Wedding Registry 101: Everything You Need to Know

For most engaged couples, a wedding registry is a pretty big deal. The wedding registry is often a favored wedding-planning task for groomsmen, it drives your future home’s décor, and also brings about a huge influx of amazing wedding presents! It is important to keep in mind that like many other aspects of a wedding, registries also involve complicated etiquette rules.

1. When should we register?

Registering early means seven to nine months before the wedding, even though the invites only go out two months before. This is to ensure that shower guests, as well as wedding guests, will have access to the registry. You resister once for everything, so if you forget something later, don’t worry about it — you will have the option to add items after you’ve complied your initial list.

2. How do we tell guests where we registered?

Not on the wedding invitation! Invitations should never mention any expectations of gifts, even though that would be the most convenient and obvious place to do so. It may sound old fashioned, but word of mouth is still the best way to connect everyone on your registry. Another way to easily share registry details to your guest list is via a wedding website — and this is fine to include on invites. Be sure to list the URL so that guests can easily find wedding information such as location, directions, attire suggestions, and, of course, your registry platform.

3. Is it rude to register if we're having a destination wedding?

Not at all. Regardless of whether the ceremony is taking place near or far, people will always want to give gifts for a wedding. Keep in mind that many guests will be dropping a significant amount of cash on travel accommodations, such as plane tickets and hotel rooms, so fill your registry with affordable items. Ideally, guests will mail their gift to you before the wedding (there’s no need to bring presents onto the plane). They also have the option to mail it to you within a month after you return from your honeymoon. Also, because of the distance, there will likely be friends and family members who can’t make it to the wedding but will certainly purchase a gift.

4. Is it OK to ask for money instead of gifts?

Remember this one and only important point in regards to asking for cash instead of gifts: Don’t mention it on your wedding invitation! Your wedding website and word of mouth are the only proper methods to share this information. Be sure to notify immediate family, friends and the wedding party beforehand so that they are prepared to spread the word about your preference for cash.

In the past, asking for cash went against popular American etiquette. These days, however, honeymoon registries and cash registries are much more common.

Also, since registries allow guests to purchase a piece of your honeymoon, home down payment, or anything else you are saving for, guests are rewarded with the feeling that they are contributing to the excitement of providing something you really want and need, as opposed to the impersonal gift of strict cash.

5. What is the deal with honeymoon registries?

Thanks to modern technology, guests can actually “give” honeymoon experiences in lieu of physical gifts. After the honeymoon destination is set, make a list of what you need help paying for and pick various activities that you wouldn’t normally splurge on — think ziplining, sunset horseback rides, massages…you get the idea. Then, sign up for a site like Sandals, where you can compile travel wish lists with items like “$75 toward airfare.” Spread the word that you’re registered there, and don’t be surprised when a few guests (like Aunt Silvia) insist on getting you something they can wrap, so be sure to include a few conventional items in the registry as well.

 Featured Cover Image: Crate & Barrel

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