Your Wedding Gift Registry

Here’s a popular wedding gift registry question that comes up all the time:

“We want to register for _________.  Is that tacky?”

Let’s fill in the blank.  A BBQ.  Our honeymoon.  Deluxe “glamp”ing equipment.  A new RV.  

The awesome news?  You have endless opportunities to register for creative & fun lifestyle gifts that you actually NEED and will USE!

Wedding registries have evolved A LOT over the past decade or so.  Ten years ago, it was widely seen as tacky to have anything resembling a cash fund on your registry.  Today {THANKFULLY} it’s more mainstream to stray from the traditional pots, pans and towels, and go ahead and register for things you truly NEED, WANT, and will USE for years to come. 

In today’s show, we walk through exactly how to determine what YOU want & need, so that you can build a gift registry that works for you.  We’re covering all the bases in terms of things you love doing, things you need for your new (or existing) home, or even bigger ticket wish list items that a pool of guests can go in on together.

Missed it?  LISTEN NOW!

YOUR WEDDING GIFT REGISTRY | episode dated 11.13.19

I don’t want your living room to look like Kohls or Target threw up a bunch of random stuff after you open your wedding gifts.  Seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of hundreds of your closest friends & family WANTING to give you nice gifts that you can actually use!

Remember, the whole point of your registry?  People want to give you nice gifts, and they don’t know what you want unless you tell them. 

wedding gift registry


Before you head to your favorite department store and go crazy with the registry price scanner gun, here are some guidelines for you and your partner to consider.  

TRADITIONAL WEDDING GIFTS – determining what you need

Let’s start with the more traditional side of registering for gifts by taking a walk through your home.

Now, every couples’ situation will be different.  You may be currently living together in a home that you’ve shared for years.  On the flip side, maybe you’re moving in together after the wedding into a brand new place, and living together for the first time. 

Depending on which scenario applies to you, a gift registry checklist might be helpful in terms of getting your started.  I really encourage you to thoughtfully review the items on the list.  Think carefully about all of the areas of your home and ask yourselves if you REALLY need x, y, z items.  Just because it’s on the “checklist”, doesn’t mean you will ever personally need or use it. 

More to come on the things we registered for and NEVER used a bit later!


Next up, think about things you currently own that could be replaced with a nicer, newer version. 

This is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity to upgrade your home.  Even if you already HAVE things, this might be a good chance to upgrade some essentials. For example, that pot that you bought freshman year of college could be replaced with 3-4 really high quality cookware pieces from a top brand that will last forever.

High quality knives are another great item to upgrade.  So is a full size flatware set, matching dishes, matching glasses.  Ever have 5 girlfriends over for dinner and struggle to find enough forks and plates and wine glasses for everyone?  Yup, that’s exactly what I mean. 

Some more of my favorite upgrades are bedding and towels.  I personally value really high quality bedding, pillows and towels because they are literally something you use every single day!  Don’t be shy, and don’t skimp.  Just because you wouldn’t buy yourself $2,000 worth of deluxe sheets, comforters, pillows, and towels doesn’t mean your guests won’t buy them for you.  Remember, these are items that you will literally enjoy for years and years to come. 

Other registry essentials – think about your hobbies!  Here are some items to get your brainstorm started:

  • Camping stuff (this is a big one for me – we camp ALL THE TIME, and if I had it to do over again I would definitely have registered at REI, lol)
  • Backyard stuff – outdoor furniture, new grill, nice umbrellas, planter boxes, trees, landscaping  
  • Take a walk through Home Depot or Lowes.  You might be surprised by how many things around your house might need a refresh or an upgrade!  Light fixtures in bathrooms, ceiling fans, curtains.  I know this isn’t the most glamorous stuff, but it’s better than someone blindly gifting you something you don’t need and will never use!
  • Gardening, lawnmower, clippers, nice tool set, power tools.


Be sure to offer a variety of price points.  This is where things like kitchen tools, towels, pots & pans, knives, and pillows can be broken down into $25, $50, $100 items.  This way, your guests have the option to give a smaller gift if that’s what falls within their price range. 

Your cousin in nursing school who’s really tight on cash can roll together $25 worth of kitchen tools, can buy a $25 gift card for the store where you’re registered, or can contribute to a larger cash fund gift.  {More to come on cash funds in just a minute!}


Next up, I like giving people at least one online option, and a physical store option.  For example, use an online registry service like in addition to a physical store like Macy’s, Target, or Bed Bath & Beyond.  This way people who want to wrap and give a physical gift have the option. 

This flexibility is also important for guests who may not feel comfortable giving cash, or contributing to a “cash fund”.  Having a selection of SOME physical gifts for those folks is nice. 


I hear from you all the time that your home is 100% established.  You can maybe use an upgrade or two on essentials, but you’re literally stuck when it comes to what should go on your registry. 

To get some ideas flowing, think about things like, what do you love to do together in your leisure time?  What are your hobbies?  These items likely cost money, and can be included on your wedding gift registry in the form of a “cash fund”. 

My favorite site to create your online registry, including unlimited cash funds, is Zola.  CLICK HERE to receive a $50 credit towards your registry when you sign up!


Some really creative items that can go on your registry in the form of a cash fund:

  • Wine club membership
  • Tennis & racket club membership
  • Yoga studio membership
  • Your honeymoon
  • Downpayment on your first home
  • New pet
  • Wedding vendors can also be included in a cash fund!

For example, if videography is on your wish list but not necessarily within your budget, ask your guests to contribute towards your videography package.  

wedding gift registry


Zola has the lowest fee on cash gifts.  Here’s how it works:

Credit card companies charge a transaction fee (2.5%) — and at 2.5% you won’t find a lower fee than with Zola. You can choose to let guests pay this fee or you can absorb it on their behalf. Then seamlessly transfer your cash gifts into your bank account anytime.

wedding registry cash funds


As you build your registry, stop and ask yourself if it’s something you’ll ever use.  If you don’t need or use it now, you probably won’t after you’re married. 

Two things we registered for and never touched?  A popcorn maker and waffle iron.  We were definitely going to have popcorn movie nights and make waffle bar brunches after we were married – nope, never happened. 

Also on the used-hardly-at-all list {I do love it, although it’s more like a kitchen decoration at this point} – our KitchenAid stand mixer.  Incidentally, this was one of your top wish list items for your registries when I asked the other day on Instagram!


Just because the registry checklist says you need 15 different sized pots and pans to outfit your kitchen doesn’t mean that you’re EVER going to use them all.  Same with knives.  Resist the urge to register for the cheap set of 100 pots and pans in every size and shape imaginable.  Instead choose 3-4 really nice, functional pieces that you KNOW you’ll use. 


Gifts like china & crystal sets are incredibly special, and will eventually become a family heirloom.  Not into it?  Consider including a smaller keepsake on your wedding gift registry, like a First Christmas Married Ornament, or other personalized keepsake item from a site like Etsy.

First Christmas Married Ornament


Some items from our wedding gift registry {nearly 10 years ago} that we still use ALL THE TIME:

  • Highest quality measuring cups & spoons,
  • 6 TOTAL pots & pans (Le Crouset, Scan Pan & All Clad brands.  Not that into cooking?  Go to a gourmet cooking store like Williams Sonoma or Crate & Barrel and ask what they would recommend for you!)
  • A really nice crockpot / slow cooker,
  • Vita Mix or Ninja blender,
  • Highest quality towels (these have since been retired and replaced, but ASK FOR THEM!)
  • Deluxe decorative pillows, duvet, comforter and sheets for the beds

A huge thank you to everyone who was in touch with registry WISH LIST items this past week on Instagram!  Won’t you join us for next time by following @weddingplanningpodcast !

Have so much fun putting that registry together – my best to you!

Cheers, Kara

wedding planning podcast

let’s connect on Instagram! @weddingplanningpodcast

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