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 Here's a short story about bizarre combinations of items on a gift registry. An acquaintance of mine, renowned for his poor taste, as well as for being just plain weird, met a girl on a dating website. Three months later they were engaged, much the surprise and chagrin of our friends.

I am not close enough to this fellow to be invited to the wedding, but another friend discovered that the gift registry for this happy couple contains both white cotton briefs (for HIM!) and a 30-inch plasma flat-screen television. I suppose it could be worse. He could have requested THONGS instead.



Someone I went to college with, let's call her Kay, got engaged to the guy she'd been dating for four months or so. They decided to get married in Vegas, because it was cheaper that way. Their parents were not invited, even though they planned the wedding in advance. Two months after the wedding, I received an invitation to a reception given by her parents. The "reception" took place in a very swanky restaurant in downtown Chicago, and included with the invitation was a note telling the recipient where the couple was registered for gifts. I went to the (exceedingly high-class) stores to check out the registries and was appalled. There was nothing on either registry that could be purchased for under $50 - and a great deal of things for $300 and above. My boyfriend and I were both in graduate school at the time, and didn't have a lot of money. I poked around the registry and finally discovered that I could purchase four glass tumblers and stay within my budget. 

The reception was quite large, with about 100 people there. I felt very sorry for both of her parents, who I'd met before, as they hadn't been invited to their own daughter's wedding but were still expected to pay something like $35 per plate for a sit-down dinner. The "bride" spoke to several of us after dinner and mentioned how disappointed she was about the fact that people had only purchased things from the cheaper end of the gift registry, and that she'd really been counting on some expensive gifts to make the reception "worth the trouble." She also talked a lot about how expensive her 1.5 carat diamond and platinum engagement ring had been, and how she wouldn't have bothered with an engagement ring that cost less than $10,000. Needless to say, when I got married, I kept her behavior in mind as a cautionary example!


Dear Jeanne:

Thank you so much for your site.  It is both very educational and extremely amusing.  I witnessed something at a recent wedding and wondered if you’ve ever heard of anything close to it.

My husband and I were at his sister’s wedding.  It was hosted by the bride’s mother and step-father, with her father as a guest.  The wedding was nice – pretty standard other than both “dads” walking the bride down the aisle.  The reception was held at a lovely country club and, but for some minor seating inconveniences, was pretty standard as well until the dancing started.

After the couple’s first dance, the bride danced with her father then the DJ announced that the bride would dance with her “other father” and she danced with her step-father.  I don’t think this, or the sharing of walking-down-the-aisle duties, would have been an etiquette breach if she had discussed it with her father first; but she did not and he was extremely hurt by these actions.

Then after a brief bit of general dancing, the DJ announced a dollar dance.  I don’t believe that dollar dances are ever appropriate but I’ve seen some that were done more tastefully than others – this one takes the cake.  The bride and groom each took a spot on the dance floor and began dancing with the paying guests.  The bride’s mother stood on the dance about 3 feet away from the bride and was calling out the denominations of the dance fees (i.e. “a 100 DOLLAR BILL!!!!”).  The dollar dance went on for about 20-30 minutes so several songs were played.  But the best part, at the end of the dance both the bride and groom were wearing crowns and necklaces made from the folded dollar dance bills.  They have lovely professional pictures in their wedding album of the two of them wearing their cash gifts – Nice!


The Washington Post is having a series on online discussions on wedding planning this week.  This is from today's discussion at

  Scarsdale, N.Y.: One terrific idea is to set up a registry with your photographer, caterer or musicians -- but be sure to print the info on your invitation! Guests can purchase services from each that go to your wedding -- in the process they get an education on what really goes into a quality wedding. After all, you don't get acceptable canapés for Ruby Tuesday's or Applebee's prices. In fact, our caterer provided a list price on the registry but gave us a 10% discount for running a registry with him! This was great for guests because they were able to make sure they didn't embarrass themselves with a $25 set of salt and pepper shakers. 



I am in a wedding in 2 weeks. Basically every detail of this extravaganza has been overpriced overrated and over the top. The bride calls me and asks me if I can find (aka PURCHASE) "TEARS OF JOY" wedding tissues. So I do a web search and lo and behold there are a plethora of these worthless pieces of crap to choose from. They range from 1.50-2.20 per pack. Times 200 people she's asking me to spend upwards of $400 so the people at this wedding have something extra special to blow their snot into. Are you KIDDING ME????? And she still expects a gift?????

So I sent her the links and told her "here they are I found some" basically my way of saying "order them yourself" WTF does she think I am? I spent hundreds on her bridal shower, hundreds on her bachelorette party, hundreds on the dress/alterations/shoes and she's asking me to spend hundreds more on TISSUES?! 


Hey Jeanne!

I love your site. I've been stopping in for a couple of years now, and the stories never cease to amaze me. I'm submitting one on behalf of a coworker of mine, who is also an avid fan.   "Jane" and I work for a very large medical institution, and so does "Julie". Julie and Jane were once best friends, but had a very dramatic falling out. They no longer speak, and they will occasionally pass in the hallways, but nothing further. Julie and Jane share a mutual friend, "Anna". Anna works in Julie's office, and Jane has been known to stop in and say hi to Anna if she's over that way. Now that you're thoroughly confused, let's get to the faux pas.   

One day Jane stops in to see Anna briefly, and notices that there is a piggy bank on her desk. The pig is dressed up like a bride and it says, "Wedding Fund" on it. Jane ignores it, and Anna doesn't mention it. One of the other assistants walks by and asks Jane, "Are you going to contribute to the wedding fund?" Jane sees Anna frantically shaking her head and making gestures behind her back, so she asks whose wedding she would be funding. Turns out it would be none other than Julie.   What was so tacky about that? 

Let's take a look:   1) This particular assistant knew very well of the falling out Jane and Julie had. She knew they were no longer speaking. I, personally, thought that was tacky, even though Julie just said it was par for the course. (Since I don't know that girl, I have to take her word for it.)   2) Julie was fund-raising for her wedding! From what Jane has told me, Julie and her fiancé are planning to have a beach wedding, with no one in attendance. Basically, they want everyone to pay for a trip to the beach for them.   Granted, since Jane doesn't keep up with Julie's comings and goings, she could have changed her mind. I still think that is the epitome of classless. I was also wondering, though, is this common? The piggy bank was store-bought. It wasn't was clearly meant to be a "Wedding Fund" piggy bank. Do other people do this? I would appreciate your input, if you aren't swamped.   Keep the fabulous stories coming!!  


While in college, I attended the wedding for a fraternity brother of the guy I was casually dating at the time.  The ceremony was a simple and tasteful Baptist ceremony.  Afterwards, the minister announced that the bride and groom preferred that the guests wait outside until they finished taking pictures before proceeding to the reception. Now, keep in mind, this was August, in Texas with no shade in sight. Everyday that week the thermometer had hit triple digits. So, about an hour later, when the bride and groom emerged from the church, we were all drenched in sweat, dehydrated and sunburned.

We went on to the reception at a Doubletree hotel.  In general, I think cash bars at a wedding are terribly tacky, but to make matters worse, the Best Man or father of the bride, I can’t remember, actually got on the microphone and asked that everyone go buy a glass of champagne for the toast!  My date, being the dud that he was, did not have any cash on him and didn’t own an ATM card, so I went down to the ATM myself and bought our drinks for the rest of the night.

After the toast, they passed out envelopes for the “money tree” (envelopes tied to a paper tree with messages of congratulations along with checks or cash.) Then, the DJ announced that they would soon begin the “money dance.”  Ah, yes, the money dance. For those of you who have not had the “pleasure” of seeing a money dance, a jar is left out for guests to make donations in exchange for a dance with either the bride or groom. This is bad in and of itself, but particularly awkward when you are the date of the guest and you don’t really know either the bride or groom but are being solicited by the attendants to contribute. Needless to say I did not participate.  I went to the ladies room and waited it out while vowing that my own wedding would never be so distasteful.


Several years ago, before our divorce, my husband's sister had a "small" wedding (about 75 people) & reception at a facility about an hour away from home.  It wasn't a church, or a reception hall or a community center--it was a "historic" home that had been turned into a rental facility for weddings and such, and was completely bare, although they did provide round tables and folding chairs.  My SIL announced her engagement in the fall and had set a date for the following spring.  My husband and in-laws farm for a living, so mind you, the spring is an extremely busy time of year for everyone.  Why she picked that time of year is beyond me.  The reason she chose a location so far away (an hour might not seem like a big deal but for us it was) was because she didn't want a "religious" ceremony and therefore, didn't want to get married in a church.  

Anyway, sometime over the winter I learned that my in-laws were cooking for the reception, as my SIL and her fiancé were trying to keep costs down because they were paying for the wedding themselves.  This of course, added stress to an already stressful time of year.  My SIL asked me if I would use my video camera to tape the wedding (in lieu of a wedding gift) so they wouldn't have to pay for a videographer.  I hesitantly agreed--I had only used the camera a few times at birthday parties and get-togethers, but she assured me that it was fine.  

About a month or so before the wedding, I was talking to my MIL and learned that the entire event was to be set up, catered, decorated, and cleaned up by the family--meaning my FIL, MIL, husband and me.  Four people to handle the ENTIRE thing from start to finish!  I was never formally asked if I would/could help and had no idea the extent of the duties that were laid upon my shoulders until the day of the wedding.   Here's how it went...the meat was prepared over night and removed from the heat that morning, then we all piled supplies into our vehicles and drove to the site.  We spent the day getting the food ready, setting up the buffet tables, setting up chairs in the ceremony room and taking pictures.  Then, after the ceremony (I did videotape), the guests were asked to step outside while we put out tables, linens, decorations, food and helped the DJ get set up....and of course we minded the food and drinks keeping the pans and bowls full.  

By the time the guests had finished, there was a small pile of dried out meat and some room temperature side dishes left for us to eat--which, if I remember correctly, didn't happen until much later that night.  Once the guests were done and had started to mill around, we moved tables around to make room for a dance floor.  In between all the chaos, I would grab my video camera and get some footage of the reception, including going around and asking guests to make a video toast to the B&G.  

The reception lasted well past midnight and once everyone was gone, we had to clear out the building, clean it, do dishes and pack up.  Fortunately, my in-laws had gotten us rooms at a hotel that was within walking distance....I don't even know if I got completely ready for bed before collapsing into a deep, and very short sleep--my in-laws hosted a buffet breakfast early the next morning.  Come to think of it now, I don't think the groom's parents did a blessed thing?!   I did this all with no complaint and I did in fact enjoy myself during the reception; however it really burned me that I never got a thank you (verbal or written) from my SIL, her husband or my in-laws....not even for the video.  I must admit that I wasn't completely shocked that I didn't--believe me, there are plenty of ISSUES in that family, some of the many reasons I am no longer a part of it--but I still feel that it was very inappropriate to just assume that I would help instead of asking (of course I would've said yes) and then to never say thank you was like a kick in the teeth.  It never ceases to amaze me just how ungrateful people can be.  It's one thing to want to save money and have a do-it-yourself event, but don't treat family (or anybody for that matter) like unappreciated slave labor.  Especially when you CAN afford to hire help, as was my SIL's and her fiancé's case....tightwads!


Luckily this idea was nixed before it took place.  Years ago a guy I dated was in a band.  A band mate of his had finally gotten engaged.  Because they were not-so-good at managing their money, they thought it'd be a good idea if the band played at a benefit for them.

The band would play all night, for free, and they would charge $20 at the door.  All the proceeds would go to the newly engaged couple!

I'm not sure who talked them out of the idea.  But I sure am glad it didn't take place.  Benefits should be reserved for truly needy individuals.


Just this past Dec. '04 I was invited to a new co-workers wedding (actually she was a temp at the time and had been working w/our company for about 4 months). Anyway, this was on the back of her Xeroxed invite since the 'good ones' were for family and close friends! LOL Here goes the poem:

They have their dishes and towel for two
They have pots and pans and oven mitts too 
So what do you get for the Bride and Groom
Whose house is setup in every room 
A tree that grows wishes is the way to go
So let's make it easy for all that know 
An envelope will be provided for those who have room
To give a monetary desire to the Bride and Groom 
For those who desire a gift to get
We have registered at a local Target 


And to top that off her fiancé called a guy she works with here to ask if we were going to throw her a shower here at work! LOL! Her poem I decided was too tacky for me to attend the wedding, on top of the fact I barely know this girl. And if she thinks her guests are too dumb to figure out that they have most everything already (she's 38) and that maybe a cash gift would be best then that is sad. Oh well!



This is in response to the post about gift registries in the gimme section.  

I have never liked the idea of gift registries. I find them to be offensive, and these are some of the reasons why: 1) I find it insulting that the person inviting me doesn't trust me to choose a suitable gift for them. Do they think I have such terrible taste they have to TELL me what to bring? (and where do they get off feeling entitled to a gift anyhow? Of course, I ALWAYS bring a gift...but I do so because I LOVE them, not because they are entitled to it!) ********A gift registry is not a way of telling you what to bring, but rather an idea of what the couple do like and want.  It is not a way of saying you have terrible taste, they just want to offer up ideas.  And no one says just cause you register you are entitled to a gift.  It is customary to bring a gift to a shower and the wedding, but unless they say BRING A GIFT, they are not making it like they are entitled by registering. 

2) Gift registries deprive the gift GIVER the pleasure of choosing a gift for their loved one. I enjoy selecting gifts that are unique ... creative, and special! ( I also enjoy giving gifts that I have made myself...or are personalized.) ********It may deprive you of getting the gift of your choice, but maybe the couple are wanting to get a certain china pattern or something to fix up their house and they have an idea of what they would like better then you do.  A registry is made as a list of what the couple would like, it is not carved in stone that you have to select from the list ONLY!!!!!!!  Get over it. 

3) Gift registries deprive the gift RECEIVER the pleasure of being surprised.......(It never ceases to amaze me that people even bother WRAPPING the gifts .......since the receiver and the guests already know exactly what the person is getting) ********This does not deprive the receiver the pleasure, remember the receiver registered these items knowing if the items were bought they would not be surprised.  Wrapping, well that's just a nice way to give the present and the receiver does not know what you got unless they are constantly checking the registry buyer list, which in this case they are a gimme and do not want to be surprised. 

4) Gift registries are unnecessary because close friends and family usually know what you need and what sort of things you like ... If they DON'T know....they can always call you and ask. ********Not everyone that gets an invite is close family and friends and not all family lives in the same town and knows what you need or what the other person is bringing into the relationship.  If you have to call and ask then why not just be able to pull a registry?  Where's the surprise in calling and asking the person what they want, and what is the difference in asking what they want in a phone call or just getting a copy of a registry? 

5) Many people are greedy and list expensive items on their registries, and guests feel pressured to spend more money then they can afford. ********Most people register their china, which is usually pricey but hey its china and you do not have to get the pricey stuff.  A registry is not a mandatory list you have to go by, but rather a list of items wanted, and a lot of time you can read it to get an idea and find the same items at other stores for a cheaper price or get them something similar to their desires. 

6) I don't feel a gift shouldn't be demanded. A gift should be given willingly, from the heart......and accepted graciously. Otherwise, it isn't a gift at all. It's like being charged admission! A gift should be appreciated by the receiver regardless of the price tag. ********Again since when is a registry a demand you shop from it?  Many people register dishes and linen.  Most people do appreciate gifts and most mature people know that not all gifts are from the registry and that gifts are given willingly.  A demand would be again "come with a gift" or something of that nature.  Most registry cards are sent in a shower invite, which is thrown for the couple and it is customary and traditional to give a gift.  Most of the time the couple do not throw their own shower so in fact it is the person throwing the shower that is asking for a gift for the couple, but again it goes with tradition not demand. 

7) I truly believe the stores provide the "service" of gift registries to lock in peoples business.....not for their customers convenience. ********Where do you live that you can't get the same items at another store?  I mean friends of mine registered cook ware at a department store and I found the same items at a retail store for 1/2 the price.   I just used the registry for an idea.  And for the couples wanting china, well they use the store to register this item in a manner to get a set of the same china.  Would you rather the couple send a letter saying we want this china pattern it is available at _____.  That would sound more gimme and demanding. I love giving and receiving gifts. I don't care how much money someone spends.....I care how much thought and effort they put into it. I take great pleasure in choosing gifts for people, and I never expect anything in return, other then to see them enjoy the gift. ********Obviously a registry is intended for those people who choose to shop from it.  Not all people have time to make or shop for gifts.  Some people have really hectic lives, or they want to see the enjoyment from the couple by getting them something they are 100% sure the couple want or need. When I receive an invitation from a close friend or relative with a gift registry number...... I ignore the registry and bring a gift of my own choosing. ********And no one says you have to buy from the registry, but really in the end you may be passing up something practical on the list that the couple want and desire to start their new lives together, so that you can give what pleases you!  When you give a gift isn't it for the other person?  So by buying a gift of your own choosing you are ignoring the wants and desires of the receiver. If this offends anyone, they never told me to my face. (In gifts usually get a lot of oooohs and ahhhhs!) ********Not to be mean or offensive but I have received gifts on occasion of things that got oooh's and ahhh's from myself and others, but it does not mean that the gift is practical or of my taste and liking.   And anyone with class is not going to tell you that you offend them by not buying from the registry.  And again, a registry is not a mandatory buy list but a wish list. If I receive an invitation with a gift registry number from someone I am NOT close with, I politely decline their invitation, and do NOT send a gift. ********This is in poor taste on your part.  The person thought enough to send you an invite and probably didn't mean offense or demand of a gift just cause they included a registry number.  It sounds like you are more interested in getting what you want and what you would want to receive rather then thinking of the couple and what their "wish list" states.  It is almost impossible to meet a person who does not want something.  Sound like in your case you want the attention of standing out in an order to get ooooh's and ahhhh's rather then the practicality of the registry.  And many people who buy gifts that are not a registry end up giving repeat gifts as well as those that shop off of a registry, so either way the couple usually have things to return and I know people who have returned items not on a registry in an order to get an item not received from the registry, so in a weird kind of way you are purchasing from the registry if you buy a gift and it is returned.  I am not trying to be rude or mean to you, but you asked for comments!



My husband's cousin was getting married for the first time. His wife to be had 2 children from a past boyfriend. Neither of them were very rich, and a wedding would be a wonderful thing to "elicit" gifts they would need. They didn't register for usual wedding gifts (China, towels, etc.) but had 4 pages on their registry including a big screen TV, VCR, computer games and worse: TOYS for the bride-to-be's kids, and candy! Then, after the wedding, she used the money they received to take her kids on vacation. Needless to say they were divorced less than a year later!



Dear Miss Jeanne,   Now even wedding etiquette sites are telling the greedy to-weds to go out and grab! room/weddings/etiquette/editorsfeature.html

About halfway down, it discusses the sticky question of gift registries, and says, "Traditionally it was considered impolite to send out gift lists without a request, so if one does not arrive with the invitation, it is up to you to request the information from the person hosting the wedding, usually the bride's mother. Nowadays however, it is perfectly acceptable for the whereabouts of the gift registry to be included with the invite."

Perfectly acceptable? How about, perfectly disgusting?   Love your site so much!



Luxembourg, Europe:   I hate this trend, but it's getting so widespread, I am afraid it is here to stay.

Wedding announcements in the newspaper, together with a bank account number and a request for "donations" or "gifts" to be made on it.

As you can see in the example (it's a page of wedding announcements from the 7th of May) - all of them have the bank account numbers.

The first one says: We are getting married on 28th May 2005 at 3:30 PM in the church in Mersch. (Name and address) If you want to make us happy, you can put a donation on this acct. number with the note "Wedding Michèle and Luc".

The second one: The people who really want to make us happy, can instead of flowers make a donation to our account with note "Honeymoon Sandy & Clyde".

The third one: If you want to make us happy, we have everything double, so we would be happy if you would add something to our bank account with note "Dani and Primo".

And the fourth one: If you want to make us happy, you can make a donation to our account with note "Wedding Sharon and Dan".


When my friend E. became engaged, she didn't bother to tell anyone.  At a gathering of mutual friends I spied her ring and offered excited, genuine congrats - she was the first of our little group from college to settle down - and was met with a frosty, "Yeah, thanks."  So I did a little snooping - turns out E. was in a scuffle with her mother over planning the wedding and was really downplaying the event.  Fair enough.  So many months pass with no mention of the wedding.  Then, secondhand, I hear E. and her groom eloped to some tropical isle and got married.  Then, again secondhand, I hear I'm invited to the reception.  No actual invite, no call, no e-mail.  Okay, whatever.  Finally, in yet another secondhand message, I find I am uninvited to the reception but may come to the bridal shower, the location of which (no joke, folks) was changed three times the week of the shower.  I called E.'s mother (as E. was not returning calls or e-mails) to find out where the final location was and she wasn't sure, either.  Then an e-mail comes.  No gifts for the shower, just donate to the couple's hot tub fund at such-n-such store.

If she wanted a quiet, non-traditional wedding, her friends would have respected that.  But was is really necessary to be incommunicado for months on end, then resurface with a request for money?



 I am reading the "Gimme 1211/03" entry, where a woman expounds at length on how gift registries offend her and how perfect her taste in wedding gifts is. The thing is, she's about half wrong in several of her comments.   She says, "If I receive an invitation with a gift registry number from someone I am NOT close with, I politely decline their invitation, and do NOT send a gift.  Do you think I belong in etiquette hell for behaving this way?"

Well, actually, yes. This attitude is wrong enough that it caused me to write in to comment on her entire entry.   First of all, the etiquette for invitations and responses to them is pretty clear. You must invite relatives up to at least first cousins. Everyone else (second cousins, removed cousins, friends, co-workers) comes after that, according to what you can afford. If you are invited, no matter how close you are to the couple, you go. Excusable reasons for declining the invitation are things like your acceptance to a previous invitation to a conflicting similar event, or your fantastically poor health and inability to travel, or (if an out of state wedding) your inability to afford the travel. You should always make every effort to attend, if you have been invited. If you cannot attend, and have been invited, you should make every effort to send a gift.   "I didn't like the style of your invitation," is not an excusable or polite reason to decline an invitation. Go to the wedding if you can. Not doing so is a major faux pas; including a registry number for interested parties is a minor one.   Earlier in her letter, she says,  "I find it insulting that the person inviting me doesn't trust me to choose a suitable gift for them. Do they think I have such terrible taste they have to TELL me what to bring? (and where do they get off feeling entitled to a gift anyhow? Of course, I ALWAYS bring a gift...but I do so because I LOVE them, not because they are entitled to it!)" But the couple is, in fact, "entitled" to a gift - if only in these terms: failure to bring a gift is a breach of etiquette. It's a reasonable expectation that anyone coming will bring a gift. By the same token, though, any conscientious engaged couple will probably have an idea of the financial circumstances of close relatives and friends, and completely understand if they can't bring anything. (They will also know full well if a relative is just being cheap.) Later in her diatribe, this writer contradicts herself by saying that, in fact, rather than having a narrowed-down list to choose from, she thinks that people who call and ask should just be told what to bring. "Gift registries deprive the gift GIVER the pleasure of choosing a gift for their loved one. I enjoy selecting gifts that are unique ... creative, and special! (I also enjoy giving gifts that I have made myself...or are personalized.)" This is not true. Gift registries simply narrow the field of potential gift items to things that the receivers truly know they want/need/love. It is perfectly within the bounds of all good etiquette to ignore a store registry and give whatever you wish to give; some couples choose not to have a registry, because doing so usually means they will receive more cash gifts. However, it's riskier and might be a little disappointing to the engaged couple, assuming they actually *really needed* the things on their registry (plenty do, especially if they are young and devout enough that they won't be living together until after the wedding). The whole point of giving them a gift is to help them out in their new married life, getting them started with things they need. Homemade gifts *should* always be welcome, in terms of good etiquette, but in my opinion they might not be a great idea if you aren't skilled or aren't at least really going to put a good chunk of time into them. Then, it should be something that suits the recipients' tastes, not just yours. If you make traditional quilts, they're a great gift for your niece who likes things like that, but not so great for your other niece who is a punk rocker. If you're a painter, better make sure that the couple likes your style or that you can paint something in theirs. It's possible to appreciate the time, thought, and effort that went into something, and still not know what the heck to do with it. Ultimately, the giving of a wedding gift (or any other) is not about the giver and what they do or do not feel "deprived" of. Gifts are about the receiver, not the giver. Being invited to a wedding is an honor, especially if you are not one of the closer relatives who must be invited for reasons of politeness. I'm not saying this to justify greed... just commenting that the original writer's attitude struck me as very arrogant in this spot. If you choose to give a type of gift because it gratifies YOU, you are not giving that type of gift for the right reasons. "Gift registries deprive the gift RECEIVER the pleasure of being surprised." Once again, we come back to the purpose of wedding gifts. They are not like birthday or winter holiday presents. Surprise is not necessarily a virtue. If the receiver wants to be surprised, they won't create a registry. That said, most engaged couples should expect at least a few surprises; it is not gracious to be upset by them. "Gift registries are unnecessary because close friends and family usually know what you need and what sort of things you like ... If they DON'T know....they can always call you and ask." Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.First of all, the current etiquette concerning gift registries - which has been ignored by the couples at each wedding I've attended in the last few years, but all these couples were young and not financially well-off at all - is that no registry information is to be included with the invitation to the wedding. Although it is poor etiquette not to bring or send a gift, it is also poor etiquette to actually ASK for them quite that obviously. So the current etiquette, according to everything I've read, is actually that it's quite all right to register for gifts, but not at more than two or three places. The "word of mouth" factor comes in with guests calling the couple and their parents to find out where their registries are. Without a registry, the "they can always call you and ask" factor becomes a nightmare, because then, instead of simply giving guests a set of ideas, the bride and groom have to tell the guest exactly what to get them (going back to one of the original writer's earlier complaints). I personally frown on registry cards, but they can be understandable if, for example, the engaged couple both have very common names and live in a major metropolitan area. John Jones and Sarah Smith, marrying on June 5 in NYC? (My fiancé and I - who will probably NOT be including registry cards with our announcements or invitations - do not have names quite that common, but our registry is still not easy to find at the website of the large national retailer we've chosen. We initially planned to keep it as a shopping list for ourselves; it currently holds half a dozen household items that we need prior to moving in together this summer. But we will not be getting married for another 18 months and, just in the first few months of wedding planning, we have already been asked half a dozen times where we'll be registered.) The ha ha ha is really about "relatives knowing what you like." In terms of past holidays, my relatives know that I like gift cards or certificates, because they know that they do not know what I like. In any situation where the couple has a significantly different situation from that of their relatives, the likelihood of relatives knowing what they like is actually pretty small. Using my own situation as an example, my fiancé has hip postmodern tastes, but almost all of his relatives live in very conservative rural areas and just wouldn't think that the stuff he likes is even "nice." I grew up a thousand miles away from almost all of my relatives, and they are kind enough to give me the luxury of choice as a gift. And it isn't a matter of relatives having "bad taste" - it's just a matter of relatives and the couple not having *the same taste.*

"Many people are greedy and list expensive items on their registries, and guests feel pressured to spend more money then they can afford." Many brides and grooms have been advised to shoot for the moon on their registries. Most will list several expensive "dream" items in case anyone wants to buy them, but that doesn't mean they're expected, or that the couple in question is "greedy." I would love a Kitchen Aid stand mixer as a wedding gift - and my mom does keep threatening to buy it - but I don't expect to receive it even if it is on the registry. Ditto the Dyson vacuum. Many weddings have 100 or more guests, some of whom are friends or co-workers of the couple's parents. Can the couple be expected to know what these people can afford or want to give? Registries should have lots of small items - plenty $25 and under, some around $50, a handful around $100 - but nobody should be made to feel guilty for noting that there are a few bigger things they want and need. This also comes down to different people having different ideas of what is "expensive." The items I've mentioned here as the higher-end things my fiancé and I would really like might be low-end or mid-range for many couples.

"When I receive an invitation from a close friend or relative with a gift registry number...... I ignore the registry and bring a gift of my own choosing. If this offends anyone, they never told me to my face. (In gifts usually get a lot of oooohs and ahhhhs!)" Oh, my. This doesn't mean they actually like the gifts - though it's just as possible that they do as that they don't. All it means is that they are being very polite and gracious either way. In short - I think the writer I'm quoting was completely missing the point, thinking selfishly, and putting the most negative possible cast on the situation. She is absolutely correct that overt advertisement of a couple's registry is in poor taste, but her response is far worse. A lot of stuff about registries beyond the simple fact that they shouldn't be mentioned in the invitation is a matter of opinion. Another writer had a better argument against them when she mentioned that a relative got much of her registry in triplicate because older guests did not know that they needed to report the item's purchase to the store. However, most stores will allow the couple to return registry gifts for store credit; a few even allow cash returns. Another way to handle this - if the couple is basically set up in terms of household goods - is to request donations to a charity in lieu of gifts. I think it is acceptable to include this one type of "registry" information in an invitation, since it is certainly not greedy. Most registries are a good thing, if handled well. They can cut down on returns, they do make shopping easier for most wedding guests, and they do insure that the couple gets the things they really need and want. Furthermore, the majority of guests appreciate registries, precisely because they want to give something useful, rather than waste their money on something that won't ever see the light of day unless they visit, because the bride and groom don't like it and know they can't graciously say so. If bringing a gift, I ALWAYS buy from my friends' and relatives' registries, out of respect for them and their individual taste, even though etiquette does not demand it. Otherwise, I give them cash. People who choose to do otherwise should do so with the full knowledge that, no matter how polite they want to be, the bride and groom should not be expected to live with useless clutter (defined as things they do not want, use, and/or love - while you may not think this definition is gracious, there is little less gracious than a cluttered home). Therefore anyone giving a non-cash, non-registry gift without at least including a gift receipt should understand that they may, in fact, be giving a donation to Goodwill in the bride and groom's name, regardless of whether or not it looks like a pair of heart-shaped wooden candlesticks at the time. Tackier, but also possible, is the potential it will end up on Ebay. Appreciated but unliked wedding gifts should not be expected to be allowed to sit around the house like little lumps of guilt. It is OK to sincerely thank the person who gave the item for thinking of you... and then to dispose of the item itself. That's about that. Now, back to reading the site, and figuring out all the many ways to screw up a wedding. :) E.  


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007