I guess I just don't really understand anti-registry people. I get that sometimes people go overboard with them. But if someone has a registry, I always buy them either 1) an item I like off of the registry or 2) a gift card to the place where they have registered. My thinking is this: I want to get the recipient something they want. They've given me a list of what they want - so for me to buy something that's not on the registry is to imply that I know what they want better than they do. And to me, that seems pretty entitled. We've seen lots of threads on here about frustration with friends and relatives who think they know better than the poster does, and everyone seems to agree that is annoying/frustrating/rude. So how is it different when it comes to the registry?
I didn't want to post anymore in this string, because we are talking past each other. But Menley's specific question about registries deserves an answer, so I'll try.
The difference is based upon what, in my opinion, is a mistaken premise in your reasoning, in this part:
I want to get the recipient something they want. They've given me a list of what they want - so for me to buy something that's not on the registry is to imply that I know what they want better than they do.
What I see as an incorrect premise is the assumption is "what they put on the registry" = "what they want."
Yes, of course, presumably everything they put on the registry is something they want. But the converse -- that everything they want is on the registry -- is simply not true. They may well want as much as or even much more than the registry items things that can't be registered (e.g. handmade items, family heirlooms), things that aren't sold at those two or three stores (e.g. antiques, artwork, one of a kind items, specialty items), or fancy stuff (e.g. an amazing Waterford bowl or Tiffany pitcher). So I disagree that "for me to buy something that's not on the registry is to imply that I know what they want better than they do." Yes, true, if they register a china pattern, and you buy them a place setting in a different pattern. But not if you simply buy them a gift elsewhere.
Here are some of our favorite wedding gifts:
- a silver plate platter my great aunt and uncle received as a wedding gift themselves
- theater tickets to a great show in our honeymoon destination
- a lovingly hand-embroidered tablecloth
- a Steuben centerpiece bowl
- a fancy dessert set that wasn't sold where we registered
- a set of funky and gorgeous cobalt blue glass canisters
- a really good set of handmade pottery bowls
- a few things we didn't think we would need but very quickly wondered how we would've managed without
The people who gave us those gifts could easily have chosen something off our registry instead. We were so glad that they didn't! It's almost 32 years later, and I still think of the givers every time I use the gifts they selected. (I used the dessert set just last night -- thank you, Aunt Charlotte!) Sure, there were a few things people selected that we didn't especially like. So what?
See my point? There are evidently some couples who do only really want gifts that are sold at Macy's, Bloodbath and Beyond, Target, and a few other popular choices. But I suspect that there are many more who do not
. They want the gifts to reflect the giver, and to remind them of the giver for the years to come, not just their own choices today. So when you get them something that you think will please them someplace else, you are
getting them what they want.
Now, back in the year zero when I got married, people only registered things that came in patterns and perhaps a very few -- like, 4 or 5 -- other items. You could put preferences and colors on the registry, too: "Likes glass and silver and contemporary style. Bathroom is blue; kitchen is yellow." The first time I saw a registry list that went on for pages and pages, I laughed so hard I had to sit down on the floor in the store. Now of course it is common. But that doesn't necessarily reflect the couple's wishes -- I often suspect it reflects the stores
' wishes. Obviously, they want all your gifts to come from their store!
I think that my daughter is planning on doing it the old way -- primarily patterns. She has a few reasons for that, including that she lives overseas, but I think she also wants to let people choose for her. I think she is wise. That way her gifts will always remind her of the givers.
I think Toots put it very well with this:
When I feel pressured to choose gifts from the registry, I feel that I've simply been turned into a Shopping List Fulfillment Agent.
Nothing wrong with having a registry. Something very wrong with thinking that you are entitled to choose your own gifts, that people are "supposed to" choose gifts only from that list if they want to give you what you "want," and assuming that they have bad motives if they don't.