Best Wedding Registry Gift Ideas for Engaged Couples
Sometimes, the best wedding registry ideas and items are an easy call. You love smoothies and soups but don’t have a high-powered blender — definitely put one of these popular appliances on the list. Other registry additions are such everyday items they’re easy to forget, such as bedsheets and glass tumblers.
Wedding registries are trickier than they seem, especially when you wield the power of the scanning gun. And, if you’re browsing from the comfort of your couch, it’s tempting to click haphazardly.
This is why it’s so important to keep a level head and have a few ideas in mind before you choose your wedding registry gifts.
How to come up with the best wedding registry ideas
The goal is creating a wedding registry that doesn’t have you wondering, “what were we thinking?” To achieve that goal: Get practical, make sure your registry is a team effort, and think about “just for fun” ideas.
Before you start scanning and clicking, follow these six tips:
1. Take an inventory of what you have. This will help you determine what you really need. If you bought a brand new KitchenAid mixer two years ago, you don’t need a new one. If the non-stick coating is chipping away from your old frying pan, it’s time for an upgrade.
2. Think about what you both really like. Is coffee the magic elixir that keeps you both from grumbling instead of saying “good morning” before 9 a.m.? Up your home-brewed coffee game with a new coffee maker, grinder, and travel mugs so you can take your joe to go. Consider yourselves wine aficionados? Consider registering for a wine rack or yearly subscription from a winery.
3. Ponder your lifestyle. Open your refrigerator. What do you see? An expired carton of eggs, several Chinese take-out containers, and something that might have once been a head of lettuce? Or do you see leftover fettuccine alfredo you made from scratch last night, a chicken you plan to roast tomorrow, and a crisper full of fresh veggies? If the first fridge is more your style, you can go easy on the cookware.
4. Don’t compare your list to others. Just because you saw an item on your friend’s wedding registry last year, it doesn’t mean you should put it on yours. They might have registered for a big-screen television because they’re homebodies who enjoy watching movies. Base your wedding registry gift ideas on the two of you, and not other couples’ lists, aggressive salespeople, or well-meaning relatives.
5. Accept the fact that you might ‘have it all.’ If you and your partner live together, or you’ve both collected a household full of stuff over the last few years, you might already have most of what you need. In this case, you can be more creative with your choices. This is where the honeymoon and charitable donation registries really come in handy (more on that later).
6. Don’t limit yourself to the old standbys. Target, Amazon, and Bed, Bath & Beyond are great places to register for wedding gifts, but they’re not the only ones out there. Etsy, Crate & Barrel, and Anthropologie offer unique, artisan pieces you’ll love.
How to share your wedding registry the right way
Once you build your wedding registry, it's time to share it. Follow proper etiquette and do not include any information about your wedding registry in your wedding invitations. Do not post your registry to Facebook. Wedding registry information should be available from three sources:
Bridal shower invitations.
Your wedding website (the wedding website can be added to your save-the-date cards).
Family and friends (be sure everyone knows, because they will be asked).
All of these options will let people know where to go for the perfect wedding gift. Wedding websites, such as With Joy, are super-helpful, as they provide a single point of resource for ALL of your wedding information, from the bridal party to the venue address to your registry.
11 wedding registry gift ideas for what you really need
These are the items that every soon-to-be-married couple should put on their wedding gift registry. You can call them traditional, you can call them obvious, but we call them the must-haves for equipping your happy home.
1. Blender. Yep, we know it’s cliché, but this is the time to upgrade from that cheap blender that got you through college to something that can whiz up smoothies, soups, and sauces with ease.
2. Slow cooker. Toss a bunch of ingredients into the pot, turn it on, and leave for work. Dinner will be ready by the time you get home.
3. Toaster. Think beyond the bread and choose a model with extra-wide slots for bagels, english muffins, and croissants.
4. Stand mixer. Make cookies, knead bread dough, or whisk up some whipped cream to make any dessert better.
5. A quality set of knives. Chopping vegetables, slicing bread, or mincing garlic is easier, faster, and more enjoyable with a good knife in hand. Start with a chef’s or santoku knife, a serrated knife, and a paring knife.
6. Cast iron pan. It goes from stovetop to oven to BBQ grill with zero worries. Keep it well-seasoned and you can pass it on.
7. Food processor. If you’re a regular in the kitchen, this appliance is a must.
8. High-quality sheets. Adulting is in full swing now: You should have at least two sets of sheets for every bed in your home (and three wouldn’t hurt).
9. Glass food storage set. Perfect for refrigerating or freezing leftover meals, or weekend meal prep.
10. Coffee maker. Whether you prefer to brew a single cup at a time, or a 10-cup pot (or both) every engaged couple needs a coffee maker.
11. Toaster oven. Because sometimes, you want to crisp up that leftover pizza without turning on the ‘big’ oven.
11 wedding registry gifts that you (probably) need
These items will come in handy just when you’re wondering why you put them on your wedding registry in the first place. Trust us. You’ll be glad you did.
1. Cutting and carving boards. Nothing is worse for your safety, or your knives, than cutting on an uneven surface or a plate.
2. Vacuum cleaner/Roomba. From carpet to hardwood, there’s a model that meets your needs. Too busy to do it yourself? Behold the beauty of a Roomba.
3. BBQ grill. Because nothing is easier in the summertime than grilling a steak. Even hot dogs taste magical when cooked over fire.
4. Outdoor tools. Have a yard? You’re going to need a weed wacker, leaf blower, and lawnmower.
5. Household tools. With a cordless drill, a variety of screwdrivers, measuring tapes, and a couple of hammers, you’ll fix just about anything that falls apart in your house.
6. Luggage set. Perfect for honeymooning in style (so long, stripped zippers).
7. Stainless steel cookware set (with lids). Stainless steel heats evenly and is non-reactive, making it ideal for searing and sauces.
8. Towels. You are going to need towels of all shapes and sizes in your home. Bath, hand, washcloths, and more.
9. Set of wine glasses. Even if you only indulge on New Year’s Eve, it’s going to look better in a pretty glass than in a plastic cup.
10. Nesting bowl set. These are necessities for food prep and baking.
11. Dutch oven. It's a big, heavy-duty pot that comes in handy for making soups, sauces, popcorn, and rice crispy treats. Buy one in a color you love and it can stay out on the stove.
11 wedding registry gifts that you (probably) don’t need
These are the items that sit in the back of the closet until you finally decide to sell them. They’re also the ones you’ll kick yourself for putting on the wedding registry instead of extra sheet sets and towels.
1. His and hers anything. Cute right now, not so cute around the time of your second wedding anniversary.
2. Picture frames. These are a ‘buy-as-needed’ item, especially since most of your photos live on your phone anyway.
3. Fancy decorative items. Crystal vases, bells, and serving trays are pretty, but not practical.
4. Wine fridge. Not necessary for a couple who has a glass or two of whatever they pick up from the local package store on the weekend.
5. A bar set. A standard shaker is all you need to create fantastic libations.
6. Ice cream maker. This is the epitome of an appliance that tends to gather dust.
7. Fine China. You’ll rarely (if ever) use it, even if someone does shell out the bucks to buy it for you.
8. Juicer. Blenders create super-healthy beverages (AKA smoothies), and you can chop ice for margaritas, puree butternut squash soup, and make hummus to boot.
9. Serving trays. Unless you host cocktail parties every weekend and family dinners every Sunday, there’s no need to have multiple trays in every shape and size.
10. Specialty items. Single-purpose tools, such as popcorn poppers, culinary torches, and quesadilla makers aren’t necessary and take up space. You can use existing tools to achieve the same results.
11. French press. Unless you are a coffee aficionado, stick with makers and grinders.
7 ways to think outside of the wedding registry box
These wedding registry ideas are best for couples who have been living together for several years already, the singles who acquired everything they needed during their life before engagement, or the folks who are into experiences more than material possessions.
1. Register for items that you can use for your hobbies. Some possibilities:
Campers: A new tent, air mattress, camping stove, or other needed outdoor accessories.
World travelers: Portable battery chargers, international plug adapters, bacteria-filtering water bottles.
Gardeners: Herb drying rack, garden planters, compost bin.
2. Register for services and subscription boxes that speak to your interests, such as:
Wine delivery. Receive a new wine every month and discover new favorites.
A language program. Learn a new language together for a future vacation.
Dog toy box. For couples with dogs, a BarkBox subscription will bring joy to you and your furry best pal.
3. Who says that the best wedding registry items can’t be practical? Register for services you need, like doggie daycare, auto detailing, home carpet cleaning, or meal delivery.
4. Register for experiences. What do you two enjoy doing together? What are things you wish you could do, but haven’t been able to manage as of yet? Consider these options:
Entertainment. Concert tickets, movie passes, sporting events, or even a streaming service (e.g., Netflix, Disney+).
Culinary classes. Learn how to go from worst cooks in America to a culinary duo that would impress even Bobby Flay.
Museum memberships. Science, modern art, and even the stars can be explored and enjoyed at a museum near you.
5. Create a honeymoon registry for a trip you’ll never forget. Your honeymoon is one of the biggest experiences you’re going to have, so register for events to make it more memorable like a couples massage, candlelight dinner on the beach, bike rental, or local tour. You can even register for a photographer in your honeymoon city and plan a romantic session to create photographic memories that are way better than selfies.
6. Register to make a difference in the world. Many couples who have all they need already are opting for charitable wedding registries. You can register donations for the charity (or charities) you both hold dear. This connects the joy of your big day to the satisfaction of helping others.
7. When in doubt, create a gift card registry. Some may see this as impersonal, but we see it as the opposite. You’re still essentially registering for gifts, you’re just picking them out later once you get the cards. Get what you love from the places you adore.
Now that you have a firm grasp on wedding registry gifts, take a look at the best free wedding planning apps to help you get to your big day without overstressing. Or, start working on writing those wedding vows. Your big day will be here before you know it.