Bridal shower registry etiquette.


Presents are part of the wedding fun. But guests need guidance to pick out the right gift for the bride and groom. Thanks to bridal shower registries, the guesswork of choosing a wedding gift is gone.

Wedding planning is full of must-do projects. While not all these projects are fun, one in particular—creating a bridal shower registry—can be very enjoyable. It’s like an adult shopping spree. You make a list of all the things you’d love to have in your home and then your family and friends buy you those goodies and more. Unfortunately, registries aren’t that simple. There are some guidelines and etiquette concerns to keep in mind when registering for wedding gifts.

Register within four to six months of the wedding. Don’t sign up for a registry a year or tow in advance—that’s too premature and some items may be discontinued by the time the wedding day arrives. On the other end of the spectrum, don’t wait until the last month to register either. The polite thing to do is to register a few months before the big day to give guests some time to select gifts before the shower or wedding.

Bridal shower registry etiquette

Register for more than you anticipate needing. While you shouldn’t go overboard registering for things you don’t need, it’s a good idea to have an extensive registry so guests have many choices. It’s also wise to have a more items on your registry than you have guests since typically each guest will select one gift.

Have something in every price range. Not all guests can spend hundreds of dollars on a complete cookware set, so give them choices. Include in your registry at least three price ranges for various items. For example, if registering for kitchen accessories, request some inexpensive items like dish towels or serving spoons and some pricier things like a blender or a grill.

Choose from different categories—your registry should reflect your different household needs and wants. Be sure to register for items like bath, bedding, kitchen appliances, luggage and cookware. If you only register in one or two categories, guests will be limited in what they choose for your gift.

Consider a theme. If you and your groom are into certain colors, patterns or hobbies, register for items that fit those categories. If you’re wine lovers for example, consider registering for wine and cheese serving sets, wine colored candles, grape patterned placemats and more vino themed things.

Don’t ask for cash or for gift cards. If guests are stumped for a gift, they can decide to send you a gift certificate or they can write a check for you to spend as you see fit. Don’t make the gift-giving decision for them by instructing them to send money or gift cards.

Be reasonable. Don’t register for things just because you can. If you don’t think you’ll ever use an item, don’t register for it. If you don’t drink, for example, then registering for a martini set is not practical.

Don’t advertise where you’re registered. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not appropriate to include registry information in a wedding or bridal shower invitation. Don’t worry about guests not knowing where you’re registered. They can ask the host of the shower or a mutual friend, but that information shouldn’t be coming from the bride or the groom.

Keep tabs on the registry. From time to time, make sure that categories on your registry are updated and that items are not discontinued or too hard to find. Many registries allow couples to manage the registry online, while others require a trip to the store to update registry listings. Always make sure that your registry offers guests many gift choices.

Send thank you notes as soon as possible. Show your gratitude to your guests with a handwritten note expressing your thanks.

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