interesting article related to this thread!
As a young bride-to-be, it never occurred to Jodi R.R. Smith to put a pitcher on her wedding registry.
But one turned up unsolicited amid the other gifts.
“At the time I thought it was lovely enough,” recalled Smith, of Marblehead, Mass. “The giver had taken the time to look at my wedding crystal and found something that would match it well.”
Still, Smith doubted she’d get much use out of it. But now, more than 15 years later, she says, “I love the pitcher. We use it anytime we can. It looks beautiful on our table. We have used it for orange juice during brunch, water and sodas for lunch, and even as a decanter for red wine.”
And so it often goes with those surprise wedding gifts, the ones you didn’t register for and don’t quite know what to do with. Give that vase or griddle or gadget a chance, and your reaction might just change from “What am I going to do with this?” to “I can’t live without it.”
But is it polite to give the bride something she didn’t ask for? Yes, according to etiquette experts.
“Invitations are not invoices,” said Smith, who runs Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. “Registry information is a suggestion.”
Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute, which is named for her great-great-grandmother, agreed. “It is always fine to purchase a wedding gift off-registry,” said Post. “The choice of a gift is always up to the giver.”
On the other hand, said Post, registries make it easy to figure out what people want and need, “especially in an age when people may have a household already or are merging two households together.”
And if you’re considering going off-registry, you might look at the list anyway to help guide your choice.
“You do want to think about what the couple might actually like,” said Post. “I know that sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at people who buy something they themselves would like,” instead of considering the couple’s interests and tastes.
Going off-registry may be especially appropriate for those who know the couple extremely well.
“It is one thing for my cousin or a work colleague to purchase from the registry,” Smith said. “But I would expect my sister or my college roommate to choose something special.”
If possible, though, consider including a receipt so the item can be exchanged if it’s really not to their taste or in case they get duplicates, Smith said.