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Wedding Registry:

What is the Stuff You Want to Bring To Your Marriage?

 

I am always amazed at the wedding registry checklists. While there is a very practical element to having a big list, it's always by a self serving department store or manufacterer hoping to score big on your wedding day. And really, as we get married older, don't some of us already have some of the traditional stuff? The wedding registry brings up many relationship questions about how you want to live your life and your vision for the future. It also brings up a lot of etiquette issues!

 

Ways people think about the wedding registry:

 

  • This is my one time to get all the nice stuff I can't afford on my own
  • This is the time to get rid of my old stuff and get all new stuff for my new life
  • Are we aspiring to a lifestyle we don't currently have so we want the equipment and stuff that goes along with that lifestyle
  • We are entertainers and expect to host a lot
  • We are so casual we don't want anything fancy
  • We are trendy - we know our registry items won't be around in 10 years
  • This is "time of life" to get heirloom quality items - vases, China, etc
  • I need as many price points for my guests as possible so I'll register for a wide variety of things even if I perhaps wouldn't need or buy it myself
  • Time to get fun stuff - board games, tv's or other entertainment items
  • We already have the "stuff" so we want an experience - registering for a honeymoon

 

Ways guests think about the wedding registry:

 

  • I want to get the couple something they really need because it's been something I've used a lot in my life (whether or not they registered for it)
  • I want to get the couple what they want so I'll shop directly off their registry
  • I want to get them something unique and special, not just one of their 12 place settings
  • I would rather give them cash they can spend how they need
  • I want to give them a physical gift for the day, money is too generic

 

Expectations you have on the wedding registry:

 

There is a gleeful "birthday to end all birthdays" feel about the wedding registry. You can feel like the king and queen and that whatever you want will come to be. Or you can struggle to find enough items for guests to buy, stress about feeling greedy and worry about coming across as snotty or too casual (if your relatives expect to give you fine china and you have no interest.) If you are both not interested in the registry then one person can feel the weight of planning and coordinating everything without knowing the other person will enjoy the items off the registry. And of course, you can want anything - but if you don't get it all, you are left buying your own expensive place settings or finishing the knife set, or buying the final piece of something yourself. And just because you register doesn't mean people won't make up their own minds on what to get you, leaving you stuck deciding whether you "have" to keep the item for when they visit, whether you can return or exchange it, or just let it collect dust.

 

The First Dance Recommendation:

 

This can be a wonderful time to talk as a couple about the life you want to lead and the "stuff" that goes along with it. It is also a perfect time to talk about your family of origins and their current expectations. Perhaps your fiancee always shares birthdays together and you will be hosting 20-40 people every year - whoops, didn't know until three weeks before the first birthday?! You may want to have enough supplies to handle all those people or you may have to ruffle some feathers as you begin your new marriage and end some of those traditions. Or in my case, my side of the family would never buy fine china, and my husbands side was asking what our pattern was almost from the moment we got engaged! They would have been extremely puzzled if we didn't register for any while my side of the family wouldn't notice if we didn't register for it.

 

Tips to keep in mind:

 

  • Are you into timeless or trendy items that you will replace every few years?
  • Do you have the space now, or feel it's worth storing stuff knowing you will have room in the future because you recognize this is THE one time to get a lot of nice stuff for your future?
  • What do your families and guests expect? Regional differences play a large role in whether people buy items or send cash
  • How many showers you will have (if any) and what people do people expect to spend?