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9 Things NOT to Include in Your Wedding Registry

Avoid these wedding registry etiquette snafus to ensure your guests can easily find and purchase the gifts you actually want.

couple registering for wedding gifts
VStock/Getty Images

couple registering for wedding gifts
VStock/Getty Images

There aren’t that many rules in terms of the types of gifts that are appropriate for a wedding registry. From dishes to barware, linens to home accessories, even products and services related to your honeymoon, you can pretty much register for whatever you want. However, there are just a few no-no’s when it comes to registry gifts. Check out the following types of gifts you shouldn’t register for. 

Personal gifts

Your wedding registry should only include gifts that both you and your future spouse can use. Items like clothing, jewelry, personal electronics (like a phone), or anything else that is geared toward one spouse or the other shouldn’t be included. If you’re having a shower, guests may end up purchasing items that are specifically for you—but you shouldn’t include them on your registry.

Too many expensive items

It’s totally okay to register for a few expensive items, like furniture or luggage. Your guests can purchase these as a group. However, if your whole registry features items that a single person or couple can’t afford, you’re going to have some frustrated guests on your hands. Register for items at a variety of price points so that everyone can find an appropriate gift for their budget.

Items for the wedding

Try to avoid registering for items that you plan on using at the wedding—décor items, favors, etc. Not only will you ruin the element of surprise when guests see the items on your registry, there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive the items in time for the big day. It also gives the impression that your guests are “paying for your wedding,” which is not an appropriate etiquette move.

Things you'll never really use

We always recommend that you keep an open mind when you’re registering for gifts. However, if there are really certain items that you don’t need and won’t use, don’t register for them. If you’re in love with your bedding, there’s no need to register for a new set. Of course, you can always upgrade items you currently own, but if you’re happy with certain items you have, there’s no need to register for them.

Things you intend on returning

You may be wondering: Why would someone register for a gift they plan on returning? Sometimes in an effort to include more gifts on a registry, a couple might add gifts they have no intention of keeping—just so that their guests have something to buy. The couple will then return the items to receive store credit, gift cards, or cash back. While this may seem like a smart move, returning gifts can be a pain. Plus, your guests want to purchase you gifts that you’ll actually enjoy and use, so if that’s not the plan, don’t register for random items. Try a honeymoon or cash registry in addition to a small gift registry.

Items meant for someone else

Don’t register for items with the intent of “re-gifting” or eventually giving the item to someone else. Your registry is visible to everyone, and any form of wedding gift re-gifting will be pretty obvious, and not cool. Again, your guests have good intentions here and want to purchase gifts that you’ll love, not gifts that you plan on giving to someone else.

Too-trendy items

Just because a particular item features the latest trends, doesn’t mean that it’s actually right for your home. Of course, if it matches your home’s color scheme and is something you could see yourself loving for a long time, go for it. But for the most part, try to keep your registry to timeless items that are true to you and your future spouse’s style.

The same thing from different retailers

If you’re registering at multiple retailers (which we recommend), be mindful of what you’re registering for at each. If you register for the same item, or the same type of item, from two different retailers, you’ll likely receive them both and have to return one, which can be time-consuming and generally annoying. When registering at different retailers, try to create distinct registries at each. For example, registering for china and kitchenware at one retailer, and bedding and bath items at another.

Large items you have no place for

While creating your registry, you may fall in love with an item that either won’t fit in your home or you can’t use in your current space. For example, a large piece of artwork that you don’t have room for or outdoor furniture when you live in an apartment with no outdoor space. While it’s fine to register for smaller items that you won’t use now but foresee using in the future (fine china, for example), large items will be far more difficult to store if you can’t use them right away—and you may end up not being able to use them at all.