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9 Major Wedding Registry Don’ts

Ready to set up a wedding registry? We’ve got etiquette tips and advice to make the wedding gift experience great for you and your guests.

Online wedding registry

Online wedding registry

Your friends and family want to contribute something to your new married life together. Something... but what? If you’ve already settled into your own place, it may be hard to figure out what to get you. That’s where your wedding registry comes into play. While writing your wish list shouldn’t be too difficult, there are some things you’ll want to avoid. From not rushing the process to not waiting too long to send those thank-you notes, we’ve got etiquette tips and advice to make the wedding gift experience great for you and your guests.

Here are 9 major wedding registry don’ts.

Don’t rush through the registry process

Like other wedding tasks, it takes time to create a wedding registry that works well for you and your guests. If you are registering at a retailer, plan on making a few visits. Start by setting up an appointment with a wedding registry consultant to learn about their services, ask questions and look at their products. Once you’re ready to start adding items, you may want to break it down into two visits to allow time to make some decisions and do any necessary research. Finally, you should make a visit the month before your wedding to add more seasonal items and ensure there are enough items remaining for guests to choose from. Pro tip: use our wedding registry checklist for wedding gift ideas.

Don’t think short term

If you’re going the traditional route and asking for gifts to outfit your home, you’ll want to focus on the future. Will you host large holiday gatherings? Will you have dinner parties? Will you buy a home with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms? Also think about what items you already have that could use an upgrade, like kitchenware and bed linens.

Don’t make the gift options too limited

Between bridal showers and wedding gifts, your guests will be doing a fair amount of shopping for you, so they’ll want options. Be sure to register for a variety of items at different price points, so that they can select something that suits their style and budget. These days, you can also register for group gifts, gift cards, a honeymoon and even experiences, so feel free to add some of those to your list. Also, be sure to monitor your wedding registry (this can usually be done online) throughout your engagement, and especially the days right before a bridal shower or your wedding day, to ensure there are gifts ideas remaining for those last-minute shoppers.

Don’t just ask for cash

Your crew might be cool with this practical notion, but some older friends and relatives may have more traditional ideas. If you don’t register for some gifts, they are likely to take matters into their own hands and choose one for you that may not be to your taste. Register for a few “traditional” gifts that will hold meaning for you for years to come, like picture frames for your wedding photos, some stylish barware, a statement vase and a gourmet kitchen appliance/cookware.

Don’t be too vague

If you do primarily want cash, then use your wedding website to tell guests what you plan to do with it — outfit or renovate your home, take your dream honeymoon, put a down payment on a house, etc.— so guests know exactly what they’re gifting you. Pro tip: if you aren’t going the traditional route, set up a honeymoon registry or cash registry and have a card box at your wedding reception to make it easier for guests to give monetary gifts.

Don’t register too late

Your friends and family will probably start brainstorming gifts for you as soon as they see your engagement ring, so create your wedding registry ASAP. Seriously, unless you’re open to unwrapping a few surprises on your big day, the job should be done well before your bridal shower(s) and before you send out your wedding invitations.

Don’t forget to tell your guests

Once it’s crafted, you’re going to need to let your guests know about it. According to traditional etiquette, you shouldn’t mention your gift registry on your wedding invitations, although it is acceptable to include it with bridal shower invitations. If you’re being more modern about things, you might put registry info on your save-the-date cards. One popular option is to include the URL of your wedding website on invitations, etc., and have the registry information posted there. In many instances, guests will just ask — you, or your parents, or members of your family or wedding party - so make sure everyone has your wedding registry details.

Don’t keep score

It’s a tremendous privilege to receive wedding gifts. It’s not your right to receive them, nor your guests’ obligation to give them. And it’s certainly not a tit-for-tat proposition — that is, don’t expect a guest to give you a gift whose value is at least equal to what you paid for their meal at the reception.

Don’t wait too long to send those thank-you notes

Most registry gifts are held by the retailer until after the wedding so you can receive everything at once, but they’ll let you know a purchase has been made, giving you all the info you need to send out your wedding thank-you notes. If the gift is given before the wedding or at a bridal shower, send out a thank-you note within three weeks of receiving the gift or the notification from the retailer that the gift purchase was made. If you received the gift on your wedding day, you have a bit more time, but don’t wait too long — 3 months at most.

Keep your guests up to date on where you’re registered. Set up your FREE wedding website on WeddingWire.