creating a wedding registry: part 1

I’m so grateful we got to create a wedding registry and even more grateful for friends and family who blessed us with thoughtful, beautiful and useful gifts. From my favorite cake stand to our practical microwave splatter shield, I love knowing people who care for us helped us establish our home.

Just after we said "I do!"  Photo by Sarah DeShaw

Just after we said "I do!" 
Photo by Sarah DeShaw

Planning a wedding can be challenging, throw in selecting items that have the possibility to be part of your home forever, and it can be downright overwhelming. When we were engaged, I kept coming back to the memory of when my mom gave me a hand mixer in college. It was one of three she received as a wedding gift in the 70's and it was unopened. That's a long time for a mixer to be hanging around, so I was feeling the pressure to make some really good registry selections!

Now that we're a couple years into marriage, I love my hand mixer, but I'm comfortable knowing I may buy a new one someday and that is ok. Simply put, registering for wedding gifts is important and worth doing well, but it is not permanent or irreversible. It's not worth panicking or arguing over, however, if you do both, trust that you are not alone. 

Registering for gifts is not something you do every day, and while it can be fun, it's not as easy as it looks! Hopefully these tips will make it a touch easier for you.
Get your registry guns ready, friends, here are my best tips for registering from the heart!

1. If you don’t use an item (or even know what it is) before getting married, chances are you won’t use it after you're married.

It’s taken two and half years of marriage for me to start feeling comfortable in the kitchen—I still avoid touching raw meat, just for perspective. But, for some reason, I had the false impression that the bulk of a wedding registry should be focused on kitchen tools. So, I proceeded to fill our registry with kitchen items I suppose I thought some "magical marriage dust" would teach me how to use. With our combined kitchen experience adding up to very little, even trying to choose the items we wanted from the never-ending selection proved difficult.

Instead of walking into registering trying to meet some false expectation of what you think you need or "should" register for, take the time to talk about what is important to you in building a home and create your registry around that. Whether it’s cooking, entertaining, relaxing, being outside, hosting overnight guests, or a combination, let your values for your home guide the items on your registry.


Tip: A friend of mine told me that after creating their initial registry, she often edited it online, and I think this is so smart! Registering can be daunting, but the option to update and change things online helps take some of the pressure off because you can fine-tune your choices along the way.


The first wedding gift we received was this beautiful cake stand. I found it in Macy's and "begged" Woody to register for it. Of course he said yes even if he didn't totally understand the value of a beautiful cake stand. He now loves eating homemade cookies that are often kept in it, and it is one of my favorite pieces in our home! Photo by Rachel Coffey

The first wedding gift we received was this beautiful cake stand. I found it in Macy's and "begged" Woody to register for it. Of course he said yes even if he didn't totally understand the value of a beautiful cake stand. He now loves eating homemade cookies that are often kept in it, and it is one of my favorite pieces in our home!
Photo by Rachel Coffey

2. You don’t need to determine your “forever” home style before you get married.

As ridiculous as this seems to me now, part of me honestly thought we needed to determine our “forever” home style when registering. From linens to décor, I was focused on defining our style as a couple, but as an almost three-year-old wife, I see how unnecessary and unrealistic that effort was. I now appreciate how our style has developed in the first few years of marriage, and expect it to continue to develop throughout the course of our life together. 

If you’re feeling pressured to pick out the perfect “forever” items, let go. Pick what you love now and enjoy every bit of it. Then, as your life develops and grows, be open to transitioning pieces to a different use in your home. People give you wedding gifts to help you build a home as newlyweds, not for you to be committed to the same style your whole life long.


Tip: Many stores offer a registry completion discount. This allows you to buy remaining items on your registry at a discounted price after you're married. This is especially great if you want to complete sets of things like plates, mugs, towels, and sheets, or purchase more expensive items that you may not have received as wedding gifts.


We chose Restoration Hardware to register for bed and bath linens because it was the place where we found our personal styles collided; we both loved this store. We have been so happy with the quality of everything we received from RH and enjoy these pieces so much! Photo by Jacob Blount

We chose Restoration Hardware to register for bed and bath linens because it was the place where we found our personal styles collided; we both loved this store. We have been so happy with the quality of everything we received from RH and enjoy these pieces so much!
Photo by Jacob Blount

3. Keep it simple and intentional.

I found it easy to get carried away when registering; they put that little gun in my hand and it felt like I could have anything I wanted in the store! While you certainly could register for everything in the store, that does not help you create a purposeful home. Being intentional about the items you love and that help establish a home reflective of you as a couple is much more valuable than binge-registering for lots of stuff.

Gift-givers love the guidance registries provide, so it helps everyone when you are intentional with the registry you assemble. Depending on your circumstances and wedding timeline, you may get everything on your wedding registry or you may only get a portion of the things you’ve selected. Either way, if you register for items that have value and purpose for you as a couple, the more pleased you will be with the collection of gifts you receive. Ultimately, you want to have pieces that will help build your home, not just fill it.


Tip: You can register for gift cards! If you’re unsure of where you’ll be living when you get married, are planning to move, or just don’t know what all you will need yet, gift cards to your favorite places can be a great option. Some people will choose to give a gift card regardless, but registering for them lets people know they are something you specifically would like to receive. Then, you can use your gift cards in your first few months of marriage as you get settled in, along with that registry completion discount too!


Most of all, the best tip for registering from the heart is to keep it all in perspective. Registering is valuable, important, and fun, but at the end of the day, it is just about things and not nearly as important as the marriage you are building.

What questions or advice do you have about wedding registries?