Honestly, I didn't put much about the details or finances behind our December 30th wedding on the blog. I posted a few times about my feelings about weddings and traditions (see here and here). But now that the event is over and I'm (finally) catching a break in my schedule and the endless amount of to-dos, I wanted to talk about our registry as this is very applicable to personal finance. We did the Zola Wedding Registry and it's got a lot of really good features (especially for more “modern” couples) and so I wanted to write a quick post about my experience.
This post is not sponsored in any way, it's just a review because I thoroughly enjoyed the platform and the overall experience.
The Features I Liked Most about the Zola Wedding Registry
#1 – The Planning Tools + Wedding Website
If I had to rank what I liked best about the Zola wedding registry, it isn't actually the registry at all. After browsing a few wedding platforms (the Knot, WeddingWire, and Zola), I liked Zola's tools the best, as it had the most friendly user experience on the platform. Their wedding website templates are also significantly better (and prettier!) than the rest.
Being that I own a website as a business, I was going to do a custom domain and buy a wedding theme for our wedding website. Then I saw the options Zola had and decided to save myself a whole bunch of time (and money) by building one of theirs for free.
#2 – Easy Conversion of Gifts to Credit
Second to the pretty website templates they have, my favorite feature was how easy it was to convert gifts to store credit. Being that we're in our 30's, Rich and I already had a lot of household items, the things we really wanted were nice “upgrades” to our existing items. Most of these were too expensive and extravagant for just one person to gift.
So, we made many a group gift and put a lot of lower amount options and then converted these into credit so we could purchase the more expensive items we truly wanted.
Seriously, it was one click to exchange a gift.
You also get to choose when you want your packages shipped, which was helpful for us when we were moving from the apartment into our new place.
#3 – Automated Tracking (Gifts, Guests, and Thank Yous)
I relied heavily on the tracking tools within Zola: the gift tracker for thank you notes and we enabled an RSVP feature, so people could register online. We did have a tiny bit of trouble with this for some of our less-internet savvy guests, but we saved a bunch on postage and response cards by utilizing the technology. It was also easy to quickly grab a guest count if/when anyone asked.
Also, if someone sent a gift through Zola, I was able to keep track of their address, what they sent, and if I'd already mailed a thank you or not all in one place. I'm pretty obsessive about thank you notes, so this feature was extra exciting for me.
#4 – Zola Honeymoon Funds
With cash funds, you can deposit the gifts directly into your checking account, which can help offset wedding costs (if you wish to use the cash in that way!)
Note: You can convert a cash fund gift into a store credit (for those more expensive items I mentioned) but you can't convert a physical gift into a cash fund gift. You can swap it for Zola credit though, you just can put it in the cash fund, which you are able to deposit directly into your checking account.
#5 – Fast Customer Service
There was only one issue (out of the 70 or so gifts we registered for) and customer service is incredibly responsive. They also handle everything via email, which is nice. There is a phone number you can call, but the old millennial me prefers to hash it out via the web anyway.
What I Disliked About the Zola Wedding Registry
There really isn't anything I dislike about Zola Wedding Registry. Seriously. Plus, you can add links on your website to your non-Zola registry. (We had one at Crate and Barrel too!) If I had to pick three super “nit picky” things, I will say this just so you can have the full picture.
- They announced their partnership with Crate and Barrel in the middle of our engagement. This isn't really a slight on them, it was just annoying for me to have similar items available in two places.
- We did hear from a few guests that some of our items were available at a cheaper prices other places online. Still, for us, the small upcharge was worth it to us because Zola was offering us a website, a way to track everything and super easy exchanges. Also, if your guests don't like the price, they can shop wherever they want. They'll probably end up buying from Zola because, again, it's incredibly easy.
- They do run out of items from time to time. It's also a two way street with the brands they partner with. If something goes missing or goes wrong, they communicate with the brand on your behalf. When things are on backorder, however, it takes longer to receive those items.
Why Zola Wedding Registry is Perfect for Modern Couples
- Everything is online nowadays and I LOVE how Zola embraces that.
- Using their planning, registry, and tracking tools in tandem saved a lot of time and stress in the planning process. This helped because much of the planning I did on my own.
- For those who want to register for funds for your honeymoon, alongside a few “physical presents” to please Aunt Mildred and Grandma June, Zola is pretty much the best option available.
Zola Wedding Registry Must-Haves
There are many posts about what you really need to have on your registry. Being recently married, I can tell you what we really got a lot of use out of from our registry and what we didn't. So, below is my top ten list of what you really need on your wedding registry.
I like this checklist from Crate & Barrel. While it is extensive, there are a few items we do love and use nearly every day.
- The upgraded toaster over
- New Bath towels
- A nice, cozy sheet set
- Sous vide machine
- A cash fund. We used money from our Zola cash fund to replace the light fixtures in the home we bought right before the wedding!
- An upgraded knife set. We traded in a few smaller gifts to earn enough store credit to buy the Wusthof set.
- Salad bowl + serving ware set.
- Our copper-bottomed tea kettle. This is how I make coffee, but definitely, any type of coffee maker related gift will get lots of use.
- We had a few people chip in for a few excursions on our African safari honeymoon.
Zola is also leading the way in more non-traditional gifts like furnishings, art, and even outings in your city.