If you’ve ever read one of those registry must-have lists from the big box retailers, my guess is you’ve probably thought to yourself, “Um, is this real life?” It’s not that they can’t be helpful. It’s just… how can that list possibly apply to the couple that’s been together two years and lives in a small city apartment while also being relevant to the couple that’s been together fifteen years and lives in a house in the ’burbs? (Spoiler alert: probably can’t.) That said, when you’re in the middle of planning a wedding, while also trying to figure out what the hell kind of stuff you might want to have in your house after the wedding, it’s really helpful to have some guidance from folks who have been there. Which is why we’ve partnered with Zola today to bring you a registry guide that is based―wait for it―on your actual life (with some of my own experience thrown in for good measure).
If you haven’t heard of them yet, Zola is the universal wedding registry that covers everything you could possibly think of, from the old standbys like cookware and home goods to non-traditional registry items like experience gifts, honeymoon funds, and even subscription services to make your life easier. With Zola, you can add items from any retailer online and in real life, and control when they get shipped to you. In short, they let you make a registry that’s one hundred percent reflective of you. So if you’re just getting started thinking about what to add to your own registry, here’s what I’ve learned from both eight years of marriage and five years of listening to y’all say smart things about your own registries:
Upgrading has gotten a bad rap in the wedding game, probably because it can be used as a slimy sales tactic. (Upgrade everything! Yes, even that totally functional peeler you use once a month. You’re getting married. Buy all the stuff.) But do you know what I’ve learned from packing all my stuff up half a dozen times to move, including that one where I drove across the country? It’s really nice to have stuff that lasts. But how do you separate the practical upgrades from the superfluous ones? How can you possibly know what you’ll actually need in ten years? The short answer is, you don’t and that’s okay. But here’s a tip: start with stuff you already use all the time. Look around your place and ask yourself, “What do we interact with every day?” Do you and your partner love to cook? Is your bookshelf your sanctuary? Do you travel a bunch throughout the year? I live and die for a warm bed, so we registered for a new comforter to replace the one we’d inherited from Michael’s childhood. And surprise, the one from childhood is now in rough shape. And our wedding comforter? Still the coziest.
Stuff that future you will thank you for
Inherently, registering is a bit of a guessing game. There’s no way to predict exactly what your lives will look like ten years from now. But it’s totally fine to try and make an educated guess. Do you picture lazy Sunday mornings listening to records with a fresh cup of coffee? Do you want to go camping during summer weekends? Great, register for reality and make it happen. Pro tip: Zola actually has a great set of “starter collections” where you can shop by your priorities and interests (in case records and coffee aren’t your jam, they’ve got collections for baking, adventuring, or easy entertaining.) Because while it isn’t always the case, nearly a decade of marriage has taught me that if you build it, they will come: sometimes a small change in your house is enough to spark new traditions and habits.
anything that makes life easier
It’s scientifically proven that my marriage improves every time we add something to our home that makes life easier. (Y’all know how I feel about my marriage hacks.) This is including, but not limited to, our Blue Apron subscription, the basket where we keep blankets in our living room (seriously, for years they have just lived on the floor in front my couch, why), the mattress that doesn’t transfer motion when I do my sleep kickboxing routine, and a $15 garlic press that doesn’t rust. And the nice thing about Zola is that since you can add items from anywhere (you can even hit up that indie shop down the street with their barcode scanner app on your phone), you’re not limited to some department store’s idea of what’s practical in your everyday life. (But also Zola’s inventory is so deep that all those things I mentioned above are actually already available through their site.)
SH*t that straight up delights you
There’s a lot of pressure when you’re registering to stick to stuff that’s practical and useful. (See… um… my tips above. #Whoops.) But one of the best parts of building a home together is choosing things that make you happy to live inside them. (Fun fact: For our holiday gifts this year, APW gave each staff member $300 and gave us an hour and a half to spend it on things that delighted us. It was the most fun shopping experience of my life not worrying if what I was buying was practical. All it had to do was make me happy.) So go ahead, register for the cool neon sign. Register for the fun doormat. Or if physical stuff isn’t your priority, add that cheese of the month club subscription (cheese delivered to my house = why would I ever leave my living room?). Because your registry is about your life together, and that includes more than just cooking and sleeping and vacuuming. And if you’re worried about people not getting it? Zola lets you add notes to your registry so that you can inform your guests exactly how you plan on using that instant camera on your honeymoon. You know there’s always one guest who lives for buying you the weird, wacky, and fun stuff (hint: it’s me.).
What questions do you have about registering? Or married folk: what’s your best advice for making your registry work for you? in the meantime, you can set up your zola registry here and leave your questions in the comments!
This post was sponsored by Zola. Zola is the universal registry that combines form with function. With Zola, you can personalize your registry so that it actually looks and feels like you (and then add items from any retailer, so that it also represents you). And then they’ve packed it with tons of user-friendly features from group gifting to shipping control (aka you tell your registry when you want to receive stuff), and the lowest fee in the industry for cash gifts if you choose to add a cash registry option. You can even register for activities to do with your partner after you’re married, or use the handy Zola app (with barcode scanner) to register for items at your favorite stores. And if you change your mind about something after you’ve registered for it? No problem. Zola makes online exchanges quick and easy. Zola will even help you keep track of thank you notes because that’s one less thing you should have to worry about. Click here for a full list of Zola’s features, and get $25 in Zola credits when you create your Zola account today!*