Etiquette/Registry Issues and Questions

posted 2 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
Member
1649 posts
Bumble bee

It’s very traditional of you, to recognize that the household goods one does not gather the quality furnishings and household goods that make up a permanent home, overnight immediately upon the decision to move in together. Either one buys lower quality trendy furnishings, and then replaces them every years when they are out of fashion or start looking scruffy; or you slowly acquire lasting, heritage-quality pieces over time as you are able to find them and afford them.

That’s the fulcrom on which the tricky problem of “registries” turns. If you see your wedding as a chance to pick up a set of fresh, fashionable furnishings to brighten up your flat until the next turn-over, and register for “gifts”, and get the most value out of your one-time event, then yes you would certainly seem to your more traditional guests to be offensively materialistic. Traditional registries were never about gifts. They were a service provided by department stores to young women planning to furnish their homes with those more expensive , classic, and permanent housewares. Girls like me went downtown with an aunt or grandmother when they were twelve or so, and “registered” their china, silver and crystal patterns. Then they collected their patterns slowly over the coming decade or more, with a thought to creating a classic and elegant home for their future family. As they came closer to setting up their own home, they expanded the registry to linens and other heirloom-quality necessities. And it was no-one’s business but theirs, whether they chose to register at one shop or more and how many or how expensive were their choices, because it was clearly understood that in making the choices they did, those young women were also taking on the adult responsibility of planning to furnish their permanent homes themselves, at their own cost — and anyone who took advantage of x the registry to inform their gift-giving was actually snooping into the young woman’s private affairs and therefore not in a position to pass judgement.

So you have a perfect right to register as you have chosen to do, and to plan to replace your ‘cheap crap’ with lasting, beautiful housewares; and it’s no-one’s business to judge you for where you chose to register. But “registering” for cash is rather harder to explain.

Post # 3
Member
767 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

carlsolindsay:  All I can say is amen! lol it is insane how people will essentially attack people over registries. 

Post # 5
Member
1627 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

First, I love the MyRegistry too. Seeing anything “cash” is a turnoff. I don’t like to talk about money with people and I don’t like to be asked for money. Just ask me for stuff.

You mentioned you all need updated stuff for your home and that made my eyes roll just like when I hear expecting moms discuss items for the baby shower registry.  It’s your house (baby), so you buy it! I get the point of a registry because as a wedding guest I am not going to come empty handed, but please don’t make it known to me (your guest) just how much you are looking forward to load up on free stuff that only benefits you.

Last, I don’t really have an issue with a registry for couples already living together. As dual incomes with just one rent/ mortgage I make assumptions that they have furnishings and household goods. Do people really need others’ financial help to create a home? So, I skip the stuff like towels and kitchen items. Although, the first wedding I ever attended as an adult was for friends that lived together prior to marriage and I gave them sheets because they were upgrading, on their own, to a king size bed.

The last few weddings I attended had honeyfund registries, which really just masks a cash gift to pay for the couple’s honeymoon. I was asked to chip in for an experience, which was better than asking me for a cash gift. 

Post # 6
Member
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: Dreams Resort and Spa, Puerto Aventuras, Mexico

Other than my own, I have attended one wedding this year and am attending another in a couple of weeks. One couple registered, one did not because they didn’t want to seem “gift grabby”. While I can appreciate the sentiment, as a guest I greatly preferred the registry. As PP said, registries should be geared toward furnishing a home with heirloom pieces that will last and be used throughout the years. How am I supposed to know what you will use like that if you don’t register for it? I get that not everyone is the fine china type, but as you said some sturdy glassware, nice electrics, etc. are all things that fit this category. 

My second point is, even if you don’t want to be “gift grabby”, etiquette dictates that you buy a gift when you are invited to a wedding. Your invitees, especially if you have a more traditional family, will want to buy you gifts, and will be caught in a really rough situation of trying to figure out what you will use. This is actually very rude to your guests. Help them out.

As far as cash goes, people will give you cash regardless of if you ask for it, especially single men. It’s easier. I don’t think that asking for cash is right, even if your intentions are good. If you really want new furniture, why not register somewhere that has it, like Crate and Barrell or Pottery Barn? Offering the option of gift cards is a different matter, which I think is good as it allows people to “pitch in” toward the more expensive items.

Just my two cents, it seems like everyone has a different opinion. Ultimately, you know your guests and what they will/won’t be offended by. Let that be your guide.

Post # 7
Member
1627 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

aspasia475:  can you post a link on the history of registries or this more anecdotal? I went back a few pages on Google and could only find that in 1924 Marshall Fields was the first department store to create registries for customers. The registries were created by engaged couples not single young women.

Post # 8
Member
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Being from a Romanian background, traditionally we give big at weddings and everyone is of the attitude of giving the couple the best start possible – regardless of their life situation – so I’m not offended by anything in an invitation, however I’m usually surprised with my Australian friends and their uppity views on things like this. Traditionally we give money, and we give a lot of it, regardless if you’ve asked for it or not. I find registeries a little more awkward because I feel like it’s no longer coming from me – I’m just another guest picking from a list. But at the end of the day, I just want to make sure I’ve given the couple something that will make them happy! 🙂

Post # 9
Member
1649 posts
Bumble bee

carlsolindsay:  The key idea in my opinion, is that you are registering for things that will last: things that you do not foresee replacing due to changing fashions, things that you are planning to acquire regardless of whether you receive them as gifts because you see them as the fundamental equipment to the home that you are making. Plain glassware versus crystal is a matter of choice. Thirty years ago I would have advised you that crystal and fine china are wiser long-term choices even if you prefer something plain, because the great china houses maintain their patterns for generations as open stock so that you can always add to your set or replace broken pieces. Nowadays with only a few exceptions, the traditional manufacturers have gone bankrupt or changed hands and no are no longer able to maintain that practice. So wise plain glass choices — classic rather than trendy, just as when you acquire a high-quality wardrobe! — are just as likely to last as fine crystal.

CurlyCue: You will have to accept it as anecdotal, I am afraid. It is what my mother did, what I and most girls of my class did, what my neices did. “What’s your china pattern?” was an unexceptional thing to ask a teenage girl, and individual pieces or even place settings were normal Christmas and Birthday presents. Little more than a decade ago, I took my grand-neices down to Royal Doulton to pick out their china. The ladies at Doulton didn’t bat an eye at the idea of a ten-year-old picking and registering china, so the concept had not died out completely even that recdently.

Post # 10
Member
111 posts
Blushing bee

aspasia475:  That’s so interesting! I come from a different culture and my parents were absolutely astonished at the idea of my in-laws wanting to buy us a full set of china. (We are moving cross country 3 times in the next 3 years, and to be honest, I really have no idea how we’ll deal with all that china and stemware.)   

I’m super glad I didn’t pick out my pattern at 12 though–I’d definitely have gotten something with  lots of flowers. Furthermore, turns out my fiance is super picky about china, while I don’t care. I let him pick all that out, since his family is the one gifting us with it. 

Post # 11
Member
2685 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

carlsolindsay:  All I know is, when we are invited to a wedding, I WANT to know what the couple would like. I dont want to give a gift that they will not want nor use. And if they would rather have cash, I would not be offended either. Every couple is different. Y should I get offended over silly things like this, like the couples preferences in registering.

I dont understand y in the world people get offended over registries. There are more important things in the world to worry about. lol

Good luck with your wedding plans. 🙂

Post # 13
Member
1627 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

carlsolindsay:  Yes, I grew up comfortable, but I was self-sufficient right after college. My husband, on the otherhand, was paying the mortgage at his parent’s house throughout HS and has been self-sufficient since he started college. It’s not bad to need help. I just come from a mindset if you can do it on your own, then don’t ask. And until you can do it on your own you wait or find things to cut out to get what you want. But, I get what you are saying as my twenty something sis is still subsidized by our parents and has hand me down furniture too. I don’t think my background has much to do with how I feel.

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