How to Pick a Wedding Registry That’s Right for You

Ed. comment: While we are not a wedding site, our bloggers Alissa and Alex are about to tie the knot in May and Zainab will follow in June, so please indulge us.  You can use this information to set up your first apartment wish list!

If you are about to get married, are thinking about getting married, or may eventually get married (it could happen!), this post is for you. Weddings are exciting, stressful and wonderful, and you have a lot on your plate, so don’t let the registry stress you more than it has to… Just keep in mind that registries can be a little bit tricky.

Take me, for example. I’m getting married next month. I’ve lived with my fiancé for the past two and a half years. While we don’t have stellar silverware, stunning furniture, or brilliant dishes, we have everything we need and some of it’s quite nice. Our goal for the next year is to purchase (or, rather, start making down-payments on) a condo. Therefore, in terms of registering, we have two problems: 1. We already have most of the stuff people traditionally register for, and 2. Since we know we’re going to move, it’s hard to register for new furniture, since we don’t know the layout of our new place.

That said, if you’ve not yet lived with your soon-to-be betrothed, the process can be far more straightforward: you’ll need the traditional stuff. Plates, silverware, towels, bedding, a nice couch, kitchen supplies: the works.

So, I’ve divided my advice into two categories: traditional registries and flexible choices.

Traditional Registries

  • Macy’s. You can’t go wrong with Macys. They have basically everything you want, and at the end of the process you’ll get a gift card worth 5% of all the purchases your friends and family make for you – which can add up to one big honking gift card! Plus, they have regular sales, so your well-wishers will be able to buy on the bargain.
  • Bloomingdales. This is a little bit more high-end. You need to consider how important it is to you to get “fancy” stuff – especially because your guests may balk at the prices. That said, they do have very high-quality items, though less sales than Macy’s.
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond. The exact opposite of Bloomingdales, their merchandise is of reasonable (but not fantastic) quality and at far lower prices. If you’re moving in with your beloved for the first time, and have nothing in terms of household supplies, you’ll need volume – and BB&B can give it to you at a rate that everyone can afford.

Overall Traditional Advice: If you have in mind a traditional registry, it’s often easiest to go to a store you like and register for everything there. But, we know life doesn’t always work that way – maybe you love Crate & Barrel’s furniture, but you hate their dishes. Maybe you want to register for your china from Bloomingdales, but your kitchen appliances at Bed, Bath and Beyond. You can do this, and sites like Amazing Registry let you compile all of your registries on one list, so that when your guests ask where you’re registered, you can point them to one site, rather than having to give them six different links.

Flexible Choices

One couple I know registered at REI! Why? They love camping and so they wanted a nice tent, sleeping bags, and so forth more than anything else. If you have similarly unorthodox wishes, you should indulge them – it is your wedding, after all, and almost any store will allow you to register. Some other suggestions to make your unorthodox wedding dreams come true:

  • Universal Registry. This is a pretty cool thing – you can list any item for sale on any website anywhere! People will then buy your items through, through your personalized registry site, where all your items are on one list, even if the stores selling them don’t provide registries. The advantages of this are myriad, particularly if you have broad tastes and want to list only one or two items from many different stores.
  • Honeyfund. If you want to travel after your wedding (and who doesn’t!?), you would probably love to register your honeymoon, but can’t think of how. Honeyfund lets you do it – you can list the various expenses you expect to encounter on your trip and then your well-wishers can pledge a gift towards those expenses. It’s a great way for your wedding attendees to gift you an experience, without feeling like they’re just cutting you a check.
  • Other expenses. Let’s say the groom is planning to go to medical school after the wedding. Or that the two of you are in dire need of an automobile, but can’t quite save the cash. Or the bride needs money towards law school. It’s not traditional to ask for help for these things as a wedding gift – and some guests may not contribute (so make sure to have some traditional items on a traditional registry) but the people attending your wedding love and care about you and if you have a legitimate financial need, don’t feel ashamed to ask for help, as long as you do so tastefully. You may be surprised at people’s generosity.

That’s all I have for now. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to add them in a comment below.

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Author My First Apartment

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Alex has rented in Minneapolis, Queens, Brooklyn, and now Chicago. He can kill rodents and roaches when required, and loves picture-hanging projects. If you're ever in town, give him a shout.

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Comments (1)

  1. Avatar Megan

    Congratulations to you, Alex! I hope your wedding is a beautiful experience for both of you. : )

    I love this article! My fiance and I are looking at getting married in a little while and this gave us some really good ideas, especially the Honeyfund site!