Everything You Should Know About Making A Wedding Registry

Are those wedding bells you hear — or just the sounds of alarms, as you realize post-engagement bliss can involve a whole lot of planning? Figuring out how to make a wedding registry isn't even the half of it, but it can be confusing. The good news is that you're about to create the mother of all birthday and holiday wish lists combined, and your friends and family are actually expecting you to deliver on that.

Many wedding experts agree that sooner is better for creating registries, as over-the-moon friends and family will want to congratulate you right away. Though everything may feel overwhelming now, consider how this lets your friends and family help you and your partner build a home. Here's everything you need to know before creating your wedding registry — regardless of how extensive (or nonexistent) your Pinterest wedding board may be.

Before You Register

Consider 2 To 4 Places

Nope — this doesn't make you greedy! It actually creates less of a headache for well-wishing friends and family. More places to shop means they can pick the most convenient and affordable option for them. (Ex: You might select Target for all your home organizing needs, while Amazon is your go-to for all things entertainment).

Weigh The Perks

Does one place offer you a discount on items no one purchased? Is there a forgiving return policy? If it's online, will there be free shipping? Knowing this ahead of time saves frustration down the road.

Provide A Wide Variety Of Price Points

While your grandma would probably love to pitch in on your "fancy meals" china, your old roommate isn't looking to shop crystal goblets anytime soon. This goes both ways: Grandma probably doesn't want to gift you two that trendy turntable that your pal would love to get for you. Price points should reflect your guests' comfort levels and include everyone, so plan accordingly.

Moser Champagne Flute, $170, Bloomingdales; Jensen 3-Speed Turntable, $43, Amazon

7 Cool Registry Options to Check Out:

While your favorite shopping place in the world might be H&M's sale section, your registry requests are better sourced at stores that hit multiple needs at once. Think: bedding, art, kitchen appliances, special interests, and hobbies. The picks below are all strong registry home bases, and they might work for yours, too, due to their variety of products and perks We've researched some awesome options so you can have your pick from the cream of the crop.

Amazon

Perk #1: Universal Registry

Amazon's Universal Registry lets you list items from other websites, which makes it a convenient one-stop shop for friends and family. There's an installable plug-in for our browser, so you can save items from almost any site when you're already online.(Psst: That installable plug-in means you can even list your favorite items from sites like eBay for friends and family to snap up!)

Perk #2: Additional Discounts After Your Wedding

Once your wedding date has passed, Amazon gifts you with a 10 percent discount on select items, just for completing your wedding registry. (All $35-and-up shipments are free leading up to your wedding, too!)

Perk #3: Flexible Returns

You have 180 days to return anything you don't want.

Amazon Gift Selection:

Kindle Voyage , $200, Amazon

Hours under the sun during your tropical honeymoon means you'll need some reading material. This tech-savvy virtual library is the book lover's ultimate dream: a High-resolution screen display with no screen glare, WiFi-accessible, and a battery life that lasts for weeks. Plus, it's the thinnest Kindle ever.

James Scott 6-Piece Crystal Bar Set, $70, Amazon

This Irish cut crystal decanter set can be used for whiskey, wine, juice, or water; it all depends on what wets your whistle. Elaborately etched designs on all six pieces elevate whatever drink is inside them — and whatever bar in which they're featured.

Apollo Ebony Portable Speaker, $300, Amazon

For the music-loving couple, this two-pound ebony portable speaker is unparalleled. Not only is it made out of handcrafted wood and fine-tuned for pitch-perfect sound, but it's also outfitted with Bluetooth capabilities.

Macy's

Perk #1: Registry Rewards Program

For every item your friends and family purchase, you get five percent back. (For example, if Grandma June buys $200 in dinnerware and Cousin Joe spends $500 on a fancy kitchen appliance, you get $35 back for spending later). Plus, additional discounts throughout the store are available only to you (like 25 percent off suits and party dresses and 20 percent off women's shoes).

Perk #2: Newlywed Discount Program

For items not purchased on your registry, you can receive up to 20 percent off for 180 days after the wedding. (Furniture, mattresses, and rugs are 10 percent off.) Plus, guests who purchase from your registry will receive $20 off their next $50 purchase. (Ahh, the gift of even more gifts.)

Perk #3: Convenience

With access to your online registry 24/7, your friends and family can shop your registry at their convenience. But for wedding guests who aren't into online shopping, there are more than 800 Macy's stores nationwide — so there's bound to be one near them. Plus, no need for gift wrapping! Macy's does that for you for $6.

Macy's Gift Selection:

Kate Spade New York Charlotte Street Easy Collection, $15-$125, Macy's

Kate Spade's porcelain plates bring a touch of whimsy to the breakfast table. The cheerful patterns and colors are inspired by one of London's historic districts, and one newlywed said the simple but statement-making design allows for a twist on traditional white. Six months later, she's still thrilled she was gifted this set from her registry.

Simply Calphalon Enamel Nonstick Omelette Pan, $30, Macy's

Breakfast in bed just got a serious upgrade: Calphalon is the nonstick pan that makes cooking so much easier, and this one is specially designed for crafting the perfect omelette. A double nonstick layer makes cooking with oil and butter less necessary (though still delicious!), a silicone coating ensures that handles are cool to the touch, and medium-gauge aluminum means even heating.

Keurig Mini Plus Single Serving, $150, Macy's

No more wasting a giant coffee pot when you're one-and-done: This mini Keurig coffee maker heats and prepares three different cup sizes in less than two minutes, and its sensor only releases coffee when your cup is there (aka, no last-minute spills when you're already running late).

Bloomingdale's

Perk #1: Exclusive Discounts

For up to one year after registering, you're eligible for 25 percent off dresses, 20 percent off fine jewelry and intimates, and 10 percent off any luggage purchase (get ready for the best-looking carry-ons for that honeymoon).

Perk #2: Completion Offers

You get 10 percent off any leftover items on your registry for six months, and if you spend $500 on your registry, Bloomingdale's gifts you with a $100 "splurge card."

Perk #3: Personal Consultants

The wedding registry consultants at Bloomingdale's work exclusively on wedding registries — that's it — so, you can rest assured knowing you've got a seasoned guide when navigating the world of wedding registries.

Bloomingdale's Gift Selection:

Vera Wang Corrugated Texture Flat Sheet (Queen), $195, Bloomingdale's

Level up to a 400-thread count created by the famed wedding dress designer herself. The classic sheets will match any bedding set without seeming over-the-top — just a thoughtful pleated pattern emerging off the sheet's cuff and pilowcases.

Kassatex Milas Beach Towel, $50, Bloomingdale's

This long staple Turkish cotton towel will instantly spruce up any bathroom or beach bag it's thrown into. Not only are the colorful, nautically patterned towels machine-washable, but the knotted fringe trim adds a dressed-up edge to an otherwise low-key look.

Pehr Weave Hamper, $70, Bloomingdale's

Even the dirtiest towels and clothes can look good when tossed into this cotton canvas hamper. Available in three different colors, this artful basket will brighten up any bathroom corner with a neat and tidy way to gather items before they're washed.

Sears

Perk #1: Convenient Registering Methods

Whether you'd prefer to shop online from the comfort of home or use your own smartphone to add items as you walk through the store, creating your registry is a totally customized experience.

Perk #2: Wedding Registration Inspiration Lists

Completely out of your element? No worries — Sears has a list of traditional Sears registry faves, in addition to a compiled list of the most popular buys of the moment.

Perk #3: Flexible Registry Closing

Your registry remains up for 13 months after your wedding.

Sears Gift Selection:

Craftsman C3 Lithium Combo Kit, $180, Sears

This four-piece tool set is the starter kit for any home improvement shelf in the garage. All four tools work off the same battery charger, so this circular saw, drill, saw blades and more will start you off on the right foot.

Stainless Steel Margarita & Slush Machine, $116, Sears

The party doesn't have to end when you get back from the honeymoon! This margarita machine holds up to a gallon of frozen beverage, while its patented swivel system creates a consistent ice crush blend — ideal for any kind of slushy treat.

Hamilton Beach Brands, $42, Sears

For any family that uses a lot of rice with their dishes, this rice cooker is a necessary kitchen gadget. Not only can it serve up 24 cups, but after cooking the rice, it automatically switches to warm so you don't overcook your dishes. The bowl and glass lid are even dishwasher-safe, too.

Target

Perk #1: Generous Completion Offer

Once your wedding has passed, you receive 15 percent off the remaining items on your registry.

Perk #2: Headache-Free Access & Returns

Target's Wedding Registry app lets you access your list anytime, anywhere. Plus, you have 12 months from the time of your wedding to return anything you don't want.

Perk #3: Shipping Deals For Givers & Endless Inspo For You

Gifts of $25 and more receive free shipping. And when you really need that stroke of genius, come back to Target's Wedding Registry landing page for specific gift categories curated by the experts.

Target Gift Selection:

Windham Wall Rack , $70, Target

Before you drop that coat on the couch, hang it right here. This five-hook wall rack adds a splash of color and cheerful tidiness to any entryway, while its cork and chalkboard surface makes smart use of space. Hang your grocery list, daily reminders, or a quick note for your partner before zipping out the door.

Mid Century Modern Desk, $128, Target

Add a touch of midcentury sophistication to your entryway with this sharply streamlined desk, or rely on it to hold your everyday business needs as a home office piece. One user said they used this narrow desk in a tightly quartered room, and it served its purpose well.

Entryway Bench, $290, Target

Multifunctional pieces are often the best ones for starting out, especially for couples trying to make the most use of their space. This three-cubbyhole bench works as a mudroom seat for pulling on your sneaks (conveniently stored underneath!) before grabbing the paper for breakfast.

Bed, Bath & Beyond

Perk #1 Registry Incentives:

When friends and family select certain brands and products for your registry, Bed, Bath & Beyond rewards you with free items like flatware, cutting boards, and even a Samsonite luggage piece.

Perk #2 Refer-A-Friend Program:

When you refer a friend or family to any one of Bed, Bath & Beyond's registry programs, you get $25 off any in-store purchase of $100 or more.

Perk #3 Free In-Store Gift Wrapping:

When friends and family shop in-store for your registry, they can use any of the self-wrapping stations to package your present free of charge.

Bed, Bath & Beyond Gift Selection:

Therapedic Cooling Gel & Memory Foam Pillow , $50, Bed, Bath & Beyond

Level up your bedding game with a luxuriously soft cooling gel pillow that cradles your head and neck for the best muscle support and an incredibly relaxing sleep. One user even said, "After one night using this pillow, I woke up feeling pain free and rejuvenated for the first time in a while."

Brookstone Towel Warmer, $100, Bed, Bath & Beyond

This Brookstone towel warmer is the ultimate everyday indulgence after any bath or shower. It holds two bath towels at a time, uses safe silicone to heat fabric evenly, and features an automatic shut-off feature that makes sure you won't forget to turn it off.

Melrose Serving Cart, $150, Bed, Bath & Beyond

Add a stylish edge to breakfast in bed with this brushed Nickel and Walnut serving cart. Its swiveling wheels means no getting stuck en route from the kitchen, and users say the classy piece is ideal for anyone needing a cart and drink prep spot.

JCPenney

Perk #1: Convenient Registry App

The JCPenney app lets you use your own phone as the scanner while perusing potential home favorites in the store. When you're finished, check back on the app at your leisure.

Perk #2: Completion Offer

For up to six months after your wedding, JCPenney lets you score ten percent off the remaining items on your registry.

Perk #3: Easily Search Your Registry

Once you create your registry at JCPenney, it is automatically searchable for friends and family online at TheKnot.com and its partner sites, in addition to jcp.com.

JCPenney Gift Selection:

JCPenney Home Mother-of-Pearl Table Lamp, $100, JCPenney

This mother of pearl table lamp will light the way with a subtle shine and nautical touch. Users say it's surprisingly lightweight, and one added that the lamp stands out in her living room, emitting "the prettiest light."

Arabesque Rectangular Rug, $230, JCPenney

This room-brightening rug is inspired by modern architecture, using hand-hooked construction and a cotton rug backing. One user said this rug was a must with two kids and a dog, as stains easily lift with a little carpet cleaner.

Outdoor Oasis Outdoor Pillow Collection, $18, JCPenney

If the two of you are lucky enough to have a backyard to lounge in, dress up your patio with some color and pattern. These outdoor pillows are water-repellant and fade-resistant, which means hours under the sun are perfectly fine.

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Images: Fotolia (1); Bloomingdale's (3); Amazon (4); Macy's (3); Sears (3); Target (3); Bed, Bath & Beyond, (3); JCPenney (3)