Wedding Registries and Why They’re Awesome

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 01/15/24
Wedding Registries and Why They’re Awesome

Wedding Registries and Why They’re Awesome

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 01/15/24
Groom Hacks

Part of the Groom Hacks

Wedding Registries and Why They’re Awesome

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 01/15/24

With a big wedding comes a lot of fanfare. When you have a variety of celebrations to plan, the gifts you’ll be receiving might be the last thing on your wedding planning checklist. After all, you’ll likely be focused on how much fun your guests have at your wedding above all else, whether you realize it yet or not. The music, the menu, and the seating chart are just some of the things you need to consider with your attendees in mind. There are a multitude of things your guests will experience that are left to your imagination and guesswork. 

If there’s one thing you really want to do for your guests – and yourself – you should put together a wedding registry. Wedding registries can feel awkward for the soon-to-be-wed couples to put together. After all, it can be uncomfortable to ask for big ticket items you would never normally purchase for yourself. But remember, this is a milestone event and most of your guests will want to get you something really special as a “thank you” for inviting them to celebrate with you. 

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. We’ll go over your endless options for how to put together a wedding gift registry in today’s digital age and some tips for making the process as seamless as possible. Have you already started planning your registry or finalized it altogether? This article is for you, too. There are last minute tweaks you can make to further improve your registry that we’ve added below. No matter how big your wedding is, a solid registry is the best way to eliminate some of your stress.

When Did Wedding Registries Start Being Popular?

The general consensus is that wedding registries started at the turn of the century. When exactly and by who, though, is still up for debate. Brides magazine says that wedding registries were invented in 1901 by a store in Rochester, Minnesota, while Racked’s history of wedding gifts claims that Macy’s came up with the concept in the 1920’s. Either way, registries have been around for a long time; even if they look a little different than they used to. They became popularized after WW2 when consumerism and mass production were seeing an upward trend.

Back in the day, registries were a way to expand a new couple’s aspirations and guide guests in the right direction in terms of what was appropriate for a wedding gift. Always, though, registries crucially had varying price points. Whether you were a couple returning to an apartment or a couple that was well-endowed and living in a mansion, a registry was something you could do ahead of your wedding day.

There’s a reason we associate wedding gifts with crock pots, china sets, and other housewares. Wedding registries were a way of ensuring that young couples — or really, young women — had everything they needed to make a home. Before registries took off, future brides collected silverware, china, and homemade linens in “hope chests,” in many cases long before they even knew who they were going to marry. Much like the hope chests that preceded them, registries were a way of helping women with the transition from daughter to wife.

Things are a little different now. For starters, gender roles aren’t nearly as rigid as they were in the ’50s, and marriage is no longer limited to straight couples: One in ten LGBTQIA+ couples were married as of 2017, according to Gallup. The postwar era may have led to the rise of wedding registries, but it also created a new consumer society in which it became increasingly common for women to work outside the home. And thus, wedding registries look similar to the way they used to, but with new additions that benefit couples of all creeds. 

Where Can I Be Registered?

Thanks to the internet and the increased prevalence of online shopping, a universal wedding registry is commonplace. This makes it simple for your wedding guests to shop from one convenient webpage and mail a gift directly to your doorstep. You can be registered at virtually any retailer – Amazon, Target, and Walmart, to name a few – but there are ways to consolidate your registry so you can handpick items from a number of stores. 
Wedding Registry Websites
Here are a few websites that allow you to post a universal registry:

  • Zola: Zola is a free wedding website that serves as a one-stop destination for putting together a digital itinerary and one-size-fits-all wedding registry. It’s basically like having an entire website for your special day.
  • The Knot: The Knot has been doing free wedding websites for almost as long as the internet has been in existence. (Or at least it seems that way.) They’re a solid place to have your wedding registry which can include multiple vendors.
  • WithJoy: WithJoy is a newcomer to the wedding website space. With flexible pricing and options to showcase your favorite charity, they’re another solid option for a wedding registry website. 

Not sold on the idea of a wedding website? You can also register at multiple brick-and-mortar stores to get everything you need. This can be a good tactic for couples with older loved ones or people in their life who are otherwise not tech savvy, the stores can help them in-person! Mark Joseph, founder of Parental Queries, adds, “Wedding registries can be set-up online and everything you place can be seen by ALL who look for your registry. Why is this great? Whenever someone buys from your registry, it is then marked as bought (even tracks in-store purchases). Say goodbye to duplicate gifts!” Here is a non-exhaustive list of stores worth considering:

  • Target
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Macy’s
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • West Elm
  • Crate & Barrel 
  • CB2
  • Sur La Table
  • Etsy

Must-Have Registry Items:

Now that you’ve given some thought to where you’ll start your registry, let’s refocus our attention on some of the items you’ll actually need. You might think you’ve thought of everything when it comes to wedding gifts, but we guarantee you’ll find something on this wedding registry checklist you hadn’t considered. There are so many bases to cover when putting together your wedding registry, and we fully support going against the grain and asking for some atypical items. 
Wedding Registry Checklist
Without further ado, here are some wedding registry ideas that engaged couples tend forget about:

  • Bedding: Even if you already live together, new bedding is the easiest way to freshen up a bedroom. Pick a high quality duvet or comforter set and sheets you adore.
  • Frames & Wall Art: Decking out your space with new wedding photos and other meaningful artwork is a great way to start your marriage.
  • Lighting: Buying lamps for yourself is burdensome, but they make for a great affordable gift option. Choose pieces that brighten up your space.
  • Rugs: Rugs make a home warmer and cozier; exactly what a new married couple needs! You can find some affordable options at many of the retailers mentioned above; such as Walmart or Target.
  • Luggage: Jetting off after your wedding? Luggage might be worth adding to your registry. New hard-shell luggage in fun colors is a fabulous way to start a honeymoon.
  • Bath & Hand Towels: You’ll definitely need allllll of the linens if you haven’t moved in yet. If you already live together, refresh what you currently have anyways.
  • A Vacuum / Steamer: It’s not the sexiest gift, but it is useful and a great price range for a wedding gift. Start your marriage with sparkling floors.
  • Bakeware & Cookware: Take your meals as a married couple up a notch with gorgeous new bakeware. Having new pots & pans is a great excuse for a dinner date at home.
  • Knives: Knives dull or low quality? Take this as an opportunity to upgrade to sharper, more effective knives.
  • Neutral Place Settings: While a special patterned or floral set of dishes is beautiful for an occasion, don’t forget about your everyday dinnerware.
  • Organization Bins & Tools: Whether you’re moving or just accumulating a lot more “stuff” from your wedding, new and clean storage bins are your best friend.
  • A Tool Set: For hanging up all the frames and wall art you’ll be receiving! And anything else around the house that needs to be repaired.
  • Hobby Items: If you’re into skiing, new jackets might be in order. If you love gardening, ask for garden tools! Whatever your shared passions are, don’t be afraid to let your gift registry reflect that.

A Note About Price Ranges:

Not all weddings were created equal. And thus, not all registries should be created equal. As a general rule, you should expect a gift that covers the cost of your attendee’s plate and open bar (if applicable.) If you’re throwing a really big and expensive wedding, adding expensive items to your registry only makes sense. 

If you are having a more modest wedding, it is totally acceptable to add a mix of expensive and inexpensive items. That way, people can buy whatever they can afford or feel is fair for the occasion. People who are close to you may want to splurge on high-ticket items, even if your wedding is low-key.
Wedding Registry Price Range

Final Thoughts:

Weddings are a time for celebrating the existence of love and the beauty of togetherness. Gifts might not be the first thing on your mind, but you and your spouse deserve to be treated on your special day. Approach your wedding and registry with an understanding of the circumstances and a plan for communicating the gifts you want, and you’ll be well on your way to a perfect wedding and lasting marriage.

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