Gift Registry?

morrisonsMYmuseJuly 8, 2005

i'm back!!! we had to push back our wedding date, but on the bright side i have more time to save money and have the wedding i really want.

anyway! my sister told me that gift registries (sp?) are tacky. she says it's wrong to tell people what to get you. fiance and i don't need alot of things for our home (and that's generally what people give you as a wedding gift) so i thought it would be okay to register for a few non-expensive decorative things that i've been wanting but haven't had the money to buy myself. things like picture frames, wall art, good stem-ware, nice coasters, decent china, etc. does anyone else think that this is tacky? i told my sister that she's perfectly free to buy me whatever she thinks i will like best and she dosn't have to shop from my registry... but she still insists that it's very tacky and thinks i shouldn't register anywhere. opinions?

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aw, of those "hot" topics.

Personally, I like registries, and don't find them at all tacky. I think you'll find the general opinion around here is that although registries in themselves are not tacky, most people -- though not all -- consider it quite tacky to include the registry info with invitations, etc.

So, I say: go ahead and register, but let word-of-mouth serve as the "I'm registered at..." notification.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 12:40AM
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Peopple attending your wedding will want to give you a gift, and most will want to give you a gift they know you will like. That's what registries are for- to give people information about your tastes etc. Originally registries were set up to let people know what china, silverware and glass patterns you had chosen, so they could get matching pieces if they so chose. Of course, there is never any compulsion for people to purchase gifts from your registry.

The registry itself is not tacky, but including registry information on invitations is, because it can be interpreted as a demand for a gift. We all know it is the norm to give wedding gifts, but it's polite for the happy couple to be all pleased and surprised that they are getting gifts, rather than have a "We invited you to the wedding, so you owe us a gift and this is what we want" attitude.

By all means have a registry, and let your mother/sisters/bridesmaids know where you are registered, because these are the people guests who wish to will inquire of to know where you are registered. And when you receive gifts which are not on your registry, which most likely will happen, I am sure you will accept them with as much enthusiasm and thanks as those gifts which were on your registry :-)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 1:43AM
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*Having* a registry isn't tacky. "Advertising" that you have a registry, sending registry cards in your invitations, or otherwise saying or doing anything that suggests you are expecting gifts or that people are "supposed" to get gifts only from your preselected list is tacky. If people ask if you are registered or ask for suggestions, then you can tell them about the registry, and that's not tacky at all.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 9:32AM
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My MIL and all her cronies (can a 64-year-old generous Yugoslavian immigrant have "cronies"?) LOVE LOVE LOVE registries. They want to get the bride something she likes.

Other people like registries because, even though they do NOT plan to buy from them, they can indicate the bride's tastes, the colors in the china she'll have, etc.

So register--I vote for including a wide range of prices--don't do ALL inexpensive stuff, bcs some people will want ideas for more expensive presents, or maybe they'll go in on something WITH other people (that's how 4 different ladies bought me and DH a vacuum cleaner, bless them! and how my DS received a microwave at $10 per couple in the group).

I actually think that's kind to guests to provide SOME sort of ideas--because actually, the vast majority of the people who know you will WANT to buy you a present.

And I'm not sure your sister is the family's arbiter of "rude"--the AUNTS are, in my experience. What does your mom's sister, or your groom's aunt, say? Folks in THAT generation are the one who set the family's etiquette standards.

Another reason you might gently sound out the aunts:
It sounds like your sister is, ahem, outspoken. (I was gonna say bossy, or loud, or something, but THAT would be rude). So, it would be nice to have some people in the family who can shut her up.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 12:56PM
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I like registries because:

- They are so convenient, especially for out of town weddings.
- When I don't know the couple well (e.g., children of a friend), I know they won't care as much about my gift being a more personal gesture.
- as Talley Sue says, they give me an indication of the couple's tastes to guide me if I am not buying something from the registry.

I DON'T like registries when:

- they can -- and I stress CAN!!; they don't always -- look greedy and like a shopping list. I don't think they have to be limited to dishes, flatware, sheets, and other things that come in patterns (you HAVE to have a registry in order for people to buy those, if you want them). But I don't like seeing registries that go on and on for pages -- that's not a registry, it's a shopping list. The stores encourage, even push couples to do that -- well, of course they do; they want all your guests to buy only from their store. IMHO, these long lists not only insult the guests' taste, they make the couple look a little too focussed on the loot they expect -- in my opinion, just too much specific direction of others' anticipated generosity.
- sometimes I feel like I'm sending a gift with the price tag on it.
- if you are registering patterns, and then you list lots of other items, people who want their gift to be "special" will buy you the hot-dog cooker or the meat-baller instead, and your patterns won't fill in (of course, you can always exchange the stuff).
- the gifts lose their relationship to the giver. If your guests give you only things you register, you'll have only things you chose yourself. None says anything about the giver. And your guests might have wonderful ideas (or have seen things at other stores) that you never thought of, or don't anticipate that you will ever need. You might even get a family heirloom or a handmade treasure if your guests don't feel that you'd rather have that popcorn popper or a specific pepper mill -- which they might, if your list is too extensive.

Now, all of these drawbacks can be averted by avoiding listing too many specific items (and their prices and sources) in favor of a more general list of items and preferences. In other words, if you have patterns, register them, and perhaps just a few other items. For everything else, you can write something like, "needs vases, a clock, knives, dishtowels, pitcher. Home is contemporary; kitchen is yellow, bathroom is blue. Likes glass, brass, and wood." Stores WILL do that for you if you ask.

I LOATHE registries when:
- they are for cash.
- there is any direction to them unless someone specifically asks (definitely not distributed with the invitation).

So although I don't always buy from registries, I often do, and I certainly don't think that they are per se tacky or greedy or anything else. Like anything else -- including weddings themselves -- it's all in how you do it.

Talley Sue gave you EXCELLENT advice with regard to the larger issue of finding and dealing with the currents of power in the family!

p.s. -- I just got an invitation to a shower for a bride whose name I didn't recognize. I tried looking her up on, but that didn't help, so I had to call one of the hostesses to find out who she is. How embarrassing! (She is the fiance of a nice, but not very close, friend's son.) Then I was able to find their registry on weddingchannel. I probably won't be buying off it, but it helps me anyway.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 2:30PM
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well really the only thing that i was absolutely dying for from my registry my mom bought for me because she saw how excited i was when i showed it to her and that was just some beautiful china and flatware. like i said, we don't really NEED anything but my house is kind of bare so i was going to register for picture frames and pieces of artwork that appeal to my tastes. my mom was going to include the registry info on my shower invitations... opinions please.... and not really anywhere else except by word of mouth. my sister still thinks it's tacky but this is the girl who has been recieving a load of gifts she dosn't really like because she thinks that registries are tacky (you enjoy that picasso serving bowl set, katie). so thanks for eveyone's advice, you really made me feel better about my registry.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 3:05PM
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Personally, I'm opposed to including registry info in shower invitations.

I know, I know... one purpose of a shower is to give the bride gifts. It's one thing to invite people to a gift-giving party. It's quite another to shove a shopping list under their noses without their having asked for suggestions. A gift is the tangible expression of someone's good wishes--and it's up to the giver to choose how to express those good wishes. If they want help, they'll ask.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 4:38PM
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I agree with Mary. Do NOT put the registry info on the invitations. And don't offer the information by word of mouth unless asked. Your guests should be smart enough that if they need help, they'll call your Mom or the hostess and ask.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 9:46PM
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A third vote for not including registry info even in shower invitations (although I agree it's not quite as bad as in wedding invitations).
Sometimes people think that including the info is a convenience for their guests, saving them that phone call, and I suppose it is. But making the call is a very minor inconvenience, isn't it? If the registry info is included with the invitation, it creates a suggestion that only gifts chosen from that list will be appreciated, and in fact the whole purpose of the party is to get the items on that list. It's true that a shower is all about gifts (unless it's a recipe shower or something). But the host/hostess gives the shower; the bride and groom make the registry list.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 12:48PM
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okay. thanks for that everyone. so no registry info on any invitation... got it.
the reason i did register is because there are very few things that we really need and i have very particular tastes when it comes to decorating my home. it's not like i'm going to pitch a fit if i don't get everything that was on my registry and i'm certainly not going to have an issue if one of my guests wants to get us something similar to what we've registered for or something that wasn't on the list entirely. i just wanted my guests to have a guideline, not a shopping list. there really isn't very much on my registry anyway... just a few picture frames, some lamps, silverware... that sort of thing. my wedding is about the union of our families, not how much stuff we get. i really don't care if i get anything at all...

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 9:26PM
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morrisonsMYmuse, IMHO, you have the perfect view of what it's all about!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 7:25AM
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But making the call is a very minor inconvenience, isn't it?

MAKING that call isn't hard--it's getting AHOLD of someone at the other end that is! They're not there, you leave a message, they have to call you back and someone ELSE back and someone ELSE ELSE back....It's easier on the hostess, frankly--the heck w/ the bride.

If the registry info is included with the invitation, it creates a suggestion that only gifts chosen from that list will be appreciated,

I have never understood this. I do know someone who thought this--he's generally etiquette clueless and was asking for advice; the mere PRESENCE of a registry did that for him, so it wouldn't have mattered if he'd received a shower invitation or not. But nearly every single person I've spoken with about this (besides Marc) thinks the registry is for guaranteed success, but is not required.

But I think we just need to educate those people out of it. A registry is a set of suggestions.

If you're worried about THAT part of it, just have the hostess write "other present ideas available from hostess, or use your own" or something like that.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 3:03PM
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Talley Sue, maybe I need to clarify. I don't think that the EXISTENCE of a registry "creates a suggestion that only gifts chosen from that list will be appreciated." I think that DISTRIBUTING the list, unrequested, including in any invitation (even a shower invitation) can. "You are cordially invited to buy Bride something from the enclosed list."

I see your point about a lot of phone calls for the hostess. But not everyone will call her (or him, or them) -- some will call the bride, the groom, their parents. And some will e-mail. (How many people are invited to this shower, anyway?!) Anyway, I still don't think the convenience factor outweighs the unintended negative messages that, as is evident from this and other strings, many people perceive. After all, if you wanted to maximize convenience, why not just skip the party and "invite" people just to send a gift, without "inconveniencing" themselves by attending. (You know, I'll bet you some "hostzilla" actually HAS decided this would be cute and save herself some money and trouble, and then convinced herself that she was "conveniencing" the guests, like those charity "non-dinners" you see sometimes.)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 5:24PM
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How many people are invited to this shower, anyway?!

Well, I asked my MIL to keep it down to a dull roar, and there were 75 people there (and she got snide comments for a couple of years from the folks she left out!)

I guess I don't think that including the registry in the shower invite automatically means you HAVE to buy from there. I've never thought it did--maybe I have too much imagination? And I've appreciated not having to chase down that info.

(btw, morrisonsMYmuse, the part that DOES frost me is when the bride or mom-to-be opens a gift and says, "oh, it's my stock pot"--as though it was hers before she was given it. I wish they'd say, "oh, it's the stock pot I wanted")

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 7:52PM
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You can register for non-household items, such as luggage or camping or BBQ items. Some sporting goods stores have registries and Home Depot has one in some areas of the country.

I am among the group that likes registries as long as I don't receive the little cards in an invitation. Just be sure that most of your guests will use a registry if you take the time to create one.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 8:01PM
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Talley Sue, I'm sure there are those who agree with your view that giving the registry info is just for reference if wanted. Unfortunately, not everyone who received unsolicited registry info feels that way, and frankly, I've heard brides b!itch and complain about getting nonregistry gifts that they have spend their precious time returning (oh, the burden!) when "we told them where we were registered." These vocal bridezillas have further reach than their own families and friends, apparently, and most people I know are reluctant to choose a gift on their own if the shopping list is provided to them.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 8:34AM
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Talley Sue, you are so right about "Oh, it's my stock pot!" That IS off-putting, isn't it?

Which brings up another (very minor) factor about registering: it's harder to write a good thank-you note about something you registered yourself. I like to write, "What a great idea for a gift," or "The vase is really lovely." How do you compliment their taste when they just gave you something you picked out yourself? About the best you can do is say something like, "Cuthbert and I really appreciate you helping us get ready to set a beautiful table. Thank you so much for the place setting of our dishes." or "Petunia and I love having fresh flowers in the house. We will think of you whenever we use the vase. Thank you so much."

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 11:23AM
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We were recently invited to my DH's friend's wedding whom he attended college with. When asked via cell phone where he was registered, he jokingly didn't tell him! Even after pestering him, we still don't know where they're registered and we can't contact their family b/c we don't have numbers. I'm kinda frustrated, I would have liked to shop for something I KNOW they would like and I still will, but it will take me an eon to decide on something, LOL. :)


    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 8:26PM
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Haley, if I were you I'd do a quick search of the most common registry sources: Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, and Macy's. You may find their registry (most allow a search by name and wedding date or even just name).

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 2:54PM
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Oh, good grief, it really HAS happened -- or, almost. It seems that there is now something called a "floating" or "drop-in" shower. The hosts set up a time frame, say, two hours, and you are supposed to drop by with a gift (I hope that at least the honoree opens it in your presence), have a cookie or something, and leave. As usual, the excuse is the guests' convenience: "Oh, then they don't have to sit there for all the boring gift-opening." But isn't that the POINT of a shower?! The other rationale is that "we want to invite 60 people, and the house isn't big enough for them all at once." Heaven forbid you give up the possibility of more loot by only inviting as many people as you can entertain!

I'm sorry, but to me this seems like about an inch away from an "invitation" just to fork over an additional gift. If these guests aren't close enough to you to want to spend 2 hours at a party for you, or for the hosts to want to entertain them even minimally (nothing wrong with serving just coffee or soft drinks and munchies or cookies), then how can you feel comfortable letting them know you expect an extra gift from them?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 3:23PM
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Mary, that's a great idea. I'll give it a whirl! Thanks!


    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 4:44PM
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gellchom, that is horrible! It's not a shower, it's a drop-off-the-loot function. Yes, ONE reason for showers is to give gifts to the bride. But another reason is to have a party for her, in which she can spend time socializing with close family/friends, sharing stories and plans. The terrible idea you pointed out is definitely all about the loot.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 6:17AM
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Your registry ideas sound just right.Go ahead and register.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 2:49PM
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I have to disagree with your sister. I enjoy buying brides gifts off their registry. And I enjoy them for baby showers too. It cuts back on multiple gifts and you get what you need or stuff that is in your taste. But like other posters have said - don't advertise it ESPECIALLY on your wedding invitation. I think it's generally accepted for the hostess of your bridal shower to print on the shower invite where the bride is registered - afterall, a shower is a party to "shower you with gifts and advice." So guests attending a shower should really expect to bring a gift even if it is a small token or piece of advice. I only buy gifts off registries and I contact family members or the bride herself to find out where the registry is located. I wouldn't get married without having one, because for a lot of guests, they really expect it. Just keep in mind the tacky things associated with registries - if they give you registry cards, just toss them. And try to register at a location that is in close proximity to the majority of your guests. I'm from the boonies and if a bride in my area registered at PotteryBarn, it would be pointless b/c the closest one is 100miles away. So try something close to a lot of your guests. Good luck!! and don't feel guilty.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 5:12PM
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thanks Cekimon. i did register at i'm sure everyone can find a target pretty close to where they live... and if not, it's no big deal. i'm sure i'll love whatever i get (either that or i'll pretend to love it).
and gellchom... that floating shower is horrible! that's so tacky.
i'm having three showers but that's only because i have three groups throwing three seperate showers and there will be no double (or triple)invitations. i'm getting one from my mom and grandma, one from his mom and sister, and one from my church. do you guys think that this is wrong? like i said, there will be no triple invites and the only repeat guests will be my mom, my sisters, and me. i'd hate to look like a greedy person (and several of my friends have assured me that this is okay), but everyone just wanted to throw me a shower and i know so many people... i didn't want to disappoint anyone by not inviting them or just having one huge shower and not getting to spend as much time with each of my guests. also, alot of my friends don't know each other so i didn't want to have any awkward silences or tension between friends who don't exactly like each other.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 12:34PM
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Cekimon and morrisonsMYmuse, if someone is registered at a place inconvenient to your home, you can still order something on line or over the phone. That's what I usually do anyway, even if the store is in town. It's just more convenient. And with gas prices these days, even an international long-distance call would probably be cheaper than driving to the store even if it is in your town!

Of course, that means that the gift will be delivered, not in your hands, which of course you want for a shower. But if you leave enough time, you can have it delivered to yourself in time for the shower. And for wedding gifts, I know a lot of people like to bring them to the wedding itself, but really, you aren't supposed to do that; you're supposed to send them (or drop them off) before or after the wedding. That way the couple and their families don't have to worry about safeguarding them from theft/breakage and schlepping them all home on what is probably the busiest day of their lives. I also like the little bit of distance this creates between guests' presence and their presents!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 2:45PM
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do not advertise if you choose to register, and do not assume and go around telling people what you want. you will get the repuation for being a bridezilla who is greedy and spoiled.

i wish i knew more 10 yrs ago when my sister who is quite well to do already advertised her registry and as a single mom i felt this pressure to run around and buy something from princess's list.
my mother didnt have the good sense to inform me, as a young 20 something yr old that I was not obligated to do so, and should just buy her whatever.

rules for good taste

ONLY have ONE registry---- do not have multiple showers, parties and tell people what you want. You will quickly become thought of as agreedy person and even if people smile and give you the gift they will be cringing underneath!!

Do not advertise, if someone wants to know they will ask you. That way people are free according to their own beliefs on the appropriateness of registries and their finances and needs to buy accordingly.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 11:03AM
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I get your point, Cookiebaker, but don't agree with everything you say. I definitely do agree that one is never obligated to purchase a gift from the registry, or to spend more than they want to or are able on a gift.

As to showers, the bride is just the guest of honor, not the host. If more than one person wants to give her a shower, that's fine. I do think that people shouldn't be expected to give more than one shower gift, even if they're invited to more than one shower.

I don't have a problem with multiple registries, either, so long as they're not advertised in any way (especially not inserts in the invitations). Guests only buy one gift anyway - who cares if the couple has registered for a thousand more?

I don't see a bride, well-to-do or not, as a "princess" just because she registers for gifts that may be over the budget of some of the guests. Just because someone asks for something doesn't mean you have to give it to them. Each guest decides what to spend, and no one is ever required to buy from the registry.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 10:01AM
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i think the main things are it shouldnt be advertised, especially not an insert included with wedding announcement or invitation!! That sounds like 'you are hereby cordially invited to provide us with a gift from Macy's'!! I feel that our society has gotten so greedy and it used to be that you gave a nice gift period, then registries came along but people were reserved about using them, now alot of people it's like they expect to get lots of expensive stuff. I didnt mean to say brides are princesses, i was referring to someone who was wealthy and already had whatever they would need. When i was invited to their wedding, they included an announcement about where to buy their gifts. I was a single mom, and not knowing any better, felt pressured to go run around and spend money on something, while not even having money for some basics myself!!
ALso with multiple showers, i think at some point, isnt the honoree responsible to say in good taste 'gosh, thanks soo much, but I already have had one (or two) showers, and just wouldnt feel right about continuing to have showers. I appreciate the offer, though" because while the idea that one can GO to more than one shower for the bride but not bring gifts, well, I suppose ou could..the ones I went to there was always that inference to bring something. If your a millionaire, fine. Having veyr limited finances myself, i felt this put me in a awkward position of either not going, or going empty handed

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 10:57AM
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