How to Make a Wedding Gift Registry

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A wedding registry is a gift-giving guide for your guests, one that helps them purchase a gift that you truly love. Building your registry, then, is an important step of wedding planning. Wedding guests rely on the registry for their gift shopping, so you want it to showcase items that you truly need. This guide will teach you how to make a wedding gift registry that reflects your interests and needs so that you’re showered with practical gifts that you’ll love when you say “I do.”


What You Will Need

Make sure you have these items on hand as you build your wedding gift registry:

  • List of gift ideas
  • Computer
  • Internet access

How to Make a Wedding Gift Registry

Building your wedding gift registry might take some time and multiple trips to your favorite stores. Once you know what you want to add to the registry, you’ll be able to design a customized list that features gifts you need to start your married life together.

Follow these steps to make a wedding gift registry filled with gifts you truly desire.

1. Establish Your Gift Categories

Your wedding gift registry should be customized to suit your needs as a couple. As a result, no two wedding registries are the same. While couples living together for the first time after saying “I do” might need all of the basics to stock their house, other couples might be more established and focus their registry on items to complete their home. So, start building your registry by evaluating what you have and identifying what you need.

The first way to do that is by considering how well stocked your home is in these categories:

  • Kitchen – Dinnerware, flatware, cookware, bakeware, and small appliances
  • Bar and entertaining – Glassware, serveware, serving utensils, and table linens
  • Bath – Bath linens, bath mats, shower curtains, and organizational accessories
  • Bed – Bedding, pillows, sheet sets, blankets, and decorative accents
  • Decor – Decorative accessories for the home, including tabletop decor, wall art, table lamps, picture frames, and more
  • Electronics – TVs, DVD players, tablets, and electronic accessories

Start a spreadsheet with these categories, along with any others that you can think of, and input any items that you need. Keep in mind that you might want more than one set of some items, such as sheet sets or bath linens. When choosing the type and quantity of items, shop with your home in mind. You want to make sure every room, including guest rooms, for example, are well stocked.

2. Do Some Online Browsing

With your list of potential gifts in hand, do some online research to identify which stores have many of the items you need. While you can certainly have a registry at more than one store—many couples do—you don’t want to have so many separate gift registries that your guests get confused. Ideally, you will register at stores that offer many of the items on your list so that guests have plenty of options. 

During this research, make a note of what store carries the items you need. To save yourself time as you build your registry, you can even add links to the spreadsheet when you see an item you love. Keeping track of potential gifts helps you narrow down your registry from the start so that you aren’t as overwhelmed when you begin adding items to your list.

3. Visit Local Stores

While many wedding guests, particularly those who don’t live near you, appreciate the convenience of an online registry, others will want to go in store to pick out your gift and bring it to the wedding. Having a registry established at one or more local stores helps both you and your guests.

Browsing in store will allow you to check out items you added to your spreadsheet more closely. Perhaps the colors will look different in person or you’ll want to check out the texture or size of an item up close. You might even find some items in the store that aren’t currently available online. Consider this in-person shopping step the final step of the research phase of your wedding registry.

4. Decide Where You Want to Register

You’ve done your research, and now it’s time to select the stores where you want to set up registries. You’ll want to have your registry set up before any pre-wedding parties happen because guests may want to shop the registry for those events as well. While you might not be able to have your registry set up before an engagement party—which isn’t a gift-giving celebration, typically—you do want to publish your registries before any bridal showers when gifts are given. 

Couples may choose to build an all-in-one registry through different websites that pull items from various stores into one comprehensive list. However, the more common option is to create a wedding registry at a few stores that offer many of the items you desire. Consider these stores when deciding where to register:

  • Department stores that feature fine china, linens and more
  • Big-box stories that offer an array of items for the home
  • Online retailers like Amazon that give you a seemingly endless array of gift ideas
  • Homegoods stores that sell furniture, decor, dinnerware, and more
  • Specialty stores that sell items specific to your interests and needs as a couple

Try to find a mix of stores that are local to your area and found nationwide. While online shopping has certainly made gift buying easier, some guests might want to visit the store to peruse your selections.

5. Create Your Registry

Now, you’re ready to build your registry at your chosen store. Most stores have a convenient online option for gift registries so that you can create them, edit them, and add to them from the comfort of your home. So, log onto the store’s website to find all the details about creating a registry. While each retailer will have its own set of procedures, you can expect to:

  • Enter your name and your partner’s name, wedding date, and wedding location
  • Add items to the registry, specifying not only the item but also the color, style, and quantity desired
  • Add shipping information so that guests have the option to send the gifts directly to you

If you prefer an in-person shopping experience, many stores can allow you to add items to your registry while you shop. Once you’ve created your registry online, you can go in store and scan items to add to the registry as well. This two-step approach will allow you to find all of the items you desire for your gift registry.

6. Assess Your Registry

When you’re creating a wedding registry, it’s easy to get carried away. So, once you’ve finished the list, you want to spend some time reviewing it to ensure it’s appropriate. Consider these factors when assessing your completed registry: 

  • Be sure you over register, meaning that you have more gift options than you do guests. Doing so gives guests more choices when you’re shopping.
  • There should be gifts included at a variety of price points, ranging from under $50 to several hundred dollars. Keep in mind that guests’ budgets vary, and some guests will be buying multiple gifts for pre-wedding events and the wedding itself. So, you want to give guests plenty of options when they’re shopping.
  • Avoid registering for too many seasonal items if your wedding is in a different season. Often, these items may go out of stock when the season changes, and you’ll be left with fewer items on your registry.
  • Make sure the items you registered for can be returned. While you likely don’t intend to return any gifts, on the off chance two guests purchase the same gift, you want to be able to return or exchange the duplicate without any issues.

7. Publish Your Registry

While you don’t want to share your registry information directly with your guests, you can certainly put the information out there so that they can easily access it. If you have a wedding website, for example, this can be a great place to link to your gift registries for your guests’ convenience.

If a guest asks where you are registered, it’s certainly fine to pass along your registry information. Your bridal shower hosts may opt to include the registry information on the invitation as well. Try to strike a balance between giving your guests the information they need—after all, weddings are gift-giving occasions—without coming off as gift grabby. 

8. Amend Your Registry As Needed

You might create your wedding registry soon after your engagement and then realize a few months later that there are new items you want to add. Maybe you need to upgrade your coffee maker or replace a broken appliance. It’s perfectly acceptable to add to your gift registry in the months leading up to your wedding. Many guests won’t shop the registry until the month or weeks before your wedding, so you have plenty of time to adjust the registry as needed.

Plus, you’ll want to monitor your registry—not to see if any gifts have been purchased but to ensure that items stay in stock. You don’t want out-of-stock items on the registry, and you want to ensure that you have enough items for your guests to choose from. 


Did you enjoy this guide on how to create a wedding gift registry? When you follow these steps, you can ensure that you thoughtfully design a wedding gift registry that suits your tastes and needs as a couple. Plus, it serves as a helpful guide for your guests as they shop for a gift to celebrate your marriage. Remember that a well-designed gift registry is an essential part of your wedding planning. Please comment below with any wedding registry tips or questions, and share this tutorial with the newly engaged couples in your life.