Let go of the spatula: Reconsidering wedding registries

My brother, my best friend, and my girlfriend's sister are all getting married in the upcoming year, so I've heard a lot about wedding registries lately, and there seem to be many pros and cons. Personally, one of my least favorite things in life is going to Crate and Barrel, walking around with my scanner gun, and seeing that the only things that fit into my price range are wooden spatulas and the saucers to espresso cups (the cups already purchased). “Congrats on your everlasting love. Here's a steamer basket.” I've always thought there has to be an alternative.

Here are two numbers I found interesting:

  • In 2010, 1.5 million engaged couples, or 88% of all couples with pending nuptials, set up a registry, according to the Knot Market Intelligence annual wedding registry survey.
  • According to research by the University of Denver, more than 70% of couples getting married are living together before the wedding.

Okay, so 70% of engaged couples are living together, and 88% of engaged couples are registering. According to the survey, more than 90% of registered items are bakeware and kitchen appliances. Here's my question: Those couples that are living together, do they not have spatulas, steamer baskets, and toaster ovens yet? Is their apartment filled with mismatched plates and saucers and an uneven fork-to-spoon ratio? Do they not already blend their own smoothies?

The point I'm trying to make is that the majority of couples are living together, and I assume they have a functional household complete with everything they need. As for the couples who aren't living together, it's rare to have someone move out of their parents' house and into the house of their betrothed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median marriage age in 2010 was 28.2 years old for men and 26.1 for women. In the 1960s, it was 22.8 years old for men and 20.3 for women. Compared with our parents' generation, the 30% of currently engaged couples not living together have an extra six years to accumulate not one, but two sets of IKEA kitchen starter sets and warped cookie sheets.

Apparently, I'm somewhat alone in this thinking.

Things You Wouldn't Buy Yourself

My brother brought up that he would never buy a $500 blender, but it'd be nice to receive it as a gift. Perhaps then a registry is a collection of things you'd never buy yourself. I know that GRS readers are impossible to generalize, but I can't help but think that if we're itching for a Vitamix, most of us would forgo the $599 one from Crate and Barrel and substitute in the $499 one off Amazon listed “like new” (or better yet, chose a different Vitamix then the currently hip 500 professional series and get whatever Vitamix was hip last year, for half the price). We're conscious about where our money goes, and I'd like to take into account my friends' money, as well. (I don't mean that literally…at least, I think I don't.)

I'm not saying to throw caution to the wind and leave yourself open to getting a bunch of gifts that don't fit your tastes, but if you're looking for something that doesn't come from Macy's, there are other options for registries. In my continuing conversations about registries with those closest to me, I've come up with a list of a few fun suggestions:

  • The Honeymoon Registry. Okay, this one has been gaining a lot of steam in recent years. Websites like honeymoonwishes.com or honeyluna.com provide an easy way for guests to help a couple afford a honeymoon. What's in it for the gift giver? Whether it's chipping in for the hotel room or scuba equipment for a coral reef adventure, you can be assured that you'll be investing in memorable experiences, as opposed to another turkey baster.
  • Big Ticket Items. My best friend and his fiancée were looking at their 500-square-foot Brooklyn apartment and couldn't bring themselves to fill it with more Stuff. They decided to register for big-ticket items. I've seen couples register for anything from new cars to a new mattress, each attendee pitching in a portion. Sites like My Dream Home Registry make it easy.
  • Give to Charities. I've talked to couples that want friends and family to simply attend the wedding, not worry about buying the perfect gift. A good alternative is to pick favorite charities for your friends to make donations in your name. Justgive.org has a wedding registry section that's easy to navigate and not only celebrates love, but generosity. (That's their line, not mine.)
  • Do It All. I have to admit, I love this couple's wedding site. Cheri and David were getting married and moving to France. The site had all the wedding info and R.S.V.P. forms, but it also had their registry. They decided their tastes didn't fit into one store (and definitely not into a suitcase). They put together a list of things, some objects (everything from one-of-a-kind antiques to easy-to-find box store items), some services (such as Internet for their first three months in Paris or passes for Velib, Paris' citywide bike rental system), and some high-ticket items (trip to Japan or a new dining room table.). You could choose to contribute to an item and that item would be marked off the list. What's even more exciting is that Cheri and David's idea was so popular that they started their own registry site, Merci Registry, and where couples can create their own blend of small boutique items, handmade artist goodies, and travel desires.

Weddings truly are big business and even creative couples who try to circumvent some of the higher costs of the big day itself often fall short in their creativity for registries. Couples can create registries that are personalized without relying on the mainstream box stores.

And to my brother, I love you bro, but when you move four times in the next five years, I know it's going to be me carrying that Vitamix up four flights of stairs.

What are your ideas for creative wedding registries? If you're married, what did you like about your registry process, and what would you do differently?

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Joe
Joe
8 years ago

For our baby ‘registry’ my partner and I have gone old school — after talking to family and friends to determine which of the major items we can aquire for free or inexpensively, we’ve given the remainder of the list to our family. Thankfully we have a loving, supportive family. They’re allowing us to focus on the pregnancy rather than shopping for tons of ‘stuff’.

jack foley
jack foley
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

A lot of people say that they dont care if they receive presents from guests at their wedding. i think they are being false. of course they care and anyone that attends and doesn’t give anything is letting themselves down..

my 2 scents..

Jack

Ms Life
Ms Life
8 years ago
Reply to  jack foley

Dear Jack: I actually did not want any presents at both my bridal shower and wedding. There were 2 reasons for this – while the shower and wedding would be in Zambia, I was based in another country and my husband-to-be in Europe so we would not be able to lug things around. Secondly, I come from a very poor family and I did not want my relatives to be stressed about getting me anything, so I let everyone know that all I wanted was just to share my special ocassions with them and they just had to show up.… Read more »

Sonja
Sonja
8 years ago
Reply to  jack foley

@Jack, I absolutely completely disagree. Since my marriage was without guests I can’t really compare, but for birthdays and such I always put explicitly in the invitation that I do not want any gifts. So, no problems if I don’t get anything. The entire concept of a present as ticket into an event baffles me. You’re removing all the emotional value from gift giving by making it a necessity rather than a nice thing to do. This counts double for marriages. Most people want to share the (proclaimed) happiest day in their live with people they love. Why ask for… Read more »

Tania
Tania
8 years ago
Reply to  jack foley

I had a gorgeous wedding in the outback in Australia, halfway between where my husband grew up and where I grew up. As we said on our invitations to a small group of people – ‘it is your presence, not your presents, we desire’. And we meant it!

Emma
Emma
8 years ago
Reply to  jack foley

I don’t think that’s true, I am very grateful for all the presents we received from our wedding but there were a decent number of people who didn’t get anything (particularly other people in our age and low income situation), and I don’t resent that at all. I asked them to COME, not to bring things.

Sarah L
Sarah L
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

There IS a VERY good reason for registering for a baby though at Target. Coupons, GOOD baby coupons, out the wazo for the next several years. We are getting ready to register for baby #2, and while I don’t plan, nor expect a short, or any gifts from anyone at all, I do want those coupons! Plus, they’ll send a 10% off coupon for anything left on your registry after the baby is born, use that, plus the coupons they mail out often, paired with MFR coupons, and your 5% off Target card and you can get some really good… Read more »

Brian @ Progressive Transformation
Brian @ Progressive Transformation
8 years ago

You couldn’t be more correct in your assessment. I recently got married in October. My wife and I had much debate regarding the registry. We found that there were some things (fine china, bedding, big ticket items) that were worth it, but in the end, we would rather have had people give us money or donate to a worthy cause. Registries are fun for the couple. The experience is a wish list. It is also helpful to some guests, but overall we found people gave us what they felt was necessary. The best part of the registry was that we… Read more »

Valerie
Valerie
8 years ago

I think the controversy in all these comments just proves that guests at a wedding want choices. If you say ‘no gifts’, or ‘cash only please’, or ‘pay for my exotic honeymoon’, lots of people will be offended. I have been to weddings where the registry stores were included on the invite and yes, I felt that was tacky. I have also been to weddings where the invite said something to the effect of ‘cash only please.’ Yes they did not need more stuff, but I still thought it was tacky! Some people will be horrified if you ask for… Read more »

MoneyforCollegePro
MoneyforCollegePro
8 years ago

I like the idea of donating to charities. When we got married, we had a real registry but we also had a donation bucket for anyone who wanted to give to our favorite charity. Who really needs 1000 thred count sheets and a pro Kitchenaid mixer!! Give to charities and start a positive, non-materialistic, trend in your marriage!

David Rugge
David Rugge
8 years ago

We tried the “Donating to Charities” idea for our wedding. The problem was, almost none of our guests paid heed to the polite “no gifts, please donate to charities” request at the bottom of the invitation. Only three out of 35 or so guests donated to charities. People want to give gifts, even if they just give you a gift card. When we had our child, a friend helped us organize a baby shower. Even though we needed all of the stuff we got, I felt really guilty throwing a party where guests are basically obligated to bring us a… Read more »

margot
margot
8 years ago
Reply to  David Rugge

Why do weddings elicit such extreme, consumerist behavior, like the tacky suggestion of selling “tickets” to a wedding??? That’s crazy. Weddings are to unite two people forever and to celebrate that union. The people who are getting married should feel honored and grateful for every guest – the guests shouldn’t have to pay for the right to attend. Would you ever sell a ticket to your birthday party? I hope not, so why a wedding? Just host whatever wedding you can comfortably afford, whether that’s a lavish ball or a handful of people in your backyard or living room. Don’t… Read more »

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

The idea of selling tickets to a wedding might the most horrifying idea I have ever heard of. It would take someone with a complete and utter lack of class to charge people to come to a wedding.

“Hi grandma, its good to see you. I know you have no savings and are living off social security and the partial pension your late husband left you, but you still owe us $25 for coming to the wedding. If you dont pay it, we will have to ask you to leave.”

Marla
Marla
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

Excuse me, but you’re both being rather negative and insulting. When someone says “my idea is thus” you don’t call them a monster.

As gifts are required anyway, and weddings are expensive (it’s the one time they’re going to do it, so people tend to go a little crazy), asking for money makes sense. Plus, each of those “honoured guests” is $50 a plate. There are more tactful ways to do it, maybe, but not entirely sure what those are.

mark
mark
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

The idea of selling tickets seems interesting to me. Generous people with lots of money can buy lots of tickets. Grandma on a modest fixed income will obviously be at the wedding. It just makes a point of the original post about how most couples already have set up their household by the time of the wedding, and traditional wedding gifts are not needed.

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

@Marla

Gifts should never be required. That was the point.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

@Marla – Since when is gifts required?

Jillie
Jillie
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

If you are “selling” tickets to your wedding, who sets the guest list? If I buy 4 tickets, can I bring 3 more people?

I have been to weddings where the reception was in a backyard, the guests brought food for the potluck, and the cake came from Costco. It was a lovely party.

No need for tickets.

Robin
Robin
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

According to etiquette a gift is required if you are invited to a wedding reception but not if you are invited to just the ceremony. Things may have changed since Miss Manners was an important part of our society but I hope not THAT much.
You also have one calendar year to give the gift.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  David Rugge

I grew up in a small town and a lot of people got married early. I’ve been to a lot of weddings with “dollar dances” with the bride and groom (usually one song each.)

But my experience matches yours: the gift-givers, no matter what they think, aren’t trying to do what you want. They’re trying to do what they think is appropriate/fun. You can’t really control it.

Kate
Kate
8 years ago
Reply to  David Rugge

We had the same problem with our wedding. We were completely set on not having any gifts, let alone a registry, but our friends and family pretty much flipped right out.

We wound up conceding to a non-traditional registry (darn if could remember the name right now), and included charitable donations on the lis. I think we got two donations? People really wanted to give a tangible thing of some sort.

Beats me.

Brian
Brian
8 years ago
Reply to  David Rugge

People don’t want to give gifts. They just don’t want to be known as the one that didn’t give a gift. In actuality, no one wants to go to your wedding (not your wedding, specifically). And putting “no gifts” on your invitation is rude because it lets people know that getting a gift has occurred to you. It’s better to put nothing about gifts if you truly don’t want a gift.

Liz
Liz
8 years ago
Reply to  Brian

I disagree with this – I’ve hinted that were my significant other to propose, I would prefer to elope, and have had friends tell me flat out that doing so would be selfish and that there would be a throwdown if I just held a simple reception afterward. My mom doesn’t care and would prefer that I save the money that would go towards the wedding; my dad feels differently. To me this indicates that some people want to be a part of the festivities, and some of those people want to contribute to the newlyweds’ future together. I wouldn’t… Read more »

ali
ali
8 years ago
Reply to  Brian

@ Liz, if those were my friends I’d probably stop speaking to them.

Or if I were you I’d give them a fair trade – they can dictate how your wedding will be and you get to pick their next house or job or what they name their baby.

Erin
Erin
8 years ago
Reply to  Brian

I love attending weddings, and I’m happy to give someone a gift that I think they will appreciate, use, and maybe cherish for years. If they have a registry, I’m more than happy to purchase something off of it. But sometimes I don’t. It’s up to me. The fact that a registry exists does not mean I have to use it. I find it so humorous how many strong reactions are elicited by wedding discussions. I honestly don’t understand why people get so offended about EVERYTHING. You think a registry is tacky? Don’t shop from it. You think a wedding… Read more »

imelda
imelda
8 years ago
Reply to  Brian

Just putting this out there – my best friend had a small, family-only wedding. I was hurt. I very much wanted to help her celebrate her marriage.

I’m sure there are LOTS of weddings people don’t want to attend. But when it comes to the people who care about you… they probably DO want to be there, and DO want to give you something.

Arrapaho
Arrapaho
8 years ago
Reply to  David Rugge

Wow. Selling tickets for a wedding is the craziest wedding idea i have ever heard. I am in my early 30s and generally give a gift card to amazon or a department store or cash to make sure that people can get something they actually need. However, i would be absolutely horrified if someone suggested i buy tickets to their wedding. I would definitely not go and would probably distance myself from the couple as i would feel they did not share my values. A wedding is a party thrown by the couple and, in some cases, their families. A… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago
Reply to  David Rugge

“…but then you don’t ask for gifts” Well, I guess if you have the chutzpah to actually ask for gifts then it is not too much of a stretch to charge admission. I registered for my upcoming wedding and the whole time I was thinking of my dad, who has asked me what I wanted for every gift-giving occasion since I could talk. At the same time, my brother is avidly against giving or taking specific gift requests. But I know I will like his off-registry gift. People like to give gifts. A gift registry is helpful for some of… Read more »

margot
margot
8 years ago

I’d take it one step further than you end end registries of all kinds if I could wave a magic wand. Instead, our society is going the other way and coming up with registries for all sorts of events, inventing new pre-wedding events for which people demand presents, and demanding that people pay cash (in “gift” form) to attend events. It’s all so tacky. I’d never feel comfortable using a registry of any kind. I cringe at the idea of making a list of what I want, presenting it to my closest friends and family, and indirectly demanding that they… Read more »

Jane
Jane
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

Wedding registries are sophisticated today, but they certainly always existed. They were just more by word of mouth. Of course, you wouldn’t just buy someone a random plate or fork and hope it fits in with the rest of what they get. For china and flatware or crystal, registries just make sense. I imagine before online or store registries, people would just ask the parents of the couple what they would like or what their chosen china pattern was. This just makes it easier. And since you should never include the registry information in the actual invitation, people have to… Read more »

elorrie
elorrie
8 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I’m getting married later this year so I’ve been looking into all the options for registries. I thought the idea of the honeymoon registry was great until I read more about it. I don’t know about the specific ones mentioned, but most of these sites take a percentage of the money that is gifted (how they pay to run the sites). Its also kind of deceiving for guests, they think they’re paying for you to actually go scuba diving, really they’re just giving you 95% of the $200 they spent. They’d really be better off just giving you cash.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

I thought the latest thing in online shopping was creating wish lists and sharing them with friends and family? Before Christmas, I had a few online retailers (usually book sellers) spamming me to share my wish lists.

Anyone else think this is getting to be a bit much?

Holly
Holly
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

I whole-heartedly agree that such registries are tacky. The “regular” registries of items the couple might need to start a home (or later, prepare for becoming parents for the first time) are generally acceptable. The other types of registries just seem like a grab. If I don’t want to buy china, I just give the couple cash. I’m actually surprised to see a man complaining about this, because I understood that registries primarily serve women who are invited to a wedding shower. FWIW registries did not always exist, and gifts were quite modest. I have several lovely handkerchiefs with handmade… Read more »

S.+H.
S.+H.
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

“And she writes about the increasing trend of people wanting to live beyond their means, so rather than truly hosting, they expect others to pay for what they cannot – examples include having guests pay for their alcohol, asking guests to pay for the honeymoon or the wedding itself, etc.” I think it’s incredibly tacky to pressure a couple to provide alcohol for their guests. An open bar is incredibly expensive and if the couple doesn’t drink then why in the world should they be asked to foot the bill? Just as a vegetarian couple shouldn’t be expected to provide… Read more »

Kat
Kat
8 years ago
Reply to  S.+H.

Providing an open bar also opens you up to being sued if a guest leaves drunk, drives and hits someone. Even if you have a bar tender, you can still be dragged into a legal mess. Not the happiest way to start out a marriage.

sandycheeks
sandycheeks
8 years ago
Reply to  S.+H.

If you don’t want to pay for your guests to drink alcohol then just don’t have it available.

To me, a cash bar (where guests pay for their own drinks) is the same as providing sandwiches but telling guests that they can have lobster if they pay for it.

s.h.
s.h.
8 years ago
Reply to  sandycheeks

Here are a few examples of why I think you are dead wrong: –A friend’s older sister had a wedding several years ago. At the time my friends and I were all around the 21 range. One of our friends went to the wedding (the bride had been her babysitter & their families were quite close), got accidentally trashed, vomited in the bathroom, etc, all because there was an open bar at the wedding and she wasn’t really mature or experienced enough to understand her limits with alcohol. If she went to a wedding with an open bar now I… Read more »

margot
margot
8 years ago
Reply to  S.+H.

You misunderstood my comment. I was not suggesting that the people being married must provide alcohol. I’m merely saying that the guests should not be required to pay for alcohol (or anything else at any event). To host something means to HOST it, not to require guests to pay you back, pay for items, bring a gift of a certain amount, etc. People getting married should do exactly what they can comfortably afford, whether it’s a tea with some cake, a fancy dinner with an open bar, some hotdogs on a beach around a fire, or a home-cooked dinner at… Read more »

S.+H.
S.+H.
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

I think you misunderstand *my* point. It’s not just about the money. It’s about the person who drinks too much at the open bar and drives home. It’s the wedding party pressuring the couple to have booze so they can get trashed while the couple doesn’t want their families to be offended at the excess of the younger guests. It’s not wanting to go over budget, but still providing something that guests are asking for. It’s a compromise. I think that, if nothing else, this entire post and the comments prove that guests can be just as demanding and selfish… Read more »

Jane
Jane
8 years ago

The problem with the “Do it all” website or any wedding mechanism that has people giving money is that it ends up being less frugal than just a gift registry for the people who are giving. If you register for Lenox stainless at Macy’s like we did, people can buy it elsewhere if they want. That way you can shop around and get it cheaper. If you know someone wants this type of knife, you can buy it on Amazon and save some money. If the couple gets duplicates, they can always return some to Macys and get a store… Read more »

SF_UK
SF_UK
8 years ago

One of my friends is using an Amazon wedding list, which lets them prioritise as “love to have”, “like to have” and “nice to have”. The other nice thing is that you can just look at the list and buy the same thing elsewhere if need be. Having said that, the same couple stated on the invitation something along the lines of “your presence is gift enough, but if you want to get us something and need some inspiration, we’ve made an amazon list here”, which leaves things open for people to be imaginative, or to choose not to give… Read more »

Kelly
Kelly
8 years ago

My only suggestion if you’re going to go for a “substitute” item, make sure it’s actually a substitute and you’re not just being cheap. We registered at Williams Sonoma when we got married. Amongst the things we registered for was copper core stainless steel cookware. It will last a lifetime. And it was replacing a hodge podge of hand me downs from various family members. My father in law and wife decided to not only get us a totally different set in non stick (didn’t even contain the same items we asked for), but they got it from the Crate… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

I’ve never substituted, but I have waited until stores have had good specials. The couple doesn’t need to know I got their item at 20% off, and it helps my gift budget go a little farther. When you have enough notice, you can watch and wait for deals.

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Entitled much?

You asked for expensive cookware, then got upset when someone spent their hard earned money on a cheaper version from a different store you did not register at?

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

Of course. Then he has to buy the one he actually wanted himself, which he could have done anyway, and now he has to get rid of the inferior set he didn’t want in the first place. I just bought my wife a set of cookware just like the one he asked for to replace the crappy hodgepodge of worn out stuff we’d had since before we were married. She loves it. If instead I had bought her something else that she didn’t want, then guess what – she wouldn’t.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

Oops, sorry, Kelly is probably a “she” and not a “he”.

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago

So if you want expensive cookware you would have to actually spend your own money on it rather than guilt family and friends into it? How terrible…

Electric Landlady
Electric Landlady
8 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

I don’t know about you, but I often get upset when people spend their hard earned money on something I neither need nor want.

Lindsey
Lindsey
8 years ago

It is a terrible feeling! I had registered for a green Kitchen-Aid mixer and my mom bought that right away and checked it off. At my shower, my mom-in-law also gave me a kitchen aid mixer… a white one.

While it was a very thoughtful gift, it wasn’t what I asked for and I felt horribly guilty returning the white one. On the other hand, it was on my registry and she could have looked to see what I needed and what was already purchased…

Carla
Carla
8 years ago

I also had several duplicated gifts that I had to try to sell or give away (no gift receipts). I didn’t need 3 toasters.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago

@Lindsey – my mother-in-law is always deciding I need something, asking if I want it, I tell her no thank you, she goes out and buys a cheap, crappy version of whatever it is. Now that I’ve known her for 12 years, whenever she starts talking about how I need a mixer or a food processor or a sweater or whatever, I pick one I would actually use and make her son go and buy it and then call her and tell her he got it, to head her off. I’ve donated so many brand-new gifts from her, and it… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

In my experience, family members drive the registry; if you don’t make one, they badger and badger and badger you to do it.

To have it then be disregarded is really hurtful. Not over the money, but the lack of thoughtfulness. A person who buys an unwanted gift because they didn’t know what you would like is thinking of you and guessing wrong. A person who knows exactly what you want and ignores it is ignoring your wishes and pretending to think of you.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

I ride the fence with the criticism. On one hand, Williams – Sonoma is expensive as @#$%, and I’d never buy something off a registry there, but OTOH, if I already have cheap kitchen crap, I wouldn’t want somebody buying me more cheap kitchen crap.

Rachel
Rachel
8 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

I don’t think I would call their gift cheap, but I would say instead that you both have different values when buying things. You value quality and longevity, but maybe they have tried several different types of cookware before and found non-stick was their favorite. I learned at my wedding that often when someone got us something we thought was crazy, it was because their life experience had taught them that that item was the best for them, so they wanted to share that with you. It’s all in an effort to help. My mother gives the worst gifts ever… Read more »

Megan
Megan
8 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

@Kelly – I hear you on the non-stick crap. We registered for it for our wedding seven years ago, and the set that we got (not quite the same brand that we registered for, but we shrugged our shoulders and kept it anyway) is limping its way through the years. Handles are loose, the “nonstick” part of at least three pans has come off, so we had to get rid of them. For a bit more money, we could have gotten the kind of pots and pans that you wanted, and I bet they’d still be going strong. (On a… Read more »

Quail
Quail
8 years ago

Hmm, I disagree. First of all, if you don’t like what’s on the registry, buy something else, for close family and friends especially. You know what they like. Second, I got married four years ago (after living together for one year) and we still use our carefully-selected registry items every day. They were higher quality than the Target/IKEA crap we had and tended to replace every two years, and so will last us for many more years. You just have to be smart about it – don’t register for the $400 knife set when you only need two $100 knives.… Read more »

Marsha
Marsha
8 years ago

Unless I know exactly what the couple wants and it’s in my price range, I just give them cash. I’ve seen too many 10-page-long registries filled with ridiculous items. I don’t even bother to look up the registries anymore.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

I appreciated the cash most, and I will always give cash for wedding gifts. The gift cards say how much money is on them, so it’s really just cash that has strings attached. I got married almost three years ago, and we still haven’t been able to spend all of our Pier 1 Imports gift card, all they sell is random knick knacks and expensive chairs.

Marianne
Marianne
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

There are sites where you can sell your gift cards for a percentage of what’s on the card. Might be worth it to look into depending on the amount you still have. We much preferred the cash gifts that we got but since a lot of people don’t like to give cash I think our registry helped avoid doubles and items that weren’t especially our taste. Some of our parents friends ended up giving us some gorgeous items that weren’t from the registry but in all honesty they were our parents style rather than ours. I still use them (small… Read more »

Brian
Brian
8 years ago

Why stop at rethinking the registry? Lets rethink the wedding which costs an average of $26K. Lets rethink the bridal shower and baby shower and the gifts for birthdays and for Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Instead, lets embrace the idea that being a couple and raising a family shouldn’t require a ton of superfluous spending by us, our friends and our families. Lets give gifts only as thoughtful expressions of gratitude and not as obligations dictated by the calendar.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Brian

Your comment made me laugh! I have a love/hate relationship with registries. I love them because I know exactly what to get the couple. And I hate them because in the past several years I’ve been trying to put together a household for my single self while buying household items for couples who have a well-established household (sometimes two!) and have 2-3 showers, a stag and doe party, engagement party, etc. I’ve had to be pretty careful with my budget and limit my spending to one pre-wedding gift (i.e. shower or engagement party) and a wedding gift per couple. It’s… Read more »

Heather
Heather
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I completely agree Elizabeth! I’m in the same boat.

I don’t have extra money to spend on wedding gifts and now I’m jaded by the fact that I spend money on a couple only to have the marriage end about 2 years later (this has happened more than once).

Kandace
Kandace
8 years ago
Reply to  Heather

I think the idea of giving a wedding gift was great and needed when it was because two people were leaving their parents’ homes and were making one for themselves. Call me old fashioned, but having working adults who have lived together before marriage and already established a household asking people to bring gifts to celebrate a wedding is a backwards idea. Sure, have an event to celebrate the legal and emotional union of two people, but skip the overpriced dress, bridesmaids, and all the other expensive trappings that commemorate something that has lost its fundamental value.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

What on earth is a stag and doe party?

Beth
Beth
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

The ones I’ve been to went like this: the bridal party rents a hall and sells tickets to guests. There’s dancing and food. There’s also a cash bar and usually a raffle. The bridal party goes around selling tickets and drinks. The couple gets all the profits to help pay for their wedding. No gift is required. Most ones I’ve been to were for couples that certainly weren’t hurting for cash and the constant salesmanship really put me off. A lot of people just see it as a fun night out and if they’re spending more than usual, well, it’s… Read more »

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew
Sonja
Sonja
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Stag and Doe parties (as defined by Beth) are appauling. That is beyond tacky (as are tickets to the wedding).

This whole thread has been interesting and just shows how much of a sense of entitlement there is in our society. It is pervasive.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

OMG I jsut clicke don the Wikipedia link. That is aweful, just aweful. I mean really? The way you don’t go into debt when you get married is to ahve a celebration within your means. Even worse is the notion that people not important enough to be invited to the wedding would be invited to the fundraising party so that they ‘can participate in some way’. I had friends who felt that way about their shower, that people they couldn’t invite to the wedding should be invited to hte shower. And one person who repeatedly talked about her wedding plans… Read more »

Moonchyldcrab82
Moonchyldcrab82
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I have declined going to baby showers for 2nd or 3rd kids because why should I have to give you MORE stuff to raise a kid you chose to have. Where’s all the stuff you got from the 1st baby shower anyway? I would never have a second baby shower (or a second wedding for that matter) and ask the same people to give me more gifts. If people want to send gifts to the house then they’ll be much appreciated but I’m not going to throw ANOTHER party where people are going to feel obliged to bring gifts for… Read more »

Anna
Anna
8 years ago
Reply to  Brian

This may sound so silly – but there was a Sex in the City episode (oh god don’t murder me) where the main character felt put upon because she had spent hundreds of dollars on a couple over the years for various reasons – weddings, showers, etc. But she was ‘punished’ for being single – making ‘single person choices’. No one gave her a gift, just because (which is honestly sometimes very nice – who needs to be restricted by holidays to give gifts?). Anyway, I think this only serves to further your point (if in an odd way) that… Read more »

Carolyn
Carolyn
8 years ago
Reply to  Anna

I also was thinking about this Sex and the City episode. I don’t like buying from a list of items– vacuum cleaner and mattress cover being recent wedding gift purchases—ick! But people want what they want and I don’t want to waste my hard earned money on something they won’t appreciate because it wasn’t on their list, so I cave. I dislike the hoopla of money surrounding weddings and have chosen not to have one because of it. But I do sometimes resent the fact that by not getting married the favor won’t ever be repaid– usually when I am… Read more »

Sonja
Sonja
8 years ago

Different cultures, different customs. In the Netherlands I’ve not seen a registery for a marriage. I know it was done in the past, as in 20-30 years ago and longer. But not anymore. So there’s still hope 😉 There’s a site ‘lijstje.nl’ where you can keep up your wishlist and has been going strong for years. Even my bf’s grandmother is using it for her birthday wishes. As said, you just cross of what it is you’re getting. The person whose list it is can’t see what’s been crossed of. Next to the ‘lijstje’ there’s a growing request for money… Read more »

stephanieg617
stephanieg617
8 years ago
Reply to  Sonja

My sister lived in Europe and was married here in the US. Especially since half the guests were flying from another continent gifts were not expected but some people wanted to give gifts anyway. Between shipping costs, differences in electricity (making their home run on adapters was not such a great idea) and limited luggage space I told everyone who ASKED to give money. Most people did and were quite happy with the idea. My sister and her husband did not demand money but allowed it to be made known that if people wanted to give presents that cash would… Read more »

Kay
Kay
8 years ago

I’ve said very similar things as I’ve bought wedding gifts for my cohabiting friends – what is the point?! You’ve lived together for how many years?! But in all those years you really couldn’t bring yourself to buy that $30 salad spinner? To make it worse, as I grumbled, my mother said the scariest thing ever – “Believe me, when you get married, you’ll want your friends to do the same for you.” Completely floored me. Is this what our society has come to? Buying each other gifts so we can all feel “equalized?” If I ever get married, I’ll… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Kay

I’ve heard the same thing! I don’t buy people gifts in anticipation that they’ll reciprocate. I guess that’s how some people justify it though.

Diedra B
Diedra B
8 years ago

we skipped the registry. We didn’t live together and had two irons, two sets of pots, lots of sheets and towels etc.
An aunt expressed her relief at not being forced to go shopping (which she apparently hates). A few people gave goods that we really appreciated.
Honestly, I couldn’t take the pressure of the registry–picking out plates and sheets and toolboxes all at once. And the prices were too high so I just scrapped it. The cash we received gave us a nice start to our emergency savings.

Amy
Amy
8 years ago

We were married at 22 and still in college, so for us the registry did meet its traditional purpose of helping to set up our household. Since then we have only been to one other wedding where that was the case, so we just give cash, with varying amounts depending on how close we are with the couple.

DonB
DonB
8 years ago

We resisted registering (25 years ago). The result was that people gave us lot’s of things we didn’t want, or duplicates; like 3 identical crock pots. If people are going to feel obligated to give you a gift, it seems sensible to make it as easy as possible and to guide them to things that will make good gifts.

For my part, I always give money. It’s what I really needed when I was married.

Barb
Barb
8 years ago

Registries can be a good tool for guests especially if you are in the position of having, say, aunt sarah who you love but knows nothing about your lifestyle these days. I am always in favor of registries, as long as they include a wide variety of pricing options. Id observe that just because people are living together doesnt mean that they have all the stuff they need. As I recall at one point during that period we had two knives and four glasses, especially when we were just starting out.

Monica
Monica
8 years ago

We did not live together before marriage, and were married at 29 and 30. While I get the author’s point that registries can be a bit extreme, I have to disagree about them being a good idea. I am an avid cook, and until I was married I was using a set of hand-me-down dishware, had 8 forks and 3 spoons and used my mom’s old pots and pans – a nice set, though wearing out at 30 years old. Trying to find any type of cooking apparatus in my husband’s pre-marriage kitchen was a shot in the dark. So… Read more »

Ccq
Ccq
8 years ago
Reply to  Monica

Thank you! I’m surprised at all the vitrol on the comment thread. I hope my wedding guests weren’t grumbling so loudly on the Internet after my wedding :/ Same situation though, we both have been living on our own with crummy cheap ikea and thrift store and hand me down stuff. We still use a lot of it, but we registered for a new matching set of dishes (my life dream), matching silverware (2nd life dream), nice sheets to replace the cheap target sheets that didn’t even stay on the bed, cookiNg implements we always wanted but since we were… Read more »

Dan
Dan
8 years ago
Reply to  Monica

Same here. My wife lived with her family before we got married, so she didn’t have a “household of crap” to merge with mine. Me, I was poor and broke for way too long, so we were using a lot of stuff from my college days.

Our wedding was family only, and the only thing I really asked for was a set of good pots and pans. I told my dad, “My aunt is a good cook, so she should use her judgement in getting us a quality set of pots and pans.”

Priswell
Priswell
8 years ago
Reply to  Dan

So. . .did you get the pots/pans you wanted? 😉

Ru
Ru
8 years ago
Reply to  Monica

I completely agree with you- yeah, you can set up a household with odds and sods from both your lives, but it’s lovely to have the option not too. I’m 22, and like a lot of people of my generation, I’m fairly nomadic. I’ve moved back and forth from my parents house 4 times in the past 4 year (there’s a reason we’re called the boomerang generation). I don’t own a lot because it’s always moving to a new place, usually by public transport. A lot of my stuff is second hand too and does not match or is colours… Read more »

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Ru

giving away our extra stuff was heaven. after the wedding we gave three boxes of kitchen stuff to salvation army. mr. cc was initially against the registry, but when we agreed to give away all of our old stuff (most of anyway), he was more into it.

Sheryl
Sheryl
8 years ago

Just because a couple has been living together or have both had their own households doesn’t necessarily mean that they have their “life long” things. For example, my fiance and I have pots and pans …. ones that probably belong in the garbage.

On the flip side, as a guest, I just don’t take well to traditions like the stag and doe (tickets – helps pay for the wedding) or honeymoon registries – they seem a little bit presumetuous.

Beth
Beth
8 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl

I stopped going to Stag and Does because I hated having stuff sold to me all night long (i.e. drinks and raffle tickets.) Maybe I’ve just been to really aggressive ones 😉

graduate.living
graduate.living
8 years ago

I just checked out the Merci Registry link and thought it was great. Not only can you register actual items, like a store, but you can put experiences/honeymoon and (probably) charitable donations. You can also personalize each item description so guests know why its listed. As someone who’s currently living with my partner, I often wonder why couples living together think they need so much stuff. We don’t have a steamer basket, we don’t need a steamer basket, and if we got one we’d never use it. It’s not like we have a ton of space to store lots of… Read more »

L Ann
L Ann
2 years ago

Stay away! Their site had issues and they were down during the 2 days right after we sent our wedding invitations out. They apologized and offered either an additional free registry or a refund. We requested the refund, but they told me that it was too late now, and wrote me a very passive aggressive email. During the days it was down, our family and friends tried to use it, and were frustrated when it didn’t work — I had to go in after the fact and add gifts in to keep track, and so that anyone who *did* go… Read more »

Quail
Quail
8 years ago

We had a registry (got married at 24 and both had cheap household crap) and it was great. Avoided duplicates, got nice stuff that’s still in great shape, and didn’t feel like we were exploiting our guests. (We also paid for our own wedding.) Now, however, I can be a grumpy old person at 28 and say that I DO NOT like honeymoon or other registries. For one, I do not want to “chip in” to an overpriced honeymoon activity. I do not want to pay for your internet or bike subscription or whatever – that’s a household expense, not… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

I just got married three weeks ago, as a 30 year old professional who’s kept a household for several years and gained many of the ‘basics’ during my grad school years by asking for them as Christmas and birthday gifts (the year I got my complete set of dishes was a GREAT Christmas!). My husband and I worried about this same thing – what on earth do we register for when we have a complete kitchen and then some, as well as most of the other things needed in a house? But what we found as we started building registries… Read more »

Marcella
Marcella
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Some of those ideas are great, while I cringe at some others. A registry isn’t a chance to get *any old thing* you find too expensive to purchase yourself. A surge protector? Really, could you honestly imagine somebody going to a store, wrapping it and handing it over, getting a warm fuzzy feeling that they have given you a great gift? I’m not opposed to registries, but this sort of list tells me that some couples are treating these as though it’s an opportunity to “spend” the money of their guests on stuff they want, without a gracious thought to… Read more »

Heather
Heather
8 years ago
Reply to  Marcella

Wait wait, let me get this straight… “it’s an opportunity to “spend” the money of their guests on stuff they want, without a gracious thought to how the gift giver (i.e. the supplier of the money) would feel about giving that particular item.” So that means that by giving my guests the opportunity to spend their money how they FEEL, I’m not taking their FEELings into consideration? What? If you don’t want to buy her a surge protector, don’t! Registries specifically avoid the scenario you are saying they create. Personally, I have never known anyone who WANTED to give someone… Read more »

Will
Will
8 years ago

I’m getting married next summer, and I fit the profile exactly. It’s true that my fiancee and I, in our 650 sq. ft. apartment definitely don’t need more Stuff. About 1/3 of all weddings are financed by the couple alone, so if you want to give them something, but not cash, my suggestion would be to offer to pick up some wedding expenses. If your budget is limited, you might buy a case of wine for the reception, or tip the caterers. If you’re feeling really generous, pitch in for the dress, the photographer, or the flowers. The parents get… Read more »

Laura+in+Cancun
Laura+in+Cancun
8 years ago
Reply to  Will

This is tradition here in Mexico. Several of my Mexican husband’s family members “sponsored” different elements of the wedding.

My best friend paid for the cake (and I later paid for the dessert table at her wedding), an aunt paid for the mariachi band, an uncle paid for the favors, another uncle paid for some of the alcohol, a cousin made some extra favors, etc etc. They all volunteered, we did not ask… although here it’s not considered rude to ask family to chip in.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

The problem with your registry suggestions is that for many of the older relatives and some of the younger people you invite to weddings, if you can’t wrap it and they’re just contributing money towards X), then its just a request for money.

I’m sure you know people who gift cards for Birthdays (or Christmas) is cheating or not right. It’s the same for them for weddings.

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

As one of the people who *HATES* receiving gift cards for Christmas or birthday or any other event, I will say that you are right on the money.

I despise even the notion of setting up an account for people to just donate money so I can spend it having fun. Its like asking people to give you money so you can waste it on luxurious indulgence.

imelda
imelda
8 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

But aren’t most things on registries luxurious indulgences?

Karen
Karen
8 years ago

I love these ideas! When my husband and I got married we didn’t register (it was a second marriage for me and I thought it inappropriate), but that didn’t mean we didn’t receive gifts… an alternative registry would have been fantastic.

Evangeline
Evangeline
8 years ago

I realize I am the minority but I disagree with registries. Too often, they smack of greed. When I married, I preferred people just offer best wishes; it wasn’t their job to help me set up housekeeping. Yes, we received tons of gifts anyway and some were not to our liking (boiled egg slicer, anyone?)We were very touched by everyone’s kindess. Still, I preferred someone give what they wanted us to have rather than basically saying, ‘I got married, Now go get me what I’ve preselected.’

Heather
Heather
8 years ago
Reply to  Evangeline

Evangeline, I agree with your statement: it wasn’t their job to help me set up housekeeping.

The idea of gifts of china and cookware are left over from the days when a couple got married and they didn’t have these things. It made sense then but doesn’t now when people getting married already have a house (or 2) of stuff.

Instead of spending thousands on a wedding the couple should put the money towards things they want for their household instead of asking their friends and family for gifts.

RichHabits
RichHabits
8 years ago
Reply to  Evangeline

Evangeline, you are sooo right. I liked your statement…‘I got married, Now go get me what I’ve preselected.’ I personally do not like registries. When I got married, I did not do anything. I told my wife, honey, let our guests give us what they please. I just let my guests give our what they wanted. Some gave us expensive gifts others best wishes. I always belived it was our responsibility to buy stuff for our house not through guests imposing them preselection and mandatory gifts. Also, I have so many relatives that throw birthdays, wedding annivarsy and other parties,… Read more »

Evangeline
Evangeline
8 years ago
Reply to  RichHabits

RichHabits, YES! You said it perfectly. It is indeed our responsibility to aquire what we want and need. To be sure, gifts are indeed appreciated, it just always bugged me that people acted as if they were ‘entitled’ to everything under the sun and expected others to provide it for them. Your statements are on point!

Gretchen
Gretchen
8 years ago
Reply to  Evangeline

So you’d rather get an egg slicer or two you will never use?

Instead of “toaster oven Grandma gave me for a shower.”

I’m pro-registry.

Slccom
Slccom
8 years ago
Reply to  Gretchen

We use our egg slicer all the time.

Tatyana
Tatyana
8 years ago

We tried to go the “donate to charity” route. My in laws who are in their 60s thought it was a horrendous breach of etiquette. I think once the older generation dies out (not that I would want that for my in laws) maybe new norms will be established where it’s taken into account that most new couples have 2 of everything already. In fact an auction would’ve been more appropriate in our case. All the kitchen and bathroom stuff from my pre-marital apartment still lies in the basement after nearly 5 years of marriage. Just collecting dust, taking up… Read more »

Laura P
Laura P
8 years ago

I’m not really sure how I feel about this. My Fiance and I are getting married this summer. We moved in together 7 years ago, from our parents homes. So we essentially had no “2 of everything” and we definitely didn’t have much money at the time. Today we’re still using our $6 pot from Kmart, hand me down dishes from everywhere, pots and pans that were from his grandparents! When we decided to get married I was apprehensive about the whole registry thing, I felt bad about asking for things. At the same time though, we’re using pots that… Read more »

imelda
imelda
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura P

While I see where you’re coming from, I’ll be quite frank: they aren’t essential items, and they’re certainly not “needs”. You’ve been doing without them for years.

What you’re describing is the “entitlement” that people commented on above. So many of us (Americans) believe that we’re entitled to high-quality goods, to upgrading from what we can afford.

If we weren’t such consumerists, we’d accept the idea that we have to save up for these nice things, or do without them.

Slccom
Slccom
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura P

I use Revereware pots that are 70 years old. What is this complaining about “old” cookware?

Katie Schulz
Katie Schulz
8 years ago

Personally, I love the idea of a honeymoon registry. I know the advice column ladies consider this to be tacky, but how is it different from registering for anything else?

My other question, why do people still register for fine china? Does anyone actually use it? It seems like a holdover from a more formal generation and doesn’t make sense any more.

Andrea @ Single and Saving
Andrea @ Single and Saving
8 years ago

I think creative wedding registries for honeymoons, charities and other things that a couple may not be able to afford ordinarily are great ideas. However, I had some friends who asked for people to pay for the wedding itself last year. It could have been in the manner they did it (a mass Facebook message), but I thought that it was tacky to ask the guests to help pay for a wedding ceremony and reception. I understand that most couples now pay for their weddings themselves, but people don’t have to give into all of the stuff that the wedding… Read more »

Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
8 years ago

Am I the only one who likes the idea of a honeymoon registry? I’m not materialistic and generally live in small spaces and don’t need many things. I have high quality cookware because I get it for Christmas/birthdays.

My thing *is* experiences. I love to travel and sacrifice other things so I can afford it, so a honeymoon registry seems pretty natural to me, especially because I really don’t anticipate wanting China or anything like that.

Laura+in+Cancun
Laura+in+Cancun
8 years ago

I love the idea! My cousin and her husband did this last year. They honeymooned in Greece, and guests could buy them different tours and stuff.

Then they sent out pictures of them on the tours along with a thank you note to whoever had bought it for them. I thought it was pretty cool.

(They also had a regular wedding registry, so there was lots of variety to choose from.)

Anne
Anne
8 years ago

This article is nothing but comment baiting. Everyone loves to complain about the current state of weddings and the industry that surrounds it. (Including me!) Where are those great articles that Quinn Street supposedly was so interested in promoting. This just seems like more SEO garbage to me. Oh well, at least it he used the spell checker. I guess that’s an improvement above many sites. But this has nothing to do with personal finance. Gifts cost the couple nothing (unless someone is giving them a car or a horse or an iphone). And while I may have loved to… Read more »

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago

I totally agree with Evangeline.

I find it horribly pretentious and arrogant to make a gift registry, basically a list of the stuff your guests should buy you for the privilege of knowing you are getting married.

I refused to participate in the registry experience in my own wedding, although my wife did create one(despite my protestations).

I want people to know that attending without a gift is totally guilt-free, and not having a registry would be a good first step.

Laura+in+Cancun
Laura+in+Cancun
8 years ago

We did the traditional registry, but we needed it. We married at 23. I’d been living with roommates for a few years, and my husband was still living with his parents. All we had was 4 plates and 2 glasses! We asked entirely for basic kitchen stuff like pots, pans, plates, silverware, etc. (all on the inexpensive side)

Although I will say that some of the coolest gifts we got weren’t on our registry. And I’m sure some guests didn’t bring a gift at all, which is perfectly fine, too. 🙂

smirktastic
smirktastic
8 years ago

I don’t get why this is so controversial. A registry is a list of suggestions – that’s it. It’s a way of saying “We don’t need a gravy boat, but we DO need a serving platter.” No one is obligated to buy a single thing on it. (For that matter, no one is obligated to create one.) If you want to give a gift entirely of your own choosing, go for it. If you want to give cash/gift cards/charitable donations or just a card and best wishes, that’s your privilege too. And any gift recipient who responds to a gift… Read more »

Well Heeled Blog
Well Heeled Blog
8 years ago

My fiance and I have been together for almost a decade and we are moving into different states a month after we get married. So while I would love to receive some quality flatware or a lovely KitchenAid mixer, those items are just not practical for us. We are going to do a honeymoon registry in which the guests, if they choose, can gift us “experiences” like a horseback riding session, a really nice restaurant, a tour through the heart of the city, etc. We are not going to put “more mundane” things like airfare and hotel rooms on the… Read more »

Andy Wagner
Andy Wagner
8 years ago

We registered at Home Depot. Their registry is so bad, few of our friends could get copies of what we registered for. They got us gift cards instead. We bought the tools we always wanted and started our kitchen remodel a few years later. 😉

Justin
Justin
8 years ago

Tim – while your brother, best friend, and girlfriend’s sister get married and have registries, take advantage of getting anything they don’t seem to want anymore. That’s what I’ve been doing with my friends who are getting married, and now have extra plates, pots and some various other kitchen stuff.

Beth
Beth
8 years ago

A registry at Crate and Barrel or other mid-range stores is a lot better than the old tradition of registering at high end department stores where the only options were china, silver or crystal. You can always buy a duplicate and let her return it for store credit. I did that: I got two steak knife sets, I returned one and a few other items and had enough to buy two rugs for the bathroom. I much prefer buying a nice $30 gift and Crate (or giving a gift certificate since you know she likes the store) than searching for… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

We asked people to contribute to funds our honeymoon trip to Costa Rica instead of buying us stuff. Lots of people don’t like giving you cash, though, and so they’ll still buy you stuff, but We did get part of our trip covered.

We also threw the whole wedding for about $2500, though, and had no debt related to it at all. Honestly, for a typical wedding, the gifts are just a drop in the bucket next to the cost of the wedding itself.

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago

I’m 45 years old and grew up in NYC. I never heard of registries until I was in college. As far as I knew when someone got married, you gave them cash. If you were invited to the shower, you brought some towels or Corningware. I asked my mother about registries and she said, “Oh, I think that’s something rich people do for fancy china and silver and stuff.” I since realized that they weren’t popular among working class NYers (at least those of Irish extraction) but they were more common in other parts of the country. Now, of course,… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

Being expected to give cash at a wedding is a lot more mercenary than consulting a registry, which, after all, only contains suggestions and is not coercion.

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

How is *not* suggesting presents mercenary? Nobody’s obligated to give a gift. If no mention is made of gift suggestions, then people will give what they want. I *want* to give cash at weddings.

Leah
Leah
8 years ago

We are using wishing well poem to just ask for money for our 4/1 wedding since we were already living together and planning to move to a new house. Mostly I didn’t want to go through the hassle of creating a registry. We also decided to donate a portion of the money to charity.

EconomicallyHumble.com
EconomicallyHumble.com
8 years ago

I eloped and didn’t have a registry (but we may have a wedding ceremony-ish for our 5th year anniversary). Bummer, I missed out on free stuff. 😉

But I wonder, instead of asking for material goods, is it appropriate to ask for stocks or a down payment for a house? Perhaps include a paypal link where guests can deposit funds?

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago

This is horrifying. Why not just stick a gun in your guests’ backs and march
them to the closest ATM?

John | Married (with Debt)
John | Married (with Debt)
8 years ago

I don’t know why, but being asked to pay for someone’s Internet seems weird, though my brain tells me it should make perfect sense.

It seems more like begging than registering for spatulas.

I would say most young cohabitating couples do have utensils, but I would wager that they are all mismatched.

A Honeymoon Registry actually seems like a perfect compromise.

Katy+@+The+Non-Consumer+Advocate
[email protected]+The+Non-Consumer+Advocate
8 years ago

I hate wedding registries, as I think a gift should reflect both the recipient and the giver. So when my husband and I married, (19 years ago) we scandalized our families by not registering. But I was in my mid-twwnties and had been living with my husband for six years already. We had everything we needed. However, to appease certain family members, I gave my mother a list of a few items we would like, which meant people could comparison shop. This meant that my Pittsburgh relatives all went in on a Cuisinart that I still use frequently, etc. I… Read more »

frugalportland
frugalportland
8 years ago

As a 30-year-old woman, I have been to my share of weddings and showers and “please bring a gift” sorts of parties. Sometimes, when I knew that I was only being asked because I might bring a gift, I declined. I agree that a gift registry is taking two steps back in terms of frugality. That said, I always buy off the registry if I’m going to a wedding. Sometimes I try to buy the most ridiculous thing that I can find. The camping coffee pot, the egg slicer, that sort of thing.

Jill @ Dollars-or-Cents
Jill @ Dollars-or-Cents
8 years ago

I don’t love the idea of registries…I think they’re kinda tacky and have just been so normalized because everyone (88%!) are using them. It’s one thing if your wedding involves your close friends and family and they want to gift you something then fine, register, or whatever, since then they’ll know what to buy you. But people hold huge weddings that they often can’t afford and invite tons of people they barely know and then register for all these gifts? I dunno, something about it just doesn’t appeal to me. I just give money and/or a personal gift if I… Read more »

imelda
imelda
8 years ago

Does anyone else find that 88% statistic highly suspect??? I don’t believe it for a second.

Surely, if you add up the people who a) are just going to city hall to marry, b) have an extremely small guest list, and c) are getting married for the second or third time…. surely that’s more than 12% of brides and grooms??? Surely most of them don’t have registries?

That’s not even mentioning all the people who have alternative weddings planned, or don’t believe in registries to begin with.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

And to my brother, I love you bro, but when you move four times in the next five years, I know it’s going to be me carrying that Vitamix up four flights of stairs. Ha ha ha ha. Thumbs up. For the record, last year I bought a $40 Cuisinart blender at Costco that works JUST FINE. It replaced an ancient one that was about to croak. Not that I use it so much. Eating too many blended foods is bad for you. The human body didn’t evolve to suck on soupy vegetables, it evolved to *chew*. So, unless you’re… Read more »

Ellen
Ellen
8 years ago

I like wedding registries. I’m terrible at coming up with gift ideas. We tried to register for things we needed (some were upgrades etc.) we didn’t have yet, but nothing crazy expensive. My husband *loved* walking around with a a scanner gun. We also did suggest charities (no specific list, just whatever someone wanted). In a way, I think it’s tacky asking people to pay for your honeymoon, etc, but I may just not have come round to the idea yet.

Honey
Honey
8 years ago

My fiancee and I will have been together 6 years by our wedding in May, and living together for 4 of them. We are registered at Amazon and at Honeyfund.com. Most of the physical items we registered for are rounding out a few things we’d like but don’t have (including fancy kitchen items, since I am a hobby chef) or replacements for things that are on their last legs. It’s really a small registry, though, less than 50 items (and some of them are things like spices or flavored oils, which are pretty inexpensive). Our efforts are really aimed at… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey

I hate to say it, but you can’t afford a house, and all the wedding cash in the world won’t change that.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey

Wow, I just read this. Gotta say I concur with Andrew. As a fellow self-employed person, I’d recommend not even thinking about a house until your wife’s business is on very solid ground. When my clients crashed in 2009, we gave notice on our 3-bedroom rental and after some reflection time in our (free) summer cabin, we moved into a 1-bedroom apartment with very little pain. Actually it was a fortunate occurrence (now I believe) because it allowed us to get rid of endless clutter and to start really paying attention to our finances. Meanwhile, other people were getting foreclosed… Read more »

Honey
Honey
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

We’re obviously not buying new furniture until we buy a place, both so that we know whatever we buy will fit wherever we end up and and also so we don’t have to move the old stuff. We can just have a charity come pick up the old stuff for free and then have new things delivered to our new house. Right now the plan is to wait until after the wedding (late May) to look at houses – that way we know what kind of down payment we have, we won’t be doing a billion things at once, and… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey

Then you don’t need your friends or family to give you money to buy a house or a new couch. So why are you asking?

Honey
Honey
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey

a) we’d prefer to give at least 10% down – actually I’d love to do 2% but I don’t think that will happen, b) I’d like to still have at least 10% of the value of the house in a savings account for repairs, maintenance, taxes, etc., and c) did I mention we also need new furniture?

Honey
Honey
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey

20%, not 2% (obviously)

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey

So? I don’t see your point. Are you different than anyone else who marries or wants to buy a house or anyone at all for that matter? If you need new furniture, buy it. Replacing worn out stuff is a part of life. If you can’t afford the house right now, wait and save. None of this is your guests’ issue to solve. If someone WANTS to give you cash, they will. If people ask what you’d *really* like, tell them. (This means they didn’t just ask where you are registered. The answer to that question should not be the… Read more »

Honey
Honey
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey

The money we currently have in savings is our emergency fund, not for furniture. We did register for normal things, and of course everyone’s free to not give us anything if they don’t want to, are too strapped, etc. It’s just the two things that we want the most right now (new living room furniture and a house) are probably not things that one person is going to be able to afford to get us, and registering for increments of $50 or $100 to be used toward something saves forcing our guests (all of whom don’t know each other) from… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey

And it’s baffling to me why people don’t understand that it is rude to go around hat in hand to your friends and family as if your wedding was a street performance or a fundraiser. You’re getting married, not curing breast cancer.

Honey
Honey
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey

@ Anne – I don’t understand what you’re saying because you’re assuming I’ve asked people for money. I haven’t asked anyone for anything. The registry links are buried on a subpage of my wedding website, where it says, the greatest gift you could give us is the gift of your presence, however, if you would like to offer a gift in celebration of our union, here’s what we need the most. Then they have the option between a traditional registry or cash. I just don’t see how registering for cash is different from registering for stuff. I assume that people… Read more »

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