Who doesn’t love gifts—am I right?! Well, get excited, because as soon as you pick a wedding date, you can begin the super fun task of setting up your wedding registry. This post is going to focus specifically on Zola registries: what makes a Zola registry unconventional, why it could be a great fit for you, and the options available to pick from. After you finish reading, you’ll be ready for your online shopping to begin!
I’ll begin by saying that if you are on the fence about registering at all, then think again. Your wedding and the parties leading up to that special day are going to be moments of celebration! People who can afford to will want to shower you with gifts. A registry is a helpful tool that will guide your guests to understand items you need and want. It will also give guests a glimpse into your general style. Should they “go rogue” and buy something not on the registry, at least it will match the rest of your home. Don’t leave people in the dark, or you might be gifted a lot of vases, picture frames, and candles. Nothing wrong with those items, but if you received eight vases, then you may regret not having registered.
Not Your Mother’s Registry
Zola is a one-stop shop for all your registry needs. I can make the comparison of Amazon online shopping versus brick-and-mortar department stores such as Macy’s or Bed Bath & Beyond. The reason Amazon has grown in popularity over the years is because they have it all! When you go into stores, they often have a more limited variety than their online shops. And who doesn’t love shopping in their pajamas from the comfort of their couch!
If Amazon is so great, then you may be wondering why I’m not writing about their registry. The reason why is because Zola has taken online registries to the next level.
Zola offers some of the same great benefits that other companies offer:
- Hundreds of brands and items to choose from
- Free shipping and returns
- Desktop login access
- 20% post-wedding completion purchase discounts
But then Zola takes it to the next level and offers:
- Alternative gift options: This is probably the best part. You can put everyday items such as dinnerware on your Zola registry, but all companies offer those things. Maybe you don’t want or need as many actual possessions like formal china. Nowadays, many couples are already living together and have some of the items they want for their home. Instead of home goods, think alternatively and ask for these offerings:
- Gift cards: Register for newlywed date-night gift cards, or Lowe’s or Home Depot to begin your home improvements, or Petco or Petsmart so your pet can also be pampered. There are SO MANY gift card options to chose from. You can’t go wrong.
- Experiences: You can add monthly subscriptions for wine, cheese, or coffee, sign up for meal-planning dinners such as offered by Blue Apron, take cooking classes, or even go on a dinner cruise date-night. There are too many options to list, but you get the idea.
- Honeymoon funds: The sky is the limit with this one. First, decide where you want to honeymoon (and be sure to read our post on How to Plan an Epic Honeymoon!), then create gifts for airfare, hotel, dinners, and entertainment. If you went a little overboard with the wedding and forgot to budget for the honeymoon, you can still go on the trip of your dreams! Plus, people will LOVE buying you a special honeymoon experience you will cherish forever.
- FREE wedding website: Yes, you read that correctly. Zola gives you access to create a free wedding website. Guests may misplace or lose the invite that you mailed them, but they’ll still be able to visit your convenient website where they can reference all your wedding information. You could do a website on your own, but you will have to pay for the domain and hosting.
- 5-star user-friendly app: Seriously, this app is awesome! You can add gifts, track gifts that were purchased, and work on your website right from the app!
- The lowest cash fund fees around at 2.5%: Some items can be purchased directly from Zola just like on department store websites. However, when asking for items that can’t be purchased in a store, Zola works more like a cash fund. People see the gift is $100, they buy it, and the money gets rolled into your Zola cash fund. Whenever you like, you can deposit those funds directly into your bank account. Zola charges a 2.5% fee, but that is a lower cost compared to what other companies charge for the same service. Also, knowing they subtract 2.5% off your gift, Zola offers the option of just adding 2.5% extra on top of every gift you list. That way, the guest is paying 100% for your gift, and you aren’t paying out-of-pocket.
- Contribute-what-you-wish payment options: This is so neat. On Zola, you can request really pricey gifts like vacations and furniture. This payment option allows you to specify which gifts can be split, meaning multiple guests can chip in and pay what they want towards the item until it’s 100% purchased. One of our most expensive gifts was a six-day cruise through Asia (read about it here!), and four of our wedding guests chipped in and purchased it for us.
- Guest list assistance: Zola gives you a place to collect addresses and track your RSVPs.
- Wedding checklist: Zola provides you with suggested to-do items as well as lets you fill in your own to create one master list. If you have downloaded the Zola app, your phone will push notifications when it’s time for that to-do item to be done.
- Invitation and save-the-date: Zola offers options that can be designed right from their website to match your Zola wedding website. They also offer free guest addressing and shipping!
Gift Options to Pick From
Zola covers all the essential wedding registry categories and then some: kitchen, tabletop, bed & bath, furniture, home, weekend, experiences & gift cards, and cash funds!
For our wedding registry, we used both Macy’s for regular household items (I loved the Macy’s brand Hotel Collection), then we used Zola for things that Macy’s didn’t offer and our honeymoon. We did both Macy’s and Zola because we had a Macy’s credit card, and they offered great bonuses and free gifts. In the end, you have to weigh out all the options and decide what registry or registries are best for you. It is okay to have more than one, just make finding them convenient: put links for both registries on your wedding website, and then people will know they have options.
We took a six-week honeymoon around the world to London, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Japan (you can read about these destinations on the Amarvelous Honeymoon blog). Without adding honeymoon activities onto our Zola registry, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do as much or stay away for so long. Gifts that our friends and family purchased off our Zola Wedding Registry (click the links to read our Amarvelous Honeymoon blog posts about those activities!):
- 6-Day Royal Caribbean Cruise through Asia
- Day with rescued elephants in Thailand
- Couples spa day in Asia
- Tickets to Hong Kong Disneyland
- Horseback riding on the beach
- Full day guided tour of White Temple, Blue Temple, and Black Temple in Thailand
- Afternoon high-tea bus tour in London
- Stonehenge monument tour + transportation in London
- Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Play Part 1 & 2 tickets in London
- Twelve steak knives (Zwilling J.A. Henckels)
- Hostess set (Lenox)
Our guests preferred purchasing us experiences over household goods. You can see this from the list of gifts on our Zola registry that were not purchased:
- Large dining table
- Two armchairs
- Four side-chairs
- Dining room bench
- Harry Potter bedroom set from Pottery Barn
- iRobot vacuum cleaner
In the end, the only thing I may have done differently with our registry was select more honeymoon items for our Zola. Of course, we cherish, enjoy, and use the household items that we received, but the memories that we made while on that trip were so special. Plus, we were able to share those experiences with our guests by posting daily on social media and tagging them. An example of this was the day we visited elephants in Thailand. We tagged the few people who chipped in on that gift. It felt good to show our friends and family how much joy their gift had brought us.
The only negative I have for Zola is their new slogan “Registry and wedding planning made easy.” Their new commercial has two friends talking over coffee. One says, “Your wedding was so perfect, how did you do it?” And the other simply responds, “Zola.” Although Zola is an excellent one-stop-registry-shop and included wedding website, I don’t think that having a Zola registry means your entire wedding is planned. Their new campaign is a bit misleading, because you will still need to hire wedding professionals to ensure your vision comes to life. But it’s true that Zola can help organize you in the early stages.
In closing, there are a few things to remember:
- Register. YOU NEED A WEDDING REGISTRY. Don’t leave friends and family guessing what to get you.
- Sign up for a Zola registry because they are the BEST. Click here to start your registry now!
- Put on your peejays, cozy up with your fiancé(e), and enjoy an evening of online shopping.
- HAVE FUN! Besides your cake and food tastings, selecting items for your wedding registry should be one of the most fun wedding planning tasks. Think of traditional as well as out-of-the-box registry ideas—because you can!
DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.