Etiquette Hell

Wedding Bliss and Blues => Gifts, Registries and Money => Topic started by: Eve_Eire on March 05, 2014, 08:50:13 AM

Title: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: Eve_Eire on March 05, 2014, 08:50:13 AM
Hi all

I'm getting married this summer and have been coming up against a problem regarding registering for gifts.  My parents seem to think we should be registering as it makes buying gifts easier for the guests.  We don't want to do that for a multitude of reasons.

I'm worried that our lack of registering is going to be seen as the equivalent of asking for money - which we don't want either.  What we would really like is just for everyone to come and enjoy themselves and not bother themselves with getting us gifts or money.

So to avoid looking like we're asking for money by not registering for gifts, is there any wording we can use to discourage people from gifting us?  Or is the etiquette approved way just to say nothing at all and let the chips fall where they may, expect nothing but be sure to be appreciative if anyone does decide to gift us anything.

My plan is just to let it be known by word of mouth that we want nothing but the pleasure of our guests company (and sincerely mean it, as opposed to "your presence is our present BUT if you really want to give us a present...") but I wasn't sure if there is any etiquette approved way of conveying this in the invite?
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TurtleDove on March 05, 2014, 09:49:58 AM
I think your plan of word-of-mouthing your wishes makes sense.  I wouldn't worry about not registering "looking" any particular way - the people you have invited presumably know you and like you and will either get you something because they want to or take you at your word and simpy enjoy your wedding.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: Zizi-K on March 05, 2014, 11:31:21 AM
It is never correct to mention gifts on an invitation, even if it is to say "no gifts."

Personally, I would recommend registering for some inexpensive items. A lot of people are loathe to attend an event like a wedding without some kind of gift. Like or or not, it is usual and generally expected that a couple will receive gifts for their wedding. (There are lots of caveats to this, second weddings, etc. And it's true that the couple themselves should not expect gifts, or a certain level of gift.) But it is the usual course of things to mark an occasion as a guest by bringing a gift. If you register for some inexpensive things, those that feel they must bring a gift will choose one, feel as though they have done their duty, and they will not have spent very much. I suppose what I'm saying registering may be a way for you to make your guests more comfortable as opposed to it being something you do for yourself.

If you are adamantly against it, though, I do agree that word of mouth or just not saying anything is the best way to go.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: lofty on March 05, 2014, 11:47:05 AM
POD the above; one of my favorite parts about being invited to a wedding is choosing a gift. It may be off the registry, it may be handmade, but I love the time and thought I get to put into finding something special for the happy couple.

If you are really, truly opposed to gifts of any kind then word of mouth is the only way to go. Please, PLEASE do not put anything about "no gifts" on your invitations; I've had to explain to brides why that's just as large a faux pas as including the registry information. While you are not demanding gifts, it appears that you expect your guests to be giving them. Definite etiquette no-no.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: lowspark on March 05, 2014, 11:49:26 AM
It's funny how registries have come to be so expected that some people consider it somehow rude or neglectful not to have one. That's crazy! I just don't get the idea of registering for things you don't necessarily want, or even when you want nothing at all, just to appease your guests who think you must have one.

In addition to that, if you don't want gifts and say you don't want gifts but register nonetheless, it is like saying, "we do want gifts but want to act like we don't."

Word of mouth is the way to go. But keep in mind is that you will get some gifts. When people ask what you want or where you are registered, you simply reply that you'd prefer no gifts (and have your parents do the same). Some people will get you something anyway. Some will take you at your word. And some will get you something without asking about your registry.

As far as people thinking you want money, well, I dunno. People think what they think. If you register for expensive stuff they'll think you are being greedy. If you register for inexpensive stuff they'll think you didn't give then enough choices. Or enough credit for wanting to spend a goodly amount. Etc. You have to do what works for you and not worry about what they think.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: Deetee on March 05, 2014, 11:55:45 AM
From my experience you will get gifts. We tried to request no gifts ( so many people needed to travel that I thought that them showing up was enough of a gift) and we were ignored. The only person who complied was my bridesmaid and as she had decorated the entire three tier wedding cake over a two day period, that seemed like more than enough gift for anybody.

So people will get you gifts and if you say you don't want gifts will likely get you money (though I did get a couple donations to charity as well). This doesn't mean you need to set up a registry, but you should think about what you would like (charity donation, homemade gfts, something from their home town etc...)
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: HannahGrace on March 05, 2014, 12:26:34 PM
As I posted in another thread, I'm in exactly the same position - first wedding, we just don't want to register and do not expect or want gifts and we definitely do not want money.  I don't have any advice to offer but I'm glad to know we aren't alone and now you know you aren't either :)
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: sparksals on March 05, 2014, 12:37:30 PM
Never mention gifts.  Just like one doesn't mention where they are registered on a wedding invitation, the no gifts spreads by word of mouth too. 


Keep in mind, no registering will still illicit gifts.  It might make more sense to register for a small number of items to curtail receiving gifts you don't need or want.  At least you will get things you can use if you do register. 
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 05, 2014, 12:39:27 PM
Treat this the way you would an actual registry.

First, you inform everyone close to you about your (non)registry. And the reasons behind it.

Second, you set up a wedding website (even if it isn't elaborate), and have a discreet link on it that says "Registry" that takes you to another page.
    On that other page, you write something like, "We are asking our guests to not give us wedding presents; we have everything that we need, and we are simply looking forward to spending time with you on this important day."
     If it's less that you have what you need and more than you couldn't fit another thing into your home, say that: "We're actually trying to streamline our possessions, so gifts would actually be a burden."


And be prepared for the fact that you will frustrate many people who love you, and for whom that feeling makes them want to *act!* (sort of like the positive version of the "fight or flight" adrenalin response).
  Another thing that fuels the gift-giving idea is that, in my family at least, there's a sense of "what goes around, comes around" / fund-raising / evening things out. They've given presents to other family members; their familiy members may have -received- gifts from the collective community. They figure it's your turn. That's part of how they justify receiving such generous presents--that when the time comes, they'll give.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: lowspark on March 05, 2014, 02:13:25 PM
I'm not sure I'd say anything about gifts being a burden for the very reason that regardless of what you say, there are some people who will really want to give you a gift and you don't want to sort of put a damper on their pleasure. Not that you are responsible for how they feel about giving a gift but just as a gracious host, you want to make your guests comfortable and happy, and some people will be uncomfortable or unhappy not being able to share your joy by giving you a gift. So just as you wouldn't make a demeaning comment if someone did give you a gift after you requested none, I just don't think I'd make any kind of disparaging comment in advance either.

Because, the reality is that although you don't want gifts, surely you won't find it annoying or offensive if some people ignore that request. It's inevitable after all, and of course, you'll receive them graciously.

Additionally, I'd leave off the "we have everything we need" type of comments as well. Because that might be interpreted as "they don't want things they would need such as dishes & towels, but how about things they don't need such as a decorative vase or some such.

I like the wording Toots used, but with the part about having everything we need omitted.

We are asking our guests to not give us wedding presents. We are simply looking forward to the pleasure of spending time with you on this important day.

Edited to fix a typo.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: gellchom on March 05, 2014, 02:58:08 PM
I agree with the general consensus.  Say nothing.  When asked, or perhaps on a website, as Toots suggests, I would say something like, "What we would appreciate the most is if you would give a gift to your favorite charity in our honor." 

Note: THEIR favorite charity, not yours.  Otherwise it's like making your wedding a fundraiser. If they want to give to yours, they will ask what you like.  They will probably try to guess something you would like anyway.

I like this better than the formula of "your presence is what matters to us."  Because to me that is slightly self-congratulatory or smug -- as if couples who do register or don't say they don't want gifts are materialistic or value their guests' presence less than you do.

And yes, some people will still give you gifts, because they want to.  Around here, although we know it's against the rule, people giving parties for their own birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. typically write "No gifts, please."  And what invariably happens is that your very closest friends give you a gift or a donation in your name anyway, the same as they would have done if there had been no party at all, and everyone else will give you some sort of hostess-gift size token, the same as they would have done if it had been a non-occasion party.  That would be okay with you, I assume.

Basically, the less of anything at all you say about gifts in your direction, the better.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: HannahGrace on March 05, 2014, 03:08:50 PM
I agree with the general consensus.  Say nothing.  When asked, or perhaps on a website, as Toots suggests, I would say something like, "What we would appreciate the most is if you would give a gift to your favorite charity in our honor." 

Note: THEIR favorite charity, not yours.  Otherwise it's like making your wedding a fundraiser. If they want to give to yours, they will ask what you like.  They will probably try to guess something you would like anyway.

I like this better than the formula of "your presence is what matters to us."  Because to me that is slightly self-congratulatory or smug -- as if couples who do register or don't say they don't want gifts are materialistic or value their guests' presence less than you do.

And yes, some people will still give you gifts, because they want to.  Around here, although we know it's against the rule, people giving parties for their own birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. typically write "No gifts, please."  And what invariably happens is that your very closest friends give you a gift or a donation in your name anyway, the same as they would have done if there had been no party at all, and everyone else will give you some sort of hostess-gift size token, the same as they would have done if it had been a non-occasion party.  That would be okay with you, I assume.

Basically, the less of anything at all you say about gifts in your direction, the better.

Well, here's the thing though - for some of us, the presence IS what matters.  I wouldn't put it on a wedding website or, heaven forbid, in an actual invitation, but I don't think it's smug.  In some cases it's just what's true and it doesn't make those of us who feel that way better or worse than anyone else.  At this stage in my life, my friends are all insanely busy so the only thing I want for my wedding is for them to make what I know is a sacrifice to spend a few hours with us.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 05, 2014, 03:16:37 PM
I agree with the general consensus.  Say nothing.  When asked, or perhaps on a website, as Toots suggests, I would say something like, "What we would appreciate the most is if you would give a gift to your favorite charity in our honor." 

Note: THEIR favorite charity, not yours.  Otherwise it's like making your wedding a fundraiser. If they want to give to yours, they will ask what you like.  They will probably try to guess something you would like anyway.

Hmmm.

As a gift-giver, I wouldn't consider a gift to -my- favorite charity to be of any meaning to my bride&groom cousins.

Just as I don't consider a donation to their fave charity to be in any way a gift [favor] to me.

The idea of a charity donation being a gift is this:
     "This cause is so deeply important to me that any effort you do that supports them, I will interpret as a personal favor or gift to me--that's how much I care about it."

So if you put a charity on, I think it needs to be one you *do* care about. Perhaps a guest may not approve of that charity--you do not need to accommodate or consider that. (Just as, I don't like buying cookware, but you don't need to pay any attention to me when you are suggesting physical gifts in your registry.)
   I can give you something else if I don't like the suggestion you have given me. (same thing w/ Christmas lists--if there isn't something on there that I'm interested in giving you, then I have to do the work of picking something out myself.)
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 05, 2014, 03:32:48 PM
The thing is, people look at gifts for weddings in so many different ways (as illustrated by this thread). Definitely, pass it around through word of mouth (including your parents and attendants, if any) that you seriously don't want gifts. But, be prepared for people to want to get you something anyway--because they truly want to get you something as much as you truly don't want anything; because they like buying and giving gifts in general; because they feel a family/social obligation to gift you; etc..

I think it depends on your social circle/guest list, too. If you're going to be bugged about it a lot, and get gifts from people anyway no matter what you say, it might be prudent to direct the gift-giving in some way. This could be registering for small items, or asking people to donate to their favorite charity, or asking people for the small household item they've found most useful over the years, or asking people to bring you a card/note with marriage advice or memories of you written in it. Or you could get even more creative and, say, ask people to send your sister old family photos and stories so she can scan them and compile them into a book for you, or copy them and use them as centerpieces at the reception.

Sometimes it seems like there is a genuine outpouring of goodwill and if you give it nowhere to go, people get frustrated, or you end up with strange and unwanted stuff you feel obligated to keep. So maybe instead of saying, "No gifts," full stop, you could try saying, "No gifts, but it would be really great if you could..." write a nice note/bring photos/donate to charity/etc..
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: gellchom on March 05, 2014, 04:52:57 PM
Well, here's the thing though - for some of us, the presence IS what matters.  I wouldn't put it on a wedding website or, heaven forbid, in an actual invitation, but I don't think it's smug.  In some cases it's just what's true and it doesn't make those of us who feel that way better or worse than anyone else.  At this stage in my life, my friends are all insanely busy so the only thing I want for my wedding is for them to make what I know is a sacrifice to spend a few hours with us.

I didn't put this very well, did I?  Of course their presence is what matters to you!  My point is just that when people say so explicitly, it implies that it is NOT what matters to others, or at least that it matters less to others.  That's the part that feels vaguely self-congratulatory to me.  I've seen posters on eHell saying suggesting wording like "We value people more than possessions, so no gifts, please" -- much more extreme, to the point of real preening, but maybe helpful in illustrating the point.  And I suppose that some people could take "we already have everything we need" to be bragging or at least insensitive to those who don't.  I don't mind "no gifts, please," and leaving it at that.  There really isn't any need to state a reason.

Toots, this is a rare instance in which we disagree, although actually only partly.  I do agree with your points.  But the way I see it playing out is that the incipient recipient  :) says "your favorite charity," which means "any charity, we're not designating a specific one unless you ask us," and then the guests either ask them or someone close to them, or choose one they are confident they will like.

What I was trying to find wording for was the thought "We are already so blessed, and charities, including your favorite, need your generosity more than we do, so that's what would please us most."  But talk about sounding smug and self-congratulatory!

Maybe you could write, "What we would appreciate most is a gift in our honor to the XYZ Fund or to your favorite charity."  or "What we would appreciate most is a gift to your favorite charity or to ours, the XYZ Fund."

For a wedding I would choose a cause that helps the needy (for a birthday I might pick arts, animals, environment, public radio, or whatever they love best).  Probably that is a relic of the Jewish custom of feeding the poor when you are giving a feast -- usually done these days by a contribution by the hosts and/or guests of honor of an amount equal to some percentage of the catering costs to an anti-hunger organization or food bank.  So I guess that's why I see it as an apt choice for a guest, too, just extending the idea of sharing good fortune at a time of celebration with those not so lucky.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 05, 2014, 04:59:19 PM
For a wedding I would choose a cause that helps the needy (for a birthday I might pick arts, animals, environment, public radio, or whatever they love best).  Probably that is a relic of the Jewish custom of feeding the poor when you are giving a feast -- usually done these days by a contribution by the hosts and/or guests of honor of an amount equal to some percentage of the catering costs to an anti-hunger organization or food bank.  So I guess that's why I see it as an apt choice for a guest, too, just extending the idea of sharing good fortune at a time of celebration with those not so lucky.

This is what I think would be cool, if I could say, "We really don't need gifts, but maybe you could donate something to a charity, and then give us some info about that charity and why you found it important." That tradition you mentioned was one I didn't know about, so it would be neat to find that out from the nice note you wrote me in my wedding card or something. Part of a general redirection of the gifting impulse from "things" to "thoughts/opinions/memories"--one could learn some surprising and touching things about people. Depends on the crowd, though.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: Tea Drinker on March 05, 2014, 05:17:58 PM
I wouldn't bring it up unless anyone asked, and if they did, say "we just want you there, because we have everything we need for our household already" and if the person seems disappointed add something like "but if you already have something specific in mind, I'm not going to try to stop you." That leaves room for the cousin who wants to give you some sort of hand-crafted item [or the friend who thinks every new couple needs a left-handed widget, and was asking in case you were registered for a specific brand or color of widget].
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 05, 2014, 05:18:46 PM
Quote
What I was trying to find wording for was the thought "We are already so blessed, and charities, including your favorite, need your generosity more than we do, so that's what would please us most."  But talk about sounding smug and self-congratulatory!

But my urge to give the couple a gift isn't the same sort of generosity that might lead me to benefit a charity.

One is specific love; the other is a wider generosity.

I'll confess, I really, really don't like the "charity instead" idea.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: HannahGrace on March 05, 2014, 05:39:50 PM
I wouldn't bring it up unless anyone asked, and if they did, say "we just want you there, because we have everything we need for our household already" and if the person seems disappointed add something like "but if you already have something specific in mind, I'm not going to try to stop you." That leaves room for the cousin who wants to give you some sort of hand-crafted item [or the friend who thinks every new couple needs a left-handed widget, and was asking in case you were registered for a specific brand or color of widget].

That sounds really lovely and perfect - I may steal it!  Thank you.  I do worry that some people will still feel like, "ugh, now I have to figure something out, can't they just tell me what they want?"  But I guess, short of registering, I can't really stop that.  Unless I say "if all else fails, we love new sheets."  (Kidding, I would NOT do that.)
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: purple on March 05, 2014, 08:18:44 PM
I just can't get on board with gift registries, I don't like them.  I've never used one, I never will.  I will always think it a bit rude of people who have gift registries for themselves and I don't care how many cute poems or assurances that my presence is really your present you also include.  They've become so mainstream now that I can't remember the last time I was invited to any wedding, engagement or shower where there wasn't one.  I've heard all the arguments for and against.  I know that people find them practical and all that, it's just my personal feeling.

So, I would find it refreshing to receive your wedding invitation with no mention of gifts, no registry card or anything else.  I'd still bring a gift to the wedding for you.

My go-to gift for weddings nowadays is cash and I usually put it inside a little silver or crystal box or inside a box of nice chocolates or something and then wrap and stick a card on top.

I would not turn up at your wedding without a gift and if you specifically said you didn't want anything on the invitations I'd be quite torn between respecting your wishes and doing something which I would perceive as rude (ie turning up at your wedding with no gift).  It would make me quite uncomfortable, actually.

FYI - I made no mention at all of gifts on my wedding invitations.  People still gave us gifts - about an even spread of cash and tangible gifts.  MIL collected them all and dropped them off at our house the next day.  We opened them, send thank you notes and that was that  :)
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 05, 2014, 08:33:58 PM
I wouldn't bring it up unless anyone asked, and if they did, say "we just want you there, because we have everything we need for our household already" and if the person seems disappointed add something like "but if you already have something specific in mind, I'm not going to try to stop you." That leaves room for the cousin who wants to give you some sort of hand-crafted item [or the friend who thinks every new couple needs a left-handed widget, and was asking in case you were registered for a specific brand or color of widget].

That sounds really lovely and perfect - I may steal it!  Thank you.  I do worry that some people will still feel like, "ugh, now I have to figure something out, can't they just tell me what they want?"  But I guess, short of registering, I can't really stop that.  Unless I say "if all else fails, we love new sheets."  (Kidding, I would NOT do that.)

If people go on about you, say stuff like:
   "Why don't you pick something you'd like to share with me--food, music, wine, something you really enjoy? That'd be fun, to have a little piece of you in the gift."

"Maybe there's something you have found really, really useful over the years--a step ladder, a huge platter, I don't know. Look around your house, see if you get any ideas. You can always check w/someone to see if we have one already."
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: gramma dishes on March 05, 2014, 09:02:37 PM
...    it would be neat to find that out from the nice note you wrote me in my wedding card or something. Part of a general redirection of the gifting impulse from "things" to "thoughts/opinions/memories"--one could learn some surprising and touching things about people. Depends on the crowd, though.

Ooooo ... I love this idea.  Especially for older relatives who may be living on a (relatively low) fixed income.  What a wonderful gift it would be to receive a little note relating a special memory that Auntie Grace or Grandpa Joe has about something that involved me.  Maybe one s/he never told me about and/or I had long forgotten

These letters or photographs or whatever from both the bride's and groom's sides could be placed in a book or copied and burned to a disc to make a wonderful, special, and certainly unique gift that would be a true and genuine lifetime treasure!
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: sammycat on March 05, 2014, 09:07:03 PM
I just can't get on board with gift registries, I don't like them.  I've never used one, I never will.  I will always think it a bit rude of people who have gift registries for themselves and I don't care how many cute poems or assurances that my presence is really your present you also include. 
{snip}

I would not turn up at your wedding without a gift and if you specifically said you didn't want anything on the invitations I'd be quite torn between respecting your wishes and doing something which I would perceive as rude (ie turning up at your wedding with no gift).  It would make me quite uncomfortable, actually.

I agree.  Thankfully I've never actually been invited to an occasion that's had a registry. I do see  major department stores advertising them, but I don't know if people here are just slow on the uptake or simply don't like them, because the take up rate seems to very very low (I actually asked at a couple of shops once as I was curious as to what the participating figures were).

I also don't understand the correlation between not having a registry = wanting cash gifts instead. It could just mean.... they don't have a registry.... and don't care what, if any, gifts they get.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: gramma dishes on March 05, 2014, 09:10:34 PM

...   I also don't understand the correlation between not having a registry = wanting cash gifts instead. It could just mean.... they don't have a registry.... and don't care what, if any, gifts they get.

Isn't it sad?  That's the way it should ALWAYS be perceived, isn't it?
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: sparksals on March 06, 2014, 12:31:27 AM
I wouldn't bring it up unless anyone asked, and if they did, say "we just want you there, because we have everything we need for our household already" and if the person seems disappointed add something like "but if you already have something specific in mind, I'm not going to try to stop you." That leaves room for the cousin who wants to give you some sort of hand-crafted item [or the friend who thinks every new couple needs a left-handed widget, and was asking in case you were registered for a specific brand or color of widget].

That sounds really lovely and perfect - I may steal it!  Thank you.  I do worry that some people will still feel like, "ugh, now I have to figure something out, can't they just tell me what they want?"  But I guess, short of registering, I can't really stop that.  Unless I say "if all else fails, we love new sheets."  (Kidding, I would NOT do that.)


This is why registering for a small number of gifts might be a good idea.  Why make it more difficult for your guests?   If you don't register, how will you know where to return the NimboBumboMixer they thought you would really want and need? 
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: sparksals on March 06, 2014, 12:32:20 AM
I just can't get on board with gift registries, I don't like them.  I've never used one, I never will.  I will always think it a bit rude of people who have gift registries for themselves and I don't care how many cute poems or assurances that my presence is really your present you also include.  They've become so mainstream now that I can't remember the last time I was invited to any wedding, engagement or shower where there wasn't one.  I've heard all the arguments for and against.  I know that people find them practical and all that, it's just my personal feeling.

So, I would find it refreshing to receive your wedding invitation with no mention of gifts, no registry card or anything else.  I'd still bring a gift to the wedding for you.

My go-to gift for weddings nowadays is cash and I usually put it inside a little silver or crystal box or inside a box of nice chocolates or something and then wrap and stick a card on top.

I would not turn up at your wedding without a gift and if you specifically said you didn't want anything on the invitations I'd be quite torn between respecting your wishes and doing something which I would perceive as rude (ie turning up at your wedding with no gift).  It would make me quite uncomfortable, actually.

FYI - I made no mention at all of gifts on my wedding invitations.  People still gave us gifts - about an even spread of cash and tangible gifts.  MIL collected them all and dropped them off at our house the next day.  We opened them, send thank you notes and that was that  :)


If you are receiving a wedding invitation with a registry card, the sender is committing a huge faux pas! 
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: Eve_Eire on March 06, 2014, 06:57:20 AM
Thanks all, so basically you've confirmed my instinct is correct.  Just don't mention gifts at all and don't worry what anyone assumes.  If anyone asks, I'll just tell them we aren't registering and not to worry about bringing a gift.

I would say my friends will take me at my word but relatives will probably give something anyway and any gifts received will of course be graciously accepted.

We won't be having a wedding website and I'm not particularly comfortable with the charity idea - I just don't really want to direct anyone on how to spend their money.

Thanks for the advice all, I don't want to make my guests lives difficul but we really don't want to register and I do feel most of my friends will take me at my word on not needing gifts or money (especially the two or three that will be travelling for it).



I understand that you probably think you're being virtuous here, but there really is no honor in not wanting gifts. It comes across as pompous and superior. Just because being a gimme pig is looked down upon does not mean that lacking a desire for gifts for gives you the moral high ground. A truly gracious and polite person feels gratitude for gifts genuinely given.

I think that's rather a mean way to look at it.  I certainly don't view myself as superior and neither I nor Kaymar said a single derogatory word about registries or people who register.  All either of us has said is that we don't want to register and we gave no further explanation of reasons why so I have no idea why you would assume that the reason we don't want to register is that we are pompous and looking down on registries.

"A truly gracious and polite person feels gratitude for gifts genuinely given" - I agree with you there and don't understand the assumption that we would lack any such gratitude given what each of us has posted on the topic. 

The reason I came to this board for assurance is precisely because I can't speak to my friends/family about it as the majority support registries and asking for cash and I wouldn't want to offend them and make them feel looked down on by me going against their opinions.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: HannahGrace on March 06, 2014, 08:17:41 AM
As I posted in another thread, I'm in exactly the same position - first wedding, we just don't want to register and do not expect or want gifts and we definitely do not want money.  I don't have any advice to offer but I'm glad to know we aren't alone and now you know you aren't either :)

I understand that you probably think you're being virtuous here, but there really is no honor in not wanting gifts. It comes across as pompous and superior. Just because being a gimme pig is looked down upon does not mean that lacking a desire for gifts for gives you the moral high ground. A truly gracious and polite person feels gratitude for gifts genuinely given.

Wow, that's incredibly rude.  I do not think I am being virtuous nor do I think I have a moral high ground and I don't see how anything I've said would lead you to draw that conclusion.  Of course I am grateful if someone gives me a gift.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: lowspark on March 06, 2014, 08:28:29 AM
As I posted in another thread, I'm in exactly the same position - first wedding, we just don't want to register and do not expect or want gifts and we definitely do not want money.  I don't have any advice to offer but I'm glad to know we aren't alone and now you know you aren't either :)

I understand that you probably think you're being virtuous here, but there really is no honor in not wanting gifts. It comes across as pompous and superior. Just because being a gimme pig is looked down upon does not mean that lacking a desire for gifts for gives you the moral high ground. A truly gracious and polite person feels gratitude for gifts genuinely given.

I don't think either Eve_Eire or Kaymar were trying to be "virtuous" or "honorable". I think they simply don't want gifts, if asked. I've been in that position. It wasn't because I was trying to be superior in any way. It was just because at that point in my life, I already had everything I wanted and needed or could easily buy it. So, it wasn't about being superior or virtuous, it was about what I happened to want.

I think it's silly to register for things you don't want simply because people expect you to register. And I don't see a thing wrong with saying you don't want gifts. And yes, a truly gracious and polite person feels gratitude for gifts genuinely given. No one, including Eve_Eire and Kaymar said they wouldn't be thankful or gracious if people did indeed give them gifts.

The point of this thread is to figure out how to reply to people who expect a registry because gifts are not expected, not how to reject gifts or rebuff gift-givers.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 06, 2014, 09:40:33 AM
I wouldn't bring it up unless anyone asked, and if they did, say "we just want you there, because we have everything we need for our household already" and if the person seems disappointed add something like "but if you already have something specific in mind, I'm not going to try to stop you." That leaves room for the cousin who wants to give you some sort of hand-crafted item [or the friend who thinks every new couple needs a left-handed widget, and was asking in case you were registered for a specific brand or color of widget].

That sounds really lovely and perfect - I may steal it!  Thank you.  I do worry that some people will still feel like, "ugh, now I have to figure something out, can't they just tell me what they want?"  But I guess, short of registering, I can't really stop that.  Unless I say "if all else fails, we love new sheets."  (Kidding, I would NOT do that.)


This is why registering for a small number of gifts might be a good idea.  Why make it more difficult for your guests?   If you don't register, how will you know where to return the NimboBumboMixer they thought you would really want and need?

And I have seen wedding advisors say, "if you really would rather have cash, don't have a big registry. That'll give people the hint."
   Of course, it's also, "If you really don't need very much stuff, don't register for very much stuff," but since that "give them a hint about cash" tip is out there, it's all very fraught.

That's why I get so crabby when people say, "the couple just wants cash!" or criticizes the number of stores they've registered with, etc.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: gellchom on March 06, 2014, 09:51:17 AM
I don't condone Millionaire Maria's harsh post, and I don't think anyone is acting pompous or superior or anything else bad.

And to give her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she meant "general you," not anyone here.  Still pretty harsh, though. 

But her reaction is an extreme expression of what I was cautioning against.  You (general!) don't want anyone to feel that way about you, I'm sure.  That's why my advice, if you are going say (on an invitation or when asked or whatever) "no gifts please," is not to give any reason at all.  If asked for a reason, say something like "we are so lucky already and there is nothing we need," not "what we value is your presence."   Because that suggests that you think that other people who do not say "no gifts please" DON'T value friendship over possessions, or at least not as much as you do.  Does that make sense?

I know that's NOT how you feel.  The "presence" formulations are intended to tell hem how much you appreciate their efforts to attend, not to suggest that you have loftier values.

But I'll say it again -- you cannot control how others feel.  And as you see, right or wrong, there are people who are a little put off.  So since there really is no need for it, I would avoid that "presence" wording.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: White Lotus on March 06, 2014, 10:07:20 AM
I might suggest registering for one thing with a variety of price options -- China or crystal or silver allow purchase of ONE pickle fork or wine glass or tea cup -- but I also like the idea of offering the option of a charitable gift, such as to the Heifer Project or Give A Girl a Bike, or school tuition for one child for one year, in places where free public education is unknown.  I think I could really get behind a registry that said, "we are fortunate in our families and friends and in need of nothing material ourselves.  We'd love to share that fortune with those in need in a way that would better the world.  If you are so moved, please visit (link) to donate a (whatever) to a family/child in (place.)"
I love to fund charities that help people better their lives.  We don't do Christmas, of course, but I generally buy a fruit or nut orchard start, a sewing machine, school tuition, or a bike every year for somebody else.  I personally am attracted to bikes.  My first adult bike felt like freedom!
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 06, 2014, 11:42:49 AM
I see Millionaire Maria's underlying point.

Far better to say, "We're uncomfortable receiving money" or "The whole wedding gift thing makes us uncomfortable" or "We really have everything we need and would have a hard time putting a list of suggestions together."

"Who doesn't want gifts?" is what I keep thinking. I mean, of course you aren't wishing for them, but if someone gave you something, wouldn't you be happy? I'd guess so.

So, far better to never mention gifts; when pressed, say, "we don't have a registry, because we really couldn't think of anything," or "we're not comfortable with gifts," or "we're hoping that if people feel strongly about giving a present, they give us something meaningful to them."
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: HannahGrace on March 06, 2014, 12:05:19 PM
I see Millionaire Maria's underlying point.

Far better to say, "We're uncomfortable receiving money" or "The whole wedding gift thing makes us uncomfortable" or "We really have everything we need and would have a hard time putting a list of suggestions together."

"Who doesn't want gifts?" is what I keep thinking. I mean, of course you aren't wishing for them, but if someone gave you something, wouldn't you be happy? I'd guess so.

So, far better to never mention gifts; when pressed, say, "we don't have a registry, because we really couldn't think of anything," or "we're not comfortable with gifts," or "we're hoping that if people feel strongly about giving a present, they give us something meaningful to them."

I'm someone who feels self-conscious receiving gifts, so no, I really don't want them.  My future spouse is not quite as weird about it as I am, but he does feel weird about registering for specific items, probably because it's something he's never done before.  I would never say "I don't want gifts" so bluntly to anyone in my life directly, but I thought it was OK to say on a message board for the sake of commiserating with another poster.  The whole wedding thing in general makes me uncomfortable but that's another story.


When you specifically said that you "do not expect or want gifts and we definitely do not want money" it came across as very pompous to me. It struck me as saying "you couldn't possibly choose anything that we would like, so don't even bother trying", which is exactly how I feel every time I get an invitation that states "no gifts please". It's a rejection of someone's generosity before they have even offered it. Upon reflection, I agree that my post was too harsh and I apologize for that.

Sorry for seeming pompous.  Whatever else I am, I can assure you I'm not that.  I don't have super refined tastes or anything.  I feel bad thinking of people going to trouble to buy me a gift and I feel self-conscious receiving gifts.  It has nothing to do with what I think of other people's tastes or their gifts.  It's about me and what I am comfortable with.  And I think I've said on this thread - if not it was on another similar thread - that I would never say "no gifts please" on an invitation.

Maybe this will give you some insight that there are people who don't want gifts who aren't judging you or thinking they are above you.  For my part, I hope my friends and family don't think I'm a pompous jerk because I'm not registering for bakeware.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 06, 2014, 12:13:32 PM
It might help you to remember that--especially with wedding presents--people give gifts because *they* want to.

It really has almost nothing to do with you.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: HannahGrace on March 06, 2014, 12:26:35 PM
It might help you to remember that--especially with wedding presents--people give gifts because *they* want to.

It really has almost nothing to do with you.

Maybe not, but my feelings about not wanting gifts are in fact about me, and that's what I was discussing upthread.  Again, I don't plan to reject anyone's gift.  I just wish there were a nice way to let people know they are off the hook if they don't have the time, energy or money to get me anything - all I want is for them to show up at my wedding and give us a hug.  I recognize, even more now, that there is in fact no way to do this that won't potentially lead to people thinking bad things about me, so I will just stay quiet.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TootsNYC on March 06, 2014, 12:47:14 PM
They -know- they are off the hook. They -know- they don't have to give you anything.

We all know this. We can decide to not give you a gift anytime we want to.

For you to tell us this is actually a little insulting. It implies that you think the -only- reason we are giving you a gift is because we feel obligated. That always makes me mad a little when I hear it. Do you think I care about you so little that the only reason I'd give you a gift is because I think I have to? And that I resent it?

Believe me, we know we don't have to.

So yeah, smart to not say it.

But you might work on not thinking it either.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: TurtleDove on March 06, 2014, 12:54:52 PM
They -know- they are off the hook. They -know- they don't have to give you anything.

We all know this. We can decide to not give you a gift anytime we want to.

For you to tell us this is actually a little insulting. It implies that you think the -only- reason we are giving you a gift is because we feel obligated. That always makes me mad a little when I hear it. Do you think I care about you so little that the only reason I'd give you a gift is because I think I have to? And that I resent it?

Believe me, we know we don't have to.

So yeah, smart to not say it.

But you might work on not thinking it either.

I come back to what I always say: the people I invite to my wedding would not think bad things about me.  I would not think bad things about people whose weddings I wish to attend.  Is TootsNYC's perspective valid? Of course it is, but I do think it is placing the worst construction on the situation, and I simply wouldn't do that to my friends and family and wouldn't expect them to do it to me.

So, in a general sense, I see what TootsNYC is saying, but OP, you know your friends and family and they know you.  Unless there is some toxicity, there is no reason to fear that they are looking for etiquette faux pas, or even if they see them, they are negatively judging you.  And if they are and it affected our relationship, if it were me, they would not be my friends anymore because my life is too short and too happy to waste time on that sort of nonsense!
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: Tea Drinker on March 06, 2014, 12:55:42 PM
They -know- they are off the hook. They -know- they don't have to give you anything.

We all know this. We can decide to not give you a gift anytime we want to.

For you to tell us this is actually a little insulting. It implies that you think the -only- reason we are giving you a gift is because we feel obligated. That always makes me mad a little when I hear it. Do you think I care about you so little that the only reason I'd give you a gift is because I think I have to? And that I resent it?

Believe me, we know we don't have to.

So yeah, smart to not say it.

But you might work on not thinking it either.

You know you don't have to: but not everybody does.

I keep seeing questions in advice columns that are variations on "I was invited to a wedding by a relative I barely know, do I have to send a gift?" or "a friend/relative is getting married, and I can't afford to attend the wedding and give them a present. What should I do?" People who believe that gifts are optional, and come from families/social circles that agree on this, don't write those letters, but someone is. Then there's the idea that if you go to a wedding, you have to give a gift that costs at least as much as what the couple are spending to feed you. And a significant number of the questions about that aren't "is that idea reasonable?" but "what if I don't know how much they're spending?" or "it's not fair that her parents are paying for a more expensive wedding than I had, so I have to spend twice as much on their wedding gift as she spent on mine."
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: HannahGrace on March 06, 2014, 01:08:20 PM
They -know- they are off the hook. They -know- they don't have to give you anything.

We all know this. We can decide to not give you a gift anytime we want to.

For you to tell us this is actually a little insulting. It implies that you think the -only- reason we are giving you a gift is because we feel obligated. That always makes me mad a little when I hear it. Do you think I care about you so little that the only reason I'd give you a gift is because I think I have to? And that I resent it?

Believe me, we know we don't have to.

So yeah, smart to not say it.

But you might work on not thinking it either.

I think we've hit an impasse, but I feel the need to say again that me not being comfortable receiving gifts does not mean I think anything insulting about the people who might want to give me one.  I'm not "telling" anyone that I don't want gifts.  And I said nothing about anyone resenting me or resenting the gift buying process, sheesh!  These kinds of conversations (along with dress shopping) make me wish even more that eloping were an option for us, but it isn't.  I was trying to convey (apparently badly) that I don't like being the center of attention and I don't like any fuss - so to the extent that anyone felt like gift buying was an obligation, I wish they didn't.  To the extent that people are excited and have the perfect thing in mind, I will be touched and grateful to receive it - just as, not more or less, touched and grateful as I will be to see them on my wedding day.
Title: Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
Post by: Wordgeek on March 06, 2014, 01:27:04 PM
Thread locked, due to some truly insulting and incredibly judgmental statements, especially by Millionaire Maria and TootsNYC.  Shame on both of you.