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Wedding Wednesday – Gift Registries Scam

I’m going to cry – I thought my niece was above this.

I was just looking at her wedding registry – they didn’t register for a ton of stuff or anything really ridiculous (well they did register for a set of sporks, a Travelocity gnome and a book on how to survive in the woods, which I thought were all awesome). But there were several gifts listed that I clicked on, but they didn’t take me to a site like Amazon where I could purchase them. I did buy the sporks and book and thought it was odd that it tried to make me send the gifts directly to their house instead of to me so I could wrap them up and they could be, oh you know, actual gifts.

But looking again today, I realized that the gifts that don’t actually link to anything are actually listed as “cash registry”. Yep – maybe they will eventually buy the object shown in the picture and maybe they won’t. The moola can be used for anything. But it gets better because after a little research I found this on the registry website –

* Shop our catalog of top retailers and brands
* Add any item from any store
* Import your existing retailer registries
* Convert any gift into cash
* Create a honeymoon and cash fund

Did you catch that? Anything you order off of this registry can be converted to cash! They weren’t trying to force me to send gifts directly to the wedding couple, they were giving them an easy option to do a money grab without actually calling it a money grab. Register for anything you want! Register for the Statue of Liberty! It won’t fit in your back yard but that’s ok, just take the cash value instead. 0519-17

I think it was inevitable that gift registries would morph into clever schemes to extract cash instead of actual gifts.   The gift giver is sending money which *might* be used to buy the item on the registry you think you are giving the newlyweds or the recipient may well use the cash to buy something else.

We just received a wedding invitation, along with allegedly 500 other guests, on which there is explicit registry information including the desire for Wal-Mart gift cards.   Send money.  Nope.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • AS July 25, 2018, 7:17 am

    I’m not sure I’d blame your niece for the policy of the registry website. And registries often send the gifts directly home, so that people don’t have to carry them in their luggage- which is a blessing if they are flying to the wedding. I don’t know the no-link items, but it could very well be broken links. Unless the niece forced you to use the registry, or did other infractions like send a registry card, I’d give them a pass. You are not obliged to use the registry. It is supposed to be only a guideline for anyone who wants it.

    • ladyv21454 July 25, 2018, 7:26 am

      Considering that the registry website specifically TELLS registrants that the site exists to help turn wedding gifts into cash (see the list in the middle of the original post), I’m sure the niece and her husband-to-be knew exactly what they were doing. As far as the registry is “supposed to be only a guideline” – you need to spend more time on E-Hell. Both in the original posts and in the comments, there are a ton of stories about people having hissy fits because someone bought “off the registry” gifts. The registry might have originally been intended as suggestions, but nowadays it’s become “you buy from the registry, or don’t buy at all”.

      • AS July 25, 2018, 2:46 pm

        I did see the list, and one out of five points is “convert cash to gift”. And the honeymoon fund seems to be just that- honeymoon (cash) fund. But if you read the top three points, it seems like the website might be a one-stop registry, rather than having multiple registries. If I had had a wedding registry for our wedding (which we didn’t), or as a guest trying to buy off of registry, I think that a one stop website would be more convenient than 2-3 different sites. My argument still holds.

        I have been on this website for a VERY long time. But I don’t have a distorted view of the world, and know that the stories submitted here are the cases of (often extreme) boorish behavior, and the approximately 90% of people (can vary depending on your acquaintances) who don’t exibit these behavior don’t make the stories here.

        I’d rather give my acquaintance the benefit of the doubt on small infractions, especially if they don’t show any other bad behavior, rather than cast them into ehell. This aunt seems like she wanted to find fault with the niece, and found it.

        • AFS July 25, 2018, 3:21 pm

          I know! God forbid the bride took advantage of some promo code deal on Zola.com…

        • EchoGirl July 28, 2018, 3:20 pm

          I have to agree with this. Boorish behavior is absolutely a thing, but with weddings in particular, it seems like some people go out of their way to assume malfeasance on the part of the couple when they see something they don’t like. Having just set a date for my own wedding, I’m keenly aware of how many moving parts are involved (which is why we picked the date over two years into the future), and things like this make me worry even more that the detail I overlook will be used to paint me as the “bridezilla”. The fact that the offer is there doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the reason the couple chose that particular registry or that they intend to take advantage of that feature.

    • EB July 25, 2018, 8:30 am

      My gut reaction is that converting gifts into cash could be helpful in a situation where you’ve registered for sporks and get two sets at the bridal shower and now no longer need the set someone has “purchased” for you via the site.

      I participated in a “cash registry” that I actually loved in concept. The bride and groom already had a home and many of the things they needed, but they wanted to buy a handmade leather photo album for their wedding photos and a set of tableware from a local artist. I loved being able to contribute $X to the album even though I couldn’t pay for the entire thing myself. Plus the site showed a progress bar for each item so that you’d know when enough cash had been contributed.

      Now, of course, the bride and groom could have turned around and used that cash for other purposes, but I know and love the couple so I trust them. Plus, like you said, just buy something outside of the registry if it bothers you that much!

      • ladyv21454 July 25, 2018, 11:05 am

        EB, I love the registry your friends did! The difference is, the people contributing knew what their money was going towards – and as you said, since these were people you trusted, you were fairly sure the money wouldn’t go to other purposes. In the case of the OP, people THINK they’re buying one thing and might be buying another, or not buying anything at all and just sending cash to the bride and groom. Very different!

      • AS July 25, 2018, 2:50 pm

        Exactly! And anyway, we don’t know if that’s what the couple want to do.

        The album sounds like a good idea. And if it didn’t bother you (or most of the other guests), that’s well handled by the couple.

  • ladyv21454 July 25, 2018, 7:22 am

    I’m about to cry, too, over the complete tackiness of this. Considering how many stories we read about people putting expensive items on their registries so that they can return them for cash or store credit, I suppose this was the inevitable next step. Doesn’t make it any less trashy, or cause the happy couple (because let’s face it, this is NOT all on the bride) look any less like gimme pigs.

  • Livvy17 July 25, 2018, 7:38 am

    Wow. That’s kind of despicable.

  • Lara July 25, 2018, 7:57 am

    When it comes to young people, I think we have allow something for culture and generational expectations. What seems tacky to people who aren’t used to it (like a cash registry), can seem perfectly normal and even expected to people who have seen that used as a regular part of everyone else’s weddings. Asking for cash is just something that couples do nowadays, and unless they’ve had someone sit them down and explain exactly why this is tacky, it may never occur to them that anyone would find it offensive. As long as they are themselves gracious, they don’t throw fits because someone didn’t conform to their gift-giving expectations, and they’re not obnoxiously self-promoting, then I would give them a pass.

    This also reflects the reality that for more and more young people today, cash is actually what they need the most. Most people already have the majority of dishes, towels, etc, that they need before they get married, and since this is an informal age, a gift of, say, a formal table setting of china and crystal is no only not needed but not wanted. What do you do, then, when you get beseiged with crystal pitchers and guest towels and all kinds of things that you don’t even have space, let alone use, for? People are going to give you gifts when you get married, regardless of whether the couple “expects” it or not. It’s a culture expectation that exits quite apart from them. The purpose of the registry is to let people know what you would actually like to have, so that hopefully they give you that, not something you don’t, but when there aren’t many things you even want enough to ask for them–what then?

    And that’s where honeymoon funds and cash registries come in. They represent what the couple really wants. And you know what, I just can’t get upset about it. Registries have only ever offered options. They’re not mandates. As long as the couple doesn’t treat them like mandates, and think everyone owes them large donations, then so what? I know personally, I don’t rather give something they actually want then something they’re just going to return. And I certainly can’t blame them for preferring experience-based gifts like travel to possession-based gifts.

    • Moose July 25, 2018, 3:21 pm

      Couples asking for cash never really bothered me at all and I could never find the words to explain why…but you just explained perfectly how I feel. Thank you!

    • MzLiz July 25, 2018, 7:49 pm

      You’ve expressed this beautifully, Lara.

      Most younger couples don’t need/want posh accouterments for entertaining cos very few will realistically host at their homes the way folks once did. Like you touched on, Lara, priorities have shifted somewhat & those under a certain age ARE more often interested in travel and/or experiences than in owning proper silverware & china. ‘Special Occasion’ home-wares aren’t really fashionable anymore either; consider the current trend of serving drinks in mason jars at many upscale establishments, for example. 2 companies that used to be synonymous with the wedding-gift industry – Waterford crystal & Royal Doulton. Their registry trade has been in decline since the late ’90’s. The demand just isn’t there.

      My generation (Gen X) & younger are more likely to get together for pizza & video games/movie nights than the fancy crystal-and-china dinner parties that my mother would throw. Aside from Honeyfunds & straight cash, couples marrying today would get a ton more use out of tech gifts but apparently it’s tacky to register for those things too so… I’m not sure what the satisfactory solution is except to forego registries altogether & when guests pull for information, the ‘party line’ can be that, while there’s no expectation, the bride & groom feel their invitees know them well enough to choose a gift without any guidance. That would probably upset some guests too but at least nobody can accuse you of scamming people or being greedy.

    • SBean July 27, 2018, 12:40 pm

      Lara this is such a nice way to put it.
      My husband and I lived together almost ten years before getting married and any household items would have been either upgrades (which a lot of people would consider “tacky” because of the price) and we are not fine china people. Our registry was created for the purpose of using the store discount post wedding and few people actually knew about it.

      Our social group consists of people from late to mid-thirties and almost everyone has been on their own for a while, and no one feels the need to add a set of dishes we use once a year to our household.

      I am also glad that we come from a culture where money is the expected gift and boxed gifts are considered rude and tacky. Goes to show, one hat does not fit all. For couples of mixed cultures, I always ask whether they prefer the cash or gift… I honestly do not feel offended if they ask for cash.

    • TG July 27, 2018, 4:20 pm

      I agree…generational differences are the key here. My “Silent Generation” (early 80’s) uncle and aunt sent us two china place settings and a crockpot for our wedding last year (I’m GenX, late 40’s). We didn’t have this on the registry, which was small to begin with because we really didn’t need anything but you know people want to give a gift. I just know my relatives looked at our list and thought, “that poor dear, doesn’t she know you have to have china and a crockpot?”

      I had 5 crockpots before, now I have 6 (They come in really handy for parties and holidays) and the china always makes me think of them fondly.

      • admin July 28, 2018, 6:21 am

        Crock pots are great for cooking food for large dinners like Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, gravy all do well in a crock pot. I have 3.

        • NostalgicGal July 29, 2018, 3:58 pm

          I have three of the huge rectangular ‘church basement’ ones, a 7.5 qt. oval, 6 qt oval, 3 4.5 rounds, and 2 1.5 qt. I’m the lady to know if you’re doing an event… else I can cook just about anything.

          • admin July 29, 2018, 7:09 pm

            Dueling crock pots! I have 2 Rival 18-quart electric roasters in which I can make a quadruple batch of pot roast, gallons of chili, 6x batch of soup. Great for heating hotdogs for a huge crowd, too. Or hot cider….I love them but don’t use them that often anymore.

        • AFS July 30, 2018, 8:18 am

          Another +1 for the crockpot! The $25 crockpot we used on our registry has been the most useful gift to date. More so than the fancy vegetable bowls.

  • DGS July 25, 2018, 8:46 am

    I am not opposed to registries (and typically, registries will direct the gift to the couple’s home and offer gift wrapping options from the store), and in fact, I like them, as I’d rather purchase a gift in the couple’s taste that they would enjoy having in their home (or for their lifestyle – many a couple nowadays register for things that reflect their hobbies and interests, such as outdoor and camping equipment, cooking classes, etc. rather than more traditional china, linens, etc.) However, I wouldn’t like the cash grab. I wonder, though, if your niece is even aware that this is what the site is doing. If she doesn’t have a history of engaging in such behaviors, then, she probably isn’t. She may genuinely want sporks (who wouldn’t) and a Travelocity travel gnome book (which sounds neat).

  • Wild Irish Rose July 25, 2018, 8:51 am

    This is exactly why I never buy anything off a registry.

  • MusicWithRocksInIt July 25, 2018, 8:56 am

    Maybe it’s just the area I live – but etiquette here says that you are not supposed to bring wrapped gifts (a.k.a anything that isn’t a card) to the wedding. You send gifts to the bride and groom so they don’t have to worry about what to do with a table full of gifts at the end of the night. Which I didn’t realize when I was younger, and was *so* embarrassed about when I realized what I had been doing wrong. If everyone who got me a gift when I got married had wrapped it and brought it to the wedding, trying to get all that stuff back to the house would have been a nightmare, especially because we stayed at the venue overnight and left for our honeymoon first thing the next morning.

    • Calli Arcale July 25, 2018, 12:16 pm

      I’m curious — where are you from where it’s a faux pas to bring a gift to the wedding? I’ve never been to a wedding which didn’t have a table specifically for gifts, and the bringing of gifts is so normal here that many venues will even offer to ensure the table is minded (so sticky fingered passers-by don’t help themselves to a few gifts).

      Around here (Minnesota), the custom is to bring a gift to either the shower or the wedding, and if you have a gift sent instead, to bring a card to the wedding.

      • Mary Sgree July 25, 2018, 12:36 pm

        Here too. I went to a wedding about 10 years ago with a wrapped gift and no one knew what to do with it. I was embarrassed. Cash only here. Wrapped gifts are for showers, not weddings.

        • admin July 26, 2018, 3:27 am

          Did anyone know what to do with cash gifts brought to the wedding? Not everyone is invited to a shower, particularly not the male guests. Are they relegated to only giving cash as wedding gifts?

          • Mary Sgree July 26, 2018, 10:07 am

            Yep, there most certainly was a cash table. Just a small one with a box, not big enough to stack presents on. But wait. This was at the church, we hadn’t been invited to the reception. I didn’t know there was a big meal/dancing after because there was cake and punch for those of us only invited to the wedding. So maybe I was not suppose to bring a gift at all? ( I get so confused at these types of events)

          • wanda July 31, 2018, 11:12 pm

            At Chinese weddings where red envelopes with cash are the cultural norm, there is a table with a cage or clear box in the front of the reception area where guests drop off their red envelopes. It’s usually manned by some young adult cousin to greet people and make sure that none of the envelopes walk away.

      • Queen of Putrescence July 25, 2018, 12:37 pm

        I live in Minnesota also. Every wedding I have been to here has a table for gifts that is usually overflowing plus a box for cards. At this point we always give cash so I am just putting the card with cash in the envelope. If giving a physical gift, I almost always buy it online, pay to have it wrapped and shipped to the address where the RSVP card went.

      • ladyv21454 July 25, 2018, 1:52 pm

        Traditional etiquette was that you either sent or delivered gifts to the bride’s home (which in most cases would be her parents’ home as well). Then it shifted to bringing gifts to the wedding, because most of the time the wedding and reception were in the bride’s home church. Nowadays, the custom seems to be that gifts are brought to the wedding. I see two issues with this. One, it puts the bride/groom and/or their families in the position of having to take the gifts to their final destination – or even an intermediate destination, if the couple is going on a honeymoon. Two, since the majority of weddings are held at public venues, there’s WAY too much of a chance of gifts disappearing – especially gifts of money, which would be easy for someone to pocket.

      • AFS July 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

        Minnesota native; longtime resident of NYC here. In the NYC Tri-State area at least–anyone from neighboring metros feel free to weigh in–generally the done thing is “gifts are for showers, cards (with money inside) are for weddings.” Some cultural circles around here strictly believe in “pay for your plate”; so much that invitees will call venues or look up wedding packages online and decline to attend if they don’t feel they could afford “the cost per head.”

        • ladyv21454 July 26, 2018, 7:17 am

          Ouch, AFS. That whole “pay for your plate” concept leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. Guests are supposed to be there to share the joy of the day, not to subsidize the reception. It’s been said multiple times here, but it bears repeating – you have the wedding that you can afford with your own funds, and possibly some (voluntary) contribution from parents.

          • AFS July 29, 2018, 4:42 pm

            From what I gather, it’s not so much about paying for the couple’s reception but more about saving face/status in that community; e.g. it’s considered better to demur than to look cheap.

        • Dippy July 26, 2018, 8:47 am

          Same here in Chicago. Cash is king at weddings. I had a pretty lace covered wishing well for cards at my wedding and that was more than 25 years ago. I think we got a few actual gifts at the reception and we were perplexed as to why someone would lug stuff to an event like that. We didn’t know any better or different.

      • Lyn July 25, 2018, 4:14 pm

        I’m in southern Indiana – and very very often we do not take gifts to the wedding. Especially if you buy off a registry that will send the gift to the couple’s (or bride’s) home. A lot of websites offer gift wrapping, too.

        • HannahHarriet July 27, 2018, 12:46 pm

          I’m in Central Indiana, and I’ve never seen a gift table at a wedding that didn’t contain an area for both wrapped gifts and cards. I was married 10 years ago, and we received both. It made no difference to me. Some family just packed up our gifts for us and we opened them at a brunch after we returned from our honeymoon.

      • Jazzgirl205 July 25, 2018, 4:45 pm

        I don’t know where Musicwithrocksinit is from but where I’m from (the Gulf C0ast) bringing a gift to the wedding is considered a faux pas. Gifts are delivered to the home ahead of time. If the reception is at a venue, it can be awkward to have to deal with the gifts. Also, it can look like a price of admission to the wedding.
        I want to ask you a question. Do the HC stay for the entire reception? I was on another site where someone told me that it was the custom for the HC to stay and clean up afterwards. Where I’m from, the HC leaves the reception first. They appear changed into nice traveling clothes and the guests see them off with great fanfare. It’s considered odd for guests to leave before the couple leaves.

      • Jewel July 25, 2018, 11:41 pm

        There’s such a “hassle factor” with having a gift table at the church or reception hall that couples are moving away from it. No more worrying about theft, arranging for “gift bearers”, or arranging to transport the gifts afterwards. You will probably start seeing fewer and fewer gift tables in your area as time goes on.

      • MusicWithRocksInIt July 26, 2018, 9:18 am

        I’m from Michigan. Maybe it’s more social circles than area? You are supposed to ship a gift to the bride and groom ahead of time, or bring cash or a check in a card at the wedding. I got plenty of gifts for my wedding but they were all shipped to me ahead of time. Which I have to say was great because I could organize everything over time and write thank you cards as I went.

    • Sarugani July 26, 2018, 2:02 pm

      Nothing relevant to your post, but I love your name. <3

  • KK from KS July 25, 2018, 8:57 am

    I have sent many gifts directly from the registry to the couple’s address. It doesn’t have to be wrapped by you to be a gift.

  • Teapot July 25, 2018, 9:14 am

    I saw a commercial for one of these websites recently. One of the things it proudly proclaimed was that it offers an easy set-up for a honeymoon fund. I immediately had visions of ehell flames! The thing that made me sad was that it validates this kind of thing. People who don’t know any better will think it’s a great idea. And anyone who really knows better can be lead to believe that times have changed and that this is now perfectly all right to ask for cash. But this site is amazing! Great Aunt Alice, who’s living on a fixed income, thinks she’s sending her beloved niece and her fiancé an expensive set of cookware that she really can’t afford, but she has fond memories of teaching Niece to make some of her favorite recipes so she orders it. And Niece grabs the cash right out of her hand. I wonder if the site provides information so that the thank you cards can mention the actual gift the giver intended for them. Or does the website take care of that for them, too.

  • Susan. Haverland July 25, 2018, 9:55 am

    I don’t think I want to participate in a cash/ grab . No I will give a gift not on the registry , possibly a framed picture of the two of them . Wow 500 guests for a wedding reception. You wonder how many
    Guests do possibly the cash/grab . FYI. My mother still thinks you need to give money to comparable to the cost of the meal . I gave a $ 200,00 check for 4
    And bride did not send out thank you to anyone. I should have given less .

    • AJ July 26, 2018, 3:53 am

      Gimmepigs are never grateful. 🙁

  • Trish July 25, 2018, 10:36 am

    I don’t buy things off of registries. This has given me even stronger reasons why. I would wrap a gift and mail it directly to them. 🙂

  • AFS July 25, 2018, 10:42 am

    Registries’ default setting these days is to have the gifts sent directly to the registrant, for the registrants’ convenience. (In some parts of the country, it’s considered a bit weird to bring non-money gifts to the wedding anyway.)

    Usually there is an option at the checkout stage to have the item shipped to the buyer, say, as a shower gift. I wouldn’t blame your niece for the default settings on the site, or for the fact that stores automatically stick their own gift cards on the registry.

    Signed, a recent bride

    • Devin July 25, 2018, 11:16 am

      Most registries I’ve shipped through before actually provide free shipping if you send directly to the bride and groom, but require a minimum payment to have it shipped elsewhere. I can’t remember the last time I brought a gift to a wedding or even recall seeing a ‘gift table’. The idea of making the bride and groom, or their families, have to arrange transportation for a pile of gifts after a long wedding day seems poorly thought out on the gift givers part.

      I’m also pro non-traditional items on registries. If I know the couple is not materialistic, I usually gift money, but I do like the idea of making the money go towards a concert or a fancy dinner instead of catching up on student loans or helping to fund the lead remediation on their new condo.

      • Kat July 25, 2018, 1:09 pm

        I have mixed feelings about the cash gift thing, mainly due to an upbringing where it was considered gauche to reveal the cost of a gift to the recipient (to include removing price tags, and in the days before gift receipts, needing to return a gift got awkward). I think the bad feelings around a “cash grab” are, in essence, the bad feelings around a GIFT grab… that is, the EXPECTATION of being showered with gifts/cash is worse than actually being showered with gifts/cash.

        And frankly, cash is practical. My main difficulty with being gifted anything is that if I need it and can afford it, I go ahead and buy it; and if I need it and can’t afford it, I wouldn’t ask someone else to take on that financial burden for me. So when someone asks me “What do you want for [gift-giving occasion]?” I have nothing to suggest, because I either already have it, or it’s too expensive to ask for. It would be kind of a relief to say “The thing I need is a big-ticket item, so if you want you could contribute to that fund so that I could, collectively, have enough to get it.” I wouldn’t feel right asking a single person for a $500 item; but it would be cool if I could ask 15 people for that item (and then I could afford to make up whatever remains myself). Yet simply suggesting the $500 item (or putting it on a wishlist/registry) makes it seem like I’m expecting a single person to buy it, which THEN looks like a gift-grab.

        I also think it’s weird that, if this is a person you’re close enough with to give them a gift in the first place, you don’t trust them to spend the cash gift you gave wisely/appropriately/or whatever the objection is. I think a lot of this subterfuge (with this particular registry, with people asking for items they don’t want so they can return them for cash) is a direct result of the cultural pressure that looks down on people just openly saying that cash would be a useful and appreciated gift.

        • Devin July 26, 2018, 7:11 am

          It’s no objection, I know my friends would spend the money on practical items first before splurging on a treat for themselves. So it’s kind of nice to know the money is going towards a fun event vs home improvements.
          The last wedding I attended my gift went toward the honeymoon fund and I received the best thank you note ever. The couple wrote a long note about the dinner out in Istanbul that my contribution covered, details about the food they ate, the funny waiter they had, and how much the experience meant to them.

        • Lara July 28, 2018, 12:49 pm

          I argued above for the right to ask for cash, but I must admit that, as a person who can’t afford to spend a lot of money on gifts for people, I find the idea of a gift more palatable myself. I feel like I can find something that is pretty or useful and makes a nice gift without spending a lot of money. If I’m just giving cash, though, giving $10 is not impressive. Inevitably, I’m going to have to spend more than I can afford just not to look cheap. That was part of the idea behind removing price tags from things before you gave them. It was to protect both giver and receiver–from both the embarrassment of having spent a great deal of money, and the embarrassment of having spent only a little. Ideally, the receiver should enjoy the gift on its own merits without worrying about how much it cost either way. And with cash, that veil is removed. The amount people give can be seen as either a window into their finances (personal information), or an indication of how much they care about the receiver (unfair).

          So I totally get why people feel that asking for cash is tacky. But still, I don’t feel that including it as an option on a registry is wrong. If we’re really being honest, buying any item off a registry is about the same, since the couple knows the price of item you bought. The veil has already been removed, but it’s just not as obvious as it is when you’re donating towards a cash fund.

          No one is obligated to give any gift. Those that give a gift should be able to give anything they choose. Registries exist just as a helpful resource for people who want to make sure they’re giving a gift the couple actually wants. Nobody should register for expensive gifts they don’t want just so that they can return them for cash, since that violates the whole point of a registry. Any thoughtful couple will register for inexpensive as well as expensive items, recognizing that not everyone can afford to spend a a lot of money on them. Couples can, however, include “honeymoon fund” and other cash registries on their lists of things they would like to have, because as gifts they’re just as valid. And they should spend the money donated for a specific item on that specific item. I believe all of that is true at the same time. No one should be pressured to give cash, but no one should be looked down on for admitting they would like to get it either.

  • Kay_L July 25, 2018, 10:58 am

    With as much as people are always saying that weddings are opportunities for a “gift grab” it would seem that they are also an opportunity for others to judge the young couple for anything and everything.

    As long as they did not include registry info in the invitation, they did nothing wrong. You’re goin to cry? Really?

    • EchoGirl July 28, 2018, 4:09 pm

      I said something similar upthread. Weddings are big events, mistakes happen, things get overlooked. Being boorish is one thing, but a slip here or there is quite another. As I start looking to my own wedding planning, I hope that I don’t know anyone who expects me to be perfect every step of the way or is just waiting to pounce on me for that one etiquette slip that I may or may not even be aware of.

  • Catherine St. Clair July 25, 2018, 11:35 am

    I have a problem along the same lines as this. A friend does work for me, but won’t take cash. He will take a gift card. It seems simpler to me to give him cash that he can use wherever he wishes rather than have me drive to a store, purchase a gift card, and take the chance that he won’t need anything from that store for months, but will need cash to use other places. I can’t see the difference between the cash and a gift card except that a gift card is limited as to where it is used.

  • JD July 25, 2018, 2:36 pm

    This just fuels the e-hell flames, doesn’t it? I guess it was just a matter of time before the registry sites start to operate as personal money-laundering sites, so you can get the cash you want instead of the gifts you claimed to have wanted.
    I read a popular blog in which the blogger asked for suggestions for wedding gifts that were both practical and frugal. I couldn’t believe how enthusiastically the comments were, on both asking for and giving cash for honeymoons, down-payments for homes, or paying off the wedding or student loan bills. I wrote a comment (that was the only one against these ideas, that I could see) that the *expectation* of gifts and directing of funds by the wedding couple was considered bad manners when I got married, and that the idea used to be, if you had to ask others to help you fund it, you couldn’t afford it, and need to scale back your expectations. My comment got deleted.

  • ann campbell July 25, 2018, 4:44 pm

    I am from the NYC area. We give money in a card as wedding gifts. The showers are when you purchase “boxed gifts”. The bride usually has a bag to collect them in, but I have also seen mailboxes set up to hold them.
    The first time I went to a wedding out of my area I wondered why there was a gift table. It was also my first time seeing a dollar dance. It was traditional in that area of the US I guess. The bride was not a money grubber. She was happy enough that we went to her wedding, the fact that we gave what she thought was a very generous gift also really touched her.

  • staceyizme July 25, 2018, 10:51 pm

    We’ve become too gifty and too grabby, in my view. Registries just suck; there’s no way to do them gracefully because there’s no way to tell someone what sort of present they should buy for you with any degree of politeness. You could just go crazy and accept any gifts received with gratitude. I know it sounds eccentric, but it beats wondering how much cash you have to cough up (as a guest) and might make for more interesting gifting.

    • Sarugani July 26, 2018, 2:25 pm

      When my cousin married the mother of his child, the happy couple registered for extremely fancy china that basically screamed my aunt‘s name. Both bride and groom lived with my aunt and uncle at the time, they both have some mental issues and it‘s probably best to have some responsible adult around for their and their child‘s sake, still the registry was way off for them and my mom decided to buy some less fancy (and honestly much less expensive), colorful bowls as wedding gift. Which is how I got my cherry patterned fruit bowl, because my mom actually got the present back (I really don’t know what was said by whom on that joyful occasion) and since she had all the bowls she needed, she distributed them among her own children…

  • ALM July 26, 2018, 6:59 am

    ” thought it was odd that it tried to make me send the gifts directly to their house instead of to me so I could wrap them up ”

    I have absolutely no idea why you thought this was odd. A registry is a service to facilitate gifts to the couple, not to the buyer. Most offer gift wrapping services if you are so inclined to spend more money to ‘wrap up’ gifts the happy couple will not be surprised by.

    Yes, the easy cash conversion is rather sleazy, but unlike most websites, this one at least is upfront about it, rather than pretending couples don’t do this. If you are so hung up on getting them sporks, then get them sporks somewhere else. But remember, you can’t actually force them to use the sporks you paid for fondly forever more. It’s just stuff. Do what you are comfortable doing, but save the drama tears for actual tragedies.

  • Vanda July 26, 2018, 9:57 am

    I would like to see the concept of showers and registries die off. Because it is true that most people don’t need stuff; they already have what they need when they marry. Which then leads to registering for-gifts-but-returning-for-cash, or to using showers as a lifestyle upgrade. (Seriously–I won’t even buy stuff that expensive for myself!)
    My fiance and I are combining households and don’t need more stuff, so we’re not having a shower and don’t have a registry. And it’s completely fine. The scant few who prefer to give a tangible gift ask us for ideas, and I’m pretty sure the majority are going to do exactly what I do for any wedding: give cash. I don’t need to tell them to do that because that’s just presumptive and rude and yes, tacky.
    I think it’s high time for a cultural update in this area. No more showers, please!!

    • at work July 27, 2018, 9:21 am

      I agree. I know a couple who had two weddings. One took place during a big family vacation to the Caribbean, the other was a huge to-do centering on one of the person’s heritage and culture. They had at least two wedding showers. Now they are expecting a baby and there are three baby showers scheduled, complete with registries and catering. I am happy for the little family, really, but it’s all a little hard to swallow since the families are wealthy. I don’t mean comfortable, I mean big-time wealthy. If ever a couple did not need to be showered, they are it! But one of the parents-to-be is the offspring of the Big Boss and we’ve already gotten the email announcing a shower at our workplace for the couple.

  • Skaramouche July 26, 2018, 12:22 pm

    I think the point people are missing is that the “registry” is an ask for cash masquerading as a regular gift registry. It is cruel to make people think they are buying you ‘x’ item when in reality, the dollar value of that item is going to be deposited into your account. There are often deep sentiments tied to mere objects. As someone said, heartbreakingly, in an earlier comment, old gramps might spend more than she intended to and can afford because she gets pleasure from imagining that expensive tea set in your home, being used by you and maybe your children for years to come. She might not feel the same way if she knew the money was being spent so you could go sky diving with your sweetie. Gift giving has always been about both the giver and the receiver. Let’s not forget how the tradition of gift giving started. It was a means for young couples to quickly collect the essentials they would need to start a new life. Times have changed, we are marrying later than ever, the definition of essentials has changed so isn’t it time to stop this insane gift giving tradition? It’s gotten to the point where it’s a chore to think of something that will be useful, that the couple will like, that will fit with their home and decor, so much so that it’s a relief to plunk down a bunch of cash and call it a day. Then, when you get married yourself, the process repeats. Instead of passing a bunch of money around, how about we just stop giving these “expected” gifts?

  • Yuchin Robb July 27, 2018, 7:51 am

    As I am from a culture that requests cash gifts from each and every guest at the reception, the scenario posted here doesn’t really raise my eyebrow.
    In Taiwan, red pack or red envelope can branch out to stand alone as a discipline in business school. In the past, the newly weds might expect to cover the reception as well as the down payment for their home with the cash gifts. Nowaday, the cash at the reception may barely cover the reception banquet. Used to be, each family will have a bookkeeper to handle cash gifts from their side of friends and family respectively. Now the newlyweds may have separate banquet to take care of the cost and revenues.
    Tacky as the customs may be, just to show the business side of marriages in the Chinese culture. On the other hand, it could also be very realistic, so realistic to tone down on the romantics.

  • shoegal July 27, 2018, 9:53 am

    It is the “expectation” of a gift that is a problem. These modern couples all assume that there should be gifts – and that is where the etiquette breach begins. If you have a wedding website I don’t think that registry information should be forthcoming – you should not be expecting gifts. You shouldn’t be planning on using your gift money on something already . Couples should go with the assumption that they aren’t getting any gifts from anybody.

    I understand that registries can be a “help” to people who’d like to buy a gift and want to give the couple something they truly want – but that is only if those items, are indeed, wanted. It sounds like you can sign up for anything without ever having the intention of actually using it and then go exchange it for cash. Then when the cash is in hand, the couple could easily spend it on every day living instead. They stop for lunch on their way home and your gift suddenly became part of a fast food run. What about the days when the new bride pulled out her new stemware that Aunt Emily got her or the picture frame from her friend from high school. You don’t forget who bought it and you cherish those things and remember the person who got it for you forever. Not the case anymore and I think it is kind of sad. I had a registry (my mother insisted) and I put a bunch of stuff on there that I really didn’t want to fill it up – I registered at a store or two and had to pick from whatever they had. I married when I was 38 – so I had an apartment of my own and my husband owned the house we now live in. I didn’t need the usual things truly young new brides that moved from their parent’s house to their own home needed. I honestly didn’t know what I needed until I got there – and then things started to pop up. So – all in all the registry wasn’t necessary.

    Yeah – most people give gifts for a wedding – but planning on how to manage those gifts is exceedingly tacky, IMO.

    • wanda July 31, 2018, 11:24 pm

      When I buy gifts for people’s weddings, I don’t do it because I hope they’ll remember me when they use the gift. That honestly seems kind of selfish. I give gifts because I think the receivers will like that item and will be happy using it. There were many couples of my acquaintance where I knew the main thing they needed was cash, that the thing that would make them happiest would be to be able to afford their honeymoon while still paying off their student loans. So I gave them cash because I want them to be happy.

  • Katie July 27, 2018, 10:59 am

    I’m someone who places more value on experiences rather than things. If a person wants to celebrate my wedding, I’d rather they give $5 to a honeymoon fund rather than spend $50 on a set of wine glasses that will rarely be used. I’d also feel better about my gift knowing that it’s something my friends/family will really value. A lot of wedding gifts just end up in a garage sale a few years later but my friends still talk about their amazing honeymoons years later.

  • Vicki July 28, 2018, 2:44 pm

    Am I the last person whose friends have had a registry for “if you want to get us something, this is the style we like”? Not “you must buy me dishes” but “if you’re going to buy me dishes, I’d like them to match/I don’t want to wind up with six crock pots and no soup bowls/here are the colors I like, if you feel like getting towels or sheets or such.”

    Maybe I am–I was born during the Kennedy administration and the wedding I’m thinking of, a few years ago, was of friends a bit older than me. They didn’t need new dishes, but, reasonably, felt that if people wanted to buy them dishes, it should be a style they liked.

    More generally, there’s a difference between “you must buy me a sweater for my birthday” and “if you want to buy me a sweater, please remember that wool makes me itch” or even “Mom, you’ve known me all my life, you know what colors I like, why is this orange?”

  • hematite August 12, 2018, 8:58 am

    I always feel that a gift should never be expected. It is a gift, not something one is owed. But I don’t understand the frustration people express about someone asking, at a traditionally gift-giving occasion, for what is actually desired or useful to them. There is no obligation to follow the suggestion. There is no obligation to give a gift at all. But personally, I appreciate having a registry to look at, or even being asked to contribute cash. Now I know what is wanted and/or needed! That is so helpful to me, as a potential gift-buyer.

    I am more frustrated by the opposite side of the spectrum: having no clue what a person needs with no assistance from a gift registry, and the receiver being unwilling to give specific suggestions. There, I wonder: can I give cash? I don’t know what to buy, but sometimes cash is looked at poorly. My in-laws, for instance, seem to all think there is something wrong with giving cash (though they are okay with gift cards). So I shop around and eventually find something that either turns out to be a gift repeated five times or something that is later re-gifted or is boxed up in a garage as useless.

    I am not a mind reader to know what is wanted/needed. Please give me the registry! Please ask me for the cash if that’s what is needed!

    I want my gifts to be helpful, not merely a ceremonial offering to societal expectations.