The wedding registry tradition dates back to the early 1900s when a department store created a way for engaged couples to choose their china patterns. Of course, modern wedding registries have expanded to include, well, almost anything! And most wedding guests anticipate buying something for the happy couple on their special day. But despite the century-long tradition, asking for gifts is uncomfortable for a lot of couples—which makes choosing a wedding registry during COVID a challenge.

It might feel strange to think about gifts during a pandemic, with so many struggling through job loss and being stuck at home. And, if that’s the case, you can always choose a wedding registry alternative. For example, guests can donate to a non-profit or gift you a copy of their favorite book or movie. It’s your wedding day, and you can ask for whatever gifts you want! That also means you can ask for new sheets and a pet-hair-defying vacuum. If you are creating a wedding registry during COVID, here are some tips to make it easier for you and your guests.

Add Local Shops

add local shops to your wedding registry during COVID

Shopping local has always been important—but it’s more important than ever in times of uncertainty. And the good news is that your wedding can help your community! If you’re building a wedding registry during COVID, consider adding a few local boutiques to your list. No, not every item has to be local. (That might not be practical for your needs!) However, you can still include wine from a nearby winery, a new coffee brewing system from your favorite café, or even a gift card to your date night go-to.

Of course, some local shops might not have online ordering—so be sure to check beforehand! They may also only offer gift cards. If that’s the case, add a few to your registry, and write a description that explains how you plan to use the money. Whether your planning your registry during COVID or not, your guests always want to know how you’ll use their gifts.

Consider the Price Tag

When you’re wedding planning, money is always on your mind! And it’s probably on your mind more than usual as of late. But it will be on your guests’ minds, too. If there are a few pricey items on your wedding registry during COVID, consider removing them or asking for a bunch of smaller gift cards instead. This will keep your guests from feeling obligated to spend a lot of money on your special day. Of course, you’ll know your guest list the best, and adding a new mixer or set of pans might not worry them. Just be aware that most folks are worried about finances right now, and you don’t want anyone stretching themselves too thin!

Include New Hobbies

Maybe you’ve had more free time than usual. And maybe you’ve picked up a new hobby or rekindled your love for an old pastime. However you’re spending your time—include that on your wedding registry during COVID! It can be tempting to only include house-related items, like bath towels and matching glassware. (And you can totally add those if you need ’em!) But almost two-thirds of couples live together before they get married, so there’s a good chance you and your soon-to-be have most of the home items that you need.

Of course, you can always upgrade the home items that you have. But you can also always add items for fun. Is there an activity that you and your spouse like to do together? Stock up on supplies! Maybe you’ve been tackling home projects—do you need a new drill? Think about how you’ve been spending your last few months if you need some gift inspiration.

Have Patience

Items from your wedding registry during COVID might not be purchased quickly. Your guests have a lot on their mind right now and many will wait until the wedding day is closer before making their purchase—for two reasons. First, guests might not know their travel plans right away. If they aren’t attending the wedding or ceremony, they will likely ship the gift to you. But they won’t know that until the wedding day is closer, when they can make a safe decision.

Second, your guests are also money-conscious right now, and may not have the budget for a gift. Instead, they’ll wait until the wedding day approaches and choose a gift that they can afford. This doesn’t mean you’re not getting any gifts—it just means you’ll have to wait a little bit to know what’s being purchased!

And, if items are purchased, you might also have to wait longer for them to arrive. While some guests bring smaller gifts to the wedding, larger online purchases are usually shipped right to you. And, as you already know, shipping takes a few extra days during COVID. We know it’s hard to wait for a new toy in the mail—but we promise your patience will pay off!

Keep it Active

your wedding registry during covid

Are you postponing your wedding? Keep your registry active. Haven’t set a new date? Still keep it active! Guests will want to get you a gift, no matter when you tie the knot or where you tie it. And if anyone has already purchased a gift, they aren’t going to return it—they’ll keep it until you reschedule. By keeping your registry active, you can track all the items and guests will always have an up-to-date shopping list.

However, you should change the date listed on your registry as soon as you plan to reschedule. And once you have the new date, you should update your registry, too. But keep your registry active until after your wedding—no matter how late your new date is!


Creating a wedding registry during COVID can be a tricky thing, especially if you’re worried about friends and family during this time. But there are ways you can be sensitive to your guests’ needs, while still getting help starting this next stage of your life. No matter what is on your registry, we recommend sending invitations as early as possible, so guests have plenty of time to plan and budget.

Are you planning a traditional wedding registry? Or are you adding unique items you didn’t originally plan on adding?