Unless you grew up in a strangely regimented household, your wedding registry is likely to be your first encounter with picking out gifts for other people to buy for you. There are plenty of rules of etiquette out there for wedding registries, and most of them you can feel free to avoid. Most of the traditional wisdom surrounding what’s appropriate for a wedding registry comes from the days when the bride and groom would be moving out of their respective parents’ houses and setting up shop for the first time after getting married. It goes without saying that’s rarely the case anymore. So if you want to register for a dome tent instead of pots and pans, feel free. With that in mind, though, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind for even the most modern couple.
Gifts for Just One of the Couple
Whether you’ve been living together for five years or are moving in after the wedding, the registry is about allowing guests to celebrate you and your spouse as a couple. So it’s best to avoid gifts that are obviously for only one of you to enjoy. For example, if you both like fishing and you regularly fish together, go ahead and put those new rods and reels on the registry. But if fishing is just your thing that you do for “alone time,” it’s not a good fit for the registry.
Anything a Little Too Intimate
Yes, your guests are all adults, and even your maiden aunt Gertrude has a general idea of what goes on in the bedroom of a newly married couple. But that’s not an excuse to broadcast the enthusiasm with which you’re approaching building your new family. Save the lingerie and other bedroom accoutrements for the bachelor party and bridal shower–or better yet, buy them yourselves on the down-low and avoid people blushing furiously at your gift-opening.
Items on Clearance
Fortunately, stores with wedding registries are starting to suggest that people avoid items on clearance, but that wasn’t always the case. Many was the wedding where we’d go to buy a gift for the couple, print out their registry, and find that almost everything on it were clearance items that were no longer available. Folks, it’s called “Clearance” for a reason–after a short while, it gets cleared out for new merchandise to come in. It’s admirable to want to save your guests money, but nobody wants to have to buy from a registry where half of the stuff isn’t available any more.
Items for Use at the Wedding
One of the biggest mistakes that a couple can make when putting together their gift registry is including things that you want to use at your wedding. Though it may seem like a great way to save some money, you probably aren’t going to be able to open your gifts until well after the reception is over. That means you should consider finding wedding sparklers for sale to buy on your own rather than put them on your gift registry so you don’t have any issues on your big day.
In-Store Only/Online Only
Your guests are going to shop for your gifts in different ways. Some will buy something off the registry a month before the wedding, ordering it online and having it shipped in. Some will stop by the local Target an hour before the ceremony to frantically snag a last-minute gift. Make sure that both types of guests are covered–avoid stocking the list with too many in-store only items or too many things that can only be shipped.
Too Many Big-Ticket Items
It’s okay to put a Dyson vacuum cleaner or a home theater system on your registry–you never know if your rich uncle is going to wake up feeling particularly generous. But make sure you have plenty of options under $50 and under $100. It’s a sad feeling for a guest to look at your registry and not be able to afford anything on it.
Your wedding registry is what you make of it–up to and including chucking the registry and encouraging your guests to give to charity instead. But if you follow these guidelines, it’ll show you’re considerate of your guest’s shopping needs, and you can feel good about accepting the gifts you do receive.