How to Start Your Wedding Registry

Find out how to start building your wedding registry on Zola with this incredibly helpful video from our VIP Registry Advisor, Melissa.

By Kate Lynn Nemett

white woman in black and white striped shirt and yellow jacket praying and looking upward
Photo by Zola

The question was popped, the answer was “YES!”, and now you’re engaged to the love of your life. Mazel tov! After you’ve recovered from your champagne haze, the real fun of planning your big day—and future life as a married couple—begins.

At Zola, we obviously think that setting up your wedding registry is one of the most exciting and important parts of wedding planning. After all, you’re not only choosing which gifts you’d love to receive (from an endless list of gorgeous things), but you are filling in the details of how, where, and with what you will begin your new, shared life together post-wedding day.

For some couples, the thought of choosing an entire home’s worth of gifts is thrilling. (“Pick out whatever I want and put it on a list? And other people will buy it for me? Amazing!”) But for some—the same folks who dread entering a shopping mall and having to go in and out of stores making decisions all day—setting up a wedding registry sounds both daunting and exhausting.

Luckily for all kinds of couples, Zola’s here to make the registry process as simple, easy, and fun. Below we've gathered your need-to-knows when it comes to making your registry. Scroll on for registry etiquette, tips, and an informative video on how to get started.

 Bridal Shower Registry Photo Credit // Zola

What is a wedding registry?

First, let's cover the basics. A wedding registry is a list of gifts (typically online) that's curated and pre-selected by an engaged couple. It includes things the couple wants and/or needs going into their newlywed lives together. Traditionally, this can include dinnerware, cookware, linens, appliances, decor, and other household items. That being said, aside from products, a registry can also have cash funds, which allow wedding guests to contribute money to a general fund or more specific goals, like honeymoon activities or home renovations.

Having a gift registry makes gift giving and receiving easier on everyone. By setting one up, you're taking the guess work out of coming up with gift ideas, essentially providing a personalized one-stop shop. Not only that, but having an online registry allows guests to send gifts straight to your home. No struggling to find out where to leave a gift for them, no struggling to pile them up and take them home for you. Everything goes from your wishlist, to online, to your door. All in a few easy clicks.

How does a wedding registry work?

Creating and using a registry may come across as complicated, but it's actually fairly simple. After you've created an account with Zola, you can navigate to our shop and begin adding items, experiences, cash funds, and more to your gift list. These items will then appear in the "Manage Registry" section of your account, as well as on your live, public registry, which can be attached to your wedding website. Guests will then be able to browse through your selections, donate to cash funds, purchase gifts, buy gift cards, and more, as they would on any other online store. For the most part, it's that simple.

That being said, there are more customizations, options, and registry tools available to you. To learn more about gift tracking, returns, adding items from other retailers to your registry, and everything else concerning how Zola wedding registries work, click here.

Wedding registry etiquette

As you're building your registry, you'll want to keep a few registry etiquette tips in mind. Of course, you're not required to follow any of these, but they'll ensure that things run smoothly between you and your guests.

  • Do register for enough gifts. This usually means registering for more wedding gifts than there are gift givers. That way, everyone has a variety to choose from. However, if this seems like a challenge, you can include group gifts like cash funds, experiences, and donations.
  • Don't put your registry URL on your wedding invitations. Registry information should instead be connected to your wedding website, which can be listed in your paper suite.
  • Do including gifts at a variety of price points. From big ticket, expensive items to more affordable staples, consider that different guests may be comfortable spending different amounts of money. With that in mind, register for gifts in a range of prices.
  • Don't ask plainly for money. While, technically, you can register for a general cash fund, loved ones are often more inclined to contribute towards specific goals. This could be a honeymoon fund, a home project, or even a new pet. The opportunities are endless, so long as you get a little creative.
  • Do register for things you truly want. While flatware, fine china, glassware, and the like are common essentials, register for items that feel useful and personal to you both. You're not merely asking for things—you're building a collection of household items, experiences, and similar that are specific to your new life as a couple (or family). Don't hesitate to skip the gravy boat and toaster to register for that Kitchenaid stand mixer or espresso machine you'd rather have.
How Does a Wedding Registry Work?:Photo Credit // Zola

Wedding registry tips

If you're eager to get the most out of your wedding registry before you say "I do," there are a few tricks you're going to want to keep in mind. Remember the following quick tips as you create, curate, and personalize your registry. And if you're still looking for more, we've got you covered. Pro tip: These tips can also apply to your bridal registry, which guests will seek out for gifts to bring to your bridal shower.

  1. Use the "Our Most Wanted" tool to let guests know what you really desire. This will highlight the item on your registry so that it stands out.
  2. Utilize group gifting, which allows guests to split the cost of more expensive gifts.
  3. Add in multiples. Once you've added the registry items you want most, review your list and consider asking for multiples of items that go fast. Think towels, sheets, and glassware.

How to start your Zola registry

As you can see, setting up your wedding registry is a fairly easy feat. Case in point: we’ve put together an incredibly informative video on how to start your Zola Registry with our VIP Registry Advisor, Melissa. It’s basically the Holy Grail of helpful registry expert advice.

Melissa will walk you step-by-step through the entire Zola registry process. You’ll learn:

  1. Where to physically begin (hint: you spend a lot of time there).
  2. How to get inspired with wedding registry ideas, figure out what you really need, and what aspirational gifts you’d love to have.
  3. How to use Zola’s handy tools to get a customized report for exactly how many gifts you should register for in different price points.
  4. What kinds of gifts guests want to buy you, and how to make your registry totally guest-friendly.
  5. All about Zola’s comprehensive Registry Checklist to make sure you’re including all the essentials (as well as the homebrew kit and snorkeling lessons).
  6. How to keep track of your registry as guests begin buying you gifts.
  7. Your options when it comes to shipping your purchased gifts, and how to (easy, virtually, completely pain-free) exchange gifts on Zola.
  8. How to low-key stalk other couples’ Zola registries. No joke.

Sounds pretty informative, right? So, grab a glass or can of something delicious and find a comfy chair: these five minutes are well worth your time to become a bona fide Zola registry pro. Happy registering!

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola