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The Top 11 Wedding Registry Mistakes

Setting up a wedding registry can kind of feel like the best shopping spree you’ve ever been on—however it does require quite a bit of thought and upkeep.

shutterstock registry

shutterstock registry

Setting up a wedding registry can kind of feel like the best shopping spree you’ve ever been on—and even better, you don’t have to pay for anything! However, creating a successful wedding registry does require quite a bit of thought and upkeep, and couples often look back and wish they had done things differently.

Here are a few common registry etiquette mistakes you can easily avoid.

Waiting too long to register

Create a wedding registry within a few weeks of your engagement. “Oh, but I don’t want to seem like I’m greedy,” you may be thinking. Remember that creating a registry is actually helping your guests. How many times have you struggled to pick out a birthday present or anniversary gift for a loved one? A registry takes the guesswork out of gift giving—your friends and family member won’t have to wonder if you’ll like their gift. And your loved ones will want to start shopping now. You’ll probably start receiving engagement gifts shortly after the proposal, so you might as well give your guests guidance ASAP.

Not researching retailers

Take the time to look at different retailers’ registry programs. What are the pros and cons of each? What are their return policies? Are there registry completion discounts? How easy to use is their website? Are there other features or benefits that appeal to you? Don’t just register somewhere because that’s where all of your friends register—do your own research and find the retailers that work best for your and your guests’ needs.

Only registering in one place

Sure, it might be easy to register at just one retailer, but it’s not the most convenient for your guests. We recommend registering at two or three different retailers to provide guests with options. Remember that some of your guests might want to purchase your guests in person (as opposed to online) and registering for more than one retailer will provide your guests with options for the store they visit. And don’t forget about alternative registries. And on that note…

Not considering alternative registries…

When it comes time to register, many couples forget about other registry options, including honeymoon, cash, and experience registries. These types of registries are great for couples who own a lot of home items already.

…or only having an alternative registry

If you do decide to create an alternative registry, great! But remember that some of your guests will want to purchase a tangible gift for you, no matter how much you gently nudge them toward your alternative registry. This is particularly true if you’re having a wedding shower where guests traditionally bring gifts. So be sure to also register for some gifts at a retailer, at least for Great Aunt Esther’s sake.

Not working together

While we wholeheartedly recommend delegating wedding-related tasks when possible, registering for gifts is one that you and your future spouse should work on together. Try to visit retailers together and select gifts as a team. Sure, you may have to compromise, but the end result is a home filled with items that both you and your partner truly love.

Registering for too few items

Again, the whole “but I don’t want to seem greedy” thing. Yes, we know, but registering for a lot of gifts will give your guests lots of options, which they’ll actually appreciate. We recommend doubling your guest count and registering for that many gifts, or more. You can always return gifts at a later date if you feel like you haven’t received the items you need.


Not mixing price points

Your guests will likely all have different budgets, so be sure to register for gifts at all different price points, from inexpensive items (great for shower gifts!) to larger, pricier gifts—and a good amount of items somewhere in the middle. Yes, it’s even okay to register for a few gifts that are super-expensive—guests might go in as a group to purchase them. For the most part, though, try to break up your gifts into single, less expensive items (for example, registering for individual pots and pans instead of a super-expensive set) when possible, as they will be easier for guests to purchase.

Thinking in the present

You may be thinking that registering for 12 place settings seems completely ridiculous, but five years from now when you’re hosting Thanksgiving for 12 at your house, you’ll be glad you did. Try to envision your lifestyle five, ten, or twenty years down the road—you may be entertaining far more than you currently do. Register for more items, not less, to avoid having to purchasing additional items (that may be discontinued!) years from now.

Putting registry information on printed invitations

Do not print your registry information on any invitation that comes from you or your family members—like your actual wedding invitation, for example. This makes it look like you are directly asking for gifts as the price of admission to your wedding—which is seen as rude. A good way to get around this is to put your registry information on your wedding website, and then direct your guests to your site.

Not checking on your registry often enough

Once you create your wedding registry, your work is far from over. You’ll want to visit your registry every few weeks or so, just to make sure that there are still enough gifts for your guests to choose from, and to make any necessary adjustments (for example, if your aunt buys you a cake cutting set that’s off-registry, you can remove the one that’s on your registry to avoid receiving two). If you’re not diligent about updating your registry, you’ll find yourself returning more gifts when all is said and done.

Procrastinating your thank-you notes

We know, writing thank-you notes can be a pain. But avoiding them can be an even bigger pain. You could find yourself returning from your honeymoon with a huge stack of notes to write—and that’s not a great way to kick off married life. For gifts received before your wedding, you have two or three weeks to write your thank you notes, and after the wedding, you have about two to three months—but try not to wait that long. Make sure you have enough stationery and postage to avoid further delays in sending.