Shopping for your wedding registry is one of the best parts of planning a wedding. Together with your soon-to-be spouse, you can fill your wedding registry with everything from funds for your honeymoon to home goods to kitchen gadgets and everything in between. Today’s wedding registries are all online, with almost every major retailer offering a wedding registry service where couples can pick their favorite products for potential wedding gifts. The problem with these individual wedding registries is that no one store can possibly carry everything that a couple is looking for to help them start their new life together. The solution? Universal wedding registries.
What Is a Universal Wedding Registry?
A universal wedding registry allows couples to add products from all their favorite stores in one place, giving guests one convenient list to shop from. Some even allow you to accept cash for a honeymoon or fertility fund, as well as charity donations.
“A universal wedding registry or universal gift registry is one where you can add absolutely anything you want onto your gift list from any store or anywhere,” says Nancy Lee, president of MyRegistry.com. “It doesn’t even have to be a product, it can be a service, it can be cash, [it] can be anything. But basically, the sky is the limit. And that’s why it’s universal. Because when it’s universal, that means that you can literally add anything that you want on that gift list.”
Meet the Expert
Nancy Lee is the president of MyRegistry.com, a universal gift registry that allows you to add gifts from any website to one registry.
To help explain all the benefits (and potential limitations) of this type of registry, we asked Lee to provide insight into the ins and outs of universal wedding registries. Before you start building out your universal wedding registry, here are a few things you should know.
What to Consider
Every major retailer is vying to be included in your wedding registry, and with a universal wedding registry, you don’t have to choose. With MyRegistry and other universal wedding registries, you can include products from Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Amazon, Macy’s, and more—all in one comprehensive list.
“Universal wedding registries simplify the process for everybody,” says Lee. “The only limit to what you can add to your gift registry is your own imagination. If you can think of it and you care about it, you can register for it.”
For couples, a universal registry gives them the freedom to add anything and everything to their wish list. For their guests, it makes it easy to view everything in one place, as opposed to having to click multiple links for multiple retailers. Most people will only click on the first link, which may not have all the items that are important to you.
“[MyReigstry] allows you to import everything, and then actually strategically organize things,” explains Lee. “You can add notes or pictures, mark things as favorites, and do all sorts of like sorting and filtering.”
If you’re considering a universal wedding registry, it’s important to be aware of all the multi-functional benefits of this comprehensive tool so you can use it to its full advantage.
Pros of Universal Wedding Registries
Stacking Retailer Perks
Registry perks are the cherry on top of the wedding registry sundae. Retailers want to get in on this once-in-a-lifetime gifting opportunity, and they’re willing to give you some serious perks to make sure their products end up on your gift registry.
“Retailers are literally bending over backward for your business,” says Lee. “They’ll give you a completion discount if [there are] things on that gift list that didn’t get bought. You want to open multiple store registries because you want to get all these benefits.”
A universal gift registry is a win-win for both couples and the stores themselves. You can open as many registries as you want and let your guests decide which items from a variety of retailers they want to gift you. If there are any items you didn’t receive as a wedding gift but that you still want, you can purchase them at a deep discount. Oh, and you can do this with multiple retailers, accumulating all the perks and discounts across multiple stores with each new registry sign-up.
Cash Gift or Honey/Family Funds
Many couples today opt to live together before getting engaged or married, which means they already have most of the items they need for their home. For couples who already have all the kitchen gadgets and home goods they need, universal registries make it easy for your guests to give you the gift that never gets old: cold hard cash. Some universal registries allow you to request cash gifts from your guests or ask them to contribute to a honeymoon or family fund. A luxurious vacation or fertility treatment can be a costly expense, but it’s something far more memorable than measuring cups and mixing bowls.
Couples who are conscious about charitable giving may break tradition altogether and request a donation to their favorite charity in lieu of products or money for themselves. “We built charitable gifting into our platform so couples can select from 1.2 million charities to add onto your gift list,” says Lee. “People can contribute to it, but it’s still tracking through your wedding registry so that the [couple] can thank them accordingly.”
Cons of Universal Wedding Registries
Too Many Choices
Universal gift registries are just that—universal. They can be adapted or personalized to fit every type of couple. The sky’s the limit, which most couples love. Others may find it difficult to narrow down their registry to the products they really want.
“You can kind of get carried away,” says Lee. Because MyRegistry is so flexible with the types of items or experiences couples can add to their registry, the list can get long very quickly. This is where the platform’s tools come in handy: use the sorting and favoriting function to mark the gifts you really want your guests to contribute to first. Most guests want to give you a gift you’ll use and want, so take advantage of those tools to communicate that with them.
Popular Universal Wedding Registries
Ready to start adding products, funds, and experiences to your universal wedding registry? Here’s a helpful list of the best universal wedding registries to help you and your partner build the life you want together.
MyRegistry is the original universal registry. Launched in 2005, MyRegistry allows you to to add everything from big-box retailers to sites that don’t have their own registry services to experiences, like massages or festival tickets, to your gift wish list. Absolutely nothing is off limits—you can even add products from stores that don’t have an online store by snapping a picture and sharing the store details. Plus, you can add a donation to a charity (or multiple charities) of your choosing, allowing guests to give in your honor.
Zola is a one-stop site for wedding registries, offering gifts from over 1,000 brands. It has a robust selection of all kinds of gifts, experiences, and honeymoon funds all in one place. Your guests shop directly through Zola instead of being routed to a third-party website once they’re ready to checkout. Zola also provides a lot of resources to help couples create, curate, and personalize their registry. Once you add products to your registry, you can use the “Our Most Wanted” tool to let guests know the gifts you’re really looking forward to receiving. Zola also offers a group gifting option, which allows guests to split the cost of more expensive gifts. It’s a no-brainer if you’re already using Zola as your wedding website to manage RSVPs and plan ahead for the big day.
Blueprint is an innovative universal gift registry that allows you to add gifts from any retailer, import existing registries, create a cash registry, and more. Having trouble deciding what items to add to your registry? No problem: Blueprint offers an interactive gift selection process where you can pick gifts according to the rooms in your house. They’ve truly thought of everything, and they’ve even made it easier for you to send thank you cards once you’ve returned from your honeymoon. Two weeks after your wedding, Blueprint will send you a master list of each gift you received, who it was from, and a return guide.
With Joy, you can add gifts from Joy’s shop or any online retailer, along with zero-fee cash funds, honeymoon experiences, and more. Joy connects with Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal to deposit all those cash gifts straight into your bank account, charging absolutely no hidden fees in the process. It syncs lists from every retailer onto one convenient page. You can also add items directly from Joy’s shop, which is organized by department and includes helpful guides to navigate confusing registry categories like dinnerware. Joy also keeps track of who has given a gift and allows you to send guests personalized messages.