Updated on 08.26.14

Gift Registries: Tactics and Good Taste

Trent Hamm

Our First Wedding Gift (wrapped).  Photo by TFDuesing.A few days ago, I received an interesting email from a person I vaguely knew from college. This person “rediscovered” me via The Simple Dollar, befriended me on Facebook, and sent me one or two emails.

Out of nowhere, though, the person emailed me a link to their wedding registry. It had been emailed to a lot of people, apparently – everyone in their email address book. The email included a generic invitation to pick out one of the hundreds of items they had selected.

I deleted the email. This was greed, pure and simple.

After receiving it, though, the issue of gift registries stuck in my mind. What exactly is tasteful behavior for a gift registry? Also, what kind of items should one put on such a registry?

Thoughts On Gift Registries

Should I Have A Registry At All?

Over the years, a few readers have emailed me asking whether or not they should even have a gift registry for their wedding or baby shower. Usually, their concern was tackiness – isn’t it tacky to make a big list of the stuff you want? Didn’t we outgrow making gift wish lists when we were kids?

To tell the truth, I’m completely in favor of gift registries for such occasions. Most people have large social networks that want to buy gifts for weddings or for new babies, but they might not necessarily know what a good gift is. By making a registry, you help them out – and also (partially) ensure that you don’t get redundant items.

How Should I Let People Know Tastefully About the Registry?

Similarly, I have no objection to letting people know about the registry under one condition: they’re invited to some sort of celebration of the event.

For example, if a person isn’t invited to your wedding or reception, they should not be told about your wedding registry. Similarly, if a person is not invited to a baby shower of some sort, they shouldn’t be told about your baby registry.

Thus, I find the appropriate place to mention a registry is in an invitation. Include a simple extra slip of paper that simply says, “For your convenience, there is a gift registry at Target” or whatever location is useful to you and to your guests.

Do not suggest people buy gifts from your registry if they’re not close to you – or at least not close enough to receive invitations to your event. Doing so will not get you more gifts, but it will ensure that those people look poorly upon you.

What Should I Ask For?

Many people simply put everything they could think of that they could possibly want on their registry. I know we did this – we simply walked down the aisles at Target and put literally hundreds of items on the registry.

Bad strategy. We wound up getting a bunch of things that we didn’t really need on our wedding day.

Instead, the best place to start is with a list at home

Over a period of time, identify the things you would actually use. Look for things that really need to be replaced if you’re making a wedding registry. If you’re doing a baby registry, ask parents, particularly those with kids under the age of four or so, because there are many baby items that seem like a good idea, but are actually pretty useless in practice.

Also,make sure you have a wide variety of values on the list – and have more less-expensive items than very expensive items

Don’t load your registry down with a bunch of $300 items – not many guests will be able to easily afford those items. Instead, seek out items with a wide price range – it’s fine to put a few big items on it, but have more inexpensive items on it. Think of it this way: even if someone is intending to spend quite a bit on you for a gift, they can always grab multiples of the less expensive items.

A final tip: if you choose items of direct and immediate use to you, there are several benefits

First, it becomes much easier to write thank you notes for the item, because you can comment truthfully on how you’re using the item instead of having to find tactful things to say. Second, if it’s something you’re actually using, it’s made your life easier and saved you money and probably time, which is what gifts in these situations usually hope for. Finally, it’s much easier to show your item in use to gift-givers should they stop in – for example, if you ask for a pan you’ll actually use, you don’t have to “drag it out” to impress someone.

In short, if you’re authentic from the start about what you want and need, that authenticity follows all the way through, from the gift itself to saying thank you for it and when you’re actually using it

And that’s the best outcome of all, for both the giver and the recipient.

Any other thoughts on gift registries?

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  1. Todd @ The Personal Finance Playbook says:

    Wow, that person has no pride at all. I’m not big on gift registries. I always give money for weddings – that’s what the people really want. A blender can only blend things but money can buy a blender or anything else they might want that’s sold in stores.

  2. Frugal Dad says:

    One of the stranger things I’ve noticed lately is the number of people registering their kids at places like Toys R Us for birthday gifts. I didn’t even know they had a registry service, and when I learned of it I assumed it was for registering items for a baby shower. A little surprised to discover birthday registries for 7 year-olds. Maybe I’m just that far out of touch!

  3. Kev says:

    I have to disagree on one particular point: including a note indicating whether and where you’re registered is the height of tackiness. If you’re inviting someone to an event such as a wedding or baby shower, you’re presumably close enough with them that they should be able to either inquire about your registry or find out from a mutual friend or relative.

  4. Michelle says:

    I am all for gift registries (having gotten married within the past year) but ours was sort of an atypical marriage. I was 20 and my husband was 22 when we got married. We both still lived with our parents (aside from living away at school) so we were both starting from scratch basically. We really did need all of those staples that are usual wedding gifts – and money (since we were moving soon after the wedding to another state away from families). We literally registered for everything a normal household needs, dishes, flatware, crockpot, towels, etc. We made out like bandits partially because we registered at a store that was familiar with everyone, and in the lower price range (everything was less than $50 other than a few token items) and it worked out great. We use everything that we have gotten, except for some gifts that we didn’t register for but I guess they thought that we needed them, like a chocolate fountain (which we’ve actually lent to several other couples to use at their wedding receptions…) It was also great because since we only registered at one store, we got lots of gift cards when there wasn’t anything left on the list that people wanted to purchase for us. We used the gift cards to purchase everything left on the list – and Target has a great deal when you register, if you come back after the wedding/birth date you can purchase the rest of the items on the list for 20% off as long as you purchase EVERYTHING left on the list. Worked out great for us!

  5. Joanna says:

    One point, though. An invitation to a wedding should never include a reference to the registry. The presumption is that if people want to know where you’re registered, they will find out. That’s what parents and bridal parties are for. Plus, it’s super easy to do these days. You pick the most popular registry spots & search online for the couple’s name(s).

    A shower invitation would appropriately include registry info as that’s the entire point of the party AND, and this is key, it’s not thrown by the gift receiver.

    One note is that stores that do registries have varying levels of agression with regards to the registries. Some even suggest you email folks to let them know. They make a ton of money from having folks register. (Not an excuse for the bad taste of having done it of course, but could provide a fuller picture of what went down.)

    The kids birthday registry just seems excessive. Kids these days are typically spoiled enough without gift registries.

  6. Matt says:

    I’d really like to register at Lowes or Home Depot is possible! We moved into our new house less than a year ago, and those types of stores are musts! But I agree, gift registries are necessities for people who want to get you something but don’t know what you have already or what you want. It’s extremely hokey to send registries to people who don’t get invites, though!!!

    My biggest problem with registries are that I know people won’t buy the items at the best price. Being as thrifty as possible, I have a problem with someone paying MSRP on a gift, when I could have gotten it at half-price. Oh well, it’s the appreciation of the gift and your ability to use it that counts.

  7. Johanna says:

    I agree completely that it’s incredibly tacky to ask for gifts from people you haven’t invited to the event, or to some celebration of the event. For the same reason, I think graduation announcements are tacky. What, exactly, is the point of a graduation announcement if not to say, “I expect you to send me a graduation present”? In my view, if you’re close enough to the person to send them a graduation present, you’re close enough to already know they’re graduating.

    But here is a question: What do you do when the happy couple *aren’t* considerate enough to put items on their registry that are in your price range? Is it appropriate to get them a gift that’s not on their registry?

  8. Stacey says:

    I’ve got to agree with inexpensive items on the registry. Find lots of them! It’s so much more fun for the giver and the reciever to make a gift basket with smallish gifts – maybe a coffeemaker, grinder and a bag of coffee beans, or a “kitchen” basket that includes lots of cooking tools and utensils. On the other hand I have friends who register for a dozen $20 wine glasses – I usually budget $30-40, so that means I can only get you two wine glasses?

  9. Joey says:

    To be honest, I find the idea of a gift registry (no matter the circumstances) somewhat repulsive.

  10. Aimee says:

    No, no, NO! Putting registry information in an invitation is the HEIGHT of tackiness.

  11. Kristin says:

    @Johanna If all of their gifts are out of your price range either give cash or a gift card to one of the stores where they are registered.

  12. Ryan says:

    My favorite thing about gift registries is the fact that you can clearly tell which parts the groom had a say in. It’s always like “expensive linens… fondue kit… crock pot… rock band 2.”

  13. chuck says:

    I’ve always thought the idea of assistance on student loan repayment would be a great wedding gift, but I can’t figure out how to make that actually work.

  14. reulte says:

    Johanna — if they put items on the registry out of my price range — then I’d give them a check. Which would (1) be more useful than an item (as Todd pointed out) and would (2) show them that their lifestyle is not something I want to spend *that* much money on.

    Personally I love wish lists and send one out twice a year (birthday and late November) … but I do personalize it a bit and I make sure that I send a nice long letter with it which tells what’s going on in my life and, occasionally, relates to why I want a particular item. For instance, when I joined Paperbackswap and SwapaDVD, I removed ALL books and DVDs from the list (I can wait). When my car CD player broke, I mentioned that and put “IPOD or something like it” on my wish list. I also say things like “doesn’t need to be new — if you see it at a yard sale, grab it for me”. My boy and I look through last year’s toy catalog (we keep one in with his regular books) and circle what he wants about twice a year although his tastes don’t change that much.

    I wish my friends and family would send out wish lists also so I could know what they need or desire. Only one or two have wish lists on Amazon — which I find a convenience place to keep a ongoing wish list.

  15. Beth says:

    @ Joanna — a lot of couples put large gifts on their registries in the hopes that friends and family will pool resources. Often they’d rather have a bunch of people go in and get them a larger item than a whole bunch of little gadgets and gizmos they don’t need or want :)

  16. Tamara says:

    I think registries have their place. My sister is getting married this summer, and on her invitations she says “Shortly after the wedding, the couple will be moving to New Zealand to begin their lift together. With this in mind they ask that you not purchase gifts that need to be shipped. While your presence is gift enough, should you wish to purchase a gift, the couple is registered at _______. This information was included in the invitations that were mailed out, and I think it is actually *helpful* to those that are attending because it would be VERY unlikely anyone would be able to track down their registry because it is a New Zealand only site that most people have never heard of.

  17. Livia says:

    It’s still considered inappropriate to include a registry information card in a wedding invitation. Most couples now have a wedding website where they can put that information and people can look if they want to know. As mentioned by other commenters already, it is okay to include registry information in a shower that is hosted by someone else.

  18. Danielle says:

    I agree w/ Tamara that registries have their place.

    I think it odd that people are making registries for every little event these days though. Moving to a new rental apartment is no feat…I don’t think a registry for your apartment warming is really necessary.

  19. ChrisD says:

    I think that for weddings a gift registry IS appropriate and it SHOULD go out in the invite. Who would go to a wedding and not bring a gift? Why should I have to spend time and effort hunting for the registry on the web? And I like the idea that everyone can chip in a bit. For one wedding I bought a single fork, spoon and knife (which cost my whole budget). This way you get can get top quality stuff but each person only spends a reasonable amount. And when I visit, then I can eat with ‘my’ knife and fork.

    Question: if someone does something so tasteless as to send everyone their list, is it appropriate to write back and tell them how you feel about their behavior?

  20. Lea says:

    I think including the registry in a wedding invitation is tacky. If people want to know they will find out, otherwise they will probably give cash or nothing at all if they so desire. Gifts are not required, nice and thoughtful but not a requirement.

  21. Amber says:

    I’m getting married soon and the fiance and I have been milling over this idea. We’re in a bit of a different situation, though. We live in a tiny apartment (together) and don’t plan to buy a house any time soon, regardless of our marital status. So we don’t need any more *stuff*. That said, we feel our families are going to want to give us presents and, to be perfectly frank, we’d like some help out from them for expenses and such. We’ve argued back and forth about how tacky it would be to ask for money. The fiance has joked about registering with Citibank to pay off our student loans. But honestly, that’s the best way anyone coming to our wedding could help us out for the future.

    For anyone else, I think registries are brilliant – you don’t end up with stupid crap you don’t want (unless you don’t think much about your list) and your family doesn’t have to think at all about what to get you. I bought my cousin a hideous clock from Bed Bath and Beyond a few years ago I never would have thought she wanted but it’s her taste and her house and not mine. I trust she’s very happy with it.

  22. Kat says:

    I used to find it tacky to have a registry mention in an invite – however almost all of my friends have created supplementary wedding web sites to collect RSVPs and included links to their registries. Social networking has expanded our groups of friends and different types of registries at different stores have blossomed; I don’t feel like it is practical anymore to assume people will “just find out.”

    Another note – please buy from registries (circumstances and etiquette permitting). Sometimes I hear that “oh the registry is so impersonal and I’ll get them what I think they want.” Of course, any recipient should be thankful for a gift, no matter what. But registries exist to guide you towards what the recipient needs. Again, I stress buying from registries if CIRCUMSTANCE and ETIQUETTE permit – not if it’s some kind if impersonal mass email like the one Trent received or it is loaded with super expensive items.

  23. ChrisD says:

    I wish my friends and family would send out wish lists also so I could know what they need or desire.

    Um why not just ask them.

  24. SteveJ says:

    @Johanna – Is it appropriate to get them a gift that’s not on their registry?”

    Why not? I’d say your options are card only, money, donation in their name, or less expensive (hopefully thoughtful) gift. I personally always give money, because other than two or so gifts, that’s what I appreciated the most after my wedding. Like Trent said above, people go crazy with the registry and end up with a quesadilla maker. We also got a really nice toaster that we surely did not ask for. It sat in a box for 3 years, being moved about the country, until the $10 one broke. I’d appreciate a donation or a sentimental gift, but it depends on the couple, I’m sure. It’s probably hard for a number of couples to keep these things in perspective. It’s the most important thing happening to them, but it’s one of many weddings the invitee may have to accommodate. Also in my family there are going to be relatives that won’t adhere to a registry no matter what, but they also give very thoughtful gifts.

  25. Looby says:

    Ugh, I actually kind of loath all registries after working in a high end kitchen store where people would often come to set one up. There are only so many times you can follow a couple as they say “ooh these are expensive pans- put that down” and “I don’t know that I need a sashimi knife but it matches the rest of the set so let’s add it” before the excessive greediness gets too much.
    And I know, not all couples are like this but something about a blank page and a store full of expensive, shiny new items seems to bring out the worst in many people.

  26. guinness416 says:

    Weddings have the tendency to make otherwise sane people go absolutely, completely, ravingly insane. And that can often apply to the guests getting huffy about “etiquette” and “not in my day” and “how we did things” as much as the couple and their families. So I ususally let any wedding-related nonsense like emailing facebook friends (!) slide and assume the people involved will come back to earth eventually. I recognize registries’ place and convenience – they’re certainly not going anywhere. I mostly use the registry or give cash and agree that supplying the registry to people not invited is eye-rollingly off, but not worth breaking friendships over.

  27. SteveJ says:

    @Beth – that’s great, but most weddings have a coworker or friend that doesn’t no anyone else very well. So the people most likely to need and use a registry are left out. Besides, I find the problem with registries (doing a baby one right now), is that people look at the big stuff on the shelves. My baby registry is for washcloths, bibs, etc. You know the stuff I need a lot of and it’s really cheap.

  28. guinness416 says:

    Donations in the couples’ names are a bit dubious as wedding gifts in my opinion, unless you know full well that it’s a cause they actively support. If you feel the WWF or whoever needs more money, donate in your own name.

  29. SteveJ says:

    Wow…can you tell I was talking on the phone as I typed that last comment? No = know…sorry bout that.

  30. wisnjc says:

    Please please please don’t EVER put registry information in a wedding invitation! You are inviting guests to an event, not conducting a business transaction (if you buy me X, you can come to my wedding). It is incredibly tacky. Emily Post states “Registry information should not be included with the wedding invitation. It’s perceived by many as placing more emphasis on the gift and less on the request that the recipient join the couple on their special day.” (from EmilyPost.com) Other etiquette experts agree.

  31. bg says:

    One big tip: When registering at Target don’t wear Red.

    My wife wore a red shirt and since they give you that big gun you instantly look like an employee and have to answer questions from every other customer along with your spouse asking how many oven mitts you need!

    And i don’t see whats tacky about it. You are going to buy a gift for the people anyway (unless your a cheapskate) and if you buy into the “how much is your time worth” mentality that is on this blog often they doing you a great service by saving you tons of time looking for a gift.

    If we could only get people to register for their own birthday cards…..

  32. Chelsey says:

    I agree – putting that on a invitation is tacky. On a shower invitation, yes, but not on the actual wedding invitation.

    I got married two months ago. People who wanted to know where we were registered asked us.

    As far as picking out things to put on it, I did something without thinking about it that later I realized was really helpful. We registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and I made a list of things I could think of right off the bat that we needed: linens, dishes, a few pots. Then I added them to the registry online. We did almost all of our registry through the website, and when we compared to friends’ who were married at a close time, we had so much less stuff on ours, but it was stuff we really needed. The difference? We didn’t walk through the store touching everything that looked awesome, and we weren’t influenced by salespeople.

    We have a modest little duplex, and we have everything we need, much of which was provided through our registry or through people giving us money.

  33. SanAntone says:

    Also remember that invitations or graduation announcements never require a gift (though you should acknowledge them). I’ve received hundreds of such things over the years, via mail and e-mail, and I always send a card or note and my best wishes. I only buy a gift if I actually attend the event or if I am particularly close to the person.

    Last week, I received a wedding invitation (registry info included) from the grandson of a neighbor I lived next to years ago. I only met the grandson once or twice. At first I was annoyed, thinking it was greed, but then I decided to conclude (charitably) that they were probably asked to include me by this neighbor who was just using this as a way to let me know her grandson was getting married and perhaps thinking I might like an excuse to visit my old hometown.

    I sent a card and my honest best wishes, and I sent a little note to my former neighbor congratulating her on the good news in her family. I don’t feel at all guilty about not sending a gift. If the invitation WAS sent out of greed, they are out of luck.

  34. femmeknitzi says:

    Wow, perfect timing! My fiance and I are registering now!

    We’ve chosen to list our registries on our wedding website which will be listed on both the save-the-dates and the invitations so that only people who are invited will have access to it.

    However, my co-workers want to have a shower for me. I’m really on the fence about this one. They’ll invite the whole agency but we can only afford to invite my department to the wedding. I feel very uncomfortable with these people feeling obligated to buy me something when they’re not invited.

    One of my co-workers said she thought it would be okay because at least this way the whole agency can share in the event but I still feel weird about it.

    I’m just not sure about how to handle this. Is it weird to just say no gifts necessary on the invitation to the shower? Should I ask my co-workers to just keep it to our small department (there’s only 7 of us)?

  35. Mike says:

    The problem my fiance and I have is that for the most part we don’t actually *need* anything, and we would rather a guest of ours bring no gift at all than a toaster we don’t need. However, apparently people can become insulted if the bride and groom request no gifts, so we just registered at Amazon for stuff we know we’d enjoy. I’m the only person I know that’s put drum equipment on their wedding registry :P

  36. Sam says:

    I don’t even like the registry info included in the invite but don’t take offense if it is. When we got married (at age 35 so we had two full sets of just about everything since we both had homes) I put the registry info on our wedding web site and gave it to people when the asked for it and my bride’s maids told people before our shower.

    I like the registry trend (house warming, birthdays, babies, etc.), especially for people I don’t know super well because I find it easier to pick a gift of the registry and I know it is something they want.

    When we did our wedding registry, we had a lot of the basic home goods but most of our stuff was hand me downs and we wanted to replace it and or have a complete set. I also registered for expensive fine china and I knew I would not receive all of it as gifts but wanted to start.

  37. Catherine says:

    Gift registries are essentially tacky because they anticipate that people will give you gifts (there’s a big difference between assuming that people will and ADMITTING you assume people will–that difference is called good manners). On the other hand, guests can find it very helpful to know what your china pattern is, or to know whether you need a blender or have already received six of them. So I say, make a registry if you must, but keep it as low-key as possible. People can ask you if they need guidance, or as someone mentioned, your parents or close friends could drop an occasional hint.

    My main point is, why not allow people to try to do something generous and thoughtful for you? How are you worse off if you get a gift that’s not particularly useful or to your taste? That could only be true if you are not only anticipating gifts but thinking of them as an income source. Expecting your friends and family to contribute to your support (by giving you just what you want or need) is no better than billing them.

  38. SteveJ says:

    @femmeknitzi – My coworkers threw a big wedding shower for us, but my wedding was going to be in a different state, so I didn’t have your problem. They did a collection (like for retirement gifts), and bought a shared gift. Depending on how pushy the collection process is, they can give or not guiltfree (we just pass around an envelope and sign a card).

  39. Kevin M says:

    Etiquette be damned, I agree with ChrisD and others that think the registry should be somewhere in the invitation – not necessarily printed directly on it. Just makes things easier when all the info is in one place.

    Otherwise, Trent lists some good tips about registering. We were pretty careful with ours to select stuff we’d actually use and that wasn’t too expensive. I think you can tell who the greedy brides & grooms are by the registry, which is a bigger turn off than seeing where they are registered listed with an invitation.

  40. Muppet Girl says:

    femmeknitzi: I would think saying “no gifts necessary” to the work shower is a good way to handle it. That way you’re not leaving anybody out of the celebration, but showing you’re not expecting anything from them.

    However, if people outside your department/circle of friends do bring gifts, you might feel more pressured to invite them to the wedding. And you don’t need anyone inviting themselves this way.

    Ask your co-workers to keep it small.

  41. Daina says:

    I felt a bit icky about setting up a registry for our wedding. We wanted to let people know what we could use, but we didn’t really feel right choosing lots of specific items (get me THIS toaster from THIS store please!) or want to take the time to pick them out. Ultimately we went with a generic wishlist site, like wishlist.com, which let us list generic items (“We would like a yogurt maker”) and a few specifics that matter to us (“This knife set would be perfect”).

    It made us feel more comfortable with things and also let us express our preferences in as much detail as we wanted to. Ultimately we got a lot of really useful presents, and it thrills us to be able to use them, often on a daily basis. We had a few people ignore our preferences, in some case getting us nicer things and in others getting us something lower-end, which is the problem with a registry that doesn’t actually lock you into a brand or a store. But we really liked it.

  42. Lilly says:

    I have always been wary of gift registries… When my husband and I got married, we didn’t really need a bunch of stuff, so we put “No gifts, please” on the invitations. We ended up getting quite a lot of cash gifts, and a couple people brought gifts anyways (one person framed their copy of the invitation in a really nice frame and gave that to us.) And some people just brought us a card, or nothing. We also had a reception later for my husband’s friends and family after we moved. We didn’t register and didn’t request “no gifts”, so we ended up with a bunch of random spatulas, towels, mixing bowls, etc (stuff we already had several of and REALLY didn’t want or need) because people wanted to bring something. Most of it went back to the store or to Goodwill. So I can see the benefit of a registry, but I think most people go overboard. Unless they are getting married right out of high school or maybe college, most people already have sheets, towels, pots and pans, etc. but they register for NEW ones! I don’t see the point of that.

  43. femmeknitzi says:

    @SteveJ–My office always does wedding and baby showers big. Honestly, I think my immediate co-workers would be disappointed if I asked them to tone it down. Maybe I can just ask them to go with the “your presence is a gift” wording so that people will KNOW not to feel obligated.

  44. Rob says:

    Stay unmarried. That way you wont have to split the stuff up in the end. Main cause of divorce = marriage.

  45. Kate says:

    A gift is not the price of entrance to a wedding, and therefore should not be included on the invitation. You are inviting people to a party, not inviting them to give you a gift. Gifts are secondary.

    A nice, noncosumerist way: http://alternativegiftregistry.org/

    I asked for family stories on my registry.

  46. Steve says:

    When my wife and I got married, we spent time putting together our registry. We got one or two items off the registry, three or four items not from the registry, and the rest was cash/checks. People knew that we were moving across the country and presumably didn’t want to burden us with a bunch of stuff that needed to be shipped. Of course, we didn’t invite people we barely knew to our wedding!

    A registry is a convenience for the gift *giver*, not the recipient. It can provide ideas if they want some help, and comfort that they are less likely to be giving something you already have or that someone else is giving you. Still, they are totally optional for the giver. The recipient has no right to complain if they get two toasters, be grateful and just deal with it!

    The following are all tacky to various degrees:
    Inlcuding registry info in your invitation
    Sending it to everyone who’s email address you have
    In fact, any method of distributing the registry to anyone who is not specifically seeking it out!

  47. Steve says:

    Forgot to list: writing “No Gifts” on the invitation, since it assumes implicitly that people were planning on giving you gifts! And everyone, please stop asking if there is a polite way to request cash gifts only!!!

  48. Catherine says:

    “A registry is a convenience for the gift *giver*, not the recipient.”

    Steve, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone put it quite so well. I agree with you completely.

  49. Kim says:

    I love gift registries; they help me pick out something useful without giving a duplicate. Just make sure you have a wide range of items on there to accomidate different levels of spending and you’re fine.

  50. Sarah in Alaska says:

    “One point, though. An invitation to a wedding should never include a reference to the registry. The presumption is that if people want to know where you’re registered, they will find out. That’s what parents and bridal parties are for. Plus, it’s super easy to do these days. You pick the most popular registry spots & search online for the couple’s name(s).”

    Yes! This! There’s actually online services that collect all the most popular registry locations so you can just search at one site and it will bring back Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, Target, etc. Try http://urs.theknot.com/parallelsearch.plx?skin=nytimes

    I look for registries for weddings, but skip them for babies.

    We recieved many lovely things that weren’t on our registry. It’s a gift, you can choose what you’d like to give. Generally, that’s what I do anyway – find something on the registry that I want to give.

  51. 444 says:

    I haven’t read the comments. I agree with you, Trent. But I would take it one step farther:

    I don’t think the registry should be mentioned in writing anywhere. People should have to ask someone close to the proceedings if there is a registry and then be directed to it. Those who don’t want to use the registry can buy whatever they want and those who would like the convenience of some “tips” (the registry) can find out about it upon inquiry.

  52. Mike says:

    For our wedding my wife and I registered for a couple of big things because we knew that her aunts and uncles would pool together and buy them for us. We also put a ton of little stuff. We registered at Target, not someplace that we wouldn’t normally shop. The registry cards were with the shower invitations, not the wedding invitations.

    We made a real effort to only register for stuff that we would buy ourselves, not overpriced crap that we would never use. We see a lot of people registering for really expensive stuff that just doesn’t seem right.

    For our baby registry we did a similar thing but didn’t register for clothes because we didn’t want to be that picky.

    All of that was a long winded way of saying that I like registries but only if you register for stuff that you would actually buy from a store that you would actually shop at.

  53. John says:

    I’m still quite young, so I haven’t been to that many weddings, but my understanding has always been that participating in the gift registry goes hand in hand with attending the wedding, or at least receiving an invitation to it.

    That said, I think it’s quite ballsy of you to call them out on it on a blog you know they read.

  54. 444 says:

    No, that’s new-fashioned tackiness that people are expected to buy a gift from a registry. Registries were originally created to help people who could not think of anything to buy and might be pestering those close to the proceedings for ideas.

    I would call them out on it, too, because it sounds like they only vaguely knew Trent from a long time ago and quite possibly re-established contact with him so they could add another name to the list of people who might “shop the registry” for them. In other words, were they really good friends to begin with? (therefore does it matter if they take some insult?) Probably not – and I’d bet that they read his blog only long enough to put his name on their potential-shoppers list.

  55. Kat says:

    Well, you said they found you through this site…it’s likely you DID call them out by blogging about it. I wonder if the couple is going to see this post and how they react.

    The mass email may have been the retailer’s or a wedding website’s doing. I just registered for wedding gifts at a couple of places, and websites want to set it up to email your entire email address book the info. Tacky! I told my bridal party, they can put it in shower invitations if they want (even just HAVING a shower feels tacky to me, so I told them to keep it low key and small and to focus the party on something other than me in the middle of a room opening presents), otherwise I am registered at the big typical places if people want to search or they can ask me, my bridal party, or my close family. I am inviting people to my wedding to celebrate with me, not to buy me the exact blender I registered for!

  56. Matt says:

    I’m confused… why is it inappropriate for someone to host their own shower? If you have a small family/friend base, and/or are throwing an informal wedding shower event, why does it need to be hosted by someone else? Anyone?

  57. Kris says:

    It’s absolutely awful to write the registry information on the invitation. It’s like saying you only want the gifts, not the company of the people you’re inviting. Saying “no gifts” is just as tacky. Saying “cash only” is worse. If you want to get the word out, tell your bridal party and close family, or put it on the wedding website.

    The purpose of the registry was to indicate the china/silver patterns, not to make a big wish list. It’s natural that stores would take advantage of that and encourage 7-year-olds to make birthday registries, but it’s really impolite to make one for that purpose.

  58. Java Monster says:

    In my family, family members would get quite upset if there wasn’t a gift registry *somewhere*. We’re all spread out over the country, and we don’t know each other as well as we might (through accident or design).

    Tastes change, and needs, and it’s great to be able to keep up with that.

  59. Kris says:

    @ Matt
    It’s inappropriate to throw your own shower because the purpose of a shower is to “shower” the person with gifts. The only reason the shower exists is for gifts, so throwing one yourself means you’re just plain soliciting gifts from people. Hope that helps.

  60. 444 says:

    To answer your question, it’s technically tacky to throw a party for yourself, tackier still to throw one that is obviously designed to garner gifts.

    So it’s better for someone else to do it to foster the illusion that someone else was thinking of you, not that you were thinking of yourself and all the loot you’d get by inviting people to come and bring you some.

  61. Gwen says:

    I got married a year and a half ago. I registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond and included a little slip of paper that BBB provided that had my and my fiance’s name printed on it with a registry number. I think it said something tasteful like “For your convenience, Gwen and John are registered at …..” I made the mistake of only registering for cheap things, because I was worried about intimidating people or offending them with included more expensive items. I wish I would have included just one or two at the bottom, because there were a few guests who just bought $200 worth of smaller, cheap items. Now I am married and really wish I would have received a KitchenAid mixer!
    Some people are close enough to you that they want to buy an expensive gift or spend a lot of money on you. I don’t think it is distasteful to include at least one or two of these types of items.

  62. HonestB says:

    I’m amazed at the number of commenters here that insist that good etiquette means not communicating where you’re registered in any way to people, and sort of expecting them to figure it out.

    Guess what: If you’re getting married, your guests want to know. Communication is good. So long as you aren’t pushy about letting them know, it’s very polite.

  63. Stacy says:

    I didn’t want to register when I got married, but got overruled by my wife-to-be. My idea was to suggest guests make a contribution to a favorite charity, much like you see at some funerals. Something like “In lieu of gifts, the bride and groom suggest making a contribution to one of our favorite charities listed below…” The way I figured it, we were not just starting out and already had most of what we truly needed.

    So now we have a bunch of crystal and china that are used once every two years or so :-)

  64. Jules says:

    I have never understood wedding gifts and the associated registries. I mean, if you’re not that close to the person that you don’t know what they want/need, then do you really belong in their wedding?

    For my wedding, I plan on including a line or two somewhere that says something along the lines of “Gifts are welcome but not expected.”

  65. Des says:

    I think it’s utterly ridiculous that people get offended by registry information in an invitation. Just because I’m good friends with a couple doesn’t mean I’m buddy-buddy with the Bride’s mother (or sister, or whoever I’m supposed to hunt down to get this information.)

    It is very CONSIDERATE OF MY TIME for the couple to take their own time and let me know what they want for a gift.

    The idea that this is poor etiquette has out-lived its time. Everyone brings gifts to weddings and it is helpful to have the shopping dome for me.

  66. Cynthia says:

    I’m staying out of the etiquette discussion. But as for what to put on your registry, I say put as much as you can on your registry, especially wedding or baby registries. Why? Many stores (Target included) will give you 10% off any items not purchased on your registry for a certain period of time after the event (say 30 days). My sister is getting married in July and put a bicycle and digital camera on her wedding registry. Does she expect to get either as a gift? No. But she intends to get them 10% off if that is a good deal after the wedding!

  67. tentaculistic says:

    I think the MAIN purpose of a wedding is to allow people to call you either “inconsiderate”, “untraditional”, or “tacky”. I wish that were a joke, but it’s a damned ANY way scenario.

    Pretending that a wedding is a gift-optional event (when so clearly social custom is absolute that it is a gift-giving event) is just disingenuous, and makes everybody’s lives more complicated than they need to be. I think that failing to communicate a gift registry just makes your guests’ (and especially the bride’s mother’s) lives difficult. Most people invite 200+ people nowadays. So each of those 200 people have to call someone who’s already frazzled and cranky and stressed? (why do mothers stress so much?? I went out of my way to give people *nothing* to have to worry about, and they insisted on adding in details that caused angst) Failing to communicate the gift registry is just not helpful to guests.

    I think the best modern way to deal with this is to register with common stores (Google helps with finding the registry), and have a wedding website. That way on your invitation you can put a link to the wedding website for all the details (like directions, parking, hotels, things to do in town, and oh yes if you’re interested here is the registry). That way you get around the thorny question of whether to put a gift registry in an invitation.

    And despite my tendency to avoid calling nuptial couples tacky, I have to say it is SO TACKY to send a gift registry to people who are not invited to a wedding! What were they thinking? Let’s hope his fiance found out (and wasn’t in on the idea) and slapped him upside the back of his head with one of her brand new colanders.

  68. Nick says:

    There are many other reasons to open a registry. At many places, the registry stays open for months or even years after your wedding. Friends and family can purchase things they know you NEED for birthdays and anniversaries. Also, you usually get a hefty discount on anything you purchase off the registry yourself. That alone makes it worthwile.

  69. Aryn says:

    I’m all for wedding and baby registries because they help people determine your taste and needs. Here’s a quick story about what happened to a couple who didn’t register:

    The groom was the son of the local pastor. Most parish members were invited to the wedding because they expected to be. The reception was held in the church hall to accommodate the crowd of 400. The couple didn’t live in the area, so they didn’t register. Unfortunately, everyone wanted to give the couple a gift. This is a traditional crowd, so the couple received 75 crystal bowls, some silver frames, and several other useless items they had to somehow transport home after the wedding.

    If you don’t have room for/a need for more stuff, register for a few items only. That’s a clue to people to give cash without being overt.

  70. sophia says:

    I used to work at a gift registry at JCPenney, and I have a couple of points to add. First, if the store has someone walk around with you to register, they are probably expected to upsell you. My store was pretty lax, but we had a goal of $500 – $1000 per registry (which I never got). Second, registering for a range of prices and types of items is good, but there are still people who will buy you what THEY think is an appropriate gift (like white towels) Third, if you at all ever in your life think you might want fine china, register for it. It is prices as a wedding gift, and JCPenney, which is not even high end, charges $100 for a gravy boat. And there always seem to be people who want to give china. And finally, if you are a gift giver and you by the registry item at another store, please, please, please have them take it off the registry. People get so angry when they receive two of something. I think you can even do it on-line now.

  71. Heather says:

    My husband’s family is largely from the other side of the county, so a gift registry was a nice way for them to send something, even if they were not able to accept our invitation to come to the wedding. Also, if they were coming, they could ship the gift ahead and not have to deal with it on the plane, etc. @Steve is right — it’s a convenince for the gift giver.

  72. Evangeline says:

    In this rush and hurry world, manners and grace get lost in the shuffle. Babies, weddings and such should be cause for celebration. However, there is never any excuse for the bad manners and all too often, these so called invitations are mere grabs at materialism and smacks of greed. A gift of any kind should be graciously accepted with genuine appreciation whether it’s on a registry or not.

  73. Jeff says:

    I would like for my wife to register for all future birthday, christmas, anniversary, etc gifts. I am a horrible gift buyer, for some reason I just cant get it right. A registry is so much easier.

    As for weddings doesnt bother me if you put it in the invite, but most of the weddings I have been to involve mostly checks, maybe a few bigger items from close relatives, but mostly just money. The shower is where all the gifts came from.

    When we got married, we registered for the shower, and if people wanted to continue to use it for the wedding, thats their own business.

    I guess it is tacky to “expect” gifts from everyone at a wedding, but at the same time, I feel it is not polite to not give a gift that at least covers your food at the reception. I always give a gift at weddings. I actually wrote down what everyone gave us for our wedding, and that is what those same people will get for their wedding.

  74. J says:

    Trent’s next post will be on the tactics and good taste of an open or closed bar at a wedding. After that pot-stirring discourse, he can move onto the “band versus DJ” discussion and then go right on into the frugality of smooshing wedding cake into your new spouse’s face. And to finish up the weekend, there could be a discussion on hiring a limo versus driving yourself (and the wedding party) and the merits of hiring a professional photographer and/or wedding planner.

  75. Megan says:

    Although it’s commonly accepted that guests are going to bring gifts to weddings, I would like to think that it’s still the case that someone who was invited but could not manage to bring a gift would still be welcome. Each person invited to the wedding should be someone that you want to share the day with (or the child or plus-one of someone you want to share the day with :). While we are ACCUSTOMED to guests bringing gifts, we still shouldn’t EXPECT guests to bring gifts. That’s why I agree that including the registry information on the invitation is tacky. It just further shames those invitees who know that society expects them to bring a gift even if they can barely afford to dress up and get to the wedding in the first place.

    Yes, I understand that people in desperate financial straits have many frugal gift-giving options available to them — homemade gifts, gifts of their time, etc. — but I knew a woman who didn’t attend a wedding because she couldn’t afford to give the couple a “proper” gift. It’s a terrible shame that anyone should ever feel like that.

  76. Linda says:

    Ooh, it has already been said, but including registry info in an invitation is soooooo tacky. And taking a gift to the wedding instead of sending it to the bride or groom or parents means that there is one more chore for someone to do – staying until the end of the event to gather up all of the gifts and carting them off somewhere else.

  77. My cousin had a wonderful gift registry (Crate and Barrel and Home Depot). There were many low-cost options (bath mats, garbage cans, dish towels) for 20-something friends without much money. I thought this was sooooo considerate.

  78. Chiara says:

    Yeah, no matter what the practical justification, it will always be tacky to mention gifts (or cash, oy vey) in an invitation. Yes, people do it, but you can be certain you will offend at least half of your guest list, even though they’ll pony up anyway and settle for talking about you behind your back. :)
    The point of inviting people to a wedding is to have witnesses joining you in celebration, right? I semi-reluctantly did a registry for china patterns and such for our wedding for the convenience of those who wanted it, and let it go by word of mouth or told those who asked. I love my china, but the gifts that meant the most and still make me feel wonderful when seeing them were the unexpected ones. A registry seems too much like sending someone out to do your shopping and saying, “oh, and by the way, spend your own money on this.” Not much fun, but I’m a person who really loves surprises. I guess it beats a “gimme your money.” (We received a bunch of checks anyway, without ever mentioning cash.)

    Registries for kid’s birthday parties – just wow. It’s a genius move on the part of the stores, I guess.

  79. Beth says:

    Another advantage to a registry is that you don’t have to worry about shipping or packing items! When my friend got married last fall, she registered for china and other nice (but breakable) items. The wedding was six hours, two trains and two cab rides from where I was.

    The store had the option to buy online and the then the bride and groom could pick it up at a location they chose. I didn’t have to pay shipping or pack the item — so that was a savings for me.

  80. Reid says:

    For our wedding, I wanted to avoid hassle as much as possible. I was tacky and included registry info in the invitation. It let people know what we would like. This was particularly handy for the extended family i was basically forced to invite. I really really really wanted to avoid getting tacky stuff that you have to pretend to like. I am horrible with it. Then you have to have that particular item on hand when they visit. and you have to haul it around, and store it. And ultimately find an environmentally friendly way of disposing of it. and hope and prey they don’t show up to your rummage sale. I told every single person that would listen to me, that their attendance meant more to me than any gift could.

    And don’t get me started on candles. I would rather have a great big hug than a candle. fortunately family passed my abhorrence of candles around so that the only one we received was a gag gift.

  81. Claire says:

    We received an invitation to a wedding recently which said “No gifts please, but we’ve just had a very expensive kitchen fitted, so please send a donation for that”. Needless to say, I thought this %very% tacky.

  82. Joan says:

    My suggestions for things to register for? Vacuum cleaner bags/filters; picture frames.

    We registered for those, and while a lot of people thought it was “dumb,” my boss at the time was a good sport and bought us a case of Hoover bags.

    Now, we always have one when we need it, and that’s money I would have been guaranteed to spend that I saved, thanks to him.

  83. Leslie says:

    Megan – I think you put it wonderfully! I hope to get married someday and I’ll admit the gifts would be nice, but I would never want someone to not attend my wedding if they couldn’t buy me a gift. They are invited because I want them there, not because I want a gift.

  84. liv says:

    yeah, that guy sucks. i’d do a small registry,

  85. jan says:

    I have never done a registry but this year around my birthday I did do a wish list. I have six adult children who have bugged for years for a list of what I wanted. What a surprise and joy to get almost everything on my list!

  86. kirstie says:

    I am glad to receive registry information in a wedding information. It is then up to me to decide whether to spend 5 minutes on-line buying something from the list that I know the couple want, to buy them something else entirely, donate to the charity of the couple’s choice or not buy anything at all. I know it wouldn’t be recommended in any book on etiquette, but in my opinion including registry information in an invitation is just a way of making life easier for your guests and that is good manners. I don’t want anybody to feel they have to go to the trouble of posting things to my parents! If I am assuming that people are going to assume that I have a wedding list, I am perfectly happy to be upfront about it and put the information on a convenient piece of paper for them. They are quite welcome to ignore it.

  87. Helen says:

    My husband and I really felt uncomfortable registering for anything at all, but the fact is that people WANT to give a wedding gift and they generally appreciate some kind of guidance. So we registered our honeymoon at our travel agent – a registry that was only made known to people who asked. People could give as much or as little as they liked, we wouldn’t even know how much each individual contribution was, and our wedding thank you cards were from our honeymoon destination. A few people gave us actual physical gifts anyway; they were thoughtful and specific to us. These are lovely to have around now – it’s nice to remember that these things were a wedding gift and to get sentimental about them and want to cherish them throughout our married life. No one gets sentimental about a toaster.

  88. Kelly says:

    Re: Comment #4, on better deals on gifts:

    You can use Amazon for your wishlist/registry and use their Universal Wish List function to add items from other sites. That way you can help people find a better deal AND they can manually note that they’ve bought your item elsewhere.

  89. TopazTook says:

    Why does this have to be an either/or thing? Gift registries are nice and convenient for both the giver and the recipient (I speak as someone who has been both, and as a gift-giver greatly appreciates the convenience of a gift registry), but there is no law that says people can’t give a gift that isn’t on the registry. They could even use the registry for an idea that they then purchase elsewhere (say, someone registered for washcloths at J.C. Penney. They sell them at Target, too, you know).

    Re: comment #46, <>:
    Not only is it physically difficult to inventory the contents of my geographically distant relatives’ households, I believe it would be considered rude were I to do so.

  90. Bonnie says:

    I just got married a couple of months ago and I wholeheartedly agree with Trent on taking time to do your registry and think about what would be most useful for you and your spouse and your new household. Perhaps it’s not necessary if you’re having a small wedding with only very close friends/family who know you well enough to know exactly what to get you. It also may not be necessary if you know that no one will be throwing you a shower and it’s customary in your culture to give only money at weddings. I spent a few hours working on our registry at 3 different stores and whittling it down to only the items I knew we’d use and I was extremely pleased with the results at my bridal shower. I now use all the items I received and have a kitchen to be envied. Plus, it’s so much easier to write those thank you notes when you actually like the gifts you received! For those who are wondering, I returned over 50% of the off-registry items I received for store credit and saved up for the best vacuum ever. As a past guest at many weddings & showers, I’d also have to say that I really don’t like it when couples don’t do a registry. It’s so much faster for me to find a gift if there’s a registry. Nowadays, I’ve noticed that some couples will forgo the registry to try to “force” their guests into giving money. It doesn’t work and the couple just ends up with a bunch of gifts they don’t want and have to return. Also, for those of you who expressed concern about not wanting to seem like you’re asking for gifts? The reason that a bridal shower is thrown is to “shower” the bride with gifts to start her new household. There’s no other purpose for the shower. Also, how many weddings are there, really, where a significant number of guests don’t bring gifts? If you really don’t want gifts, then just elope, because saying “please, no gifts” on an invite is just as tacky and presumptuous as listing registries on a wedding invite (which is a serious etiquette faux pas). Registry info should never be listed on a wedding invite. You can list it on your wedding website or just have parents/bridal party spread it around when guests ask. It should, however, be listed on the shower invite if the shower hosts want to make their guests lives easier.

    In response to the question about office showers, they usually just take up some sort of collection (from whomever wants to contribute) and get one big gift/gift basket from the office. It’s really just an excuse to take a break and eat some cake. So, don’t even worry about whether your office mates expect to be invited to the wedding or will want to know about your registry.

  91. Bonnie says:

    I’d like to second what Cynthia had to say about about the 10% “registry completion” discount after the wedding. I put the aforementioned very expensive vacuum on my registry, knowing full well that no one would get it for me, just to get the discount after the wedding. I saved up all my gift cards and store credits and bought the vacuum (at no out-of-pocket expense) after the wedding. It is the most awesome thing ever! And, to the woman who mentioned the KitchenAid stand mixer, I put that on my registry, also, and my mom and aunts got it for me for my shower. (On sale, of course, because my mom is so thrifty!) I use it a couple of times a week and my husband now thinks I’m the cookie queen. Love that stand mixer!

  92. Lenore says:

    A wedding invitation I recently received not only gave gift registry info but noted, “Cash is also excellent.” The RSVP card was cut crookedly, and the return envelope was the cheap kind with blue privacy lining. Tacky begets tacky, so I really scrimped on gifts.

    For the bridal shower, I painted a wooden box white, decoupaged it with the couple’s photo from their invitation and added embellishments. The bride can use it as a memory box or for jewelry.
    $4 Unfinished cigar box with latch
    $1 Small oval mirror for inside the lid
    $2 Appliques, pearls, ribbon, etc.
    $1 Paint and glue

    Instead of blowing money where they registered, I hit the dollar store for practical kitchen stuff that matches their color scheme.
    $5 Plastic cooking utensils
    $3 Metal utensil holder
    $3 Oven mitt, potholder, towel and dish cloth
    $3 Basic cookbook
    $1 Reusable fabric shopping bag (as wrapping)

    Living on a fixed income, I seldom give cash for any occasion because it reveals how little I was able to spend. As a bargain shopper with some craft skills, I can usually put something together that looks like it cost more than it did.

  93. renee says:

    My co-workers Daughter was getting married – I bought 2 sheets of the “Love” stamps and 2 gas cards. We also had address labels made with their married name and new address on them. useful and much appreciated.

  94. Shopping Tips says:

    That guy must be ashamed of himself. I’d prefer receiving money or a surprise gift on my wedding or birthday. Making wishlist is selfish.

  95. Ann says:

    It is NEVER appropriate to include gift registry information in an invitation to any event, including a shower. It presumes that the invited guest is planning on getting you a gift! If the invited guest wishes to buy you a gift, he/she will ASK if you are registered anywhere. Then you can tell him/her. Whoever is holding the shower can also have that information to convey to guests when they rsvp, should they ask!

  96. Jenny says:

    shower invites, a-okay.

    wedding invite – tacky, tacky, tacky.

  97. Jessica says:

    I can attest to the importance of only asking for items you really need. My husband and I got married at a young age and we needed so many things that I sort of got overwhelmed. I added all kinds of things to my registry that we could have done without. I got more home decor items for our bare apartment than anything, and now that we moved into our first house, a lot of the stuff no longer fits. 4 years later, I have not once used the deep fryer my mom told me I should add or the breadmaker I thought I needed. It upsets me b/c I feel like I wasted my friends’ and family’s money by asking for things I didn’t really need. And I find myself wishing I would’ve added that electric knife my grandmother encouraged me to get… I just never thought I’d be making any kind of meat big enough to use it, but I was wrong!

    Sorry for such a long post, but this kinda made me realize that I could’ve done things better.

  98. Judie says:

    @amber – Love the line about registering at Citibank. Hilarious.

  99. penelope says:

    i would never do that. that’s just ruse and selfish

  100. Anne says:

    Registeries can be quite useful and a small information slip in the invitation/announcement doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is the lack of courtesy in not writing a thank you note or even acknowledging a gift. I give very few wedding gifts now because of that and have a standard one I stock up on for children, ones I know, of friends. Am considering changing it though in favor of a copy of Miss Manners or Emily Post.

  101. Kim says:

    I know someone who once received an invite to a medieval themed wedding that was printed on colored copy paper and mailed in your standard letter-sized envelopes. It included the registry info, instructions on what to wear, including a shop where you could rent your costume, and asked you to please bring your own alcohol and a dish to share for the “potluck” reception. I think the registry information included was the least of anyone’s worries…

  102. Rachel says:

    We didn’t have a registry when we got married, and got a lot of cash gifts alongside some gifts, which almost exactly covered everything we needed for our home. We might have chosen different patterns for the silverware or crockery, but after nearly 10 years of handwashing, things are starting to get a little chipped anyway, and we’re thinking of replacing the set, at which point we will choose ourselves.

    I think that a wedding registry where you can pick up a gift that has been noted by the couple is okay, as long as they do include a large range of smaller items so as not to alienate those with smaller budgets (I heard a recommendation to put only a couple of larger items on the list at first, so it doesn’t come across as too greedy, and if they get bought, you can add a few more, but keep most of the items in the lower range, and people can always buy two items). What I didn’t like about a close friend’s registry was that the gift purchasing experience for guests amounted to paying the store, and noting on the list what it was to pay for, and the couple got a shipment of all the items to their home, along with a list of who had paid for what. That seemed so impersonal, I preferred to give cash.

  103. My fiance and I are going through this situation right now. I’m pretty old-school even though I’m only 24 so the idea of gift registries seems wrong to me.

    At first I felt that this is a wedding… not Christmas and I just want the people important to me to be there. Gifts are certainly welcome but not expected. But then when everyone explained to me that it helps out the guests and prevents you from getting 6 toasters I changed my mind a bit.

    But definitely don’t include the registration in the invitation. People will ask where your registered if they want to, so there’s no need to plaster it on the invite. Just my opinion though.

    -Gen Y Investor

  104. Elle says:

    As a fresh newlywed, we did not receive a single thing from our gift registries (target & JcPenny) at our wedding, except possibly the 2 relatives who are shipping their ‘mystery gifts’ to us. We received heirloom items and other great gifts that represent the gift giver. My husband and I didn’t want to do registries in the first place, but it came in handy at the bridal shower, as I was preparing to buy a house and stock a larger kitchen.

  105. Elle says:

    As a fresh newlywed, we did not receive a single thing from our gift registries (target & JcPenny) at our wedding, except possibly the 2 relatives who are shipping their ‘mystery gifts’ to us. We received heirloom items and other great gifts that represent the gift giver. My husband and I didn’t want to do registries in the first place, but it came in handy at the bridal shower, as I was preparing to buy a house and stock a larger kitchen. We did not include the registries on our wedding invitation, but they were listed on the shower invites.

  106. bleu says:

    I always felt it was kind of tacky for couples who had been living together a long time to have a long registry of upgrades.

    Historically people had registries because they were starting a home and had nothing – they needed things. It was hard to get these things so the items had to be ordered in advance. Today it is easy to get things and many couples live together beforehand. Nota Bene: I’m not passing judgment on these couples, just stating facts.

    If you have started a home together already, you probably have most things you need. I feel that most wedding gifts (especially cash) have been a way to equalize the cost of lavish weddings.

    Perhaps the best way to notify people of your registry is to have a wedding site, such as one theknot.com and put information there. But post other information so the registry is only one aspect. I recently wanted to find some registries and this method was much better than visiting all possible merchant sites to search for it.

    That person who emailed you should be ashamed. However, I’m curious to know if you contacted them before posting this. Surely they will see it – I wonder what the response will be.

  107. Etiquette experts are in complete agreement on this point: NO mentioning of registries with your invites. (We researched these issues for our service, Rainfall of Envelopes.)

    But I’ve seen hundreds of couples create a wedding website (try The Knot), and then list their registries there where they can easily be found.

  108. Shelly says:

    I think registries are great so long as you’re putting down things that you can really use and would choose to purchase yourself. I just went to a wedding where the couple was registered at two very expensive stores — looking at the items they’d chose, it almost seemed greedy. When you’re just starting your life together, do you really need crystal wine glasses that cost $70 each?

    I agree with what most people have said here: the only invitations that are appropriate for mentioning registries are ones where the party is not being arranged by you (like a bridal shower that’s arranged by bridesmaids). Sending out your own registry information is tacky and makes it sound like you’re expecting gifts. If someone really wants to know, they’ll ask or find it themselves. I always just poke around on the usual store Web sites until I find the couple. It doesn’t take long.

    From a frugality standpoint, it’s great to set up a registry because most stores offer you a discount after your event to purchase any items remaining.

  109. Jim says:

    I suppose gift registries are one of the marvels of modern merchandising technology. But they are separate from the invitation to an event. I like your thoughtful note idea that you suggested recently for graduation gifts…

  110. Madelaine says:

    Baby bargains is a great book if anybody’s planning for a baby.

  111. sharon says:

    Registries are a great idea and it’s important to communicate the information to friends and family and not force them to hunt for it. What if a good friend lived far away and doesn’t know your family to call and find out where you’re registered?
    My husband and I used a registry but put noting over $200 on it and only what we needed as we both had homes of our own. I didn’t want anyone to feel they had to shell out a lot of money. I recently got a shower AND wedding invitation for a wedding and was highly annoyed that I was forced to buy two gifts and overspend my budget (friend of family’s daughter). I hate bridal showers and the present opening routine…did not have one for my own wedding.

  112. HonestB says:

    I was recently invited to a wedding and was quite pleased to be informed about the registry. I didn’t think it was rude at all, particularily since they put mostly inexpensive items on it. Why:

    1. Because it ensures the gift I buy is something they actually need or want. I know these people, but I don’t know every item in their kitchen. These days, most people that get married already have a home and the basic kitchen utensils and appliances they need. The whole “starting their lives together” gift theme doesn’t make much sense in an era where most people “start their lives” years before they get married.
    2. Because it ensures I won’t get the same thing as someone else. Who hasn’t heard stories of a couple getting 5 toasters or something like that at their wedding?
    3. Because I didn’t have to go hunting for the information.

    Personally, I think “etiquette experts” need to start living in the present.

  113. CHS says:

    NEVER NEVER NEVER put gift registry information in your own invitation!! Talk about greedy!

  114. andrea says:

    you should never put registry info in an invitation. I can’t believe you told people to do that. You sound like a guy!

  115. RM says:

    This is the best thing that we did for our wedding in 2001 – we registered for board games, and that was pretty much it. We knew that most of our friends and family couldn’t afford much, but wanted to get us something. Registering for board games meant not only did the guests have relatively inexpensive items to get us, but we had an abundance of board games to have people over and play — a great frugal get together anytime! We still use them all the time.

  116. Megan says:

    I got married three months ago, and my now-husband and I debated about putting the registry information in the invitations, and discussed it with our parents as well.

    Here’s the thing. As tacky as many people (apparently) think it is, it is the most expedient way to get the information about where the couple is registered. I don’t view it as greedy, because the individuals receiving the invitations are invited to the wedding, and most of them are going to want to bring a gift anyway. The way I see it, it saves people trouble.

    As I understand “etiquette”, the guests are supposed to ask the couple’s parents where the couple is registered. But that doesn’t always work well. For friends of the couple, they may not know the couple’s parents, or have their contact information. For friends of the families, they may not have contact information for the family that’s in-the-know (my mother-in-law knew, but my mom couldn’t remember to save her life).

    Yes, you can create a wedding website, but how many people have aunts and uncles and grandparents and older friends of the family who are invited to the wedding are confused by the internet? Or at the very least, uncomfortable using it. I tried the wedding website thing for my wedding and maybe 15 people visited.

    Searching for a couple’s registry is an option, but there’s no generalized search site (trust me, I’ve tried to find one when my friend got married and didn’t include registry information in the invitiation), and even if you know the store where someone is registered, if that person has a common name, or the server is acting funny, you won’t be able to find their list, which often leads to frustration. Hell, I was the registered individual at Target (not a good choice for a registry) and half the time I couldn’t locate or access my list. How were my guests going to?

    Including the registry information was the most logical, straight-forward, and hassle-free way to get the information out, for all parties.

  117. Megan says:

    Oh, and the other thing: most weddings are hosted by one (or both) parents of the couple. So having the registry information in the wedding invite is no more tacky than having it in a bridal shower invite that is hosted by someone else.

  118. IASSOS says:

    For all those in a giving mood, here is my registry list: solid gold Cadillac; condo in Hawaii; airline tickets to Tokyo (first class); gardener for a year; lifetime medical insurance . . .

  119. Joann says:

    The thing is, *you* might not think that putting registry information in the invitation is tacky, but I promise you that lots of your recipients will. I generally give it the, “Well, they probably don’t know any better,” interpretation, but others give it the, “Wow, what greedy people!” interpretation.

    You know, registries existed long before the internet, and we all managed to find out where everyone else was registered with a minimum amount of trouble. It’s fine to ask the bride or groom, and it’s fine for them to tell you. The point is, the request for information should come from the gift-GIVER, not the gift-RECEIVER.

    As one of the previous posters said, gift registries are for the convenience of people who want to give gifts. Period.

    And as others have said, this goes for anything you might say that infers that people will give you gifts, such as “no gifts,” or “donations to my favorite cause only,” or “please help us pay down our mortgage.” No one is ever required to give you a gift, even if they come to your wedding and the reception. They do it because they’re being nice, not because it’s the price of admission. So, since you can’t make any assumptions about gifts, you can’t try to tell people what to give you.

  120. Ajtacka says:

    My oldest friend got married about 5 years ago. As my gift to her, she asked if I could do an online registry for her. They included the address on the invitations, and the site also had the wedding details. It worked out brilliantly for them. It was very basic, but allowed them to choose things from different stores, give as much or as little detail about each item as they wanted, and it gave them a record of who gave them what. She thanked me during a speech at the reception, and several guests sought me out later to thank me for it – one told me the story of his morning. He was running very late, and still didn’t have a gift. So he sent to the site, chose something, clicked on it and ran out the door. He still managed to give them something they needed and still use.

    I did the same for another friend a few years later, and I thought about making a business out of it, but I’m just not that way inclined.

  121. Sally says:

    My daughter has a baby registry at JC Penny’s as well as a little boutique. Her felling was that even her guy friends would make it to the mall to find a gift. I know there quality is great and they have reasonable prices.

  122. Baley says:

    “People should have to ask someone close to the proceedings if there is a registry and then be directed to it.”

    In other words, people should have to go more out of their way to find out what you want? Why? The point of registries is to make gift giving easier for the giver! It’s not about greed or selfishness.

    I’ve heard lots of people comment that whatever they buy can be exchanged for something the couple wants. Really? This is especially bad in the case of baby showers. What new parent wants to make several trips to Babies R Us to return the 5 duplicate “must-have” items that someone got them simply because they didn’t look at the registry? It’s a struggle for new parents and newly weds to come up with all the money it takes to add to their family (especially in the case of 2 ppl who previously lived with their parents and have none of their own household items).

    I don’t understand the big deal. If I got a shower invitation that did not have registry information I would be quite perturbed to have to track down someone to find out where the people were registered. Give me a break, all of you “height of tackiness” people. Registries make the world a better place.

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