Wedding Registries, a history and FAQ's

As we begin back our ‘in the know’ series , we want to get started by chatting about your Wedding Registry! We get questions from clients ALL. THE. TIME. about registries and want to share our two cents with you today :)

But, let’s first chat about the history of the wedding registry because I think that’s fun. if you’re not a total nerd like me and this doesn’t interest you, feel free to scroll below to the goods: our Registry F&Q’s

*this post is not sponsored or endorsed by any stores/products mentioned. All opinions are my own*

The History

information courtesy of registryfinder

The Chicago based retail store Marshall Fields, now known as Macy’s first instituted the practice of bridal registries as early as 1924. There is however some speculation that smaller stores began simple wedding gifting services even earlier but Marshall Fields as far as we can tell was the driving force that popularized this tradition. In 1924 the idea was a couple could indicate which china, silver and crystal patterns they preferred to friends and family.

The Great Depression in the 30’s led to decreased numbers in homeownership, as well as marriages. The impact on the registry business was simply fewer sales overall.

World War II was an obvious time of great violence and destruction but with that came a great influx in marriages. At the start of the war, couples were hurrying their marriages as a means of getting through the hard years and making that one last romantic gesture before deploying. Following the end of the War was an even higher increase in marriages as young couples were hopeful for peace including marriage, families and homeownership. aaaaaand … you got it, goods to fill their homes. Registry boom!

The years following World War II was a time in which the average age of marriage reached a century low and stayed there for nearly 26 years! From 1949 to 1975 the average age for men getting married was 22.9 years old, and for women it was 20.5 years old. This statistic is important to registries because young couples were starting homes together and in dire need of household appliances, linens, dishes, etc. In these years, young couples built their homes on gifts from guests. At the end of this 26 year period the barcode was invented bringing even more ease and simplicity to choosing their preferred wares for gifting.

At the turn of the century, the average age for marriage increased to the upper 20’s lending way to young professionals with already established homes (independent of a spouse and often furnished). The ease and simplicity of these registries, as well as the types of products so often added in the 50’s remains the same even today: appliances, silverware, china.

But what the 21st century has also brought is an evolved registry that are often more specialized (honeymoon registry, baby registry, home registry). Additionally there are registries that allow you to put items from multiple stores on one single registry, AKA the Universal Registry. SOOOO a somewhat brief synopsis of the evolution of the wedding registry , now onto our Registry F&Q’s!


Registry F&Q’s

Let’s just jump right in with some common themes …

'We live together already and have so many home goods already” OR “We both have homes full of furniture, appliances, etc. and will be moving in together so we really don’t have a huge need for traditional registry items.” “WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST?”

Let’s face it, in today’s modern age-many couples are moving in together pre marriage and even pre engagement. My husband and I had an apartment together and then bought a home together before we got married. This left us with a pretty full house of goods already. What I suggest in this scenario is take this as a time to upgrade some appliances and kitchen wares that have seen better days. Register for that stand up mixer you’ve always dreamed of having but never quite pulled the plug on buying yourself. Not into traditional china? No problem! There are so many beautiful everyday plate and glassware options to add to your entertaining stock.

Have you thought of doing a Honeymoon registry? There are many options for gifting ‘experiences’ rather than tangible items now and we highly suggest taking advantage of that. Places like Zola, Honeyfund and Blueprint act more like a crowd funding site than an actual registry and allow your guests to contribute to things like a down payment for a home, donations to charity and most commonly, travel and honeymoon expenses. What we love about a honeymoon registry is that your guests can choose to help you pay for airfare, treat you to a meal on the beach or greet you with champagne upon arrival- all experiential gifts that we think will be long remembered.


‘How many places should I register?’

While there is no formula to this, we suggest registering at 2-3 stores and also adding a honeymoon option. Big box stores such as William Sonoma, Crate and Barrel or even Target can be great jumping off points depending on what you are specifically looking to register for. Also, don;t be afraid to register at a local boutique that you just love even if guests are mostly from out of town. If you are having showers in the area, this is a great opportunity for your local guests to pick you up that special item you are dying to have at your favorite local boutique.

‘When do we register?’

Look out for local registry events in your area. Large stores will often have registry events which can be a fun date night for you and your significant other to attend together. They’ll often greet you with a drink and some appetizers and have registry experts on site answering your questions about products ad you build your registry. In addition, we do suggest you start registries early. Like before you send Save the Dates early. This way, when you send your save the date with your website information, guests can access your registries right away! You also may be surprised with an engagement gift or two from your registry as well :)

‘WHAT do we put on there?’

This could be a blog post in itself so while refraining from going into too much detail, many stores will have a checklist or suggested list for you to work off of. Again, use your registry as an opportunity to update worn items and build your home together as a couple. If you really love cooking together, try out some fun, new gadgets in the kitchen. If you entertain frequently, update your martini glass collection, register for that wine decanter, add those whiskey rocks! A few items that I am thankful we registered for that get used frequently in our home are ….

Le Creuset Deep Dutch Oven. We use this ALL THE TIME. Thank you Tom and Kate Peters ;) This is such a versatile pot and plenty roomy enough for big batches of homemade spaghetti sauce or chili as well.

You can find similar here.

J.A. Henkels Knife Set, thanks Mom and Dad! Ours knife situation was seriously lacking and now we are we equipped with all the things cutlery related. I don’t think I even realized what we were missing out on until we started using our block set. Now you better believe I use the correct knife to cut my fruit and a bread knife really makes all the difference when slicing through a loaf of bread or even a bagel!

You can find Similar here.

Kitchen Island. Yes, you read that correctly. We registered for a kitchen island and it obviously gets used daily. Tim Smith, you are a gem my dear friend. Our Kitchen isn’t the largest so when I saw this Island at Crate and Barrel, I knew it was the perfect size for our little kitchen and would be a great addition since we lack counter space. This is the exact Island we have but we opted for ‘mint’ to add a bit of color to our previously all white kitchen.

I hope this helped answer some of your burning registry questions!! If you have others, I’d love to be able to answer them for you so leave a comment here or get in touch via