(Closed) Spinoff: why is a honeymoon registry considered tacky, but a gift registry isn't

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 106
142 posts
Blushing bee

It’s pretty common in Australia where I’m from that people have a wishing well at their wedding instead of asking for gifts. People place a card with cash in it and that’s that. gifts are usually given at the engagement party but seeing as most of us live together for quite some time (generally speaking) before we get married there’s no need to buy things for the couple. Personally I prefer giving money as a gift; the couple can buy what they want and don’t have the added expense of couriering the gifts from the wedding place. Obviously you can’t expect gifts but if people want to give you something, cash is easy 

Post # 107
341 posts
Helper bee

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nessdawwg:  See, this is so petty.  You literally refuse to give the couple what they’ve specifically asked for? You must be a real ray of sunshine, going out of your way to be as unpleasant as possible.

Personally, I want to give people what they want for a gift. If they want cash, fine, great. IT’S A GIFT. For me…giving a gift is about the receiver.

It must be a cultural thing. In the UK, people are MUCH more polite than some of these people on here, who seem determined to make the whole gift – giving experience as unpleasant as possible for the receiver to prove a point…

Post # 108
668 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Neither one is tacky, it is tacky to attend a wedding and not want to give anything, though. Or to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man and bitch about the cost when the hosts pay so much more.

Post # 109
962 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

I wouldn’t give much stock to what strangers think. If your guests like it, you are golden. We have a honeymoon registry, but added a few standard registry items at the request of my family.

Post # 110
1692 posts
Bumble bee

Long, long ago, when I was a girl, while there were still wolves in Wales and we spent our Saturday nights watching the mastadon races, girls registered quite specifically for china, crystal, silverware, bedlinens and table linens. Note, I did not say “brides registered for…” nor did I say “girls made wedding registries for ….” In that benighted age, it was assumed that girls would become women either by marrying or by moving away from home, and that as women they would be responsible to create a well-appointed, gracious, hospitable home. So they started preparing for that responsibility before puberty, and department stores kindly offered the service of keeping track of just how many place-settings, fish-forks and damask luncheon-cloths they had collected over the intervening Christmasses and Birthdays since they first registered their choices. A girl made the registry for her own sake, to plan her own acquisitions toward that goal of a gracious home, and there was no expectation of the registry’s having been put together to evoke gifts!

Every girl of my social class had a registry, and “what’s your china pattern?” was one of those getting-to-know-you questions right along with “did you understand any of that trigonometry class?” and “have you got the latest Beatles single?” So, when weddings eventually rolled around, everybody knew you could ask at the local department store and find out what the bride needed to “finish” her collection, and that would make a good present. Some girls, even then, moved out before getting married, and their friends didn’t even need to ask at the department store; you could just take note the last time you were invited to dinner, to see that the hostess subtly snuck out before the dessert to wash the forks she had used for the salad course, to know that she could use some dedicated dessert forks. But even radical feminists of the seventies, who wore pant-suits that could be rapidly converted to mini-dresses in protest of chauvinist expectations and eschewed crystal and silverware for the same reason, tended to get all traditional and open their registry when they started contemplating marriage. Now every woman is a feminist by 1970’s standards, and few actually plan to create gracious homes where they will regularly serve dinners that need three different kinds of forks, and the only reason most brides can think of for having a registry is to get gifts. And expecting gifts, whether they are material clutter or gifts-of-experiences, is not polite behaviour.

But let’s be real: people who don’t plan to serve three-course dinners for ten, also don’t acquire dining-rooms that have room for seated dinners for ten; and people who aren’t going to entertain house-guests for a week-end, don’t have apartments with guest-suites and spare bedrooms. We live in a smaller space than did households of yesteryear, and don’t have space for extra epergnes and spare vases. Modern adults tend to value experiences over stuff; and it is rather materialistic to insist that “stuff” is inherently more proper as a gift than are experiences.

So on the matter of honeymoon registries versus gift registries, I take a balanced view: if you put together either registry purely for the sake of getting gifts like a grown-up version of a letter to Santa Clause, and if you are actively advertising the existance of your registry by including it in invitations or actively spreading it by word of mouth or a link from your wedding website, then it is not in the best of taste regardless of what kind of registry it is. On the other hand, if you put your registry together as a planning exercise, and feel solely responsible to provide for yourself all the valued memorable things-or-experiences that made your list, then you are on solid etiquette ground; and your mother or maid-of-honour may go behind your back to point out  its existance to people who happen to ask.


Post # 111
10225 posts
Sugar Beekeeper


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I don’t like registries or kind of any fund at all   either , but I think we are very much in the minority.

I confess to being actually quite shocked  when people say things like  say  ‘oh we don’t need/want random  stuff for our house’  with or without the rider of  ‘ so give us money’ .

I know it is  concsidered incorrect to say ‘no gifts’ , but maybe a ‘your presence is enough’  is OK?

Post # 112
1065 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

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howdoiknow:  Yeah, how petty of me to take the time out of my busy schedule to go to the store and purchase something thoughtful for the couple, wrap it and transport it.  I’m a real downer.

Could you please explain to me how I am petty for not gifting a couple something they have asked me to gift?  

Do you send a mass email of a cute poem requesting cash for Christmas, or your birthday?  How would you react if someone did that? 

The topic ‘Spinoff: why is a honeymoon registry considered tacky, but a gift registry isn't’ is closed to new replies.

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