How to Start Your Bridal Registry

Important things to consider before you hit the shops

Before you start your registry
When you’re planning your wedding registry there are a number of things you should take into consideration, like:

  • The number of pre-wedding celebrations you’ll have (i.e., engagement party, bridal showers, stag and doe) and the price range of gifts you should register for.
  • The number of wedding guests you’re expecting (to decide how many gifts to register for).
  • The size of your family, how many people you would have over for a family dinner and how many guests you would expect for a fancy dinner. Think about how many place settings you’ll need.
  • How big of a home will you be living in? Will you be starting out in a house, condo or apartment? How many bedrooms and bathrooms will your home have?

Shower gifts
In general, most of the gifts that you’ll receive at your shower will cost $50 or less. You’ll also get a lot of gifts in the $50-$75 range. Some of your shower guests will want to spend more than $150 on your gift - especially if it’s a group of friends from work contributing to one present. In general, shower gifts are in the lower price ranges as your guests are typically also planning to buy you something for your wedding.

Wedding gifts
In planning your bridal registry, remember that the majority of guests who come to your wedding will be couples who give you one gift, so you won’t need to register for as many gifts as you have guests. Try to add some variety to your registry to allow for a broad selection of gifts and price ranges.

For example, if you’re having 150 guests at your wedding, a good rule is to register for approximately

  • 20 gifts that cost less than $50
  • 20 gifts that cost around $75
  • 30 gifts that cost between $75 and $150
  • 40 gifts that cost between $150 and $250
  • 7 or 8 gifts that cost more than $250

You’re going to find a lot of little things you need that cost much less than $50 - like kitchen utensils - but add them to your registry anyway. Many of your younger guests, will be looking to give you a number of things that cost less – they may appreciate the lower priced options.

Couples who live together before the wedding
Many couples choose to live together before they get married. These couples tend to already have a lot of things for their home by the time their wedding rolls around. If you’re one of these couples, now’s a great time to upgrade from your hand-me-down microwave to newer items that will last and match the style of your home. When you inherit things for your new home from your family, you don’t often have a choice about what those donations looks like.

Many couples who live together before they’re married purchase new items for their home whenever they can, so at the wedding there isn’t much they need. If you and your groom fall into this category, why not register with a travel agency to help fund your honeymoon, ask for charitable donations or register with other less conventional places like outdoor equipment and hardware stores? When you start looking, you’ll be surprised how many places offer a registry service.

Registry tips

Be sure to register for gifts from a variety of price ranges. Not all of your guests can afford to buy you a new set of cookware, but some may be looking to splurge and buy you the new barbecue you’ve been hoping for. Think as well about other family weddings you’ve been to. Certain cultures go all out on wedding gifts and will need a bigger list of the gifts you need and want.

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