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 the ultimate wedding registry checklist, including when to register, how to register, and what, exactly, to register for.

When do I register for my wedding?

After you get engaged, you’re going to want to start building your wedding registry ASAP. Your friends and family might want to send a wedding gift along with their congratulatory well-wishes—and if you throw an engagement party, your guests are definitely going to want to come bearing gifts.

Your wedding registry allows your loved ones to get you and your partner the exact gifts you want and need to start your new life together, whether the gift is for your engagement, your shower, or your actual wedding day—so make sure you start adding registry items as soon as you get engaged.

INLINE Unsplash 1080x720 Photo Credit // Unsplash

How do I register for my wedding?

Now that you know when to start building your wedding registry, let’s talk about how to actually register.

Lucky for you, wedding registries have come a long way since the days of walking through the aisles of a department store with a scanner gun. Today, a couple can easily build an online registry that guests can access—whether they’re across town or across the globe (thanks technology!).

When you register with Zola, you can browse through over 100,000 items from over 1000 retailers to find the perfect items to add to your registry. Zola offers options to register for experiences, charities, and cash funds (honeymoon expenses!), too. So no matter what your ideal wedding registry looks like, we’ve got you covered.

What do I add to my wedding registry?

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 dishware, oh my!).

And while you certainly can stock your registry with kitchenware, bedding, and other 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. Naturally, remember to register for items the groom will love too!

Here are some registry ideas:

Household Items

When you get married, you’re building a new home with your partner (even if you already live together). And, chances are, you’re going to need things for that home (especially if you’ve never lived together).

Your wedding registry is the perfect opportunity to stock up on the home essentials you need to build your home. Some of the home goods you may want to add to your wedding registry include:

Kitchenware

  • Cookware (pots, pans, skillets, dutch oven, etc.)
  • Bakeware (cake pans, cupcake pans, muffin tins, rolling pins, measuring cups, etc.)
  • Food storage
  • Kitchen utensils (spatula, cheese grater, fruit zester, whisk, can opener, etc.)
  • Baking tools (stand mixer, hand mixer, mixing bowls, etc.)
  • Blender
  • Food processor
  • Chef’s knife
  • Coffee maker
  • Tea kettle
  • Toaster
  • Slow cooker

Dining Items

  • Place settings (dinner plates, soup bowls, appetizer plates, etc.)
  • Glasses (drinking glasses, wine glasses, champagne flutes, cocktail glasses, etc.)
  • Silverware
  • Serving utensils
  • Coffee/tea mugs
  • China (china place settings, china coffee set, china stemware, etc.)
  • Table linens
  • Ice bucket

Bedding

  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Pillow cases
  • Pillow shams
  • Comforters
  • Duvet covers

Bathroom Items!

  • Towels (bath towels, hand towels, washcloths, etc.)
  • Shower liner, curtain, and curtain rings
  • Bath mat
  • Garbage can
  • Bathroom accessories (soap dispenser, toothbrush holder, etc.)

Home Decor

  • Throw pillows
  • Curtains
  • Throw blankets
  • Area rugs
  • Wall art
  • Clocks

Experiences

Maybe you and your SO already have more spatulas, dinnerware, and luxury fitted sheets than you know what to do with. Or maybe you Photo Credit // Unsplashj ust don’t want or need any more stuff.

And that’s fine! If you don’t want to fill your home with gifts, why not use your registry to fill your life with experiences?

Registering for experiences is a great option for couples who don’t want or need a lot of gifts. It’s a win-win situation; your wedding guests get the opportunity to give you a gift—and you get the opportunity to have an amazing experience (without filling your home with things you don’t particularly want or need).

The types of experiences you register for are completely up to you; you can register for honeymoon experiences, a fun cooking class for you and your spouse, a skydiving adventure… the sky’s the limit! (Pun intended.)

Cash Fund

Sometimes, you don’t want gifts. You don’t want experiences. You just want cash.

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. Just make sure to let your guests know what you’ll be using the cash for. Guests will feel more comfortable donating to your cash fund when they know where their money is going. Another option is registering for gift cards, which can be even more specific in their intentions.

Some wedding registry etiquette to keep in mind...

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.

  • Offer a variety of gift types… While most of the 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 have options—and can choose the gift type they’re most comfortable with.
  • ...and price points. 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.
  • Send thank-you cards. If someone gets you a gift for your engagement, your bridal shower, or your wedding, you must, must, MUST 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).