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The Great Gift Registry Debate: Will You or Won’t You?

By admin on October 13th, 2006 6 comments

Weddinggifts_2 Ah, the wedding gift registry, that great divider of engaged couples everywhere. Sure, the gift registry is becoming pretty common – in fact, it’s rare to open a wedding invitation these days without a gift registry card falling out as well – but that doesn’t mean it’s any more acceptable to some people. Far from it, in fact: if the many wedding forums I’ve been reading lately are anything to go by, people are still divided about the idea of a registry. Some think it’s a great, practical idea, while others throw around words like "grasping", "selfish" and "vulgar" to describe those who’ve whizzed around John Lewis, electronic "zapper" in hand.

I’m going to stick my head above the parapet here and admit that I fall firmly into the former camp, and no, it’s nothing to do with the fact that I’ve often had dreams in which I’m let loose inside a department store and allowed to pick whatever I like. For me, it’s purely a practical thing.

As a guest, I love gift registries. This is largely because I’m lazy, but it’s also because I’m terrible at buying gifts for people. I’m not a big fan of the "token gift", and would obvioulsy much prefer to buy people something they’ll actually use (as opposed to something that’ll go straight onto eBay, or into the attic), but that can be difficult, especially when the couple are friends or relatives of my fiance and I don’t know them too well.

In these situations, the gift list comes as an absolute blessing. The newly married couple get a present they appreciate, I don’t waste my time and money trawling around shops purely to buy something that will be re-sold on eBay the week after the wedding for a fraction of its price. Everyone’s a winner, baby!

Just as I don’t want to waste my money on unappreciated wedding gifts, though, I don’t want other people to do so for me, either. Terry and I have been living together for three years now. We have all the towels and toasters we could possibly need, and I don’t like to think of people spending their hard-earned cash on something we already have. And this is why we’ve decided to have a gift registry. Of course, we’d be happy for people to not buy us anything, and will be putting words to that effect on our invitations, but for those who really want to buy us something anyway, I think it makes sense to have a list.

What do you think?

  • I don’t criticise my friends who do have wedding lists as it’s probably pretty practical. But isn’t it a leetle greedy to think that you are entitled to presents (as many people seem to)? I also hate the impersonal nature of these lists- I went to a very old friend’s wedding last weekend, and my present to her? A big plate.

    I’d ask guests to give to charity if they wanted. I’m sure I can scrape together a few bob to buy my own crockery 😉

  • I don’t criticise my friends who do have wedding lists as it’s probably pretty practical. But isn’t it a leetle greedy to think that you are entitled to presents (as many people seem to)? I also hate the impersonal nature of these lists- I went to a very old friend’s wedding last weekend, and my present to her? A big plate.

    I’d ask guests to give to charity if they wanted. I’m sure I can scrape together a few bob to buy my own crockery 😉

  • Oh yes, I definitely think its greedy to think getting married entitles you to presents. We don’t feel *entitled* to presents, though: we just know that people will probably buy them anyway, and we don’t want them to waste their money. I think the problem comes in getting across the message that “No, we really, REALLY don’t want you to buy us anything, and we’re not just saying that!” I think the idea of going to a wedding and NOT giving the hosts a gift is still fairly alien to most people, but I do agree that it’s horrible if people behave as if they’re entitled to a gift!

    I think it’s probably different if you’re good at buying gifts. I am spectacularly bad at it: most of the gifts I buy people seem to be immediately eBayed or stuffed into the backs of drawers, so I’ve now come to the conclusion that there’s no point in me trying to buy something personal just for it to be thrown away: I think that probably colours my view of gift lists a little!

  • we’re having a registry, and there’s hardly anything on it. But if we hadn’t had one, everyone would have asked where it was! As it stands, everyone’s saying-there’s not enough on it!! But we didn’t want to simply put things on it for the sake of it, we only put things we loved on it.
    A friend of mine however, was instructed to list 400 things for the number of guests she had and she ran out of things they wanted, so she asked her family if THEY wanted stuff!

  • Ariana

    My fiancé and I are still toying with the idea of a registry. We don’t “need” anything (as we’ve both lived on our own for quite a while), but know that our family and friends will want to give something to show that they are excited for us and want to help us start our lives together. One thing we’ve talked about is “registering” for a particular mattress that we both really want that is way out of our price range. This way people are giving to something we’ll actually use and there’s no question about whether or not we’ll like it. Other options would be to have people make a donation to a charity of your choice in your name if they really want to give a “monetary” gift.

  • i was talking to my personal trainer last night about registries, and he’s a young 20 something guy, and he hates giving money. if they don’t have a registry then he buys them something like an engraved photo frame with the wedding date. So it’s not just older folk who don’t like money…..




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