets—or you can customize your own. Add specific cash increments or allow guests to contribute whatever they wish towards your total goal (you still get to keep however much you’re gifted, even if you don’t hit the total).

Charitable Donations

For the well-established couple who would rather give back to their communities and their world, there’s nothing classier than asking your guests to make charitable donations to your favorite non-profits and chosen causes in lieu of actual gifts. We’ve made it easy at Zola to register for donations to GlobalGiving and Charitable Choice, which will direct your guests’ cash gifts towards charities working for an end to world hunger, disease prevention, disaster recovery, and those that help children, education, the environment, human rights, and many other causes.

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