Wedding Registry Secrets: How to Get the Gifts You Really Want

Ready to start your wedding registry? Get the most out of yours with these expert-approved registry tips and secrets to help you build the best registry for you and your guests.

By Lindsay Dolak

zola wedding registry tips
Photo by Zola

Creating your wedding registry is arguably one of the most fun experiences you’ll have during the wedding planning process. This is your opportunity as a couple to think about the wedding gifts you need and actually want. Traditionally, wedding registries are full of kitchen, bedroom, and other home decor items. With Zola, though, you can ask for anything you want. So, register for that must-have Instant Pot, but also register for a new puppy fund (we’ll explain).

It’s true. If you hack it right, you can receive virtually everything you want—and your guests will be happy to help you get there. Here’s how to get the absolute most out of your wedding registry.

Use The “Our Most Wanted” Tool

You probably want everything on your registry, but you probably really want a few items on your registry. Let your guests know that! When you add an item to your Zola wedding registry, you have the option to mark it as “Our Most Wanted.” This will highlight the item so that guests are more likely to purchase it. Works like a charm.

Split Funds For Expensive Gifts

We always recommend filling your registry with both affordable and more high-end gifts. This way you’re not only getting a variety of small- and large-ticket items, but you offer an assortment of price points for all of your guests.

For more expensive gifts, split the cost. When you add an item to your Zola registry, you can choose to make it a group gift. This gives guests the opportunity to contribute what they can to gifts at higher price points. Guests won’t skip over the big stuff so you’re more likely to receive those items.

Add The Classics

Your wedding guests probably aren’t all the same age or even from the same generation. While your close friends may be happy to gift you that DSLR camera or those travel essentials, older guests may be looking for the staples. You may not want a fancy casserole dish, but your great aunt may want you to want that casserole dish—and it will make her happy to gift it to you.

Instead of completely omitting those standard registry staples, add a few in. It will make the more traditional members of your family happy to give you what they think you need in your newlywed life.

Here’s the secret: If you really don’t want the casserole dish (or any of these gifts), you can return it to Zola for store credit—before it's even shipped to you. And no, we’ll never tell your great aunt (it’s completely discreet)—just don’t invite her to dinner anytime soon.

Placement Matters

As you’re adding items to your wedding registry, you’re probably not thinking too much about where they land on the page. Certainly your guests will give your full registry a good scan and take in all of your requested items, right? Wrong.

OK, well maybe not entirely wrong, but it’s true that how you organize your registry may have an impact on what guests buy. Place the things you want the most at the top right and the bottom. Because we read right to left, guests are more likely to remember those gifts. Similarly, it’s easiest to remember what’s on the top and bottom of your registry. It’s strange, but it works.

Include Cash Funds

Asking for cold hard cash for your wedding may seem a bit unrefined, but it’s certainly not unpopular. With Zola, you can create cash funds for all of the things you can’t directly ask for on your physical registry. Think money for home improvements (or your first home!), a new pet, or even funds for regular date nights.

Many couples opt to use their cash funds for a variety of honeymoon-related costs. You can create a cash fund for your airline expenses, for example. Break down your honeymoon into chunks that you need money for: meals, experiences, and more.

The hot tip here? Make sure the photo you upload for your honeymoon cash funds is one of you as a couple. It turns out that guests are more likely to contribute funds if it’s a personal photo instead of a generic one like a city scape or a palm tree.

Make It Personal

Going off of the above personal touch, be sure to give more meaning to all your gifts with brief descriptions. When you add an item to your Zola registry, you have the option to add a note for your guests. Use this space to write a quick explanation for why you want this gift and how you’ll use it. For example, if you’re asking for a pricey serving dish, let your guests know that you can’t wait to use it for dinner parties or even to host family Thanksgiving soon.

The more personal, it turns out, the more likely guests are to purchase your gift.

Add Extra

Once you go through and add the main items you want to your registry, give it a once-over and consider adding a bit more. By that we mean, ask for extra of things that go fast. Items like sheets, towels, place settings, and glassware need more regular replacement than other items thanks to regular use.

If you asked for one set of monogrammed towels, ask for another. Double down on bedsheets and pillowcases. You won’t need them right away, but we guarantee you’ll be happy to have the spare sets down the line.

Consult Zola Experts and Tools

Not to pat our own backs too hard, but we’re kind of registry artists—we’ve seen it all so we can help with it all. We can guide you along every step of your registry-making journey so that you choose gifts you really want and then actually receive those gifts.

Every Zola registry comes with:

  • A registry checklist (you have a lot going on—don’t forget a thing)
  • A registry advisor (Questions, comments, concerns? She’s got you covered.)
  • Free shipping and returns
  • Price matching
  • A 20% post-wedding discount
  • The absolute lowest cash fund fee possible (And, just so we’re clear, Zola doesn’t make any money from your cash funds. The fee goes to the money company people, not us.)

Making your wedding registry is a fun way to do some future planning with your future spouse. Get the absolute most out of yours by employing these seven insider tips to building your wedding registry.