For many couples, how to go about informing guests about your registry can prove a daunting task. You don’t want to feel like you’re asking for gifts, but you also know that guests want to know where you’re registered because it makes things easier for them.
Remember: most of your friends and family want to get you something that you actually want and won’t return. In fact, the ‘return factor’ can actually stir up a lot of angst for guests who want to buy you the perfect gift that you’ll always remember them for; no one wants to get you something you don’t like, won’t use or that causes you more headaches. At the same time, you have to keep in mind that although your wedding is currently the center of your universe, it is not the center of theirs, and simply making the arrangements to be at your wedding can be consuming enough, so you want to make details like buying your gift as easy and accessible as possible.
Now, I’m not one of those people that has a long list of wedding etiquette rules that one must follow, but there is one that is pretty consistent across most cultures and geographical groups of people, and that is: do not put your registry information on the invitations. (I say most, because there are a few parts of the world where this is standard practice, and if you are from there, you know the drill. However, when in doubt, don’t do it.) The focus of the invitation is supposed to be on the wedding and not the expectation of a gift, even though, yes, that would be the easiest and most obvious place.
So what are the best ways to share your registry tactfully and make it easy on guests?
Create a wedding website: The simplest and most effective place for your registry information is on your wedding website. Today wedding websites are welcomed and considered a normal and convenient accessory to the wedding. With so many services offering them for free with tools that help you and guests stay organized, why not? They are the perfect place for all the wedding details, and, bonus, can often be helpful for guests if they forget the invitation at home. Wedding websites are great (and green!) because you can email them around every time you have an update.
Add an insert to your Invitation: Adding an insert to your invitation is a perfect way to provide your guests with other important wedding details that don’t belong on the invitation. Include the URL to your wedding website with a note that it will be updated frequently with the latest and greatest as you near the Big Day – you can even get specific about the kind of information they can find there to give a clue that this is where they’ll find the registry details. You can also include things like driving directions, attire, if you have any rules about children etc. on the insert. If you think you have a large number of guests who are not so hip to the Internet, then you can include your registry information as well, but ideally if you don’t have to specify it and can leave it to the wedding website, that is best
Inform your immediate family & others involved in the wedding: Make sure that those closest to you have the registry information handy because often they will receive the phone calls from guests with questions about what to get you. These people could range from your parents, to your siblings, to your wedding party. If you have any strong preferences, make sure they are aware and know what to communicate.
Shower invitations are acceptable places to share the registry: Whether you’re having a traditional bridal shower or a co-ed Jack n’ Jill, showers are typically an occasion to literally shower the guest of honor with gifts unless the host specifies otherwise. Since this is often the main event and people attending want to bring something, they’ll need this information handy. The invitation is an acceptable place because someone else is throwing the shower for you, so in effect, they are the ones telling guests where you are registered, not you.
—Dana Ostomel, Deposit a Gift