My tacky registry: Why I think registry etiquette is bullshit

July 27 | Guest post by DIYallthethings
Nerdiest Wedding Card Evar.
Thanks to Karen for uploading this hilarious registry gift card to our Flickr pool.

Sometimes I browse The Knot (I know, I KNOW) for etiquette tips about things I'm not sure of (traditional wording on invites, etc.) or to get an outside perspective. The last time I did this was to try and get a handle on exactly WHY it is such a breach of etiquette to do anything other than a traditional, scan gun, store registry.

You see, in my hometown, the cultural norm is to ask for money. Right on the invite. You put "Presentation Only" or "Presentation" on the bottom right of the invite, and it indicates to everyone that you are accepting cash. I didn't realize that this was not only something that doesn't happen everywhere, but apparently my entire prairie background is SUPER TACKY.

We also have socials (sometimes called Stag and Doe parties) to raise money for the wedding, usually held about 3-6 months beforehand. I knew that practice was specific to the area, and apparently in just the past couple of years people they have been on the downswing because people are starting to think it's tacky.

How it works is that you rent a hall, and then you get some cheap booze, food, a DJ, and a liquor license. You sell tickets for like $10 a pop to anyone who will buy them. Then you solicit businesses, friends, family, etc., around the city to donate prizes for your auction. You create about 10-20 prizes, and you sell off tickets during the social.

Everyone knows these events are a money-making scheme. Because it's regional tradition,ย everyone is fine with it. I've been to about 15 socials in my life, most of them for people I've never met. I've donated prizes. I even flew in from out of town to attend my brother's social, because the social is a big deal.

I bring this up only to point out my first big issue with "wedding etiquette:" the mistake of thinking that what's rude is universal. It isn't.

Here is why I think traditional etiquette is wrong when it comes to registries:

  • If you would prefer for people to donate to a charity on your behalf, you should be able to indicate where you would prefer that money go. It is a gift for you after all. Still, they should get some say in where that money goes because it's their gift to you.
  • Spreading news of a registry by word of mouth was fine when everyone was from small, tight-knit communities and barely left their hometowns. Now the internet exists, people are all over the place, and it's pretty likely that the person most effectively able to get the word out is you. Go forth, internet-minion, and do my bidding.

  • OF COURSE some gifts are expected. That's not to say they are required, or that the idea is to "giftgrab," but gift-giving for weddings has been around centuries. Some people are going to bring gifts. I have never been to a wedding where I haven't given a gift. We create regular registries (which was a tradition started by department stores in the '20s, which kind of ruins the whole "BUT MY DELICATE ETIQUETTE" speech for me) to assist in the selection process and prevent duplicates, because we KNOW some people are going to give gifts.
  • Indicating a preference of charity (or house fund or honeyfund) is hardly forcing people. You are simply indicating a preference, in the same way that you registered for a particular spatula. And just like that, a guest can decide they'd rather get you a beach-glass framed photo frame. Again, people are not required to get you anything. No one is forcing anyone to do anything.
  • My politics don't shut off just because I'm getting married. I could go on for hours about my issues with materialism and weddings and describe every little reason why I prefer not to register at large chain stores. Instead we've chosen to register in line with our personal politics, for donations to organizations that we already support and a smattering of handmade items from independent artisans.

tl;dr:

Registry etiquette is bullshit. If you want experiences over a spatula, a house fund over a stand mixer, or a donation to charity over a ice cream maker, then that's what you should register for.

Who else is bumping up against the dreaded wedding registry etiquette issues?

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  1. We said "no gifts" (we don't need anything, we don't have anyplace to put it even if we did, plus we're having a destination wedding and feel weird asking for stuff when we're already asking all the guests to drop a decent chunk of cash on travel) — and some people have been telling me that THIS is rude — that we NEED to provide a list of things we want so that people who want to buy us presents ANYWAY (despite our wishes) know what to buy. Whaaaa?

    21 agree
    • I hang out on an etiquette forum (long story), and they object to saying "no gifts, please" because it implies that you expect people to give you gifts. As the article says, that's a perfectly reasonable expectation, and the vast majority of people have it, but admitting to it is wrong by their standards.

      5 agree
      • It's also rather rude because it is restricting how you 'like' to be gifted, thus implying that you are not caring about the thought of the gift itself from friend/family/relatives or the joy they might get in blessing you.

        Pretty much, a 'no gifts' notice (unless the bride is literally living in a one-room cave or a missionary who has no space for anything) is a kill-joy for anyone who expresses love or happiness with gift-giving, and goes even farther to tell them that their contributions are completely unwanted.

    • When it comes to registries apparently there is NO tacky-free option. So whatever, I say we all let our tacky-flags fly. lol

      22 agree
    • Oh god. I'm just about to send out invites to our destination wedding where we have also requested no gifts, I feel like hell is going to rain down upon me. The truth is that I'm actually fairly into gifts and would love some, but I agree with you about feeling weird when people have already spent the considerable sum to travel to our wedding.

      2 agree
      • Since there is no requirement that people bring gifts, then a 'no gift' notice is unneeded. Many people will already consider money spent on travel to be a gift, or just get a small gift or card in token of the day. Also, since gifts do not have to be given at the wedding and can be mailed months in advance or even after to the bride's mothers house (or the new couples house,) those who really want to give gifts can work it into the budget and not have to worry about traveling with a present.

        However, telling the guests 'no gifts' shuts down the joy of anyone wanting to get a gift, and makes anyone planning on getting you a gift feel uncomfortable since now they feel that their contribution is 'unwanted.'

    • My cousin did a destination wedding. They also had an engagement party to celebrate with people who could not make the trip sine they knew it was going to be expensive for people. They flat out told everyone that if you were going to make the trip to the wedding then they wanted NO GIFTS. They said the gift was our attendance to the wedding.

      They did wind up making a registry for people to bring stuff to the engagement party but they did tell almost everyone not to worry about gifts. I believe most people just wound up giving them money in cards which was nice but not expected.

      3 agree
    • Ugh… you might want to register as a 'just in case' especially if your family happens to be older or traditional. Because I have a couple friends who did not register. They got lots of presents anyways, things they did not want or need, because people EXPECT to buy you a present.

      6 agree
      • When an middle aged couple from church got married, they didn't register for gifts. People wanted to give and did so… and they received a large number of crystal picture frames / knick-knacks.

        They should have registered for gifts.

        5 agree
        • We ARE a middle aged couple who don't need "stuff". We haven't made wedding plans yet. I thought eloping or having a tiny ceremony would shut down the gift problem, but now it seems improbable. Eck.

      • We didn't want a registry but understood some people wanted guidance so we told people who asked that we liked 'experience gifts' – maybe we could all go to dinner or a movie together. This worked really well for us – we had some really fun gifts, including a gift certificate to the Kennedy Center and visit to a pro ice hockey game with friends! I think the key is to provide guidance but still leave room for some imagination.

        2 agree
  2. Registries aren't even a thing over here in the UK.
    And boy have a had some not so nice remarks from Americans because we are asking for cash using a cash poem. Which btw are used all the time over here! In simple terms it says thank you for coming, if you would like to bring a gift we would like cash to decorate the house or towards a honeymoon, but no worries if you don't we're happy if you just bring yourselves. (But in a sweet rhyming poem, which people here like, so it doesn't come across as 'give us cash')

    11 agree
    • Here's what I wrote on our registry:

      "More than just kisses so far we've shared,
      our home has been made with Love and Care.
      Most things we need we've already got,
      and in our home we can't fit a lot.
      Your presence at our wedding is all that we need,
      that will bring us great joy indeed!

      If you insist to give us a gift,
      some cash for our honeymoon would really give us a lift,
      However, if you prefer to shop all day,
      feel free to surprise us in your own way,
      please try to keep it light,
      as we have a really long flight."

      I can't take credit for the whole poem, I adapted it from something I found online. I did do a small 'sokind' registry as I thought of a few things that we really would like, some people may not like this and if they have a problem with it they can give us nothing and/or skip the wedding entirely. Honestly so fed up with people's B.S. because they don't like the decisions we've made, people are showing thier colours and we are finding out who will be real supporters to us in our marriage.

      23 agree
    • My step sister did this, and it was a bit surprising here in the sunny southeastern U.S. (the land of ancient obnoxious levels of etiquette). Her honey isn't from the States, and they are both comfortably settled people already possessing the majority of their needs and desires. I thought it was utterly adorable, and they had guests hang envelopes from a tree like ornaments! It seems so much more practical and considerate.

      7 agree
    • It's not just the UK, as an Australian I've been to a lot of weddings and have never seen a registry, never ever. The whole idea of it just seems so odd to me. I have been to many that have the give us cash poem or just state that there will be a wishing well. Personally I find the idea of requesting any sort of particular gift to be a bit off, things or cash but that's just me.

      I don't think it matters what you do there is always going to be someone who is not happy with it so you may as well just deal with it. It's your wedding and your traditions and if someone does not like it they don't have to come. I would say gift requests are just one of those things you cannot make without it bothering someone in some way.

      7 agree
      • And yet I'm Australian and haven't been to a wedding in the past ten years where there wasn't a gift registry!

        2 agree
    • When you said "cash to decorate the house" I imagined dollar bills all over your walls.

      7 agree
    • US guests objected to the adorable cash poem when so many weddings here have a dollar dance during the reception? I frequently do not understand my country.

      2 agree
  3. WORD! And very-well said.

    I just can't wrap my head around the idea that a store registry where you PICK OUT THINGS YOU WANT YOUR GUESTS TO BUY FOR YOU is "okay" but anything else that involves picking out things you want your guests to buy for you isn't. Are the big box stores spreading these rumors to try to make more money? lol.

    But I've seen people even here on OBB saying that they don't like the idea of a honeymoon registry.

    I think it's kind of like the stigma against online dating, which I thought had vanished but is apparently still alive and well in some circles. The end result is you go on a date with someone – or the end result is that you get a wedding gift. Does it really matter HOW you got to that end point?

    I'm marrying a guy I met online and we're doing a honeyfund registry, and anyone who doesn't like that or thinks it's tacky can skip our wedding ๐Ÿ™‚

    24 agree
    • That's the hard time I've been having with registries, because we would feel tacky having a regular registry! I would never judge anyone else for doing it and I love buying stuff off of other people's registries, but it's not something that's in line with our sensibilities and it seems crazy to me that it's the only non-tacky option. Because etiquette?

      2 agree
      • Traditional registries are my favorite scavenger hunt, I use them to find the wackiest thing on the list. One year it was duckie shower curtain rings, another a bocce ball set.

        10 agree
        • Yes! I had glitter on mine and my brother in law put bath tub crayons on his!

          2 agree
    • I'm also marrying a guy I met online, and we're doing a honeymoon fund. We're just all sorta levels of tacky! ๐Ÿ™‚

      4 agree
    • It is absolutely the big box stores perpetuating this! I did the "traditional" registry at Bed, Bath & Beyond and then they called me to say I didn't have enough on the registry! They said for 100 guests I should register for 300 things because guests like a variety (it's all about my guests). But if I am being forced to pick out things I want people to buy me, I don't want to water it down with 200 other things that I maybe don't need and are just for padding.
      Also, we only did the registry to give the registry die-hards something to work from. We also put in a note about loving home made and second hand gifts, the few we actually got of that variety are absolutely our favorites!

      3 agree
      • Oh Lord! I would love to know what Bed, Bath and Beyond would say about our 25 item registry for 177 guests! We just don't NEED much. We literally put everything we don't currently have as far as living items on the registry and it came to 25 items, that's it! That's why we also asked for cash or gift cards because with just the registry it was like, well, 25 people can buy us something and the rest are SOL.

        2 agree
        • Yes, it was an awkward conversation with me trying to explain to her why I don't need 300 bed or bath things.
          On another note, we also registered at REI which could be considered "less traditional" and we got all the gifts from that registry and only about half from the BB&B registry. So guests DO like to buy the fun things! We were able to register for a National Parks yearly pass and have used that waaaaay more than some of the housewares we "needed"

          5 agree
  4. Truth. Some cultures you're just going to get wedding gifts, and often physical items. It is NOT gauche to indicate a preference; people can take it or leave it. It's one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't things." Here's how we handled it (taken from our wedding website FAQs):

    Q. Awesome! Psyched for you guys! Where can I get you a gift to celebrate your new life together?

    A. We know that for some people, this is an important aspect of celebrating a marriage, so we have a very small registry of physical objects we could use; funds for our life goals; and charities we love and support. If you would like to congratulate us in any of these ways, feel free. Registry information is available on this website.

    However. HOWEVER.

    This "new life together" isn't all that new. In fact, after living together so long we've really cultivated a home together that feels very "us." Also, we live in Chicago, so space in the apartment is at a premium–and we're already trying to cut down on the amount of stuff we have. Finally, we know a lot of you will be traveling to celebrate at some of these events, and travel is expensive! We are so grateful for your friendship, love, and support, and your presence in our lives and at any of these celebrations is gift enough. Seriously.

    27 agree
  5. My wedding registry is at a big-box store that is famous for its, shall we say, bullseye logo. My fiancรฉ wanted an upgrade to his cooking supplies, so he's in charge of that. I joke that we chose this retailer only because Barnes and Noble doesn't do wedding registries . . . yet.

    "Tacky" and etiquette are such fast-moving targets (haha), not only because of culture and regions but also because of time. My parents and I have butted heads because they've done wedding things that are considered "tacky" today but weren't considered "tacky" 30 years ago when they got married, and vice versa with me doing things in line with etiquette today that would have been the epitome of "tacky" 30 years ago. (For example, my grandma, for some reason, believes it's tacky when a bride DOESN'T wear a hat, so she forced my mom to wear one in her wedding and tried to convince me to wear one. Now, if a hat is part of your wedding ensemble, rock on with your bad self, but yeah, no hat for me.)

    And some "etiquette" advice from 50 or 60 years ago would make your feminist jaw drop today, like one bit I recall from a 1950's bridal magazine that said it was "against etiquette" for a bride getting remarried to wear a veil, as "she is no longer pure." WHAAAAAAAAT. Try to pull that shit today and you'd get at the very least a strongly-worded lecture. Makes you wonder what wedding etiquette we're telling people today that will make people go "seriously?" in the future.

    12 agree
    • B&N will do them. I used to work there, when I worked in the kids Dept I did Baby registries. Some employees at some stores may tell you they don't because it is mostly done by hand, written out. I never had an issue with it. Sometimes the customers would just wrote down the titles of what they liked & sometimes I walked around & did it. (Depended on how busy it was)
      We also don't need a lot of things for our wedding, We registered at the Bull's eye Logo place also. I think there's about 20 items on it. We decided to because they sent us an offer for a $20 if we did so & some people have asked. I am trying to stress that NO GIFTS are required tho.

      1 agrees
  6. First off the Social idea sounds brilliant. My guess is it works better in Smaller communities (not a city) and it's a shame that something so unique is being killed off because the mainstream find it 'tacky'. It seems like the original crowd funding ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a partial Chinese background and gift giving is not a thing, in fact it is about as uncouth to them as money gifting seems to be in the West. Its traditional to at least give the couple enough to cover the cosy of your meal. You gain social standing if you can afford, and do, give more. (Sweeping generality alert) The Chinese love to gossip and it soon gets out who had given the most and can be a bit of a competition between guests to be that one.

    4 agree
  7. I'd love it if Socials were a thing in my area. $10 and a possibly entry or two at an auction for a night of dancing and drinking? Sounds more interesting than the normal dinner/bar, or asking each other what we want to do with no real answer routine. As long as you're providing entertainment and fun at least worth the price of admission, it sounds like a good time all around!

    6 agree
  8. Love love love this article. My fiance and I will be moving to go teach in China literally two days after the wedding. We are only allowed to take two suitcases each, weighing 50 pounds per suitcase. What on earth are we supposed to do with presents? Put them in storage for potentially years to gather dust?

    I had such a hard time trying to figure out the nicest possible way to say "no gifts" and get the message out there to the people we invited. Everywhere I looked it said "tacky, tacky, tacky" "It makes your wedding like a gift grab, register anyway." I didn't want to insult anyone, it was a difficult task. In the end my mother put a nice little insert into each invitation that said "As we will be moving to China after the wedding the bride and groom request well wishes or a donation to their new home in China fund." or something to that effect. It was quite well worded.

    5 agree
    • Wait…not registering and saying No Gifts somehow looks like a gift grab??? People are out of their minds.

      11 agree
  9. What really burns my biscuits about the traditional registry is that you're so limited as to what you can register for: bedding, dishes, kitchenware, bathroom supplies. That's it. When Husband and I got married, we had all of that stuff, but we needed a new bed that wasn't haunted by the ghosts of girlfriends past. Totally appropriate wedding gift, but it wasn't something I could register for. Other people might really need a new car or repairs done to their house, but where does Macy's stock those for a quick scan? I got the impression that people expected us to register for expensive gifts that we could return to pay for a bed (or repairs, or a generator, or whatever). So how is registering for expensive presents for the purpose of returning them less tacky than asking people to contribute to a larger wedding gift?

    12 agree
    • Also! Some stores won't allow you to return gifts for cash– they will only give you store credit. So that doesn't help you at ALL if you need to pay for car repairs or any number of other things. Plus it's absurd to expect a couple to go through the trouble of returning gifts they don't want/can't use, when you KNOW that they don't want them/can't use them, in order to get enough cash together to do important repair work or make a large purchase that will really improve living situation/quality of life/etc. If you ask me, THAT is rude!

      5 agree
  10. The only thing I think is rude is expecting a gift. I don't think it's rude to ask that if people would like to get you one, they give fancy china from a registry, money towards your home or honeymoon, a donation for charity, or a gift they choose themselves supporting a local business or artist. Whatever works for you.

    But it's fairly likely that on your guest list, you either have people who are not well off, or people who need to travel a long way and hence spend a lot of money to attend your wedding, and I think that making it clear gifts are totally optional and you are just happy to see whoever you've invited will take any sting out of whatever-it-is you've requested.

    11 agree
    • It is pretty rude to indicate what 'type' of gift you find acceptable, as it implies that you do not trust the giver to get you anything you want or like. Furthermore, it sort of defeats the purpose of wedding presents to begin with – which are about friends and family giving what they think would be good for the couple to start out on their new life together.

      It's OK to indicate some preferences by making registries if you want (though not required) – so long as those are not treated as mandatory, the only gifts allowed, put on the invite, etc. It is rather rude to post anything like 'no gifts' or 'charity in lieu of gifts only' or 'honeymoon cash only' – since again those defeat the purpose of friends and family participating in the new life of the couple, and also snubs the thoughtfulness of anyone planning on giving or making a gift.

  11. I don't understand why it is such a faux pas to include registry information with your invite. I'm not Nancy Drew, I don't want to have to hunt that information down. As a guest, I LIKE knowing exactly where you are registered.
    We have decided to do a honeymoon registry and I guess that is still considered tacky in some circles. Oh well.

    13 agree
    • I totally included my honeymoon registry in my invite and nobody died from shock and horror.

      1 agrees
  12. The f***ing registry is one of the biggest fights and headaches I have had with my Mother and family throughout our Wedding planning. My fiance and I have lived together for five years, we already have the essentials and we don't want stuff that we don't need.

    I set up our registry on Zola.com because neither one of us wanted to register in a store (not our idea of fun) and this way we could pull from anywhere (independent artisans as well as big stores) and also set up a monetary registry (for a home) at the same time. I thought it would make it easier for everyone, one place to go to and everything is organized so nicely. It even has an exportable thank you spreadsheet!

    Well, it didn't go over too well with the family. I've been told that we should do Target or some other big chain as well (no), put more "traditional items" on the registry (again no), and that we should not have a monetary registry because it is tacky/rude (no no and more no). I even put an everyday china set (after much insisting from my Mother) on the registry because we could really do with replacing ours and someone didn't like the pattern so they complained to my Mother that they didn't want to get it for us.

    At the end of the day, it is our registry and therefore it is our choice what we put on it. We are not forcing anyone to give us a gift nor are we expecting gifts in the first place, but should someone want to get us something I'd rather it be something we'll actually use.

    I've never been to a Wedding or shower where I didn't bring some sort of gift whether it be something off of the couple's registry or just money in a card because I like giving gifts, but I don't also think it is necessary.

    2 agree
    • I like giving gifts also. One of the smallest but best I ever gave was a gift card to the couples favorite restaurant saying – Date Night is on me.

      I had recently lost my job & the bride called & said it was one of the best gift they got. I asked her why, & she said it was the fact that it was so simple & was to one of their favorite places to eat, showed that I knew them as a couple & that some though was put into the gift card itself.

      Sometimes it really is the smallest details that are the best.

      10 agree
    • Seriously – somebody wouldn't buy your china because they hated the pattern???

      My jaw is still detached in disbelief.

      At this point, fuck em all and register for a cattle prod to keep these weirdos away.

      22 agree
    • I can kinda understand the hesitation about using an online only (anything, really) if you have a lot of non tech savvy folks as guests.

      2 agree
  13. Amen! We wrote on our informational pamphlets that gifts are greatly appreciated (because they are!) but in no way necessary (because they aren't!) We then listed the things we would most like to receive which went: Monetary Donations to our "Buy a House Fund", Gift Cards to a list of stores/restaurants we frequent, and anything from our mini-registry which is from Wal-Mart. How tacky are we, right?
    The thing about traditional registry etiquette that gets me is that it for some reason seems to want to brush the issue of gifts under the rug, like they shouldn't be mentioned. It's a freakin' wedding! People expect to bring a gift and the couple expects to receive at least some gifts! It's not a big secret. So what is the harm in giving people some direction about what you want to receive? There is no harm in it at all and if any of my invitees find it tacky then they can either not come at all or not bring anything because as stated "gifts are NOT necessary."

    1 agrees
  14. In Australia (which usually sits in between US and British culture) somehow we got the raw (US) end of the deal that goes for gifts over cash – I blame Hollywood.

    The big thing here now is essentially a "cash registry" website that looks pretty and allows people to leave a little message online (along with their credit card details). The catch? Some take up to 5% of the cash! Or they charge a flat fee to the couple and $5 to each guest who uses it.

    My mother-in-law told me flat we couldn't have a 'wishing well' as it's tacky (that's what we call asking for cash at the wedding – people usually have a nice glass bowl or wooden post box type thing). So we ended up with 3 store registries (including Amazon who have a handy "I bought this for them somewhere else" option). But honestly we struggled to find things we needed to list and I didn't want to just start listing crap for the sake of crap (see note above on materialism). In the end we created a separate bank account and listed the details online, the first person to use it? My MILs own brother! Hilarious.

    Also LOL on the online dating comment – we met online.

    1 agrees
  15. I hate registries! My affianced and I just finished our 2nd retail registry and we also have a Honeyfund, which is the only one I really wanted to advertise but The Moms had ideas of their own. My mom pressured me ad nauseum to register at Bed Bath & Beyond, which is a lovely store full of things that I genuinely do not need. I'd rather you give me $30 in cash than buy me a $75 food dehydrator.

    Le sigh. And people look at you like you're insane when you say you don't want any more stuff in your house. We're mid- to upper-30s. We really don't need any more GD dishtowels. /ungrateful rant

    4 agree
    • What in the hell is a food dehydrator? I've never even heard of that! Is it for like … making jerky? Cause I can't think of any food I'd want to dehydrate!

      • A little late, but – yes, that's exactly what a dehydrater is for. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can make jerky, or dry apples and other fruit for making trail mix types of snacks.

        2 agree
        • Wow, I somehow didn't think it would be that obvious…I'll pass on one of those thanks! I'd rather get my totally tacky mini filing cabinet that I registered for =P

          1 agrees
          • I'm with you there. I have an ancient dehydrator – unless new ones are 80x better than the one I have, I'd pass on them too, ha.

      • OH OH I would dehydrate EVERY FRUIT. but I love dehydrated fruit.

        1 agrees
  16. I think that this is a great demonstration that Culture is Not Universal. What is ok where YOU are may not be ok where I am. And that is PERFECTLY FINE. We are not living in a monolithic culture pretty much anywhere (limited exceptions, globally, apply, of course) and it's ok to be like "we've done this in my area/background/family forever. Screw you, Anne Landers!"

    Etiquette is really just the collection of social rules expected of a person in any given social situation. No two social situations are completely the same, so etiquette rules can't be universalized as "everyone must do THIS THING or they're RUDE or TACKY or whatever".

    You do you because it's your community. I'll do me. They'll do them. We'll all be happy. If you have anyone experiencing "culture shock", explain to them that it's how it's done where you're from and they're welcome to participate, but they are not obligated to do so if it is uncomfortable for them.

    4 agree
  17. I married an Australian and I am American. There were exactly 6 Australians out of 120 guests, which were my husband's immediate family. Up to 60% of our guests had not met one of us, maybe 25% had not met either of us. I truly did not want tons of housewares as we were still figuring out where to live. I asked for handmade things as a gift or a monetary contribution towards plane tickets to Australia after the wedding. Some people bought an artist's work in lieu of making something themselves. I would not recommend using a honeymoon fundraising site, as they take a percentage and 100% of financial gifts went towards just one item – plane tickets. It was the last time my husband saw his grandmother before she passed away. I know that a lot of those strangers had a field day chatting with my stepmother about how tacky my choices are. Oh well. Never going to see any of them again.

    1 agrees
  18. Honey funds and such are fine, but all registries should recognize that your guests come from a diverse financial background. When you can pay online and the $25-50 options are limited and after this are taken you cannot enter your own amount, well it is uncomfortable for your less affluent guests. I attended a wedding recently where a "suggested donation" was indicated in the invitation ($125 per guest). My spouse and I did not notice until after we had RSVP'D and did not know what to do, $250 was just out of the range we could give. We're we to not go if we could not match the suggested donation? We ended up over extending ourselves financially for thst wedding. I think registries of all kinds are great, just be aware of these sorts of needs and the pressure a guest can feel if cash is the only option offered.

    7 agree
    • We divided our Honeyfund into sections (car rental, cabin, shopping, etc) and then divided those down into smaller units. We have about 80 different 'units' of things that people can buy but none of them are over $40.

      1 agrees
    • That's exactly why we put "gift cards, in any amount …" We have guest who pull in six figures per year versus guests who are just making ends meet. If one of our less affluent friends wants to swing by Turkey Hill and grab us a $10 gift card we will be just as pleased with that as the most expensive thing off our registry … which I think is still like $99!

      1 agrees
    • Wow, "suggested donation" ?!?! That blows my mind…

      One of the things I like about honeyfund is that you can divide up big ticket items like airfare into smaller amounts like $50 or $20. We tried to make our registry lighthearted and fun, like us, and put in other things like $10 for ice cream, so that people can choose amounts they are comfortable with, but feel like they are still getting to choose something we are excited about.

      4 agree
  19. lol

    C and I are in our mid-late 30's. We've lived together for two years. I'm a second time bride. His family is small. Our friends are struggling. My family is distant. Everyone around us is relieved we DON'T have a registry.

    By the way, I really like the Social concept – that is an awesome way to make the wedding a community effort and everyone participates. That's really beautiful.

  20. We don't have a registry (well, there's a small one at one store of things we'd like to upgrade, but we're not advertising that we have one). I don't even mind if people don't bring gifts–just show up and celebrate with us!

    Mostly because 1) we don't need much if anything, 2) we live in a small apartment and don't really WANT much because we don't have the room, and 3) it was just one more thing to plan/get bad feedback on, I didn't want to register anywhere. Still don't. If people have a problem with that because they don't want to give us cash, we'd be happy with just a nice card and their well-wishes.

  21. I wanted everyone to donate or buy what they felt was right or basically do whatever they wanted.

    Ended up backfiring, because my extended family couldn't deal, kept pushing for me to get a registry, so I lost it, told them all to pull their head in and just donate some frigging money. The backfire was my hardline way of dealing with them spread around the rest of the guests and stopped people making the handmade items and pieces I would have loved to recieve. It also made those who were putting thoughts into their gifts feel a little let down. I really wish I hadn't been as hardline about it as I was, but it was difficult not to be when the way in which my family went about it was as if I was a little girl who couldn't possibly not want new items and products. I was tired of being patronised. I should have just let them buy me the silly stuff and donated it to charity. Oh well, next wedding, yes?

  22. Preach, Lady. Even OBBs told me that registering for a down-payment was a "cashgrab", but who got married 3 weeks ago and is still depositing $400 checks on the daily? THIS tacky wench- laughing my 34 year-old homeowning ass all the way to the bank.

    8 agree
    • I hope and wish and pray that my guests are exactly like yours.

      1 agrees
  23. Honestly I feel these kind of debates are like flogging a dead horse, because we go over it repeatedly and just like The Knot, you are going to find people on OBB have different opinions on it. None of those opinions are invalid. There are always going to be people that think some aspect of your wedding is tacky, and it's not about who is right and who is wrong- it's about whether you personally feel comfortable with it.

    For me, this isn't something I'm used to. I'm based in the UK and whilst poems asking for cash are common-place these days they still make many people (including myself) uncomfortable. I didn't mention gifts at all on my invites, because if you are etiquette conscious, that's the most polite way of going about it.

    If I end up with a load of toasters (as one of my bridesmaids informed me would happen) so be it. A gift is a gift and I will always be touched to receive one. As it happens I'm expecting nothing. People are already having to pay for their transport and accommodation costs, I feel my wedding has already cost them enough money without them feeling obligated to buy us presents too.

    6 agree
  24. I heard through the grapevine when we got married that people got mad that we DID NOT register. We honestly did not need anything other than a microwave (which my mom gave me the money for). My husband already had stuff in storage (we were in the Navy when we met and living in the barracks. He went back to his home state a few weeks before we got married to get his stuff out of storage. So we did not need bedding, cookware, etc. as he had all of that). People did not want to show up empty handed at the wedding. Honestly (and I know this sounds strange, as people expect to give gifts at a wedding), but I really could not give a s**t if people brought gift/money to our wedding. I just wanted people to show up. We were young too (I was 22 and he was 26), so I guess they were not expecting us to be set up with stuff.

  25. Whatever you do, someone somewhere will think it's wrong! I'm in the UK, and we had a wedding list with John Lewis (a well-known department store). We'd lived together for 4 years, so yes, we had all the practical things one needs for a home, but we didn't have NICE things! We were still using mismatched chipped plates and old cutlery from our student days…

    We knew that most of the people who were coming would probably want to give a gift of some sort, and since traditionally those gifts were homeware, we would use this opportunity to 'upgrade' our crockery, cutlery, glassware to beautiful things that would last forever. My peers who have got married recently have all either done this, or asked for honeymoon contributions. I was very aware of making sure that there were lots of small, cheap items for people who wanted to get a gift, but didn't have a large budget (amusingly, though, the very first thing that went was the most expensive item on the whole list – bought by my MIL's cousin!).

    I can't tell you how much pleasure using our wedding gifts every day gives me. It reminds me of the people who came to the wedding, and of the happiness of that day. We made it very clear on the invitations that we in no way expected gifts, and some people just brought something completely off registry on the day (these were also AMAZING – a set of violin/cello duets for us to play, a hand-woven basket, a Celtic harp).

    However, this is all completely personal and situation-specific. What's right for one couple/family/region can be totally wrong for another. My older sister got married quite young, and doesn't share my obsession with matching plates – since her friends were all newly graduated and lacking in money, she didn't have a registry and only received gifts from older family members. I wouldn't dream of telling anyone else how to 'do' gifts for their own wedding.

    3 agree
  26. Gift registries in my part of the southern US are expected. My daughter was told that she needed to register at Belks. There is nothing at Belks for her. She would not use expensive crystal vases or fine china. So she went to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick out a nice set of casual china and then went to Target for the rest. They are young and still live at home so they have nothing to set up their new home. And they are ok with the registry. They put household items that they need but not expensive things that they do not need.
    My sister-in-law got married about three years ago. She was older (late twenties), living with her finance and already had everything they need. They set a a very small registry where they listed a few items they could use but did not register at a store just made a list and sent to the family. They also suggested a donation to charities that they support and listed the charities. My mom thought this way tacky. She also thought not having a wedding cake but homemade desserts was tacky.
    I am from the south that follows the traditional etiquette for weddings. My daughter and son-in-law are very offbeat (I lovingly call them weird) so my very traditional mother has not been happy with any of their decisions regarding their wedding. She expects to have her way because she donated money for the venue. I almost offered to repay her the money that she gave my daughter so that she would shut up then realized that would not make a difference. So I am anxiously waiting for to Dec to come and go.

    My daughters offbeat wedding: Beauty and the Beast theme in December and as DIY as I can make it.

    Grandma (my mom) biggest complaint: "Oh it is sooo cold in NC in December and people have Christmas obligations so they will not be able to make it to the wedding. "
    My response: Oh well…..and put on a coat.

    2 agree
    • Cold in NC? Hahahahaha…ha…ha…

      Your daughter's wedding sounds delightful. Can't wait to see it on OBB!

      4 agree
  27. I remember reading that it was poor etiquette to put registry information on a wedding invitation and being surprised because every wedding invitation I've been given (except for the most recent one) has had registry info on the invitation and the most recent invite had the wedding website info which then had the registry info on it.

    We also put registry info on shower and birthday invites too.

    2 agree
  28. I blew off another site's forums after I was told that having a second wedding reception in another country is rude. Apparently you can only have a reception after a wedding, and you're only allowed to have one wedding ever, regardless of circumstances, and it's far more polite to insist that dozens of guests purchase a $1500+ ticket, deal with the hassle of getting passports, and spend 12-20 hours on a plane regardless of health circumstances instead of just the bride and groom ponying up the cash to come to them, thus saving the family as whole literally at least tens of thousands of USD. (cue eyeroll)

    We're going with Zola or Thankful; currently trying out both to see which we like better. We see no need to lock ourselves to a few big stores, profiting only big-box stores that doesn't really need more cash, especially since some stores might not be easily accessed by everyone invited–even my own family is bi-coastal and multi-latitudinal, in cities of various sizes, and will be shopping online anyway. Why not give them a tool to find the right gift, at whatever price they can, instead of locking them into a single retailer's price? I trust their judgement enough not to hold their hands. And we can also give them a chance to donate to a charity that means something to both us and them, which will mean just as much to us as couple, since we've already got most everything we actually need for a joint household. Maybe it would be different if we were younger and needed more stuff, but we're not, and we don't. I'm hoping sites like these will soon be the norm, but they'll never get there if we don't use them.

    All these etiquette wars make me roll my eyes. Etiquette isn't universal, because cultural values aren't–and city to city differences are sometimes as large as international ones. The goal of etiquette is to make your guests comfortable and happy–not to make people who don't attend and aren't invited happy. If your wedding follows someone else's idea of traditional etiquette but makes your own guests uncomfortable and unhappy, if you ask me, that's what's really rude. Be happy. Make your guests happy. Congrats: that's good etiquette.

    3 agree
  29. I agree with this 100%! I'm part of a wedding forum where if anyone mentions the word "honeyfund" they instantly get attacked, not with just "Oh I think a honeyfund is tacky, you should consider a small registry.", but with "HOLY $%&# you're stupid!"

    A lot of people state that by having a honeyfund you are asking people to fund your honeymoon because you yourself cannot afford one (which isn't necessarily the case) and if you can't afford it then you shouldn't register. Using this logic one is stating that if you're registered it's because you cannot afford it, therefore if you should never register. Also, some come with the defense that a registry is not a wishlist but a way to ensure that a couple does not get duplicate items – BS! Firstly, couples would not register for items that they don't desire, they are definitely being selective in this process, and secondly if a registry is truly to ensure that a couple does not receive duplicates then they would simply provide a shop with their info and the store will keep track of the items purchased for them; when a guest comes to the cash they provide the couple info and the store checks their database and states, "Sorry, a guest has already purchased a toaster for so and so.", or a list of what has been purchased will be tracked online.

    I don't understand the logic in "Traditional Registry" = good, "honeyfund" = tacky. I've seen a lot of registries and some people are registered for quite upscale gifts (Kitchen Aid mixer, roombas, etc), items costing from $250 – $2000 – no one blinks an eye. Request that a guest contribute an amount of their choosing and people get defensive? I'm confused.

    1 agrees
    • So far the relatives who I was most worried about (the conservative, country-club members who probably know more about etiquette than any of our other guests) have been the first ones to donate to our honeyfund. If they thought it was "tacky" they at least had the courtesy not to mention that us! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. yes to all of this! Now can we do away with the idea that talking about the registry and including info for it (if you decide to have one!) is some tack, gift-grabby faux pas? I don't think weddings are gift grabs, but gifting IS tied up in the wedding culture (at least in the US) and I expect to get you something. Just tell me where I can find what you want, or that you only want cash, or that you want nothing upfront!

  31. We'd love to do a pot-luck reception & ask everyone to bring booze or food in lieu of presents. But we are still figuring out how to accomplish that, I was thinking of opening a 'SoKind' that would give us an idea of how many people would be planning to bring food/booze so we could supplement if needed. But I'm sure this will be oh-so-very tacky…
    My cousins did the 'polite' thing in America and registered at several big-box stores. But my mother still complained that the places they registered (Target & Bed-Bath-Beyond) weren't 'nice' enough. Because people would want to buy them NICE things for their wedding. *eyeroll*
    In other news my mother shops at Target all the time…

    1 agrees
  32. Fun Facts – I decided to look up the origins of wedding traditions and here is what I found out.

    Veil – One article stated that when marriages were arranged, the bride would wear a veil so that the couple could not see each other until after the vows. The fear was that the couple would not get married if they saw each other first. Another article said that brides wore veils in ancient Greece and Rome to ward off evil spirits.

    Wedding gifts – the article I found says that gift giving started when a father did not like the guy and refused to give his daughter a dowry so her friends gave her gifts.

    Just fun facts.

    http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/cultural-traditions/10-wedding-traditions-with-surprising-origins.htm#page=4

    http://www.racked.com/2014/6/12/7592833/wedding-registry-history-chest-dowry

    3 agree
    • I'm always fascinated by the origins of wedding traditions. My favorite so far- The Groom stands on the right side so that his sword hand is free to defend his bride from anyone trying to steal her. So, ya know, chivalry? or possessiveness?

      1 agrees
  33. As someone who isn't that great at choosing gifts, I LOVE registries and I LOVE when they are extremely easy to find: printed on the invite, nice & big on the wedding website, whatever!! I'm going to buy you a gift regardless — make it easy on me and tell me exactly what you want! If they list something on the registry I think is "tacky" I'll just buy something else (although I can't think of anything I'd judge for).

    I prefer to get a physical gift over cash because I don't make a lot of money and feel like it's cool to buy a $30 set of glasses but like, it feels lame just giving $30 in cash. Idk. If I am giving cash I love having the option of contributing it towards a vacation or house downpayment.

    If someone's feathers are ruffled from the registry… f* 'em… no one is forcing them to get a gift.

    4 agree
  34. We've been together for over 10 years and have had a house for 3 years now. So we don't need alot of stuff. The stuff we do need are bigger items like a snowblower. While my friends are generous, they're not wealthy so we decided to go with a honeymoon registry at TravelersJoy.com if people want to give us something. (Thank you Offbeat Bride!) It's awesome and we are so excited for our trip. Even if we didn't get a thing on that list, it helped us plan our honeymoon by getting us to make some choices. In talking about registries with an older friend of mine, she just gave me a quizzical look and said "You're not having a normal registry in addition to that? What if that makes someone uncomfortable?" I didn't even know how to respond to that for a moment. I wanted to say "well no one is forcing anyone to give anything to anyone" I finally just shrugged and said something akin to that but much nicer.

  35. I cannot WAIT for us all to have kids who are wedding age so we can forever put to bed the idea that a cash registry is tacky! My FH and I have lived together most of our relationship; we have every inch of our teeny apartment filled with things we like and use. No matter how thoughtful your handpicked or handmade gift is, nothing will be as helpful to us as money. I'd rather be able to pay for this wedding or start a house fund than have another apron or frittata pan. I'm a minimalist–I do not want a frittata pan!

    Speaking of the frittata pan, my grandpa was really anxious to get me one–which we will literally never use and literally do not have space for–so I told him we "already have one" and suggested a nice wood cutting board instead, since he's a traditional sort. Two weeks later, a heavy box showed up at our door–it's a 12"x16" TWO AND A QUARTER INCH THICK cutting board. It's like a piece of butcher block counter. Whoa. But, at least it's not a frittata pan.

    1 agrees
    • When we first moved into together one of my aunts got us a fondu set … A FONDU SET? What the hell? I've never expressed a fondness for eating fondu, never made it, and they all know I don't cook. It's still sitting in a box at my parents house because even my mother, who does cook and entertains on occasion, doesn't need a fondu set.

      1 agrees
      • I'm not sure what it is with fondu sets. I've been given three for various occasions: HS graduation, college graduation, and a birthday. Taking bets on how many show up at the wedding… I finally gave in and had a fondu night with the girls–chocolate and fruit and certain fruit-derived beverages. ๐Ÿ˜‰ BTW, raspberries in white chocolate are surprisingly addictive.

  36. Had to give you a shout-out from another prairie girl, Manitoba socials are awesome!
    For our wedding registry, my fiance designed a website with a virtual registry thinking this way we could get what we wanted, and give people a socially acceptable choices. There's a list of a whole bunch of different things for a variety of uses from different price ranges, and once people hit the sign-up button and get a username/password, they can click off an item they've purchased for us. Super easy and unique I thought. Its been nothing but concerned phone calls from everyone 35+ who cannot figure out what a "password" is or how to register for a website.
    Everything is tacky…I should have just written on the invite "If you are attending, it will cost SIXTY DOLLARS to feed you, plus FIVE DOLLARS PER ALCOHOLIC DRINK. Please give cash so we can pay off our credit card bills, thanks. (Kidding, kidding. Kind of.)

    2 agree
  37. If I've learned anything so far it's that you're screwing up no matter what, lol. Registries are no different – we're having two (one on amazon for stuffs, and a zola one for cash gifts) and I've had people both condone and abhor it. "You know, tradition dictates you're supposed to just give a cash gift at the wedding" said my grandmother. "Why are you making a box for cash? Are you really expecting people to just give you money? I mean a gift maybe but kinda rude to ask for hard cash" said a guest. "OMG thank you I've got Amazon prime this makes it so easy" said one friend. "Um…why did you chose Amazon? Why not a traditional registry at macy's so I can go look at things if I want?" said another. You can't win, so just go with what works for you!

  38. Wait….is etiquette just shorthand for why society does illogical things? Like, someone says "you know, this other way of doing things makes more sense than the way we've usually done it, and rather than admit "you know you're right, it doesn't make sense to give physical gifts in our hyper consumerist culture", they hiss and yell ETIQUETTE!
    ???

    1 agrees
  39. I am struggling with this whole concept of gifts and registries and donations.

    I'm Australian, and here it's become the norm to have a 'wishing well' (a fancy looking box that people put envelopes with cash in) accompanied by a cute poem on the invitation. I personally have engineered my whole wedding to be a surprise (as in, only the groom, our parents, the celebrant and I know what's happening! Everyone else thinks they're attending an engagement party) so I have literally no gift details on the invitation.

    The amount of people who have sent me texts saying "so, cash or a present?! What do you want?" is mind blowing. We don't really mind if we don't get anything. We're not having a traditional wedding and we don't expect people to bring gifts…but you're damned if you ask for something and damned if you don't, it would seem.

  40. We didn't register for our wedding. Maybe we were clueless, I don't remember, but I'm pretty sure it just felt uncomfortable asking for specific things. Anyway, I'm super happy with how it turned out. 15 years later, I can still look at a flowered bowl and know that it came from my parents' neighbor Ellen (I even call it the Ellen bowl), our yellow towels are from an old coworker (yes, I have 15 year old towels), and our wedding photo album is from my mom's friend Pat. If I had registered for everything according to my taste, I might have a matchy set of everything, but I don't think I would remember who bought what off the registry. Same goes with my kids' baby things. I didn't register for those either, and I love being able to look at a blanket or photo of an outfit, and know that certain people picked those out according to their tastes. Maybe I'm weird, but I like it that way. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1 agrees
    • This is my thinking too. I didn't even know wedding registries were a thing until I started getting invited to more weddings a couple years ago, and then I thought they were totally optional. But now that I'm engaged people look at me like I'm crazy when I say I don't want a registry. It's not because I don't want gifts. I mean, our kitchen is pretty well stocked and we're getting by just fine with the stuff we have, but that's not the reason I don't want a registry. It's that I hate picking out my own gifts. As far as I'm concerned, if you're not going to put a little thought or creativity into a gift you might as well just give cash. All the married people I know registered at the same handful of big box stores and they all have basically the same plate sets, cutlery, pots and pans, etc. For me gift registries seem like signing up to outfit your house with specific class symbols so that you can cement yourself into a particular social class according to brand and price points. I don't want my wedding to involve deciding whether we're going to be a Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, or Williams Sonoma couple. I understand that registries aren't only about that – surely there's something to be said for making things easier for your guests so they don't always wonder whether you hate their gift. But it just doesn't jive with me personally.

      But yes, I do want gifts, mostly because all the stuff that's in my house now is either family heirlooms or stuff my boyfriend and I picked out for ourselves. I'd like to have some things other people chose for us. However, I also get that people might be apprehensive about buying us, say, an interesting set of mixing bowls if they don't know whether we already have a beloved set and don't want more. So I'm wondering about making a short list of things we could use, without specifying brand or design? And then I could just link to that on the wedding webpage I'm making for out of towners?

  41. It's such a relief to read this. My fiance and have been living together for a few years now and we really have everything we need in the way of household items. What we don't have (particularly after putting so much of our savings toward our wedding) is much of a fund for our honeymoon. I was an anxiety-ridden mess after looking at the etiquette boards on a few other wedding websites and seeing the overwhelming negativity about politely saying 'if you would LIKE to give a gift, it would be wonderful if you would help us have an amazing honeymoon.' I don't see what is so wrong with this. It has never struck me as tacky or seemed like 'begging for money.' I was so turned off by the judgemental attitudes that I have no desire to go back to any of those forums.

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