Post # 1
Do we need a gift registry reality check?
I’ve owned my home for a few years; the bride is a few years younger but she has also accumulated most of the basics. Basically, we own everything we need that is under $40. We are trying to register responsibly and only select things that we know we will really use. (A lesson learned from watching my sister and brother-in-law accumulate $2000 in fine china that they’ve used once in 4 years.) We are also shopping carefully for durable things will last.
Sounds good, right? Until you look at our registries. There are only a few items under $50 and less than a dozen between $50 and $100. (Side note: no wonder my knives are dull and my cookware heats unevenly – kitchen stuff is expensive!)
We don’t want our guests to feel obligated to purchase something, and we definitely don’t want people to feel cheap or otherwise guilty if our selections are not in their budgets. Has anyone experienced the same thing? Does anyone have advice for affordable registry items? And how much do average people really spend on wedding gifts, anyway?
Post # 3
@Professor6pack: Could you register for knives separately? The sets are expensive but the individual knives are more manageable. Same goes for pots and pans.
We’re going to end up with the same problem. We have everything we need, but we’d like to upgrade some things that will end up being expensive.
Post # 4
How many guests? A few dozen items less than $100 leaves very few options unless you only have a couple dozen guests.
Post # 5
It’s always good to have items that are a balance in terms of price range,
most people will end up giving you cash or gift cards if there isn’t something they’d like to purchase or if only the most expensive items are left.
even if you and your partner have the basics, use it as an opportunity to stock up on the basics or replace anything that’s worn.
Post # 6
@somethingaquamarine: has a great suggestion.
Also, are there linens you’d like to replace or upgrade? Sheets and towels are generally more affordable and its always nice to have new bed linens and towels.
Does your registry store have gift cards? Normally, I’m not a fan of selecting the option to show gift cards on the registry, but in your case it seems like a good idea. Guests could give you a gift card in a denomiation that they can afford.
Most likely your families will know you’ve already established your household so they may be more understanding of a smaller registry with more expensive items. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Post # 7
What about nicer towels or linens? You may have everything you need but what about upgrading? Also, if your registry is too expensive then let them get you GCs or cash. We only got about 1/4 of our registry in gifts and the rest was cash or GC.
Post # 8
@Goofball: 200 to 225 guests
Post # 9
I would suggest adding some more things in the sub-50 range. We had a similar issue with our registry and I ended up having to come up with more things after my first shower since we knew we had a decent amount of people that would prefer to buy physical gifts but wouldn’t want to spend $50 or more for various reasons. If you know your guest list predominantly gives cash it might not be as much of an issue. We didn’t get a lot of items over $100 but we did get several gifts worth more than that made up of multiple items.
Good options I found were things like kitchen towels, oven mitt/pot holder, upgrading gadgets like a garlic press or peelers. We had all these things already but it’s nice to have matching sets or a nicer version. Other things we added were towels, drinking glasses, placemats, and storage containers.
Post # 10
@Professor6pack: i’d definitely try to diversify – could you register for nice stainless steel mixing bowls? attachments for a kitchenaid mixer? waffle iron or panini press? linens and towels as other pps stated. silicone baking sheets, good quality cookie sheets, salad servers, muffin pans – all these things in good, professional quality are still under 50 or 100 dollars.
maybe barware – a nice shaker, ice bucket etc could be under 100 easily.
here’s a cheat – bed bath and beyond lets you return anything for cash. so i’d register for some lower priced things that you do want. if you get them and think, actually – no go, you can as a last resort return them for $.
Post # 11
I thought this would be more of an issue, but once we got going we found lots of cheap things we wanted. Some of it is upgrades. Some stuff that would be nice, but we’d never buy ourselves. Some is accessories. But I do definately think it’s important to have variety. Honestly, if it were me, I’d do no registry before I’d do one that had almost all expensive items. Have you thought about a honemoon registry or an online registry?
Post # 12
Here’s another comment in favor of sheets and towels and other household items. Those are staples of a traditional household registry.
I already had several sets of porcelain dishes, including a set of fine bone china, at the time I was planning my wedding. However, I chose to register for a new set of relatively plain china anyway — something that I could use with holiday linens, since all of my other dishes have flowers on them. Yes, I have about the same dollar value in my new china that your sister and Brother-In-Law do in theirs, and, yes, I’ve only used mine once so far in four years, too. However, don’t just think short term when planning your registry. SOMEDAY, your sister and brother in law may have children, and, later, grandchildren, and that fancy china may find its way onto the dining room table every Thanksgiving and Christmas (and for other special events) for decades to follow.
The same thing with towels and sheets. You might have an abundance now, but I purchased all new towels when I moved from an apartment and into a townhouse before I was married. Seven years later, when I was registering, I registered for new towels, and, four years into my marriage, although the “new” towels that we use regularly are still nice looking, they are much more faded than the truly new towels that we haven’t yet used from this set.
Although gift registries can be wonderful for helping a couple receive items that they truly need or really want, they also serve the more practical purpose of helping couples to avoid receiving things that they not only do not need (such as four toasters) but also that they do not like (such as the pink floral cake dish that Aunt Mildren adored but in no way reflects your taste.)
Post # 13
There’s plenty of cheap registry stuff… sheets, towels, random kitchen things (if you’ll use it, like a garlic press). Even if you pick some cheaper bath towels or something you can put them in the guest room or save them for the beach, there’s always something… candles?
That said we were pestered to do a registry and not a single thing was bought off of it lol.
Post # 14
Towels are $52 each and the sheet set is $140. My bride is a gourmet cook, but I really can’t imagine what to do with a second garlic press! 🙂 Maybe I’ve just been too cheap in the past, because I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $75 on a wedding gift before. The suggestion to return things to Bed Bath and Beyond for cash is brilliant, though! It takes a lot of unnecessay brownie pans to trade in for a KitchenAid mixer, but it just might work.
Post # 15
@Professor6pack: sorry, but then you should have a couple hundred items under $100. We’re only having around 30 guests so a couple dozen items in that range would be good for us. Personally I give cash (in the 3 digit range) for weddings but like to give a physical gift around $50 for showers. So even though I’m writing a check I would still look at the registry and feel it was gift grabby. That’s just my personal feelings and I understand that’s not true in your situation. Part of the problem is if there are items outside of your guests comfort zone they’ll start to go off the list making it hard to return items you don’t need.
What about things like a clothing iron, closet organizer (one where the pieces are sold individually), garage storage, lawn/garden items, tools, cleaning supplies (mops, brooms, dustpans, handheld vac), extension cords, electronic cord organizers, rubber storage totes, shelf liner, ice chests. All non-kitchen, and a little non-traditional items, but practical household things. Time to start thinking outside the box.
Post # 16
@Professor6pack I always feel like every registry I shop on is way expensive for me. It’s rare I can find something in my price range (usually $100 tops) to give. As a guest, I typically will go for a gift card to their registry store. This way they can put it towards something bigger on the registry. It still helps them out and doesn’t break my piggy bank. I’ve also gone in on joint gifts with family or friends that way we could get a bigger item and not spend the entire amount. While it is nice to register for the smaller things to give your guests more options, I don’t think that will deter your guests from getting you a gift.
Only register for the things you NEED or WANT. Don’t just pick frilly stuff for the sake of returning it. When your guests ask you months later, how do you like that decorative candle we got you? Don’t lie to them and fake it; shouldn’t have registered for it in the first place.