Updated 2/23/18: Added the final reflection of gifts at the bottom.
Continuing from the first part about Wedding Registries Online and Traditional, let’s deep dive into Amazon & Zola! I’ve also updated the previous post with all the ratings if you are curious. I’ve only seen one other couple who also registered on Amazon, and it was so easy to just order something with our Amazon prime account! Most of our friends and my parents specifically are very familiar with ordering stuff from this retailer. It was actually my father that introduced me to this for ordering books over a decade ago. Zola on the other hand I have never seen anyone else use until after our bridal shower. (Apparently some of the other Brides were inspired and used this as well for their wedding!)
To be honest the reason we registered at Amazon and the other traditional stores was for the bridal shower. Originally I wasn’t even sure if that was happening and to what extent! We already knew that we had a lot of stuff at our apartment we would be moving to a new place so we didn’t want to increase our clutter. (Moving was still a pain and we still need to confront downsizing haha, but less so if we had gotten only physical gifts.)
- Ship directly to couple or yourself – if it’s a heavy gift you may want to ship it to the bridal shower location or the couples’ address if its residential instead of lugging it around yourself.
- Hundreds of Reviews – Even if I don’t purchase from the website I love perusing the reviews for popular items to see what users thought!
- Thank You Note Manager – As you know I hate surprises haha so I would peek from time to time to see what to expect. I mean if people purchase from the registry you can already see it’s “fulfilled”, but it helped me get a head start on those Bridal Shower thank you notes! I definitely didn’t want them hanging over my head leading up to the wedding.
- Some clever guests disguised their ID/Alias!
- Bonus gifts – I wouldn’t AIM for these while setting up your registry as the gifts are not great values for guests spending upwards of $140-800+. Most of the gifts are worth less than $30.
- Universal registry option – you can add items even from other websites not available on Amazon here. I did not try this out since I would be confused as a guest who prefers traditional registries to be re-directed to Amazon.
- 10% Completion Discount or 20% for Prime Members – I’m thinking in retrospect we should have set it up under Dana’s account but that’s ok it really is only for items that are sold directly through Amazon.
- Difficult to search for couple? – It’s difficult to locate unless you have the direct link! I tried their search function on my own registry and the page link just went dead! It also doesn’t quite synchronize with TheKnot website so I had to take down the preview feature since it was confusing people that only a few gifts from Target and Bed Bath & Beyond showed up.
- Out of Stock? No Notification! – You have to keep monitoring your registry to see if something is out of stock or no longer sold by a merchant. Amazon should be sending you a notification so you can update with something else or pick another retailer if it’s a 3rd party seller.
- Mistaken Purchase Marked? – We noticed a glitch with the website where if a guest might add the same item and accidentally click the link from the registry but just leave it in their cart it might mark it as purchased. Not really a big deal, but kind of awkward if you think you are receiving it from the Thank You note tracker and it turns out it was not purchased as a wedding gift.
- Price Fluctuation – Amazon has many 3rd party sellers along with carrying some items themselves. Prices on certain items can change several times monthly, weekly or even daily! It’s difficult for guests to keep track unless they are an avid Amazon user or deal hunter. This could also be a Pro, but unless they are tracking the item regularly it’s hard to tell if they are purchasing it at the best price. I’ve used a website CamelCamelCamel to track the trend to see if I should buy or set a price tracker notification.
Rating: 3/5 ★★★
The idea of Zola can be confusing since they offer both physical gifts and cash fund registries. Full disclosure, we only used the cash fund portion for guests to encourage them to contribute to the honeymoon fund without feeling like they were just throwing cash or checks at us. If guests or potential couples are interested please take the time to research or read how it works. There is a FEE of 2.5% for a credit card processing fee as you would if you were trying to pay a bill online with card rather than using a check. If you register you can choose either to pay it or have your guests pay the fee on the total amount. Before signing up I researched plenty of other honeymoon fund and cash fund websites and most of them had fees of 5%+! In the end if you want the couple to receive the whole amount it is best to write them a check, however it’s not nearly as glamorous or as sleek as just popping in your card info to see the gift was “purchased with love”.
- Cash Fund Option & Ideas – Very easy to set up, just pop in a photo, description and amount (optional) for the gift. You can also add the “group gift” option so that more than one person can contribute to a larger value gift.
- Zola provides some examples of cash fund gifts to add such as honeymoon experiences. (Hotels, champagne, dinners, hiking, spa, etc…)
- After funds are received it takes about 2-4 business days to clear then you can deposit it directly to your bank account. If you want to use it in the Zola store you can convert it to Zola credit too, which will offset the 2.5% fee.
- Thank You Note Manager – Similar to Amazon can check to see your guests’ message and who gave you what after your dates. Sometimes guests can choose to keep this a surprise until the shower or the wedding date. You can e-mail customer service if you just can’t wait.
- $50 Referral Credit for Physical Gift – I thought that if you just signed up for an account yourself you’d automatically get the gift, but I think someone signed up under me and I was credited $50. I used it up on 2 items in their physical store.
- Free Shipping for Gifts – Ever since February 2017 they are offering this option! Originally it was a minimum of $99.
- E-mail Notification for Gift Fulfillment – None of my other registries gave me any notification of any sort. I had to resort to registry stalking.
- 2.5% Transaction Fee – Not as high as competitors but still it does sting a little to see that you aren’t getting the full amount.
- Confusing Concept for Guests – No Zola is in no way affiliated with our travel agent or company we used. They are not physically purchasing the actual gift but giving us a cash amount that reimburses us for the excursion.
- We added all of the optional excursions from the tour and paid for it up front since the final payment was due Mid-march and thankfully our wonderful guests helped us purchase ALL of them!
- Limited Experience Options – Sure you can add a yearly subscription to Blue Apron or Horseback riding, but this option is really limited to specific large cities. We decided not go with this since it’s just easier to redeem ourselves for the items via cash fund.
- No reviews or additional product detail – Sure you see the beautiful stock photo of the item taken in the perfect lighting and a general description. You’re drawn in, but you can’t see all of the good and bad reviews to help you decide. Also many of the gifts are catered more to yuppies.
Rating: 3.5/5 ★★★1/2
Post wedding reflections: Registries are a great way to steer your guests in the direction and to let them what you really want. However, you will still have some guests who obviously decide to take matters into their own hand of what they want to give you instead. Some gifts we received were quite thoughtful and others very creative/strange. Then there are those guests who inevitably decide not to give anything, not even a congratulatory card. Sure gifts are NOT required for attendance, but even a handmade card would have better than just showing up and leaving immediately after all of the food was served. Sure they have up to a year supposedly by this archaic etiquette standard, but we won’t be holding our breath. The only thing I’d really change is some people I invited and didn’t invite. We had a lovely day regardless, and I’m so happy to put all of the wedding stress behind me! Married life is excellent so far!