Wedding Registry “Gray Areas:” Scan with Caution

Posted by csancho on Dec 10, 2012

Wedding registries are tricky. As I’ve mentioned before, the experience differs from couple to couple. What’s appropriate and expected in your circle will differ from family to family or location to location. So, when you’re ready to start scanning stand mixers like a mad woman, it’s good to be informed. If you’re not so “into” weddings, and you aren’t sure what the gifting norms are in your particular social circle, here are a few tips about what to steer clear of when you’re perusing the many tempting aisles of your local wedding gift peddler:

Too Many Big-Ticket Items:
As you’ll probably have guests of all budget levels celebrating your impending marriage, it’s pertinent to note that not all of them will have deep pockets. While it’s true that some of your guests will team up to get you something big, or will dig deep into their wallets to provide you with the padded kitchen mats you need to lead a happy and successful married life, most of them won’t. Guests will want a selection of items to choose from when they hunt down just the right gift. Some guests might even want to purchase several smaller items instead of one big gift. The trick is to give your guests options.

Small “Grocery Store” Selections:
While sometimes stores hiccup a bit with registries and add erroneous items to your list without your knowledge or consent (picture a guest getting mouthwash at the same time he purchases your new towels and both items end up on your “purchased” list), some couples really do run out of ideas in the store and start getting a little trigger happy in sections they have no business in. Your guests would like to aid you in the building of your home and your new married life with a quality wedding gift – you buy your own Windex.

Honeymoon Registries:
Asking for money is where many brides deviate in the etiquette world. In some circles, traditions such as they “money dance,” and honeymoon funds rule the world of wedding gifts. That’s completely fine. This is a warning to brides who might not have tested the waters yet. Honeymoon registries, and noting “CASH GIFTS ONLY, PLEASE” or other (more polite) variations of the phrase on invitations, websites or otherwise, can be taken the wrong way by guests. Gifts are always an option, not a requirement, of wedding attendance, and you want to make sure you aren’t offending anyone right out of the gate. Many guests will find the suggestion rude – make sure you’re familiar with the customs of your area before committing to a non-traditional registry! Think about registering instead for a honeymoon gift like luggage tags or his and hers swimsuits.


“But we really don’t need anything!”

One final word for couples who really, really just need cash – the easiest way to avoid gifts that you don’t need is to not register for them. Create a very small, or nonexistent, registry in lieu of a large one, and guests will get the hint.