5 Ways to Build a Better Wedding Registry

For many couples, one of the best parts of preparing for a wedding is making the wedding registry. Whether you decide to register at one store or many stores, it can be fun walking around and imagining what it will feel like when you own all the items you want. However, sometimes people register in a dreamlike state and they end up registering for items they don’t need or missing items they do need.

While it’s OK to include some items that will fall under your desired list, you should make sure that all the items you need are accounted for. While it might be wonderful to have eight sets of china, if no one buys you a set of dishes for regular use, you will have to purchase them yourself. It’s also important to include items that your guests can afford. Here are five tips to keep in mind as you make your wedding registry.

Source: Thinkstock

Include necessary items

Depending on your age, you may need more or less of certain items. If you are just getting out of college, then you may need almost every kitchen item. However, if you and your partner already own a home or have been living in apartments for years, you might be mostly set. Before you go getting zap-happy at the stores, first determine what you actually need. Checking a registry checklist is a great way to start: Try this one from The Knot. Remember that you don’t necessarily need everything on this list — it’s just a place to start from. Once you know which items you need, you should prioritize those items so that you won’t have to go out and purchase them later.

You should also include at least a few items that you really want but don’t need. Just remember that the more desirable items — rather than necessary — that you include, the more chances that you won’t receive all the items you do need. Another option is to use the gift cards you receive to purchase the items that you think would be fun or ideal, but that you don’t absolutely need.

Source: Thinkstock

Consider the size of your home

Remember that you will have to find a place for all of the gifts that you receive at your wedding. This means that if you live in a tiny apartment, you might not want to register for tons of kitchen or dining room items. Sometimes people ask for items for their wedding and then they sit in boxes for years. Even worse, if you receive too many gifts that you don’t have room for, you might end up having to rent a storage unit.

You can always buy items when you move to a bigger place, so don’t register for items that you don’t have space for. On the other hand, if you have a larger home or if you are moving in together for the first time, you might need multiples of certain items, such as silverware sets. If you are moving into a home that is new to both of you, you may also want to factor in decorative items.

Think about your lifestyle

According to SimpleRegistry, not trusting your gut is one of the biggest registry mistakes you can make. Don’t add items to your registry just because someone told you that you need them. It’s important to consider your current lifestyle. If you and your future spouse are busy and you rarely cook at home, then it doesn’t really makes sense to ask for a high-quality food processor or mixer.

Also, if the quality of certain items really matter to you, then include those as an option for people who can afford to spend more on your gift. If you love to entertain, then you might value a really nice crystal serving platter over a fancy blender.

Include gifts for every budget

Make sure that you register for enough items so that your guests can have their pick of which gifts to purchase at what price. It’s important to prioritize what you need, but you also want to make sure that you include enough total items. One common problem is that often guests will wait until the last minute and then there will be very few or no items at all left on the registry.

Not everyone is comfortable giving cash or gift cards, so if your registry is empty, you risk having someone buy you something of their own choosing that you don’t like or don’t need. Guests appreciate when registries have varied options, and according to SimpleRegistry, if you choose mostly expensive items, you may exclude certain guests.

Choose your stores carefully

If the majority of your guests live in your area, then it’s OK to choose local stores or businesses with a limited national presence. However, if you have several guests traveling to your wedding, your best bet is to choose national chains that have several different locations. This will ensure that your guests can get to at least one of the stores you choose. This is also a good reason to register at more than one store, because doing so will increase the accessibility of your registries for your guests.

It’s also important to think about your individual tastes, as well as your future spouse’s preferences. Although certain stores are present in almost every big city in America, that doesn’t mean you necessarily like the store; it is still important to choose stores you like. According to Brides, some of the best stores to register at are Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, and Target, and there are many more.

Building your registry can be a fun way to bond with your partner. If you keep these five tips in mind, you should be on your way to getting many items you need and a few that you really want, as well.

More from Personal Finance Cheat Sheet: