It's not every day you get hitched. A lot goes into planning the perfect wedding day—from the dresses to the décor, the menu to the send-off. And then of course there’s your registry – that repository of everything you could ever want or need to set up your new life as a couple. With these helpful tips and best practices, you can guarantee you get the most out of your wedding registry.

KCL's favorite wedding registry

Here are KCL, we LOVE Target (and we know we're not the only ones)! Since so many people consider Target their favorite place to shop, it's super convenient to register there. Whenever one of my friends (especially a friend who lives in a different state) chooses Target for their wedding registry, I immediately start thinking about using my Target REDcard! Using it to purchase my friend's wedding gift will ensure I get free shipping and a 5% discount! It's a win-win for everyone!

Best practices to maximize your registry

These tips represent "learned wisdom" from thousands of couples nationwide. It's not every day you get the chance to ask for the specific gifts you want so—make the most of it!

  • First, figure out what you really need and want: By requesting only those items you truly want and need, you ensure your new life together is set up for success (even if you choose to register for "non-traditional" items, such as camping gear or scuba diving classes!).
  • Go through the ordering process yourself: Pretend to be one of your wedding guests—is it easy to shop, buy, and send?
  • Ask about registry perks: Be sure to learn about available perks before choosing a registry vendor (more on this below).
  • Register at more than one place: By spreading out your registry, you expand your options—and your guests'.
  • Make sure guests know how to find your registry: Make use of the free cards many registry vendors offer. Also be sure to print registry information on your wedding website and shower/bachelor and bachelorette party invitations.
  • Pick a reasonable price range: By choosing gifts across a spectrum of price ranges, you ensure every guest can find a gift they can afford.
  • Register early…and stay open late!: You can register as soon as you declare your engagement and keep your registry open for up to 12 months post-ceremony.
  • Check your list twice before closing down your registry: Finally, before closing out your registry, just be sure to check gifts received against the master list to make sure nothing is missing. 

Taking advantage of "registry perks"—those special incentives, discounts, freebies, and deals that eager registry vendors hand out in exchange for your business—is the key to getting the most out of your chance to register. Here are some tips.

1. Choose brand names wisely

Here, the goal is to get as many discounts and freebies as possible. Certain brands offer incentives to couples who request specific brands (for instance, instead of asking for a "mixer," you ask for a "Cuisinart mixer").

Example: If you register at Bed, Bath & Beyond and specifically request Mikasa tableware, the moment guest orders total $500, you will also automatically receive a FREE Mikasa Brewmaster Pitcher (a $39.99 value). Learn more about BBB perks.

2. Register for gift cards at partner vendors

Here, you can get even more for your registry by adding gift cards for partner vendors to your list of desired gifts.

Example: If you register at Pottery Barn, you can add Williams-Sonoma and other partner-vendor gift cards to your list of desired gifts, giving you more flexibility (and more rewards points on your Pottery Barn credit card—each reward point equals $1 in "free" cash that you can spend as you like). Learn more about PB perks.

3. Return gifts for cash

Some registry vendors permit couples to return unwanted gifts in exchange for cash. Who doesn't love cash? Sometimes selecting a vendor with this type of policy can be the best choice!

Example: If you register at Target, you can return any gift that was paid for in cash and get a cash payout. Gifts paid for by credit card can be returned for store credit. Learn more about Target perks.

4. Allow guests to pool their resources

Not all wedding guests can afford a pricey place setting or new down comforter set. But if multiple guests can pool their resources and then purchase a pricier item on your registry—bonus!

Example: If you register with Sears, your guests can use the "Give Together" feature to campaign for the funds to purchase a particular item. When the funds are raised, the guests can go in together to buy the gift for you. Learn about Sears perks.

5. Max out all available discounts

Many registry vendors permit couples to purchase un-sold registry items at a discount for a certain period of time after the ceremony date has passed. If you’re hoping to get certain items that don't get bought, this allows you to nab the items at a discount you'll never get again!

Example: When you register with Macy's, your registry not only stays active for a full 24 months after your wedding date, but you can elect to make use of a 10% discount for three months post-wedding. Plus, if you purchase any of the items on your Macy's Star Rewards card, you can also get an extra 10% of your order total in "rewards dollars" to spend as cash (plus you earn 5% of everything your guests' order totals in "rewards dollars" to spend as cash). Learn more about Macy’s perks.