Free shipping at or above $35. Immense product selection. Completion discount (10 percent) is good for 90 days.
Lengthy return window. 10 percent completion discount. Registry stays online for 24 months after wedding.
Free shipping at or above $25. Completion discount of 15 percent. 1,800 store locations.
"Group Gifting" option. In addition to merchandise, "Experiences" can also be given.
Merchandise artists are spotlighted on the website. Six-month completion discount applies to all merchandise.
The large number of product offerings can be overwhelming.
Some complaints of too much "suggestive selling" during free consultation.
Completion coupon (15 percent) may only be used once, and it may take a while to receive it via mail.
Short return period (30 days). No Android app. High price threshold for free shipping ($100).
High threshold for free shipping ($99). Compared to some competitors, there are not many brick-and-mortar stores.
Competition is fierce when it comes to wedding registries; practically every store that sells home goods wants your business. Choosing a place to register can be tough. We make the task easy by identifying five of today's best wedding registries and evaluating their services.
In the midst of planning a wedding, the last thing you want is a hassle with your registry. You don't want your guests to feel stressed about finding or purchasing your gifts, either. In this section, we explore the elements of each registry that affect their convenience: store locations, return policies, shipping fees, and more.
Perks and Incentives
Every retailer wants your business, but some companies provide more perks and incentives than others. In this section, we detail the special deals you could potentially receive from each company. This includes bonus gifts, completion discounts, and more.
A wedding registry is only as good as its website. Today's connected consumers want an online experience that's pleasurable and doesn't waste their time. In this section of our ratings, we evaluate the content and ease of use of each registry's website.
Some registries specialize in one or two niche product categories; others run the gamut in terms of what they offer. The registries on our shortlist cover a broad range of products and prices. Whether your style is “classic,” “country,” “new age,” or somewhere in between, there is something for you in this review.
Bed Bath & Beyond
With close to 1,000 brick-and-mortar stores, many couples find that they live quite close to a Bed Bath & Beyond. This makes going in for a free registry consultation convenient and easy. Registry items can be selected in the store or, if you prefer, online. The majority of customers agree that returns are hassle-free as long as you have a gift receipt, credit/debit card number, or registry number. Bed Bath & Beyond offers a longer-than-average return window of up to 365 days past the purchase date. Wedding guests appreciate the convenience of Bed Bath & Beyond's free gift packaging (in store) and low-priced gift packaging for online orders. The fact that shipping is free for orders of $49 or more is also quite enticing for guests. And, because the company frequently mails "20 Percent Off" coupons to the customers on its mailing list, wedding guests often feel that they're getting a good deal on something they were going to have to buy anyway.
Zola.com is one of two registries on our shortlist that does not have a corresponding “brick-and-mortar” store to go with it. This exclusively online enterprise is still in its “startup” phase, but it has enjoyed immense success in a short period of time. Its inventory list is not as expansive as Amazon, but it's similar in style. Some would argue that Zola.com successfully caters to millennials in a very meaningful (and successful) way. The company features its own collection of products, but registrants aren't limited to that collection. You can easily install an “Add to Zola” button to your task bar to add any product from any website on the Internet. You can also import wish lists from other locations to your Zola site. Returns are accepted in exchange for Zola credit, but on the down side, the window for returns lasts only 30 days beyond the initial purchase. There are Zola apps for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, but there is no Android app as of yet. And, because the company is still in its early stages, it only supports cash transfers to U.S. bank accounts. Free shipping applies to guests that give a gift worth $100 or more, but guests who purchase a less expensive gift must pay full shipping costs.
Crate & Barrel
With fewer than 200 brick-and-mortar stores, it's far less likely that you'll see a Crate & Barrel in your neighborhood than a Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. Of course, you don't need to live within driving distance of a Crate & Barrel location to register with them; this could be accomplished online. (The company offers a mobile app that's compatible with iOS but not Android.) However, if you do live nearby, you could attend one of Crate & Barrel's Sunday morning wedding party store events. At this "party," you can mingle with other engaged couples, enjoy free food, and tour the store, registering for items that attract your attention. Returns are accepted in exchange for store credit up to 90 days after receipt, and purchases totaling $99 or more ship for free.
Unlike some other registries, Target conveniently offers apps for both iOS and Android. That makes sense, since there are about 1,800 brick-and-mortar Target stores in operation today. Many people find it convenient to register at Target because there's already a Target in their area! Registrants love the one-year return period, too – not having to worry about returning gifts within 30, 60, or 90 days of the wedding can help make the first few months of marriage less stressful. For those gift givers who don't live near a Target, there's a free shipping policy for all orders at or above $25. This makes it easy and convenient (not to mention affordable) for family members and friends to give gifts from the Target registry.
Amazon wedding registrants have literally hundreds of thousands of items from which to choose. If you're looking for a wide selection, this giant online retailer simply can't be beat. What's more, Amazon Wedding has recently partnered with WeddingChannel.com to make it even easier for family and friends to access your Amazon registry – as well as any other wish list you may have uploaded to WeddingChannel.com. Amazon's website offers a "Share With Friends" option that allows you to link your registry to others via email, Facebook, and Twitter. Like Zola.com, a button can be added to your browser (“The Universal Button”) that allows you to add any item you see on any website to your Amazon registry. As long as the merchandise comes from Amazon or an Amazon affiliate, shipping is free for all orders that cost $35 or more. (International shipping is not always an option. Buyers should check with their sellers first if international shipping is needed.) If you need to make a return, simply visit Amazon's Online Return Center, print out a mailing label, and send the package back. Returned merchandise can be exchanged for an Amazon gift card.
If you register with Bed Bath & Beyond, you'll definitely want to peruse the company's “Bridal Freebook.” This book details the free gifts you could potentially earn based on what your guests buy for you. None of the gifts are exceptionally large, but you could earn a free set of drinking glasses, a carry-on travel bag, or other items of similar ilk. A 10 percent completion discount is available for three months after the wedding date. Registrants can get free wedding announcement cards (printed in the store or shipped for free to your home), and if you refer an engaged friend to the registry, you get a coupon for $25 off a $100 purchase.
Zola.com offers a unique option for wedding guests that you won't find at most wedding registries: “Group Gifting.” Via the Zola website, friends and family can join a contribution pool toward the purchase of a larger gift. For guests, this takes the headache out of organizing a group effort on their own. Many consumers find this to be both practical and convenient! Zola.com also offers a lengthy completion discount period. For one year after the wedding date, registrants save 10 percent on all Zola products. (In order to qualify for this discount, you must register 30 days before your wedding, and you must specify your wedding date on your registry.) Bonus gifts can also be earned. For example, if wedding guests spend a certain amount of money on Cuisinart products, the registered couple will receive a complimentary Cuisinart gift. All orders over $100 are shipped for free. Notably, this is much higher than Amazon's free shipping threshold of $35 and Target's threshold of $25. International shipping is not available from Zola.com at this time, but the site does accept international credit cards.
Crate & Barrel registrants receive a free gift when they register in the store: a set of stemless wine glasses in an embroidered bag. Registrants also enjoy a 10 percent completion discount that's good for six months after the wedding date. (Unlike some other registries, this discount can be applied toward any Crate & Barrel purchase – not just the unfulfilled items on the registry.) Bonus gifts can be earned when wedding guests purchase certain predetermined gifts. For example, a couple who registers for (and receives) a KitchenAid stand mixer is eligible to receive up to $60 in Crate & Barrel gift cards. Registrants can also obtain free virtual wedding and registry announcements through paperlesspost.com.
Target wedding registrants get a 15 percent completion discount coupon after their wedding. Target's website does not specify an expiration date for this coupon, but previous registrants say that it can only be used once and that it can take a long time to actually receive the coupon. Like the other registries on our shortlist, Target also offers “Bonus Gifts” as an incentive for registering for certain items. For example, if $300 is purchased in Circulon products by wedding guests, the couple gets a free sweetheart pan. If guests spend $400 on Calphalon, the couple gets a free santoku knife.
Convenience may be the largest perk provided by Amazon, but the company also offers a 10 percent completion discount that can be used once within 90 days of the wedding date. To qualify for this discount, a couple must register at least 30 days before their wedding date, and at least one item must be purchased from their registry. Bonus gifts are also available. The specific deals frequently change, but the crux of the Amazon bonus gift is the same as that of other wedding registries: if a couple's wedding guests spend a predetermined amount on certain brands of merchandise, the company will give the couple a free gift.
Bed Bath & Beyond
Registrants agree that the Bed Bath & Beyond's website is easy to navigate. A rich array of helpful hints can be found in the website's “Guides and Advice” section. Here, you'll find information on selecting fine china, choosing bathroom towels, and much more. With the push of a button, registrants can read customer reviews on products before selecting them. For those who can't decide, the company provides “curated collection” suggestions such as the “Love Your Kitchen” collection – complete with recommendations from an expert as to how many of each item to get. We really like the fact that your registry remains online for 24 months after your wedding date. This after-wedding period is longer than any other on our shortlist, and it makes it quite easy for others to purchase holiday and anniversary gifts.
Zola's pioneers designed their website for busy couples who are “always online.” It's not just a place for guests to peruse gifts; the site also offers people the chance to buy the engaged couple an “experience.” These experiences range from monthly coffee subscriptions to day trips in NYC. Couples can also register for cash funds (such as a down payment on a home). As a registrant, you have the freedom to create a personalized URL, complete with photographs and other personal touches, for weddings guests to visit. For online guests who seek information, helpful blog articles with titles such as “Home Decor Trends: Marble and Mid-Century Modern” and “The Top 10 Dos and Don'ts When Creating Your Wedding Registry” can be found on the site.
Crate & Barel
Crate & Barrel's colorful website does something that most retail sites don't: it spotlights the artists and designers who create the company's exclusive designs. This gives the site a more authentic, "artsy" feel, and indeed, you can find many unique pieces for the home here. The easy-to-use site allows users to search for different products in different categories such as price, features, and base color. A blog with recipes and entertainment tips contributes to the site's classy, "hip" feel.
Target offers some curated collections on their colorful, easy-to-navigate website, such as the “Tried and True” collection with white dinnerware, clear glasses, and other classic kitchen pieces and the “Parks and Tech” collection with camping gear, bike equipment, grills, and more. A couple's online registry remains active for 90 days past the wedding date. For those who are really into shopping at Target, the store also offers a selection of wedding stationery, party supplies, bridesmaid dresses, and even white gowns that could be worn by the bride.
Many people are already familiar with Amazon's user-friendly website. The site is by no means limited; you can find hundreds of thousands of items on this vast listing, which the company has dubbed the “world's largest selection.” In case this is too overwhelming, you can choose the “Shop By Room” option to narrow down the sea of choices. As we previously noted, you can add items to your Amazon registry from any Internet website via The Universal Button. Amazon's site is impeccably engineered and easy to use, but that doesn't mean it's simplistic. For the best possible experience, registrants and weddings guests alike will find it worth their time to peruse Amazon's user guidelines (if they haven't already).
Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed Bath & Beyond is not just known for its bedding and bathroom products. The houseware giant also sells cookware, electronics, and furniture. Many notable brands are found in the store and on the website, including Calphalon, Cuisinart, Keurig, and Lenox. Registrants are generally very satisfied with their experience and the gifts they receive. A few customers have complained that they were subjected to too much “suggestive selling” during their one-on-one registry consultations, but others have said they appreciated the thorough help.
Much of Zola.com's merchandise is sold under a tab called "Gift Collections" with subcategories labeled "Starter Collections," "Style Collections," and "Tastemakers." Viewing potential wedding gifts in such a way makes it easier for couples who like to look at "the big picture" before deciding what they want. The website also features a section called "Trending Gifts" where registrants can see what other couples are asking for. The merchandise on Zola.com could be found elsewhere, but much of this site's appeal is derived from the way the merchandise is arranged and presented. As previously mentioned, registrants can also ask their guests to buy them "experiences" which include product subscriptions and travel.
Crate & Barrel
One of Crate & Barrel's hottest selling items is “earthenware,” but the store sells plenty of items, too, including furniture, bed/bath items, rugs, and decorative housewares. Popular brands like All-Clad, Cuisinart, and Le Creuset can be found on the site, but as mentioned earlier, the company also employs a significant number of independent artists and designers to create unique Crate & Barrel “exclusives.” Some customers will find the price range to be a bit steeper than they'd like – bargain hunters might find more satisfaction at Target or Amazon – but the items for sale aren't all extravagant.
Target stores are known for their colorful, tempting merchandise, and the company's wedding registry site is no different. Many engaged couples like to register for their cookware and bakeware from Target; furniture, electronics, and camping gear are also popular wedding registry items. One problem with the Target registry, according to some frustrated users, is the fact that the store's inventory changes frequently. What's more, items that have “expired” are not always taken off the website in a timely manner, causing confusion among registrants who see certain products they want but then are unable to request them.
Amazon's merchandise hails from a variety of brands and sellers. As previously mentioned, this company refers to its inventory as the “world's largest selection.” Some of the merchandise available on Amazon is of excellent quality; other merchandise is not as good. One of Amazon's greatest assets is the fact that customers can choose to leave a review of their purchasing experience – and many of them do. If you're feeling unsure about a particular product, or you can't decide between several different brands, Amazon's star-rated customer reviews can provide invaluable guidance. Because of the customer reviews and the excellent return policy, customers need never worry that they're buying (or registering for) something “blind” off of Amazon.
If you want a limitless selection of possible wedding gifts, Amazon is the way to go. The seller has referred to its inventory as the "world's largest selection," and it's hard to argue otherwise. When we endorse Amazon's wedding registry as the Best of the Best, we're not saying that all of the merchandise is stellar. To be sure, some of it is, but some of it isn't. One of the primary reasons we love Amazon is the fact that before adding an item to your registry (or making a purchase), you can read what others have to say about the product.
Customers rate the merchandise they buy from Amazon on a scale of zero to five stars. Many customers give lengthy explanations as to why they love – or don't love – a particular product. Once upon a time, consumers relied upon the opinions of their friends and family when deciding whether to buy something. Today's Amazon customers have only to read the customer reviews on Amazon's site. Positive or negative, Amazon shares this feedback with you so you can make an informed purchasing decision.
Obviously, there is no brick-and-mortar store to go with an Amazon wedding registry. Engaged couples must complete their registry online. Phone assistance is available if needed, but Amazon's detailed explanations and FAQ clear up most questions before they're asked. Like Target, registrants receive no free wedding consultation or in-store "party." Many couples don't actually need these perks, however, and the fact that Amazon's registry is so convenient is enough of a reason to sign on.
If you're not sure what to register for and want a little guidance, Amazon does provide a "Shop By Room" option. Customers who peruse this section of the site are sure to be inspired by the "Featured Categories" and the "Most Registered for . . ." pages. If you find items elsewhere on the Internet that you want friends and family to know about, you can add them via Amazon's "Universal Button." You can also share your registry with others via Facebook, Twitter, and email. And, if your guests buy you enough qualifying merchandise, you can earn bonus gifts from Amazon just as you would with the other registries on our shortlist.
We really like the fact that registrants and their wedding guests enjoy free shipping on all items costing $35 or more. Many other registries have a much higher price threshold than this. In fact, the only registry with a cheaper shipping policy is Target, our Best Bang for Your Buck contender. Returns take a bit of effort because they must be mailed, but Amazon's Online Return Center gets you moving in the right direction with printable address labels. Customers who return merchandise get Amazon credit which can, in turn, be applied to something else on the gigantic inventory list. Potential registrants should note that international shipping is sometimes, but not always, possible. Any questions about shipping are typically cleared up by the written explanations Amazon provides.
Amazon has a long-standing reputation as a reliable seller of online goods. Because it's already so embedded in our culture, many couples feel that asking wedding guests to buy their gift via Amazon is a natural choice. We don't blame them. You really can't go wrong setting up a registry with one of the world's largest online retailers. Chances are high that you already have an account set up, so there's really nothing to stop you from signing up for a wedding registry with Amazon, our Best of the Best wedding registry.
All of the registries on our shortlist are bound to give you an excellent experience, but if you're looking for economy on top of a good deal, Target's wedding registry beats out the other competitors. It's the Best Bang for Your Buck for several good reasons.
First of all, you won't find a better shipping deal from any of our other contenders; free shipping on all orders of $25 and up is certainly tough to beat. With a completion discount of 15 percent (rather than the 10 percent offered by most registries) and a host of bonus gifts involving great brands like Calphalon and Circulon, Target is more of a money-saver than many of the other registries vying for your attention.
Target's budget-friendly perks aren't the only reason we love this registry. As one of North America's retail giants, Target is easy to access both in person and online. In fact, there are 1,800 Target stores in operation right now. Even if you don't live near a brick-and-mortar store, you can access a Target registry online via an app for iOS and/or Android. (Some of our other shortlisters, such as Zola.com, only offer apps for iOS.) Newlyweds appreciate the fact that, if they want to return a gift from their Target registry, they have an entire year to do so. This definitely helps alleviate some of the post-wedding stress couples feel as they adjust to a new life together!
Target's selection is not as vast as Amazon's, and it may not be as quaint and unique as some of the product's you'd find at Crate & Barrel or Zola.com. However, there's no denying that a lot of people love shopping at Target. The prices are decent, there's plenty of merchandise to choose from, and if you really are having a hard time deciding what you want, you can consult the curated collections on the website for ideas. The store doesn't offer a professional consultant like Bed Bath & Beyond, nor does it host special couples' parties like Crate & Barrel. A lot of people don't feel they need that sort of perk, though, and Target's positive attributes – primarily convenience and economy – outweigh the negatives in a lot of people's minds.
We do advise couples and their guests to pay close attention to the website after purchases are made. Occasionally, we hear reports that certain "purchased" items were not marked as such on the registry. If this happens, duplicate purchases could accidentally be made. Of course, with Target's easy return policy, many people don't have a problem zipping over to a store to make a quick exchange.
If you love shopping at Target, chances are you'll love the company's wedding registry, too. It's not perfect, but it offers plenty of consumer-friendly benefits, and most registrants agree that working with Target's wedding registry is a fun and satisfying experience.