Wedding Registry Basics: A Quick Guide
More and more couples put together a wedding registry for their big day.

A wedding registry is a great way for a newlywed couple to save money by having loved ones purchase various household needs for them.

Among the customary wedding traditions, many couples opt to open a gift wedding registry. When wisely implemented, it can be a wonderful tool that makes gift selection easier for your guests. However, you should keep a few things in mind as you proceed. Following some simple practices and observing etiquette guidelines can help ensure that your registry is a convenient and well-executed part of your nuptials instead of a massive headache for you and your guests.

The Origins of the Gift Registry 

Although the wedding gift registry is now a customary tradition among Canadian couples, the practice has surprisingly recent origins. Racked contributor Erika Adams explains that guests were not expected to bring presents to matrimonial celebrations prior to the twentieth century. In time past, European and American brides collected goods to take to their future homes inside their wedding chests, which were also sometimes called “hope chests.” Once department stores began to offer bridal registries, many women were encouraged to include household goods such as crystal, silverware, and china.

Do You Need a Wedding Registry?

Western society has changed much over the last century, and it’s now common for couples to marry later in life or to wed multiple times. As a result, many adults have homes of their own and already own a substantial collection of household goods. If this description sounds like you and your sweetie, take heart. You may decide you don’t need to open a gift registry, as advice columnist Liz Moorehead of A Practical Wedding points out. She suggests relying on your family members to spread the word. Bride Online also suggests setting aside a preferred charity for guests’ donations in lieu of a registry.

Some Prudent Suggestions

Hana Abaza of Huffington Post Canada encourages newlyweds-to-be to think beyond the typical “big box” retail stores and investigate online wedding registries. Instead of feeling pressured to add items that you don’t really need, a virtual gift listing may permit more flexibility as well as the chance to include products you and your future spouse will actually use.

Abaza also provides some sage advice to help couples observe good etiquette practices and avoid offending family and friends. She suggests the inclusion of a wide variety of entries in the lower, mid-range, and upper price points. Furthermore, she stresses the importance of keeping your registry updated. Many retailers will help you track yours online. You may even be able to see what guests have purchased (but not necessarily who made the purchases). If you can, try to add more items to give your guests additional options from which to choose.

Have Fun With Your Registry

If you decide to skip a registry, that’s a perfectly valid choice. For newlyweds-to-be who choose to register, it’s wise to remember some useful suggestions during planning. Be sure to include entries at many different price points, and don’t add any products you don’t really want. Be sure to keep yours up to date. Remember that a donation to a designated charity organization is a great alternative. Whatever you decide, the goal is to tailor your wedding to reflect your wishes and those of and your partner.

Teach Charity to the Children

canada 1.2.14Whether you belong to an organized religion, or do not do the religion thing, you can still enjoy everything that the winter season brings. The holidays are not just for individuals who believe in Christianity, but are for people who are looking to enjoy a little charity and good cheer. If you are trying to help your children or the children of your church understand that the holidays are more about giving than receiving, the following should help you get started:


     1.     The Food Bank

There are so many families that struggle any time of the year, but especially during the holidays. Christmas is a time when families get together and share in the joy of the season. Without a good meal, and often times without a place to eat, families are unable to enjoy the holiday. Contact your local food bank to see what types of food they need. Head to the grocery store with your children and let them pick out food items from the list that they would enjoy eating. Point out that if they would like the food, then other children will probably like it, too. This will help them realize that actual people will be receiving the food, and they want to enjoy what they eat as much as your children do.

     2.     A Toy Drive

Children love nothing more than to peruse the aisles of a toy store. Look online or ask around town for information on any toy drives that are going on in your area. Find out what items are needed and take your kids to the toy store. As with the grocery store, allow the children to find toys that they would enjoy playing with. It might be harder to purchase the toys for someone else, rather than keeping it for themselves, but that is what will make it memorable and special for your children.

     3.     Your Neighborhood

Charity during Christmas doesn’t have to come from a store. You do not have to donate to a local charity. Service can be done in your own neighborhood for people that you already know. If there are shut-ins or widows in your neighborhood, have your children draw some special holiday pictures for them. Allow your kids to help you bake a batch of cookies. Take a plate of cookies and the drawings to your neighbors who are unable to get out and enjoy the season. Encourage your children to visit with the elderly individuals so that they can get the most from the experience.

In addition to these tips, look up other organizations that take donations during the holidays, or that will benefit from your service and allow your children to do their part. While they may complain about doing charity for another person, it will instill in them the values of service and caring for others. Christmas is the perfect time to get started, whether you believe in Christianity or not. If you do want to serve in the name of religion, contact the Universal Life Church Canada and consider becoming a minister yourself.