Tips for Creating a Wedding Registry

From which types of gifts guests love to give, to how to register for necessities you'll use today, next year, and for years to come, learn tips on how to create the perfect registry for you as a couple from Zola's registry experts.

By Emily Forrest

Le Creuset crock with cooking utsensils in flame orange, ramekins in teal blue and red, and honey pot in yellow
Photo by Zola

1. Register for Your Future Home

If you live in an apartment or share a starter home, it can be hard to see the need for twelve place settings or a 10-cup coffee maker. Keep in mind that someday you might have more space to entertain and more storage, too. Though some of your requests may seem extravagant now (like a roasting pan or a nice coffee table), these gifts from loved ones will build the foundation of your future home and bring smiles to your faces ten, twenty, or hopefully fifty years from now.

2. Pick Gifts at All Prices

For every big-ticket item (like a Vitamix, for example), add a few inexpensive gifts such as an oven mitt or tea towels. Give your guests the opportunity to shop items at a variety of price points so that everyone can gift you something you’ll love, regardless of their budget. In all likelihood, you need those smaller items just as much as the big ones, plus some people enjoy bundling smaller gifts together. (More gifts to open means more fun!)

3. Look for Opportunities to Upgrade

Many registry items are things you probably already have at home, like flatware or mixing bowls. But if the ones you already own aren’t great quality (or if you aren’t in love with them), this is the perfect time to trade them in. Retire those rust-covered baking sheets and swap out those plates you’ve had since college. Also take this opportunity to get a matching set of pots and pans, a great set of knives, or a luxury duvet set.

4. Think Year-round

If you’re starting your registry in July, you’re probably going to be tempted to add a portable fan and margarita glasses, but try to think about occasions throughout the year when you’re building your registry. Will you need a gravy boat and ladle come November, when you host your first Thanksgiving? When temperatures drop in December, would it be great to make soup in a slow cooker or cuddle under a cozy throw? Do a year-round brainstorm of holidays and occasions you and your spouse-to-be enjoy, then stock up.

5. When in Doubt, Focus on the Kitchen

Our statistics show that guests prefer to buy kitchen and tabletop gifts from your registry, so be sure to stock up in these categories. Beyond the bigger, more obvious gifts like appliances, cookware, dinnerware, drinkware, serveware, and flatware, remember to add everyday essentials such as cutting boards, knife sets, baking dishes, table linens, measuring tools, coffee makers, tea kettles, mixing bowls, and fun gadgets that will inspire you to spend time together in the kitchen.

6. Add More than You Think You’ll Need

The more gifts you add, the more gifts you will receive. So think big—go for the TV or the luggage. Remember you can always virtually exchange your gifts on your Zola registry before you allow them to ship. Don’t worry about looking greedy; guests consistently tell us they wish couples would create bigger registries so that there is plenty to choose from. If you're torn between which knives to get, why not add them both? Even if you’re given two knife sets, you can decide which one you want later—then exchange the other for Zola credit and buy something else you really want.

7. Visit Your Registry Semi-frequently

Some couples will create their registry, check it off their wedding to-do list and never return. But you and your guests will be thankful if you keep an eye on it. Some items may be discontinued over the course of your engagement, and you’ll want to replace them so you don’t miss out on receiving gifts you really could use. You may also look at your registry three months after you started it and ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” about some of your initial picks. Avoid overthinking it, but you’ll benefit from evaluating your registry along the way.

8. This is YOUR Registry, So Add What Makes You Happy

Your parents might think French bulldog salt-and-pepper shakers seem silly (we respectfully disagree) or a $200 teapot is insane (not if it’s the Michael Aram Butterfly Ginkgo Tea Pot, but if you and your partner love and know you’ll use these gifts, then add them. Your quirky picks are what make your registry and home uniquely you, not to mention pure fun for your friends and family to shop. As long as you’re mixing some staples in with the fun stuff, you’re good to go.

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