(Closed) Charity Registry vs. Gift Registry, what to do?

posted 9 years ago in Gifts and Registries
  • poll: What type of registry should we have?
    only a charity registry : (1 votes)
    6 %
    only a gift registry : (2 votes)
    12 %
    BOTH a gift and a charity registry : (14 votes)
    82 %
    neither, or some other option (please explain) : (0 votes)
  • Post # 3
    2015 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    I might get a lot of flack for this, but I’m actually not fond of charity registries, personally. I think that they’re a good idea in theory, but I actually set aside a certain amount of money that I give away each year to carefully chosen charities, and I really wouldn’t want to give to a charity just because someone registered for one. I would much rather put that money toward something I can give the bride and groom, as it’s a celebratory occasion. But seriously, that’s just me and I’m sure others feel differently.

    Charity favors, however, I think are a fantastic idea, because the bride and groom are the ones giving the money on your behalf for something they truly believe in.

    I would register for a small gift registry of things you don’t need, but would like to have. Believe me, when we first registered, I was like, “We don’t need any of that fancy crap” but my mom convinced me to add some nice china on there by saying, “Of course you don’t need it, but it’s nice to have. What if you ever host a holiday dinner or a dinner party? It’ll be nice to have special stuff that can be passed down from family to family.” She was right, in my opinion. And know what? out of all the stuff on our registries, the first things to go were the china … everyone has loved buying it for us.

    Just my two cents ๐Ÿ™‚

    Post # 5
    14186 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2009

    I think an option is nice.

    Personally if I didn’t believe in the charities the B&G chose, I wouldn’t donate out of principal, no matter the B&G’s opinions. I’d write a check to the couple.

    Some people will definitely want to get you a gift. You might as well get something you want instead of some weird platters. You want some of the ones I got? =]

    Post # 6
    2015 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    Honestly, not really, because what if it’s something I wouldn’t want to donate to? I know that sounds really weird because a charity is a charity, but for me, it’s very much along the same lines as telling guests exactly what gift to get you by only registering for four or five vases or something. I dunno, they just tend to not be my thing. I had a coworker who did the Red Cross charity registry, and while it’s a very good cause, I wasn’t all that thrilled about donating to it because I would have preferred to give my money to a charity that hits closer to home for me. I wasn’t invited to the actual wedding, just using it as an example that if I had been, donating to that charity wouldn’t have been something I would have been all that excited about.

    That’s kind of why I prefer that couples, if they want to include a charity of some sort in their wedding, do favors instead. My FI’s family member is getting married soon, and she’s a cancer survivor and is getting each guest a wristband that coordinates with her cancer ribbon color, and donating $5 per guest to the cause, which is great because she’s not telling guests what should be important to them, she’s simply saying, “I believe in this cause, and rather than giving you a heart-shaped spoon, we’re donating to the charity.”

    But please, this is just my opinion because you were asking, and you should of course do what you’re comfortable with ๐Ÿ™‚

    Post # 7
    5494 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2011

    I have to agree with Miss Chapstick.  If I was one of your guest I would probably enf up giving you cash and letting you decide whether to keep it or donate it.  I have charities close to my heart that I donate to.  But for a wedding I want to feel like i’m contributing to the bride and groom’s life, whether that be with household items, cash, a honeymoon registry, etc. 

    Post # 9
    2015 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    Sure, no problem. I know, it’s kind of hard to see it from this perspective because immeditaley, my reaction was also, “Oh, how nice! A charity! Who wouldn’t want to give money to a good cause?” but then you think about it, and charities are often a very personal thing for most people.

    But yeah, plus, when else can you register for gifts that you normally wouldn’t buy yourself anyway? It sounds greedy, but people do like getting the bride and groom gifts ๐Ÿ™‚ I know I do.

    Post # 10
    1901 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    I don’t like charity favors or registries for a number of reasons. I think if someone wants to buy you a gift, they should be able to buy you a gift and donations to charity are their own business. People are so opinionated about charites and which ones are run well and use the money well and which ones are PC. It’s sort of like politics and to me Not Wedding Related.

    Registries are supposed to be a courtesy for your guests. To guide them if they would like to give you something. I think it is a nice thing to do in case people ask where you are registered and it will save you from possibly getting some strange/ unwanted items that then cause another etiquette issue.

    THe registry doesn’t have to be things you need, it can be things you want as well. I mean, who really NEEDS a fondue pot? Yet, a lot of people register for one:-)

    Post # 11
    101 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    Here’s another perspective.

    We did a charity registry and we had the same concern.  So, we said, “Please donate to the charity of your choice in lieu of gifts.”  Then we listed the charities we like in case they wanted to donate to them.  Yes, some people gave us gifts or money.  We had 75 guests and got 4 gifts total.  Three were creative and one was practical.  We didn’t get a ton of money (less than $1000) either.  From time to time I missed having that excitement of opening a gift.  But in the end, we really didn’t need anything.  The one practical gift we got is completely awesome, but we have no space for it and basically have to store it until we have a bigger place (a couple years from now).  And I was sooo happy when someone said that they donated to one of our charities or that we introduced them to a new charity that they would start giving to on a regular basis.  (We chose small charities that would directly benefit people rather than the bigger ones and so it felt really great).

    I felt really strongly that we have plenty of money for ourselves to buy things and I didn’t want people to feel like they had to give us anything.  The whole registry stuff made me extremely uncomfortable.  If it doesn’t bother you, then maybe you should register for gifts, but honestly, it’s not the end of the world for guests.  They’ll figure something out.

    If you don’t want any ‘stuff’, then don’t let anyone tell you that you need to register for it.  Guests can figure out what they want to do.  And, lots of people really praised us for our choice.  My dad was very proud.  So, there are good sides to a charity registry too.

    These are all just my personal feelings.  I have no issue with anyone who chooses a different option.

    Post # 12
    2695 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2010

    I understand the idea behind the charity registry and also behind the idea that you have everything you need already.  The Fiance and I are in the same boat.  But when I sat down and wrote a list of things that I’ve had for years that really need to be replaced, such as a bathroom items, I realized that those are things we NEED to replace. And that people enjoy giving those items.  I also choose to list higher-end stuff that I would never buy for myself.  Such as a nice silver serving platter from Macy’s.  Normally I’d buy the $20 dollar one from Target that would last me only 10 years.  The other would last a lot longer.  So I’ve done a few things on a registry at different price levels so people can choose. 

    We are also thinking about doing the honeymoon registry.  Yes we can afford to go on our trip but at the same time people enjoy getting you something Wedding related.

    My brother got a charity donation for his college from our Step-brother.  The bad part is my SIL didn’t go to college there and could care less.  So it was a little onesided.  Plus we give mega bucks each year to the college between us two and our Dad that we wished he would have done something different.  So they can be good and thoughtful ideas but I think it depends on the charity it is given too.

    Post # 13
    327 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    I strongly suggest doing both. I personally like to give a tangible gift that will serve as a marker of the occaision. “Aunt Jane gave me this lovely vase for our wedding – I think of her every time I use it” sort of thing. If faced with only a charity registry, I’d head straight to Tiffany’s to get you a gift along with a gift receipt if you don’t like it. If the charity in question is particularly meaningful (honoring a lost parent, etc) I would also make a donation, but I’m absolutely giving something tangible. Not that I’m not a charitable person – I donate time and money regularly to causes that are important to me – but I LOVE celebrating weddings and gifting the bride and groom. Especially if they are close to me. I don’t think I’m alone, particularly if you have a lot of older guests (although I’m young and I feel this way so go figure)…

    Don’t feel greedy – this is a wonderful event and those who love you WANT to celebrate you!

    Post # 14
    7174 posts
    Busy Beekeeper

    I don’t think you should feel greedy at all for presents.  Through gift giving you allow your friends and family to tangibly express their happiness for you.  Think of the last present you were excited to give someone.  How would you feel if they declined it saying, you know, with the money you spent, I’d rather have you donate it to “x” cause.

    I think it’s great that you and Fiance want to include the charity, but I will say, I’d have a hard time giving to a charity if I didn’t support it’s cause.  

    I think the perfect solution is to do both registries.  If people ask your preference, you can tell them it’s for the charity.  

    btw, Fiance and I thought we were both set on things for our house.  Having lived on our own individually, we figured we’d be set.  We were floored with how much ended up on our registry after spending the day at just ONE store.  Trust me, you’ll find great things to register for ๐Ÿ™‚

    Post # 15
    355 posts
    Helper bee

    I think I am more with [email protected] on this and I really like her approach of offering the guests the option to choose a charity of their own choice and exposing them to charities that are particularly meaningful to the bride and groom.  I hope that my guests might learn more about the things that we really care about by reading about the charities we pick.   I think of a wedding and its associated celebrations to be very much about a statement of your values and along the way there are choices that guests may or may not agree with and they have the option to participate or not.  For example, I have a friend whose aunt refused to go to her wedding because she wasn’t getting married in a church but joined later at the reception.  Similarily, if someone’s not excited about the charity you pick, they can opt for another charity and/or give you a gift, it just might not be a gift you picked out.  I guess my one caveat on this is if you are planning to pick a charity around an issue that is highly controversial (i.e. pro-choice/pro-life), then some guests might be uncomfortable, but some general issue like education, for example, should be fine with most people even if they aren’t on fire about it. 

    I also think for us personally, this decision is also a practical one.  We live in separate apts now and hope to buy a house in the next year.  We have too much stuff as is and I’d rather buy the stuff we need when we are in a place more permanent and know what we are going for in terms of decor, etc. 

    The other practical consideration for us is that we have friends on all ends of the economic spectrum.  I know that some of my friends that are struggling in this job market would feel cheesy if they got us a $25 salad bowl but they likely wouldn’t feel cheesy making a $25 contribution to an organization we cared about knowing that the cause matters to us so I think the charity registry allows them a graceful way to give what feels comfortable for them right now. 

    Personally, when I am invited to a wedding with a charity registry, I make a contribution to the org and also get the couple something “celebratory” (i.e. a bottle of nice champagne to enjoy upon their return from their honeymoon or a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant).  Many of your friends might take the same approach.  Also, if you are having any showers, your friends will likely bring gifts to those.  


    Post # 16
    567 posts
    Busy bee

    i’m only doing gift registries…not to be selfish, but we are getting married straight out of college and we need absolutely everything, from dinnerware to dish towels.  if i were older and had a lot of the necessary household items, i would certainly register with a charity.

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