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The Anatomy Of A Wedding Registry

The Anatomy Of A Wedding Registry

Written By Chateau Briand | 01/17/20 | 5 min read

Hope chests aren’t merely dusty old pieces of furniture in your aunt’s house—there’s a wedding-related history tucked into those bedroom trunks. 

In case you’re part of the generation that has never heard of a “hope chest,” that’s the long, low-lying bedroom cabinet that sort of resembles a coffin. In the olden days of yore, it also went by the names “dowry chest,” “cedar chest,” “trousseau chest,” or “glory box” and it was traditionally used to collect items such as clothing and household linen by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life. Truly, a hope chest was the wedding registry of its day.

In modern times, however, there’s no chance all of the items a bride-to-be receives at her bridal shower and the couple accepts on their wedding day would ever fit into a standard hope chest. As such, physical hope chests for wedding gifts fell out of favor—but wedding registries remain, albeit in a far different form.  

What Is A Wedding Registry?

On the surface, a wedding registry is an epic collection of wishes gathered by you and your partner. Essentially, it’s a service arranged by a website or a retail store that encourages recently engaged couples to list gifts and items they might want as gifts for their wedding. You select these gifts from the store or online retailer and that list is made available to your guests. Once a guest purchases a gift, the list is updated and that gift is removed from the registry. It helps to prevent duplicate lists while also providing guests with valuable information about you and your partner. 

Gathering all the items you want to receive as gifts on your registry can feel like a daunting task, but it’s actually a source of expression for couples and surefire way to present your personal style. Creating a first-rate wedding registry is not a random task where you and your partner close your eyes and haphazardly click items on a website that you may or may not use. Instead, it’s a purposeful approach to filling your life and home with an array of items you need and items you want. Not only that, a wedding registry is a helpful tool for your guests as well!

What Types Of Items Are On A Wedding Registry?

Building a wedding registry is the perfect opportunity to obtain certain household accoutrements that you wouldn’t otherwise buy for yourself, either because they’re too expensive or seem too frivolous. These gifts range from kitchen appliances to bedroom linens to all types of useful gear and fixtures. And while times have certainly changed and some couples opt to include nontraditional items on their wedding registry, many online wedding resources report that the old standbys are still the most popular gifts for a couple to request. 

Brides.com recently released a list titled, “The 62 Best Registry Items Every Couple Needs for 2020,” and it’s loaded mostly with kitchen items—some that are decidedly modern, and others that could easily be found on a wedding registry from 20 years ago. Here are the top 10 products on Brides.com’s list of the most popular wedding registry gifts:

  1. Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven
  2. Instant Pot DUO Multi-Use Pressure Cooker
  3. Breville Convection and Air Fry Smart Oven Air
  4. All-Clad d3 Tri-Ply Compact 7-Piece Cookware Set
  5. Vitamix E310 Exploration Blender
  6. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
  7. Wusthof Classic 7-Piece Slim Knife Block Set
  8. Crux Double Rotating Waffle Maker
  9. Magimix Vision Toaster
  10. Peugeot Paris Icone Cherry Salt & Pepper Mills

As you can tell, married couples really want to fill their kitchens with upgraded cooking tools. And that makes sense, as couples tend to spend more time eating food from their own kitchen, rather than restaurants, after they’ve settled down and gotten married. Other popular, non-kitchen, wedding registry items include duvet covers, bath robes, bath towels, throw blankets, luggage sets, and vacuum cleaners. 

What Are The Most Popular Wedding Registry Sites & Stores

One of the most immediately obvious stumbling blocks to setting up a wedding registry is the sifting through the sheer volume of options. From online retailers to brick-and-mortar stores, the wedding registry landscape can be overwhelming to the already stressed-out wedding planner!

A helpful tool published by BusinessInsider.com (of all places) seeks to take the guesswork out of the hunt for the best wedding registry. The financial and business news website recently compared the top five wedding registries and presented the pros and cons of each one. Meanwhile, Brides.com returns for its own list of the top wedding registries and somehow manages to rank 44 (!) of the absolute best ones for newly engaged couples to select. 

Tips Before You Start Your Wedding Registry

Before you choose the source of your wedding registry and begin selecting your items, be sure to mull over these finer points as you plan your wedding. 

Take A Look At Your Personal Style: You don’t want to select a bunch of items that either don’t match your style or would have no place in your home. If you’re not one to decorate your home in a sailor motiff, for example, you certainly don’t want to select bath towels or salt and pepper shakers adorned with anchors.

Consider How You Entertain: Do you typically hold formal, fine-dining gatherings where everyone is dressed to the nines and you serve highly refined hors d’oeuvres? Or are you more likely to host a casual game night where everyone is drinking beer and eating home-made pizza? Know your party style and this will inform what items you need.

Think About What You Already Have: Did your grandmother hand down to you a set of serving dishes or her treasured tea set? Did you manage to abscond with your dad’s large cast-iron skillet when you moved out of your childhood house? Do you already own a stand mixer or the world’s greatest maple wood cutting board? Know what you already possess so you can ask for things you truly need.

Take Into Account Your Future Spouse's Interests: Integrating your partner’s style into your wedding-registry considerations is incredibly important. If your partner loves to cook, include some top-notch kitchen tools; if your partner has never had a real comforter and only one set of sheets, maybe choose some luxurious bed linens. Your thoughtfulness can go a long way!

Think About Gifts That Are Investments: When friends and family are purchasing wedding gifts, remember that they may want to splurge on you! Don’t shy away from luxury in the fear that you’re asking for too much. Instead, dip into the extravagant side of shopping—weddings are the perfect time to indulge in your inner lavishness.