Timeline Tips for Your Wedding Registry

Discover when it's time to create your wish list.

Find out how to plan when to start registering for your wedding wish list.

Photo: Rochelle Cheever

There are a lot of different things that go into wedding planning, and it can be stressful to figure out when to take care of each task. There are certain vendors that you’ll want to book right away, as their calendars often fill up in advance. However, something like creating your gift registry can be harder to pin down on a calendar because there’s no risk of it being unavailable – there will always be stores with which to set up your registry! Considering how time consuming and overwhelming creating a wish list can be, it’s understandable that engaged pairs may find themselves procrastinating.

photo of wedding gifts, when to create your wedding registry, wedding registry timeline

Photo by Sterling Imageworks

Some wedding timelines recommend registering almost a year before the big day. While it never hurts to be prepared, if you choose to go this route, it’s important to remember to check in periodically to make sure that the items you have registered for haven’t been discontinued or marked as out of stock. Due to that risk, some couples may decide to delay making their wish list until closer to the wedding.

Though engagement parties are not necessarily gift-giving occasions, there are folks who never want to attend a gathering empty-handed. While this could be an opportunity to receive personal tokens, you may want to consider having the registry set up first to help guide those who choose to bring a present. If you decide to have a bridal shower, having your wish list ready by the time ladies are invited is a must. This is the rare celebration where gift giving is essentially required by etiquette, and a registry helps prevent receiving multiples – or even simply getting something you don’t like!

Should you chose to forgo a bridal shower and choose not to set one up before an engagement party, a good rule of thumb is to have a wedding registry prepared by the time you send out your invitations. After all, that’s when your guests will begin to make their plans and look to purchase gifts. However, keep in mind that’s about as late as you’ll want to be – some loved ones may even want to send a present once they receive a save the date. 

For more advice, read tips on registering if you and your future spouse live separately, or if you are already cohabitating