Thomas and I have lived together for almost 2 years now, but there are plenty of personal belongings between the two of us that have journeyed with us since college to now, in our cozy (but tiny) home in the ‘burbs. Luckily, we’re both accustomed to the packing/moving/unpacking process that comes with living in many city-sized apartments that leave little room for excess “stuff.” Albeit I definitely have more “personal items” than Thomas despite our current floorplan, but I’m no stranger to purging anything that no longer sparks joy when I find myself questioning its existence in our home.
So you can imagine when it came to putting our wedding registry together, the LAST thing I wanted to load it up with was the “unnecessary” – the clutter-provoking, will live in a storage unit until we have the time/space to use it – stuff. Our tiny home simply cannot hold such inventory and I personally despise holding onto anything that doesn’t serve functionality in the immediate moment. Once you move a handful of times, you learn to only take what’s absolutely essential along with you.
When first putting our registry together, in my head I’m thinking, “We’re not in our ‘forever home’ so there’s no use adding items to our registry we can’t use now/in the near future.” Understandable BUT there’s a slight disruption in this method of thinking. For starters, a registry can serve as a shopping destination for items you’d not normally purchase yourself or would go out of your way for, generally speaking – like nice linen sheets. Wonderful to sleep in, but at a price that would equate a grocery bill.
Your registry is also a shopping destination that physically tells your guests exactly what you want & how much of it – eliminating the guesswork & as a result, ends in receiving desirable gifts chosen for you, by you. Because at the end of the day, you’re destined to get wedding gifts & if you opt not to have a registry, you can guarantee the arrival of some “unique” presents that will pose more headache in terms of how to even thank someone for something so…unnecessary?
That being said, we decided to go the registry route and select items that would enhance our everyday living, as well as a handful of things we’d love to have but wouldn’t necessarily purchase for ourselves in the meantime. Along with our website, which I’ll share post-wedding, we’re using Zola to put our registry together & have a couple months of experience using it that makes me feel confident in sharing the below suggestions for when it comes to creating yours (whether it be on Zola or not.)
Things To Keep In Mind
Register Early: Trust me, you’ll be getting questions about your registry practically the day you become engaged. Some people love to gift early, while inventory is still fresh & it’s top of mind. So the earlier you get your registry started, the better!
Update / Edit Often: That being said, your registry doesn’t have to be completed right away – you can easily update/edit items based on your preferences & needs literally every day leading up to the wedding (& even after I’m sure!) Get a handful of things on there when you first create it, but allow yourself to take a look at it from time to time and see if anything needs to be adjusted. ALSO – At least with Zola, sometimes the site hosting your registry doesn’t update an item “marked as sold” automatically when purchased, so be sure to remove anything that you’ve physically received that still appears as a wishlist item.
Hit All Price Points: Be sure to include a variety of prices within your registry, as low as in the $20’s. I know as a young adult when I was broke & purchasing wedding gifts for friends newly engaged, I constantly scoured the registry for items I could afford on my own, should I not find myself with another friend to split a larger gift with. You never know who might be in the same boat, budget-wise, as well as don’t assume your parents’ friends will be the only ones buying from your registry.
Make Long-Term Selections & Do It Together: It’s important your spouse-to-be is part of the registry process, whether you do it together or allow each other to view/edit the registry on his/her own time. Although I personally put the registry together & added a majority of the items on it, Thomas has the ability to add/remove anything he sees fit – which he has already, a few times…haha. On another note, be sure to discuss your reasons x,y,z for adding something to the registry that the other might not agree with or needs some convincing on. Ultimately, the things you should be adding are those that will benefit you/your lifestyle in the long-term – think higher quality, longer-lasting options you’ll use time & time again (i.e. linen bedding) over impulse additions that would serve you better now and not necessarily later (i.e. a new weed whacker to replace the older one in the garage.)
Nothing is Guaranteed (Except A Discount Or Store Credit): Remember that you’re not guaranteed to receive absolutely everything you put on your registry – there will most likely be unclaimed items leftover post-wedding celebration. But that being said – if using Zola, most everything you have on your registry will become available to purchase at a discounted price should the item be bought after your website’s “scheduled” wedding date (which you set when creating – will share another time.) However, I’m not certain if that’s only for items you add directly from Zola or if it includes items you’ve added from outside retailers…TBD.
— IF USING ZOLA – HERE’S A HOT TIP —
I would personally avoid adding anything directly from Zola’s catalog of items & here’s why: the quality is more likely to be cheap, the inventory you add is more likely to become out of stock/unavailable, and the delivery is more likely to take months before showing up at your doorstep. Instead, I’d add items direct from reputable retailers (Amazon, Target, Nordstrom) or the direct retailer of the item you’d wish to add to your registry to avoid any issue with stock/delivery/quality assurance. Thankfully, most wedding registry sites allow you to add items directly from retailers – rarely is there a place you cannot add something from (at least to my knowledge.)
Organization is Essential
Order of Preference: If there’s something you’d love to receive over something else on your registry, you can mark it as a “most wanted” gift which will place it at the top of your list. You can make as many items “most wanted” as you’d like, but I’d focus on 2-3 bigger ticket listings that would benefit you most – if you had to choose. In general, you can drag items on your registry in any order you wish to see them in, regardless if they’re marked as “most wanted” or not. So I’d personally be strategic with the placement of your more desired items in the registry’s order of go, from top to bottom.
By Department / By Set: Another thing to consider organizing, for your sake as well as your guests shopping from your registry, is to place items next to each other that either go together in terms of department (i.e. outdoor furniture & decor) or go together as a set (i.e. napkins + napkin rings.) You’re more likely to get the items listed closely together, especially if they’re accessories to a larger item – for example, say you made a Kitchenaid Mixer one of your “Most Wanted” items and then grouped the 2-3 Kitchenaid Attachments you’ve listed right after the mixer. You’re more likely to get the attachment accessories along with the mixer simply by that strategic placement alone.
Group Gifts + Cash Funds
Pricier Items as “Group Gifts”: For those registry items that are $500+, you’re best off making those items group gift contributions that your guests can add x amount of money towards until the retailed value of said-item is reached. This also allows for guests who are late to the registry selection (like days before the wedding) to still have the ability to contribute towards a meaningful gift. By the end of your registry timeframe, if you happen to have some contributions but not enough to cover the cost of the item listed, that cash can be transferred out to a personal bank account or can be turned into Zola/Registry Host credit. Personally, I’d choose the former & ensure you have an account set up to transfer your wedding funds into, before reaching your wedding date if possible. You never know if some sort of additional fee is taken from the total amount in order to “process” your funds post-wedding date… I can see this being a real thing for platforms offering “free wedding websites & registries”, right?
“Cash Fund” Considerations: If you choose to include something as a “Cash Fund” for guests to contribute x amount towards (i.e. Honeymoon Fund) – like I touched on above, there’s almost always a hidden “fee” of sorts when processing such transfer of funds when opting to place that money into an external, personal bank account. From what I’ve heard, the donor has the ability to pay the fees by adding them to his/her overall contribution, but I wouldn’t assume everyone contributing to your cash fund will be as generous with covering the fees. So keeping that in mind, I’d maybe lean towards including just one Cash Fund on the registry if you can help it. Besides, you’re also likely to receive some monetary gifts at your actual wedding – another thing to remember.
Recommended Items to Include
Bath Towels: Same with towels, you can never have enough of them – and nicer quality ones you didn’t get at Bed, Bath & Beyond 5+ years ago..
Kitchen Appliances: Apartment living didn’t allow for many appliances to live rent-free in our limited cabinet space, but there’s no better time to consider adding them to your household than when putting together your registry. Especially that KitchenAid Mixer you’ve been eyeing – believe me, you’ll want to own one in your very near future.
Entertaining Serveware: Seeing that Thomas and I are adults living in a HOUSE, we realized how ill prepared we were when hosting friends/family over for dinners or even our dang housewarming… So I’d definitely get a few serving pieces (platters, serving utensils, etc.) on your registry that you can be thankful for having the next time you play host or hostess.
Flat/Glassware: Like your towels, I’m sure you have a random assortment of college/post-college ‘survivors’ in the cups & plates department. Might be time to consider upgrading to pieces that better suit this new “about to be married” vibe you’re headed towards.
Cook/Bakeware: Like many things I’ve learned in this whole registry process, quality bakeware is apparently something you definitely want in your life. I’ve only recently purged all the cracked, weathered pieces in my possession since college…yikes. Although Cast Iron anything is top notch, two great alternatives that you can take delight in displaying on your counter, especially when cabinet space is limited, are the brands Mackenzie Childs & Le Creuset.
Picture Frames: Despite coming across the occasional jackpot at HomeGoods, there are definitely better picture frames ones out there (especially from Pottery Barn) to display your most treasured memories. Go with the 5″ x 7″ size and ask for 3 of each. It’s a nicer gift that you wouldn’t ordinarily purchase for yourself AND it’s still more likely to be a more affordable gift option for your guests.
House Speakers: A few of our friends mentioned they wish they added Sonos speakers to their registries, which we took as a strong recommendation to include on ours. These retail on the pricier side, but there’s a reason for it & that’s LONG-TERM QUALITY, my friend.
Travel Luggage: When planning our honeymoon, we realized we didn’t have suitable luggage for a 10 day trip – or in Thomas’s circumstance: luggage larger than a carry-on. So we added two sizes from Away (Medium & Large) that we’ve already received the cash equivalent of – we intend on getting these monogrammed (both with TW) so either one of us can use them at any given time, post-honeymoon!
Framebridge Gift Card: For when you want to frame those special wedding day moments! Framebridge has tons of options available to suit any wall art preference.
What’s On Our Wedding Registry
To give you a better visual, here are a few things we currently have or had on our registry (before said-item was purchased.)