The pandemic changed a lot about weddings, streamlining everything from planning to the parties themselves. And with that change came some new trends.
One part of the wedding tradition that is due for an overhaul: the registry. But the rules are slowly changing for that, too. Below, wedding pros offer tips for creating a wedding registry that make the process easier on yourself and your guests.
CONSOLIDATE YOUR REGISTRIES
Rather than registering at multiple retailers to create your list, use an online wedding registry service such as MyRegistry or Zola. It’s generally free and, if you set up a website to serve as your hub for the big day, you can simply link to the registry there to put all the information for your celebration in one convenient place.
CHOOSE ITEMS THOUGHTFULLY
It’s all too easy to choose random registry items simply to fill a list. Before you and your significant other choose where to register — and what to register for — take stock of what you actually need.
"Couples should really take a look at what is most important to them as a couple for their registry and narrow it down that way," says bridal stylist Bri Marbais of The Bridal Finery.
While you should feel free to include the expensive appliances you’ve long dreamed of — KitchenAid stand mixers, Vitamix blenders and Le Creuset Dutch ovens, for instance — be sure to have a range of items at varying price points as well.
Also remember that most people will need to ship your gifts. “Couples should consider smaller physical items for their registry that allow for less expensive shipping,” Marbais says. You could also choose to register at a retailer that offers free shipping and note that in your list.
THINK OF OUTSIDE-THE-BOX GIFTS — EVEN CASH
You may not need more dishes or cookware, especially if you already live together. So don’t be afraid to ask for uncommon things on your wish list, such as a premium streaming subscription, a membership to a monthly wine club or even cash.
While traditional etiquette has been that couples shouldn't blatantly ask for money, these rules are becoming antiquated. It’s OK to share links to a honeymoon fund or even a house down payment fund to help you reach your financial goals.
"One of the best ways to ask for money is to set up a Venmo or PayPal account that's solely for wedding gifts and provide the link the same way that you would for a gift registry," says Kylie Carlson, owner of The Wedding Academy. "Not only will you be the only one to see the amount being gifted, but it's a secure transaction for both parties.
"Keep in mind that when you’re asking for money outright, it's important to share what you’d use it for, whether on your wedding website or through word of mouth. Smith suggests saying something like, “We are so lucky to have everything we need — now we are saving up for a down payment.” This way, loved ones feel like they are contributing to something special and concrete, not simply making a cash transfer.
MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Remember that’s it’s up to your guests to decide if their budgets have room to purchase something you’ve chosen.
"Whether in attendance or not, invitations are not invoices and weddings are not fundraisers," says Jodi RR Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting.
Some guests may give bigger gifts in lieu of attending in person, as they didn't spend money to travel to the wedding itself. Others may choose not to give a gift for a virtual wedding since they're not attending in person — or for financial reasons.
Smith says that people often give gifts as a tangible expression of their love for the couple — and, for many, this hasn't changed. Whether you receive something or not, be gracious as you share your special day with your loved ones.