What Is a Wedding Registry?
A wedding registry is a list of gifts curated by soon-to-be-married couples. The listed items often cater to the new life the pair will share after their ceremony.
Building your wedding registry can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the wedding planning process, but it can also be one of the most confusing. Where do you start? Where should you shop? And what items should you add to your registry?
Let’s dig deep into this 2023 wedding registry checklist and become inspired by the top registry items, learn about registry social etiquette, and answer some common wedding registry questions.
Back in the day, your wedding registry was limited to whatever you could find at your registry retailer—and most couples kept their registry limited to items for their home (spatulas, sheets, and crystal dinnerware, oh my!).
While you certainly can stock your registry with traditional registry essentials for your home, if that’s not your jam, no need to limit yourself!
Your friends, family, and wedding guests want to give you gifts that feel true to you and your partner—and your wedding registry gives them the opportunity to do that.
Here are some of the best wedding registry items to consider and get the ball rolling.
Kitchen essentials are some of the top wedding registry items for a reason. You might use these cooking tools on a daily basis, so consider adding the following popular kitchen items to your registry:
Some wedding guests love to gift kitchen items because not only do they feel personal, but they are also likely to be used.
Whether you prefer everyday dining sets or designer drinkware for special occasions, your wedding registry is the perfect place to let your loved ones know what you’re looking for:
Team Z Tip: Consider adding customizable or engravable items on your wedding registry list (think coffee mugs with your names on them), as this allows guests to gift you something truly one of a kind.
Practical items like computers and tablets can also double as home entertainment systems. Consider adding these wedding registry items for guests who want to splurge on your new life together:
Be as specific as possible about what brand and model of electronic you’re hoping for. Exchanging larger gifts like entertainment systems could potentially be time-consuming and costly.
Post-wedding bliss can only be heightened when you and your partner come back to a freshly decorated home! Here are a few home decor registry ideas that are available in various price ranges:
Team Z Tip: Be sure to include wedding registry items that feature a wide price range so every guest feels like they are able to get you gifts you really want.
Don’t forget to add wedding registry items that prioritize comfort as you and your partner step into this new chapter of life together:
It’s a good idea to specify the type of materials you’d like for your sheets and bedding (and any possible allergens or irritants) when adding bedroom items to your wedding registry.
Transform your bathroom into a zen luxury day spa with these wedding registry items:
If you and your significant other are eco-friendly bodycare fans, then consider adding your favorite skincare line to your wedding registry. Just make sure the products can benefit both of you!
Allow your wedding guests to support your time in nature by adding the following outdoorsy items to your wedding registry:
These items can range from gardening tools to hiking and camping gear. Is there a sport you both have been dying to try? Now’s the time to gather the resources for your new hobby!
If material things are not what delights you and your partner, add experiences like these to your wedding registry:
Team Z Tip: Share as many details as possible about the travel experience on your wedding registry—this will help illustrate how these gifts can facilitate joy in your life and why guests should consider purchasing.
Some of the best wedding registry items don’t fit into any traditional registry categories. Check out the following unique wedding registry must-haves:
If you want to build a life around new and exciting experiences, then luggage and cameras could make the ultimate adventurous honeymoon gifts.
Sometimes, you don’t want gifts or experiences. You just want cash. Here are a few ways to present your cash fund goals:
Whether you’re saving for a down payment on a house or want to cover your honeymoon costs, adding a cash fund to your registry can be a great way to get the money you need.
Understanding wedding registry etiquette is the last item to check off your wedding registry checklist. While there are no hard-and-fast wedding registry rules, here are a few etiquette tips to keep in mind when creating your wedding registry.
Avoid getting faulty gifts by researching every item before adding it to your wedding registry. Returning and exchanging gifts can cost you time and money, so be sure you’ll love the item before sharing it with your wedding guests.
While most people on your wedding guest list will be happy to donate to a cash fund or gift an experience, some people might want to get you a good old-fashioned gift. Make sure to offer a variety of gift choices so your guests can choose the gift type they’re most comfortable with.
Different guests will have different budgets for wedding gifts. Make sure to offer gift options at a variety of price points so there are gifts available for every budget. Low barriers of entry help every guest feel like they are able to contribute to your new life.
Wedding registries should reflect the wants and needs of both people tying the knot. Think of the registry as a symbol of your new life together—every item should somehow serve the aspirations of both you and your soon-to-be life partner.
If someone gets you a gift for your engagement, your shower, or your wedding, you need to send them a thank you card. Make sure to send cards as gifts arrive and to keep track of when cards were sent and who they were sent to. (Need help staying organized? We’ve got you covered! When you register with Zola, we'll help you stay on top of your thank you notes).
Putting your wedding registry together can feel like an overwhelming task. Keep in mind that your registry will likely evolve as your wedding approaches.
You can always add, remove, and edit as you see fit. And if you need some extra help or inspiration, we’re always here for you.
Here are answers to the most common wedding registry questions, including when, where, and how to register for your wedding.
Traditional wedding registry items like cookware and dining sets are great options, but honeymoon funds and travel excursions are also gaining popularity.
Avoid adding wedding registry items that you’re not sure you’ll love or will only have temporary use in your life. Guests will want to gift you something that you can use for a long time.
Aim for around two gifts for every guest who attends. For example, if your wedding guest list contains 100 people, then consider adding 200 gifts to your wedding registry. If you don’t have this many gifts to add to your registry, that’s OK, too!
This is a personal decision for each couple, but in general, the more registries you have, the easier it is for guests to become confused or overlook certain registry items.
If you’re both passionate about having multiple registries, make it as easy as possible for your wedding guests to locate the registries and the gifts within them.
Modern couples typically register their wedding gift list with an online wedding registry platform like Zola.
You and your partner will choose the gifts to add to your wedding registry—you can even add cash fund apps to give your guests multiple gifting options.
Every wedding registry should reflect the needs and interests of the newlyweds. Out of respect to your wedding guests, provide gift options at a variety of price points so that guests don’t feel forced to spend more than they can afford.
One of the most common ways to share your wedding registry is via your official wedding website. Make sure your contact information is also readily available in case guests have questions.
Yes! Curating a wedding registry full of material things is not what every couple dreams of. When asking for money, be as transparent as possible and consider describing what the money will be used for, like a honeymoon fund.
There is no rule on when you must stop adding to your wedding registry. However, the later you add an item to your registry, the less time guests have to see your latest addition.