in depth reviews

The Best Wedding Registries for Every Type of Couple

by Lindsay Tigar
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Unlike most wedding rituals, registry wish lists are 100% selfish. Not something you do for your religion or for your parents or for the law. Bottom line: Brides and grooms need stuff, they can’t afford all of it, and they don’t want guests guessing what they might like. No one wants to get five blenders, seven coffee-machines and thirteen air fryers. The wedding registry solves the miscommunication problem—assuming everyone plays by the rules.

The happy couple needs to set up these accounts early on so they can identify what they need, offer a range of prices (for guests of varying incomes) and give guests time to buy the items. Guests, on the other hand, need time to ponder the options (two $50 gifts vs. one $100 gift, for example). Everyone wants the experience to be seamless, quick and painless.

 

What to Get Couples Today

Couples today, however, have different needs than those of yesteryear. Some have lived together for years, and don’t need any kitchen appliances (not even a bagel slicer). Others are starting from scratch and need to furnish an entire apartment. And while lifestyles vary, nearly all couples need some combination of kitchenwares, housewares, and consumer electronics. Increasingly, couples will register for experiences, directing gift givers to wedding registries that specialize in travel, cash, charity, or honeymoon adventures.

 

When to Sign Up (for Couples) & When to Buy Gifts (for Guests)

Timing is crucial. Even if invitations haven’t been sent out, couples should by all means sign up for a registry or two and notify guests on the Save the Dates. Note to couples: There should be plenty of gifts to target different price points and delivery times, as well as a mix of practical, sentimental, and luxe picks. And remember, people like to have options, so register for at least two gifts per guest or couple, and prioritize certain items if the registry allows. Couple can expect to receive gifts from their registry for up to a year after their wedding.

Below is our comprehensive guide to the best places to register, organized by registry type, with pros, cons and alternative sources for each category.

Best Overall
Amazon Registry

Amazon Registry

Everyone loves a one-stop shop — especially when it comes with free shipping. And if you’re already the type to rely on Amazon for, well, everything, then creating an online wedding registry here is a no-brainer.

Amazon’s registry itself is extremely customizable: Couples can pick from brands at varying price points to ensure that every guest can find a gift to meet their budget. And couples that already have a lot of the traditional registry items — bedding and kitchen appliances for example — can turn to Amazon for more out-of-the-box offerings (like this needlessly complex cocktail-rimming station). 

As your guests make purchases, Amazon will keep track of who bought what, so you can write thank-you notes with ease. If for whatever reason, you’re not satisfied with a gift, then you can return it within 180 days for a full refund (yes, this means some gifts will inevitably outlast some marriages). But if you still have a few leftover items on your wishlist when all is said and done, you have the option to buy them at a 20% completion discount. 

Your guests will love the convenience of an Amazon wedding registry, too. The registry interface is similar to the rest of the site, so if they’re already a Prime member, they won’t have to grapple with a learning curve. The site recently introduced a gift advisor, organized into four price ranges, which recommends products based on your preferences, the items you choose, and what other couples are loving, updated daily.

amazon gift advisor

Too many options? The site also curates by hobby, which is like having a visual reminding system (“oh yeah, I need a tripod…”).

amazon hobby

Still don’t know what to list? They also offer curated collections—like this registry from Jennifer Lawrence (if she likes it, it must be good right? hmmm)

amazon jennifer lawrence registry

All items fulfilled by Amazon’s fulfillment centers (a.k.a. Items that aren’t considered third-party) should arrive in two days or less, which is a godsend for last-minute shoppers and list compilers. 

Pros

  • Wide assortment
  • Fast, free shipping
  • Familiar interface

Cons

  • Less personal
  • Guests can’t see/touch/taste the gifts before arrival (unlike sites with brick-and-mortar stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, etc.)

Runner-up

  • Zola 

Best Experience/Perks

Zola Registry

Zola Registry

By “perks” we mean that this registry lets guests shop at other stores, set a custom delivery date, and get a guaranteed best-price match. And your family and friends get a 20% discount for up to six months after the big day.

You and your partner are complex, and your wedding registry should reflect that. Zola, another do-it-all option wedding registry destination, offers everything including traditional gifts and cash for honeymoon funds and other experiences. You can mix and match items from 800 different brands, which means you can add gifts from any other online store (say goodbye to multiple registries!) and cash gifts. While many might compare it to Amazon, Zola provides a more catered experience, including wedding registry starter kits across a number of categories like “Bedroom Upgrades” and “Build Your Bar.” But if you’re curious what real people are adding to their wedding wishlist, browse through Zola’s curated assortment of “Registries We Love.” 

Zola also has a best price guarantee, so they’ll price match all of the items on your wishlist to ensure no one pays more than necessary. And if guests want to team up on a splurge-worthy item, Zola enables a group gifting feature, so they can contribute any amount that feels right. 

When guests pick a gift — whether it’s a brand-new KitchenAid or Crate & Barrel wine glasses — they can choose to ship them to you ASAP, ship them later when you’re settled in your new digs, or exchange it before they ship. Most items are eligible for free shipping, and can be returned within 90 days of delivery.

So, let’s get to the perks: You have the option to buy any remaining registry items at a 20% discount for up to six months after saying “I do.” And if you opt for a cash gift, Zola has one of the lowest credit card processing fees out there — 2.5% — and you can opt for guests to pay it as a “handling fee” or absorb the fee when Zola transfers any cash into your account.

zola perks

 

Pros

  • “Add to Zola” extension to shop from different sites
  • Customized delivery time
  • Best-price match
  • Low cash fee

Cons

  • No in-person shopping experience
  • Less well-known to guests

Runners-up

  • Amazon, Walmart, Target

Best for Kitchenware

Williams Sonoma Registry

Williams Sonoma Registry

The brand represents high-quality products (especially compared to Target and Amazon) and in-store shopping advice from a specialist (yes, a real human being). And couples get bonus gifts for registering above a minimum threshold.

Your wedding isn’t a time to aim low, so if you’ve always dreamed of outfitting your kitchen with Le Creuset bakeware, All-Clad pots and pans, and other ultra-luxe pieces, then Williams Sonoma is the place for you. Ideal for entertainers and home chefs, they sell professional-grade cookware along with trending electronics, dinnerware collections, grilling paraphernalia, pantry staples (oils, vinegars, spices, rubs) and accessories to dress your bar.

Since decking out a kitchen in Williams Sonoma comes at a cost, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it right. Set up a free, private appointment to meet with one of their registry specialists in your local store to get product recommendations, as well as an in-depth explanation of how to best take advantage of the wedding registry. Along the way, you may even score a few bonus gifts like a complimentary Le Creuset salt and pepper mill for registering at least $500 of the brand’s cookware (FYI, your guests don’t have to necessarily purchase all $500 worth for you to score the freebies).

Even after your wedding, you have up to six months to purchase any remaining items with a 10% discount. And if you end up deciding that you want to give the rest of your house the same TLC, you can register for items at sister brands Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, and West Elm at any time.

Pros

  • Flexibility with other The ONE Registry stores
  • In-store shopping advice from a specialist
  • Bonus gifts for registering above a minimum threshold

Cons

  • Small 10% completion discount
  • Expensive items; you may get fewer gifts overall compared to other registries 

Runners-up

  • Target, Sur La Table, Amazon

Best for Houseware

Bed, Bath & Beyond Registry

Bed, Bath & Beyond Registry

BB&B also has in-store sales help, but it displays its relatively affordable wares — lamps rugs, mixers, whatever — in an online catalog so you can see home-related products in their context. Plus guest recommendations. 

When you name your store Bed, Bath & Beyond, you’re committing to a helluva lot of home products. As most consumers know, the company sells everything from entry-level blenders to ultra-luxe crystal. That said, it can be overwhelming to start honing your list of picks, so BB&B offers in-store appointments with registry consultants and special events to give you tips, tricks, and best of all, freebies. Along the way, you can earn bonus gifts — incentives, rather — depending on which items you pick (you get a $50 Nespresso credit when $199 or more of Nespresso product is purchased from your wedding registry, for example). 

The company also lets your wedding guests pitch in: The wedding registry gives them the option to add houseware items that they personally love, so you can get product recommendations from people you know and trust (much like Amazon). This registry site also offers an array of products at varying price points and delivery times. When you have just a few lingering items on the list, you can buy up whatever remains in your registry (or cherry pick the must-haves) at a 20% discount. 

You can view products in a few engaging ways. In addition to showing product boxes like Amazon, they offer a catalog-like experience (“Registry Guide 2020”) which displays products in their natural settings, and which may help some consumers envision how the products would fit in their homes. 

bbb catalog

The company has also moved deeply into selling “experiences.” Browse through a list of excursions for travelers, thrill seekers, wellness enthusiasts, and outdoor explorers — and then add anything that catches your eye to your list. You’ll receive an experiential gift voucher that you can later redeem on VEBO, Bed Bath & Beyond’s partner site.

bed__bath_beyond_experiences

Pros

  • Wedding guest recommendations
  • Sizeable completion discount
  • Affordable selection

Cons

  • Limited luxury items to choose from
  • Not as user-friendly as sites like Zola or Amazon 

Runners-up

  • The ONE Registry (Williams-Sonoma, West Elm, and Pottery Barn), Anthropologie

Best for Active Lifestyle Couples

Amazon Registry

Amazon Registry

While REI lets you scan items at stores right into your online registry, it still doesn’t quite match Amazon’s ginormous selection, nearly universal free shipping, and easy returns and exchanges.

Amazon really does have it all, with everything from camping gear to the makings for your dream at-home gym. Whatever season, hobby, or adventure you’re shopping for, Amazon has the solution and typically (if you’re lucky) at an affordable price point. Pick from budget-friendly camping gear (Pacific Breeze Beach Tent comes in at $69), transitional pieces that you can take outdoors during warmer months (Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress), or all the essentials for his next fishing trip (YETI Tundra 45 Cooler). And if you don’t want to focus strictly on gear to suit your active lifestyle, you can also sprinkle in some classic wedding gifts like kitchenware and small appliances for, ya know, balance.  

Later on, if you decide that you’ll never really put the kayak on your registry to use (or simply don’t have space in your garage), you can return it within 180 days for a full refund. But if none of your guests wanted to buy the out-there gifts on your list (everyone has at least one), you can buy them at a 20% completion discount. The site offers tons of perks for wedding guests, too: If they’re a Prime member, they can score free, 2-day shipping on eligible items. And if you or your guests have considered signing up for an Amazon Prime Store Card, now’s the time because cardholders earn 5% cashback on any — and every — Amazon purchase.

Pros

  • Wide selection
  • Easy returns and exchanges
  • Prime member perks

Cons

  • No in-store shopping experience
  • Feels less personal

Runners-up

  • REI, Zola

Best for Consumer Electronics

Target Registry

Target Registry

At Target, you get a universal registry so you can shop from your favorite sites and use a barcode scanner in-store and see what’s left in the handy checklist. Guests, meantime, can partner up on more expensive gifts.

While Target carries an assortment of electronics from brands like Apple, Nespresso, Cuisinart, and more, their universal registry tool also lets you shop from your other favorite sites. That way your wedding guests can craft the perfect gift, a techy item paired with a personalized pick from Etsy or some money toward your honeymoon with Honeyfund. Or if guests prefer, they can simply donate money to you and your soon-to-be spouse to use however and whenever you please.

target brands

When shopping, guests can partner up on more expensive gifs, or even opt for order pickup to get a last-minute gift in time for your wedding shower. If registry items aren’t purchased in time, you have the option to buy them at a 15% completion discount as a married couple.

While it may be easier to create your dream wedding registry from the comfort of your home, there’s something special about wandering through the store aisles until you find the perfect place setting, no? Target’s complementary wedding registry app — similar to Zola’s and Pottery Barn’s — lets you scan barcodes when you’re in the store to build the ultimate wishlist, and then keep track of any guest purchases as the wedding draws near. There’s a handy checklist that reminds you what you still need, as well as a tool to add or delete items at any point.

target perks

Pros

  • Universal registry
  • Varying price points
  • Easy returns and exchanges
  • Registry app lets you scan products in store to add to registry

Cons

  • No in-store consultations
  • Moderate completion discount

Runners-up

  • Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy (through MyRegistry)

Best for Honeymoon/Travel

Traveler’s Joy Registry

Traveler’s Joy Registry

This trusted site, launched in 2003, offers flexibility; you choose from excursions, flights, hotel stays, and other categories. And there are no sneaky hidden costs.

Make your honeymoon your top priority by registering for airfare, hotel rooms, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences on Traveler’s Joy. It’s one of the oldest and most established honeymoon registries, allowing you to add any experience or item from different airlines, inns and resorts, restaurants, you name it. If you’re not sure where to start, you can browse other sample registries on the site for inspiration, ranging from different honeymoon destinations and trip types. 

Unlike other honeymoon registries, there aren’t any hidden costs here. Gifts purchased with a credit card will only take a standard 2.95% service fee from the gift amount unlike other honeymoon-focused registry options like SimpleRegistry’s 5% fee or BluePrint Registry’s 2.99% + $.30 transaction fee. Guests are given the option to pitch in what they can — $100 toward a $1,000 airline fee, for example — and you can redeem whatever is gifted even if the gift isn’t purchased outright. Keep in mind that gifts paid via cash and check don’t come with any extra fees — so, you can register for, say, a massage and a guest can opt to give you a check to cover the cost. 

If your plans change or you need to delay your trip for any reason, you have two years to redeem your gifts.

travelers joy

Pros

  • Flexibility to choose from excursions, flights, hotel stays, and more
  • Tailored shopping experience for guests
  • One of the older, trusted honeymoon registries (It’s been around since 2003)

Cons

  • Service fee is slightly higher than Zola’s 2.8%
  • Not universal, so you can’t exactly register for a blender along with a safari…

Runners-up

  • Zola, VRBO

Best for Cash

Honeyfund Registry

Honeyfund Registry

Let’s face it: Sometimes you’d rather spend $100 on paying off a bill than on another set of steak knives. Honeyfund gives you instant access to funds. And guests contribute money via cash, check, Paypal, Venmo or bank account.

Food processors and duvet covers are great and all, but they’re not life affirming — like the freedom you feel when you pay off your student loan, mortgage, or credit card debt. With Honeyfund, your wedding guests can contribute cash gifts, which can be used for everything from house down payments to charitable donations. 

If you’re planning a lavish honeymoon and want some help covering the costs, you can do that, too. Guests can donate to various travel-related costs like dinners and massages on vacation, or bigger expenses like the airfare and hotel rate. The travel arrangements and decision-making is up to you: Guests simply contribute money via cash, check, Paypal, Venmo or bank account. If they opt to pay by credit card on WePay or PayPal, there will be a 2.8% service fee. To save money, however, you can book trips and experiences with their brand partners like Sandals Resorts to score major deals, including 65% off your entire stay. Not to mention, Honeyfund releases different travel deals each week to help you get the most out of your registry — at any given time, score 15% off Choice Hotels stays or splash out at Sandals Resorts in Barbados for as low as $255 a person. 

And if guests would rather give something more specific — a new dinnerware set, for example — they can send a Honeyfund gift card in the amount of their choice. It can be applied toward pretty much anything, as long as it’s accepted by their travel and shopping partners like Delta, Amazon, and Uber.

honeyfund better than the competitors

honeyfund deals

Pros

  • Flexibility
  • Immediate access to gift funds

Cons

  • Credit card service fee
  • May feel less personal

Runners-up

  • The Knot Cash Funds, Blueprint Wedding Registry

Best for Charities

Blueprint Wedding Registry

Blueprint Wedding Registry

It’s the best of all worlds: Couples can receive cash gifts, standard gifts, honeymoon funding, and/or donations to charities of their choice. And if you have no go-to cause, Blueprint offers plenty of suggestions.

For those who have it all (or at least feel that they do), charitable wedding gifts are the way to go. They allow you to give back to the organizations that mean the most to you, while still giving your guests the ability to give you something on your special day. BluePrint Wedding Registry gives you (and guests) the best of both worlds; they can donate any monetary amount directly to your selected charities, but also contribute cash gifts toward your honeymoon or major expenses, and select gift picks from big-box retailers or local stores. In other words, it’s an incredibly customizable experience for you and your guests.

Similar to Zola, Blueprint Wedding Registry seamlessly combines design with function. Choose from more than 25 different website templates until you find one that matches the look and feel (and color scheme) of your wedding. Make it a one-stop-shop: Include your backstory, calendar of wedding events, and pertinent details, along with the registry tracker and RSVP counter.

The universal wedding registry lets you cover all of your needs, from your honeymoon excursions to your ever-growing kitchenware collection, and everything in between. But you have the option to go completely cash-only by selecting charities or causes close to your heart, too. When it comes to cash gifts and donations, you have two options: You can pay the processing fees up front (2.5%), or you can have the gift-givers pay an additional 2.5% for each cash gift.

As a reminder, if you’re leaning toward a charity-focused wedding registry, make sure to vet out any organizations on Charity Watch before you make final decisions. 

blueprint charities

charities-2

Pros

  • Beautiful website creation
  • Highly customizable
  • Mix between cash gifts, donations, and standard gifts 

Cons

  • Minor completion discount (10%)
  • No in-store shopping experience

Runners-up

  • The Knot Gifts Back, My Registry

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