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These Are the Most Common Conflicts Couples Face When Building Their Wedding Registry

And how to work through them together.
sarah hanlon assistant editor the knot
by Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon assistant editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Assistant Editor, Digital
  • Sarah is an Assistant Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated May 20, 2020
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Building your wedding registry is a planning must—but that doesn't mean it's an easy task. First, you might feel the pressure of having to register for the best products. And since wedding registry etiquette is constantly evolving, it can be difficult to stay in-the-know on what's appropriate for your wishlist. Take cash gifts for example. Today, it's perfectly acceptable (if not encouraged) to register for cash or experiential gifts, which hasn't always been the case in previous decades. While this is great for you and your future spouse, you might field judgmental comments from friends and family members who don't quite understand. Registering for your newlywed nest is a big deal, and making important decisions may mean that you and your partner don't always see eye-to-eye on what you should do. 

To help you navigate possible issues, we've outlined the most common registry conflicts, as well as how you can effectively manage them. Whether you can't agree on an appropriate price point or you're not sure which big box retailers are the best fit for you, you'll need to work together to build a great registry. You are preparing for marriage, after all, which means problem-solving is a skill you'll definitely need to master. Find the most common conflicts you'll come across while building your registry below, along with valuable solutions to help you handle them like pros. 

The Conflict: Cash Funds

In the past, registering for money wasn't something couples typically did. But etiquette has evolved especially in relation to cash gifts. If your guests tend to value tradition, you and your fiancé might struggle with the choice to add a cash fund to your registry. (Or, maybe your S.O. isn't totally sold on the idea.) You'll want to take the time to discuss why money might be a better option for your registry instead of yet another wine glass set that will clutter your cabinets. 

The Solution: We recommend using your wedding website to tell your "regi-story," as we like to call it. This is a great way to fill your guests in on why you've made certain registry choices. Maybe you've been living together for years, so you've already stocked up your basic home needs. Share that your registry cash will go toward your new house fund. Or if you want to set up a honeymoon fund, say that you'll use the money on exciting new experiences you'll get to enjoy together. If your traditional relatives still aren't sold on cash gifts, this will help them see your point of view. 

The Conflict: Things or Experiences?

Perhaps you really do need to register for bedding sets and kitchen storage. (Psst: Looking for the best of the best? Find all of The Knot Registry Award winners here.) But if you've been living in an established home before the wedding or you don't need more basics, you can think outside the box with your registry selections. You and your partner might not agree on whether to register for things or experiences—after all, you both have different wants. Our take is to go ahead and add things and experiences to your wishlist. Now, it's becoming the norm to register for inventive gifts like cooking classes, funding for date nights or even a puppy fund for the four-legged pet you've been itching to add to your family. 

The Solution: Compromise with a happy medium. Outline a few household items you actually do need, like a new coffee machine or a cutting board set. Then, get creative with experiential gifts. Talk about the things that are most important to you, and figure out how your registry can support them. Gifts like a new home starter fund or matching luggage for your next adventure will get plenty of use and they'll make you both happy for years to come. 

The Conflict: Where to Register

Maybe you dream of living in a home that looks like it's straight out of an Anthropologie lookbook. But yet, your future spouse's great aunt might not know how to navigate an online registry tool and would be more comfortable shopping in a familiar store. You might face conflict over where exactly you should be registering. With so many options, it can be difficult (and downright stressful) to figure out the top places you should be setting up a wishlist. The good news? You've got options. According to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average couple sets up more than three registries. This means that you can create an Anthropologie registry for all of your trendy boho home décor desires and another one at Target for your basic must-haves.

The Solution: Since most couples register at more than one spot, you and your fiancé can choose a few stores that best fit your needs. Big box retailers like Target, Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond are great for the must-haves, while niche stores like West Elm, Sur La Table or REI Co-op will let you get specific with your gift requests. The Knot Registry makes it easy to compile everything you've asked for in one easy-to-use spot, so everyone—even Aunt Karen—can shop with ease.

The Conflict: Want vs. Need

There's often a misconception that you can only register for things you need. Spoiler alert: It's not selfish to register for things you want too! If you and your future spouse experience a conflict over this, take some time to talk through the importance of each. Sure, it's a good idea to register for a new standing mixer if you've been stuck using a broken one for years. But if you also really want an eclectic piece of art, go ahead and add that to your wishlist too. Your guests will appreciate having plenty of options to pick from. And even more importantly, they want to get you something you'll appreciate. So register for the things you know won't collect dust in your closet for years. 

The Solution: Prioritization is key. Make a list of the things you need and the things you want. While you should add a few options that are necessities, you can get creative and throw some fun options in too. You'll be so much happier when it comes time to put your registry gifts to use.

The Conflict: Price Point

You and your partner might not see eye-to-eye on an appropriate price range for registry selections. It's a conversation you'll need to have at some point, but it's a tricky topic to figure out since there aren't any rules on how expensive your registry can or can't be. Registry guilt is real, but that doesn't mean you should feel bad about selecting products you know you'll use. If you and your partner can't agree on whether or not a gift is too expensive, think about it from the guest's perspective. First, they'll be thankful to have a gifting guide in the first place. Having a registry will help them make an informed purchase, which they'll appreciate. But the beauty of registering at a variety of retailers with plenty of product options means that they'll have the ability to find a gift within their price range. If a smart grill doesn't fit their budget, they'll be able to find something else on your list that they feel comfortable buying. Or, if you friends know how important outdoor entertaining is to you, they always have the option to go in on a group gift. Giving your guests a variety of selections is always a good registry move. They do want to get you a celebratory present, after all, and more choices will make the process easier for them. 

The Solution: Incorporate registry selections at various price points. Ultimately, your guests will appreciate having options instead of only being limited to a few products. If you think a gift is too expensive to include, talk it out with your fiancé. If you really do need it, go ahead and include it. While you should be mindful of your guests, it is your wedding registry, after all, so you should avoid putting something on your wishlist just because it's a cheaper option. Your registry should be a true reflection of you—and your guests will appreciate the thought you put into it. 

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