(Closed) Help! Is it rude to include where we’re registered on a reception card?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 48
1692 posts
Bumble bee

@MissFlowerPot:  I think you’ll find that even in the USA there are class distinctions, and ethnic distinctions, even within the same region of the “melting pot”. Every time one bride posts that “everybody does it here” some other bride from the same region posts back “well I’m from there and I’ve never seen that”, whatever ‘that’ happens to be.

@PamelaBrit:  what is the “higher form”? Well, ๐Ÿ˜‰ one option is giving goats <grin>. I have had a lot of experience with charitable gifts-in-kind: I even had the opportunity to travel to Africa and participate in giving some goats and rabbits, and meet the villagers who were running a mature piggery that started with such gifts. I think it is an amazing way to give, but I’m not sure it generally addresses the problem with wedding presents.

Registries used to be set up by a girl with her mother and aunts years before her wedding. It was a matter of choosing china, silver and crystal patterns, and maybe linens; and then collecting those household goods gradually over the years to pack away safely in her hope chest. The idea was that the girl should plan and prepare to create a gracious household, initially under the guidance of her kinswomen but increasingly taking over responsibility herself (recognizing that it would generally take years to acquire a household worth of heirloom-quality goods). Even after setting up her household she might gradually acquire bits and pieces, and the department store holding the registry would notify her of special sales or of (sad but inevitable) pattern discontinuations. Since every household of that class had a registry, a dinner guest who accidentally broke a teacup could go to the department store and order a replacement just by mentioning the household’s name. And since every girl started her registry before marriage, wedding guests could “snoop” into the bride’s registry to find out her patterns and use the knowledge to give gifts that would help build up the household.

This ideal is all very gracious — and it is focussed on the idea of building up gradually the means to become a full participant in the give-and-take of society. Weddings focussed on endowing the new couple with household goods off the registry, because the wedding would launch a new household that would have the responsibility to start offering hospitality and otherwise participating in society. But nowadays, only religious conservatives actually wait until their wedding to launch a new household; the vast majority of weddings take place after the fact, sometimes long after the fact. We elder crowd remember fondly reminiscing over some heirloom object or another that “Auntie Vespasia gave that to Mother at her wedding” and so on. We want to be remembered in the same way, and to have the chance to participate in our descendents’ marital households by the same sort of lasting gift. But all the households are already set up. This is why my go-to gift is a soup tureen. It is a lasting heirloom, people rarely have one already, and it is primarily useful when the practice of hospitality surrounds the dining-room table with friends and family.

What I find myself wondering is, if all those households are so completely set up that the couple doesn’t need anything but money, why don’t their friends and family already know what their patterns are and what things their household needs and doesn’t need, just from observing carefully when they are invited over to visit? Could it be that they don’t get invited over? Why is there so much risk that the couple will receive five toasters or “a bunch of junk”: don’t their friends know the couple’s tastes, and don’t the friends have good taste of their own?

I think the higher form is for members of society to be more open to one another, to trust their intimates a little more, and to be sincere to people whose taste they really cannot trust, that what they really would like would be a goat for a child-headed family in Africa.


Post # 49
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@LittleAudrey:  “That was one ettiquette norm that didn’t make sense to me (that for shower invites, you must include registry info, but for a wedding it is uncouth?)”

I’m just giving you some information, not weighing in on whether you should do it or not. 

To answer your question, the difference between a shower and a wedding is that a shower is thrown for the express purpose of “showering” an honoree with gifts. When you invite people to a wedding, you are inviting them to witness your vows–they are honoring YOU with their presence. To that end (and contrary to popular opinion), wedding gifts are customary, but not required–even for guests who attend. In addition, a wedding invite is an expression of your hospitality for witnessing the vows and celebrating the marriage–putting the registry information on the invitation in that sense is a bit like having a dinner party and telling your guests where they can purchase your hostess gift(s). 

Now that’s according to traditional etiquette and while times ARE changing, there are those who still believe in and practice that kind of etiquette, so if you choose to include registry information, you run the risk of offending those people (or coming off as not knowing any better). As you can probably gage from the thread overall, people’s tolerance for this sort of thing depends on a lot of variables–usually your age (younger people tend to be annoyed if they have to dig for registry info themselves) and where you live. Similar differences happen with things like dollar dances and stag/doe parties. 

So my answer for you is that if you want to be “safe,” then be conservative and leave it off your invitation (and by the way, no one will interpret the lack of information as a sign you don’t want a gift and few will make no attempt to figure out your registry information). But you know your friends and family best and if you think they’d be fine with it (or that they’d complain if you DIDN’T have it) then go ahead. 

Post # 50
5118 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@LittleAudrey: If that’s common in your area and best in your situation, then go for it. Like a PP said, the boards are kind of like a giant guest lists: some will care, some will be so glad, and some won’t read the darn invite at all and will still call you with obvious questions ๐Ÿ˜‰ Haha.

Being from IA originally, and having lived in multiple states in the midwest, I will tell you that it is really common to have the registry info on the wedding invite itself, so this crowd likely won’t be offended. I tried to follow proper etiquette and left it off the invite (it was on our website, however) and I heard b*#^@ing on end about how it’s so weird that we didn’t include the info on the invite. Bah! So I say know your crowd and go with that ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 51
1842 posts
Buzzing bee

to the OP. I had been contemplating this as well I had read that it is rude to include registry information with the invite but after calling both of my older sisters and one painfully highclass sister-in-law (just to span the social classes that aspasia was talking about) They have all gotten married with in the past three years, all had wedding websites, and all had an insert card with wedding registry information. Not one of them said any elders or mavens complained about the included information. They are from Wisconsin, Wisconsin, and Colorado respectively. (just to cover all the bases.  

@aspasia475:  ….. Seriously?….too much time on your hands, but that is anyother topic…

 I agree with you, if a couple is making a registry entirely for the purpose of getting gifts, and moreso if they are trying to control their guests’ choice, and even moreso if they are trying to convert gifts to money, then they are already being self-serving and materialistic

Post # 52
19 posts
  • Wedding: July 2010

I don’t see the harm in it and I feel like those who were going to buy you a gift are going to say “oh they are registered at…. one less thing for me to look up!” and those whoare offended probably weren’t buying you anything anyway… JS

Post # 53
3580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@aspasia475: I now can totally see your point.  My Mother-In-Law practices this and knows my preferences for serving dishes and often purchases items in this realm for the holidays.  Not because I have a registry, but because she comes over often enough that she can see my taste.  My friends on the other hand come over to play poker….so I’m sure they would end up getting me poker chips.  Or a kegerator. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post # 54
3580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@globalmargaret:  Did you just knock @aspasia475 for the fact that she elaborated on a question??  C’mon…play nice.

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