The Golden Rules of Gift Registries

Make purchasing presents a pleasure for your guests with our quick-fire guide to gift registries.

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Attention shoppers! Though undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable aspects of wedding planning, gift registries should be handled with care.

They’re a no-brainer for nixing double-ups and off-the-mark disasters, but whether you’re in need of a helping hand in setting up a household or already happily cohabiting before you get hitched, asking your loved ones for gifts to suit can seem a tricky proposition. While it’s better to provide a guide than have your guests spending money on items you won’t use, the golden rule of gift registries is: mind your manners.


  • Set up your gift registry as early as possible, so you can send out the details with your invitations.
  • Choose your wording carefully. Politely let your guests know that although their presence at your celebration is more than enough, if they wish to buy you a gift, you’ve made it easy for them to do so.
  • Consider asking for money, but only for a specific, significant, we’ll-love-it-forever item so your friends and family know their contribution is going to good use.
  • Make your thank-you cards a post-wedding priority so you’re able to respond with heartfelt, personalised messages, rather than run-of-the-mill responses.


  • Take presents as a given. International guests or those travelling to your destination wedding may have maxed out on expenses just attending your nuptials.
  • Be too narrow in your selection. Choose a range of gifts at a variety of price points to cater to every budget.
  • Make the gift table at your reception an afterthought. Style it according to your wedding theme, and organise a trusted friend to direct guests to it and make sure cards stay attached to gifts with a kit of cellotape and scissors.

Types and trends

  • Stick with tradition by going for a one-stop shop for key items for your home. Harvey Norman allows guests to take advantage of current specials and promotions at the time of purchase, while Nest’s registry is a cornucopia of beautifully crafted homewares.
  • The Lovely lets you create a wish list from online stores around the globe. Make your choice from selected retailers or upload your own gifts from your favourite shops.
  • Forgo the usual in favour of a honeymoon fund. Air New Zealand Holiday’s Gift Travel Register enables guests to contribute at any Air New Zealand Holiday store. Not Another Toaster offers honeymoon adventures in exotic locations, from elephant rides and jungle tours to museum, monument and other day trips in your chosen destination.
  • Pay it forward by asking your guests to contribute to a charity close to your heart.
  • Mildred & Co has a selection of exquisite gifts including artwork, plus a Wish List service that invites guests to contribute to a larger item of your choice not stocked by the company.
  • Crafty types can take advantage of Etsy’s myriad artisans and register for a vast range of covetable purchases that also support burgeoning businesses.
  • Crowdfunding provides a twist on charity giving. At Give A Little, you’ll find virtually endless worthy projects you and your guests can contribute to.

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