Wedding Gift Registry: Etiquette and What to Ask For

Gifts or money? Or gift cards? Or donations to charity? Or maybe nothing at all? — It’s always so difficult to know how to tackle your gift registry and to know what items to include and what to keep out.

Back in the day it was easy. Newly married couples typically bought a house and moved in together shortly after the wedding so gifts for the home were a definite necessity. However nowadays, many couples either already live together or have lived on their own long enough to accumulate most of the stuff they need for their house. So the need for a shiny new toaster, coffee maker or pots and pans has unfortunately gone out the window.

So what do you do?

Well, to shed a little light on this topic, I’ve put together a series of wedding registries I hope will appeal to most of you.

The Traditional Wedding Registry

Whether you’re buying a new house together for the first time or just updating your current stash, this registry includes all the conventional — and still very popular — household necessities.

1. Kitchen appliances. By far, the top gifts are the big ticket kitchen items such as gourmet coffee makers, crock pots, deep fryers, grills, etc.

2. Kitchen Accessories and Gadgets. These are all of those neat little knick-knacks you would likely never go out and buy for yourself but that you’d still love to have.

3. Luggage. Obviously, great for the honeymoon.

4. Dinnerware. Everyone needs matching plates, right?

5. Cookware/Bakeware. If you don’t already have all this stuff, asking for them on your registry can be a huge money saver. All of these things add up, fast.

6. Towel Sets. Something you may not think you need, but just trust me on this one.

7. Bedding. Again, something you can never have too much of. And why not go for the expensive 400 thread count Egyptian cotton?

The Atypical Wedding Registry

These are items that you probably never thought of for your registry but they’re always great to have. And again, always a great idea if you’re a couple who already has a house.

1. Christmas decorations. Obviously, this will depend on the time of year but Christmas decorations are always a nice gesture, especially when they’re personalized just for you.

2. Cordless drill. Always handy to have.

3. Artwork, decorative pillows and other home decor. Let’s face it, this stuff can be expensive but having nice things to decorate your new house will help make it feel like a home.

The Honeymoon Registry

This is a great alternative if you’re a couple who already has everything because you can ask for money you can use toward your honeymoon. So it’s like asking for money, but with a purpose, and your guests will appreciate that.

1. Room upgrades. Why not go all out and ask for a room with an incredible view?

2. Spa treatments. Ohh a couple’s massage, is there anything more romantic?…

3. Romantic Dinner on the beach. I stand corrected. An intimate dinner on the beach

4. Excursions. Think zip-lining, horseback riding or anything else you’ve always wanted to do.

The Charity Registry

1. Donations to a charity of your choice.

2. Money to go toward a new house. There’s absolutely nothing wrong about asking for a little help.

Wedding Registry Dos and Don’ts

Be careful not to become too trigger happy with that scanner gun! There are a few things you should know first. Remember, you want this to be an enjoyable experience for your guests too.

Do:

Set up your registry early. I would suggest you do this just before you send out your invitations.

Register for a wide range of gifts in a variety of price points. People will only spend what they can on your wedding gift, so give them a ton of choices so they don’t feel obligated to buy the expensive stuff if they really can’t afford it.

Write thoughtful, prompt thank you notes. Sorry, emails don’t count. Everyone loves receiving letters in the mail so handwritten, personalized thank you notes are sure to be appreciated by your guests.

Don’t:

Only register at only one store. It’s always a great idea to register at two or even three different stores, such as a kitchen store, a home goods store and a department store.

Include your registry info on your save the dates or invitations. However, it’s absolutely OK to slip a little card in with your invites or provide the URL to your wedding website that should include all that info.

Ask for money outright. Couples have sort of put the kibosh on this old-school registry rule over the past few years and asking for money has now become somewhat acceptable. But I think it’s still important to ask in a polite way that isn’t simply “We would appreciate money please”. No, no, no! Instead, as I suggested above, let your guests know why you’d prefer money, such as help with a future house purchase or even baby necessities. Your guests will absolutely understand.

Happy weddings!

Photos courtesy of: Dani Simmonds, dullhunk and Kerry Woo.

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