Wedding Registry Etiquette (everything You Need To Know)

 June 16, 2017

Our production assistant, Patrice, is recently engaged and taking you along on her wedding planning journey. Check back every other Monday for more real-life wedding planning insights.

My fiancé and I dated for 7 years before we got engaged, living together for 3 of them. I spent that entire time holding out for our wedding registry to upgrade many of our home items. We are still using dingy pots and pans from college, mismatched silverware that came from who knows where, and plates I think he *may* have bought from the dollar store. So when the moment came to actually register for our wedding, I thought I would be super excited. Instead, I was confused and a frankly, a little uncomfortable. So now that I’m on the other side and just a little bit wiser, I thought I’d share what I learned, the do’s and don’ts, and how to make registering a painless (and even fun!) process.

1. You should definitely register Yes, it can feel a little like you’re just screaming “buy us all the things!” but your loved ones will really appreciate the ability to buy you something they know you’ll love and that will help you start building your married lives together.
2. Register at different stores Our guests are a mix of modern and traditional. While I knew most people would want to just purchase something online, my grandmother was definitely going to visit a physical store to buy the perfect gift off of our registry. Think about where your guests live and which stores they have access to.
3. Register for more items than guests you invited You’ll want to “over-register,” especially if you have a lot of smaller, inexpensive items on your list that might prompt people to purchase multiple items. (Think wooden spoons, spatulas, etc.) Keep an eye on your registry throughout your engagement, particularly as you approach the big day and add items as needed!
4. Don’t include your registry information on your invitations It is considered very rude to include your registry information directly on your wedding invitations. Typically, information on registries is spread by word-of-mouth. Now that wedding websites with registry links are more prominent, however, it is a great option to include the link to your website on your invitation.
5. Open your gifts as they arrive Imagine our surprise when our first gift showed up on our doorstep two months before the wedding! My fiance and I looked at each other with a mix of excitement and blank stares as we asked ourselves, what do we do with this? The general consensus is to open your gifts as they arrive, and send a thank you note ASAP. Your guests will want to make sure their gift made it to you safely and BONUS it takes some heat off you post-wedding so you can sit back and enjoy your marriage.
6. BUT don’t start using your gifts until after the wedding This is more of a traditional rule, but it’s in best taste to wait. If (heaven forbid) the wedding is called off for any reason at all, the gifts should be returned to the purchaser, and that can be a little difficult if you’ve been using your plate set for a few months already. Old legends also state that it can be bad luck to use gifts meant to celebrate an event before the event actually happens. Of course, there are always exceptions and if your cutting board actually split in half last week like mine did, you might want to bust out the new one from your registry to use ASAP.
7. Send handwritten thank you notes within 3 months of receiving the gift I am a huge supporter of handwritten thank you notes for everything, but this is one of the only situations where handwritten notes are a MUST. Use your guest list to track the gift that each person sends and whether you have sent a thank you note or not. Look for my next post including thank you templates for every situation!