Five Ways Zola Makes Registering Easy


It's easy to customize, easy for friends to go in on gifts together, and easy for you.

by Najva Sol, Brand Director

Sample Zola registry

There’s always people like me at every wedding, people who have never been “gift people.”  In terms of receiving, getting random stuff has always frustrated me because 1. I should (and often don’t) pretend to like it, and 2. I have to find somewhere to put it. And as for giving? I’m just thankful I don’t celebrate any holidays that require gifting because it’s just not how I do. Needless to say, shopping for birthdays and weddings has been really complicated… or it was, until I learned we were partnering with Zola Registry and suddenly I realized that there is a place that can make gifting feel seamless, not sterile. Here’s how:

Travel items for honeymoon

1. Everything in one place

Zola is about options. Like most registries, they’ve got a plethora of traditional gifts to choose from (you can browse from over 250 brands and 16,000 products). But unlike most registries, they go way beyond that: from experience gifts to honeymoon funds, there’s no need to set up three separate registries just to have everything in one place.

And if you’re not sure what exactly it is you want to be registering for to begin with, but hate the standard “must have” lists, Zola has a gigantic list of curated gift collections tailored to various styles, price points, and interests to help you get started. Maybe you just moved in together and aren’t sure what your combined style is yet, or maybe all your Craigslist cookware is just straight up falling apart but you’ve never thought about what you’d buy in its place. You can peruse your options (from style profiles like Modern French Country to interests like fun and adventure to brands you’ve maybe never heard of) and register for the kind of style you want. As an added bonus, Zola’s Planner Feature serves as your virtual registry planning friend; it can even help you figure out how many gifts you need in each price range based on the number of guests attending your wedding. Boom.

Bar cart from a Zola registry

2. go big with a little help from your friends

Two words: Group. Gifting. Look, maybe I can’t afford that badass bar cart for you, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t rather get that for you than a salad spinner. Now, I (and all the guests who think similarly) can each pitch in on Zola. Your guests know you’ll think of them with every use, and you can get pieces that you actually need—even bigger ticket items—without feeling guilty. Oh, and you know how much it sucks to try to split a dinner bill eight ways? Group gifting with Zola has all the math included, so you don’t have to use a calculator, and everyone’s chipping in fairly.

Gifts that guests love to give from Zola

3. zola will keep you on track

Whether or not you’re the type of person who wants to control all the things, or the type who needs someone to keep you in line, Zola’s got you covered. They offer two excellent tech features that help keep your registry moving: Control Shipping and Thank-You Note Manager. Want to choose when you receive your gifts (so nothing arrives when you’re on your honeymoon)? No problem. Need someone to remind you when thank you cards are due? Zola can do that, too. And if you’re feeling like you need just a little bit more support, there’s always Zola’s Registry Advisor, aka your personal assistant for registries. This is a real life person (not a bot) who can answer all of your questions and even help import any other registries you might have.

Blue and white striped Kate Spade plates

4. exchanges Made Easy

Here’s the thing about online shopping: sometimes, mistakes are made. Maybe you’ve put together a registry and accidentally asked for the wrong thing without realizing it because… life. (It’s not like you’re busy or anything.) Well: Zola’s Online Swap feature makes it easy to exchange gifts before you ever receive them (no shipping required) or convert gifts you’ve received into store credit so you can get something (anything) else.

Kitchen Aid gifts from Zola

5.  This Registry is made for walking

As just about everyone who has planned a wedding in the last fifty years knows, wedding planning doesn’t mean the rest of your life has magically stopped happening. Zola gets this, and they recently made their site super mobile friendly complete with an iPhone/iPad app that makes dealing with your registry something you can do from wherever life takes you (like the line at your local coffee shop). Not to mention, your also busy partner (ahem) can engage with the mobile site from wherever they’re living their lives.

Stacks of wedding gifts from Zola registry

So this is you: in the thick of wedding planning and looking for a wedding registry that just makes sense. Zola Registry is user-friendly for everyone, super customizable, and will keep track of everything for you. That way you can get busy focusing on the eight thousand other wedding related things you’ve got going on.

Hey APW: SIGN UP for Zola USING THIS LINK get $25 to spend on your registry!

*A Practical Wedding readers will receive $25 to spend on Zola when they set up their wedding registry on Zola. New registries must be started (but not necessarily published) between January 6, 2016 and April 4, 2016. Credits will be placed into the couple’s Zola account four weeks after a couple’s registry is published live.

Najva Sol

Najva Sol is a queer Iranian-American writer, photographer, branding consultant, artist, and ex-poet.  She’s the token staff Slytherin and—while formally based in Brooklyn—tends to travel as much as possible. Storytelling is her life, but making chicken broth is a close second.

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  • So. In using Zola, the main pros I’ve seen are:
    (1) Being able to add external items to one, single registry.
    (2) Being able to choose when items ship (and ability to turn off external site forwarding so this applies registry-wide).
    (3) It’s free [for the couple].
    (4) The personal notes you can add to each item to explain how you would use it.

    The cons?
    (1) Gift purchases under $100 come with a $10 shipping charge, regardless of whether the couple chooses to have all items ship at once. 5 people bought you 5 different kitchen utensils (spatula, ice cream scoop, etc.), well, when that one package comes in, there was $50 shipping going into it. This is *outrageous*, and also caused several of our guests to purchase Zola-items from Amazon…defeating the purpose of the couple choosing when items ship. I’ve got a big old mess over here!
    (2) Guests don’t appear to be able to mark an item as purchased off the registry. So if they do buy that spatula they saw on your registry from Amazon (because there’s no $10 shipping), they have no way of marking it as purchased, even if they wanted to. This increases the chances of getting two spatulas.
    (3) Zola tells the couple which guest bought what immediately. As a couple, DO NOT MENTION THIS TO YOUR GUESTS, do not thank them to their faces immediately. Older people assume the registry will work like a traditional registry, and you won’t get your gift for a few days or a week. They find it very odd that you know what they bought as soon as they bought it, *and* who bought it.
    (4) Adding items to the registry is essentially asking for cash. Many people think cash registries are rude money grabs. Of course, if they don’t trust you to buy the items you say you’re going to buy, then that’s a whole ‘nother issue.
    (5) That 2.7% credit card fee. A fee in some way is unavoidable, but still more of a ‘con’ than a ‘pro’. Also, the couple has the option to shove this credit card fee off on their guests…which no matter way you spin it, doesn’t sound like good etiquette.

    I don’t really know how to make this any better. Maybe just don’t expect the Zola-specific features to work out perfectly, and then be pleasantly surprised in those instances where it does?

    At this point, we probably should’ve just used an Amazon wishlist. All our items can be found there for cheaper, but especially for cheaper shipping. And Amazon has really great policies for when packages get lost or stolen. So if you’re worried about that, then Amazon might be the solution.

    • Solution to Con#1: if you convert the Zola item purchased into Zola credits, the $10 shipping charge is also converted into Zola credits. So then you can stockpile Zola credits, and order all the things at once (over $100, free shipping). The couple gains all the individual $10 shipping charges, and can buy additional items with that. But that doesn’t mean that people still won’t go searching for items from your registry for cheaper places/shipping than Zola…and will then be unable to mark the item as purchased on your Zola registry without a conversation with you.

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