Registering for Gifts – The Real Way!


When my husband and I were engaged, a friend of ours told us to beware the wedding registry process because it has been known to cause arguments between couples. We had a good, condescending laugh at anybody that could let something as trivial as a gravy boat come between them, in the true ‘That-Will-Never-Happen-To-Us’ spirit that held us firmly in its grip. After all, we were young, in love, and about to go pick out a bevy of random stuff that people were going to give us for free! What’s to argue about? And off we went, into the sunset of the bridal registry department…where it got ugly.

Within five minutes of meeting the lovely older saleslady in the fine china department, my husband (the abrasive New Yorker with a heart of gold that he does NOT wear on his sleeve) was telling her that we didn’t need any of this “random cr_p”, and that he couldn’t believe people pay this kind of money for “all this (bleep)” when it’s so readily available at a discount online. (I know, I know…ladies, he’s taken. Sorry.) Anyway, we left the store post haste without registering for diddly, needless to say, and we proceeded to have a very spirited discussion – if you know what I mean – on our way home. A couple of weeks later he was granted a do-over with a behavioral contract, and my mom in tow. He reformed, I compromised on the crystal doodads, and we ended up with some great loot. Anyway, here are a few tips to help you breeze through the registry process with (hopefully) less pain and suffering all around. Good luck!

Make It a Team Effort
In order to get the Happy Groom excited about the registry process, all you have to do is let him hold the gun. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will.) Just tell him which barcodes to shoot at, and give him an arbitrary amount of points for each one. If he’s especially cooperative, let him spend 15 minutes alone, with the gun, in the electronics department.

Do It Before Crunch Time
Don’t let this fester on your to-do list. Complete your registry early in the planning process so that you can enjoy it stress-free, and also give your guests plenty of time to shop early. Remember to send prompt thank-you notes for gifts that you receive even before your wedding, so that your guests know you’ve received them.

Register According to Your Lifestyle…You Don’t Have to Stick With China and Crystal
If you two are more Backyard BBQ than Afternoon Tea, by all means let your registry reflect your style! There are so many stores that offer wedding registries; you certainly don’t have to feel confined by tradition! Want a new canoe for two? Register at your favorite sporting goods store! Need to fix up your fixer-upper? A surprising number of home improvement stores allow for bridal registry. How about a few props to keep things spicy in the bedroom? Um…no. You need to shop for those yourselves.

Hit a Variety of Price Points
Make sure that there are accessible items for all of your guests, from the struggling student to the established executive. You should include several smaller items for the budget-conscious (starting at $15 or $20), and also have some big-ticket items so that big spenders don’t need to purchase several things in order to reach their intended gift amount.

Make Your Registry Accessible to Everyone
Having your registry available online is the best way to do this, but remember that many folks (especially older generations) still want to go into the store, so that should be an option for guests as well.

Can You Ask for Cash?
Unless cash gifts are a known tradition in your culture, avoid directly asking for cash. Be more discreet by having your family and bridesmaids quietly spread the word to those who ask. Another alternative is to use a cash or honeymoon registry, but do remember not to print any registry information on the invitation.


Add all your registries in one place & make gift-giving easy for your guests with our wedding websites.


Photography by Pilster Photography – see more at

about the author
Kara Kara is happily married in San Francisco where she occasionally stalks brides and tries to convince them to wear wedding dresses she wishes she could wear herself. She loves sales at Anthropologie, afternoon dance parties with her kids, and encouraging people to talk in funny accents.

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