Dos and Don'ts for Your Wedding Registry

Learn how to combine proper etiquette with a modern sensibility.

Registering for your wedding can be a tricky business!

Photo: Ether & Smith

Registering for your wedding can be a tricky business; it seems that everywhere you turn there’s a new way to offend someone. As times change, etiquette does too, though admittedly at a different rate. If you’ve asked friends and family for advice on your registry, you have probably received conflicted advice, which can make you feel more confused than when you started!

modern wedding registry dos and don'ts
Photo by Willa Kveta Photography

Even Internet research can be misleading – we may never know the truth about honeymoon funds – which is why we wanted to make a simple list of dos and don’ts to serve as a basic guide to help you along your way. It’s a fact of life that there will be people to turn their nose up at any registry, as even the most proper and classic will seem stuffy and outdated to your friends. Even if it’s impossible to make everyone happy, we think our tips will get you as close as possible. 

-Do feel free to register for more nontraditional items, but be sure to have a registry with the old standbys as well, as some guests will feel more accustomed to it.
-Don’t register for things that are clearly for one person, not you as a couple.

-Do register with more than one store. Choosing two to three retailers is typically the most convenient for your guests.
-Don’t only register with online or niche stores. Pick at least one national department store that everyone can access in person.

-Do ask for items in a wide price range.
-Don’t have too many high-ticket items. One or two is okay if you think people will share the cost. You know your social circle and probably have a rough idea of what they can afford.

-Do register for things you actually want or need, not just things you think you have to register for.
-Don’t register at all, if you're hoping to receive cash. However, it's nice to have a small registry for people who would rather give a tangible gift.

-Do have your registry set up by the time your save the dates go out, if not earlier. Some people will want to bring gifts to an engagement party, though that is not required.
-Don’t forget to send thank-you notes as the gifts arrive. For gifts you receive at the wedding, it’s best to reply within one month of returning from your honeymoon.

-Do have more options than invited guests. Smaller items may be gifted in a group, and remember that you’ll probably have a bridal shower!
-Don’t list your registry on your wedding invitation (though your shower invitation is typically okay); use your wedding website or word-of-mouth.

Discover what items to register for and which to skip, view 25 of the most popular wedding gifts, and learn how to select the right tableware for your registry.