I have so much to say about this topic, lol, bear with me!
First of all, I think a lot of the frustrations brides feel over not receiving registry gifts can be easily avoided, at least in most cases. If you can find a store that will sell gifts to your guests as easily in person as it does online, that’s a big help. Places like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, JC Penny, Target, etc all have great registry sites, but a guest can walk into the store and ask for the same gifts with comparable ease. If you HAVE to register at a store that’s either online or in person only, you’d better find a few gifts you like at another store and give people more options. Or at least register for gift cards!
Personally, I think having a registry at more than one store gives guests a lot of options and makes them feel like they can easily find a place to purchase you something you like.
Now, if you’ve done all these things and you still have people giving you random items because ‘they know best’, you have every right to feel annoyed! I sooort of understand the argument of, “I don’t want to give a thoughtless gift.” People want their gifts to be memorable and special. They’re paying for it, and they might want the couple to have a special memory of them every time said item is put to use. But my response to that argument is that registry items are the most thoughtful of all – the COUPLE thought them over and picked them out! They’ve made these items part of their big, beautiful wish list, and these are the things they want and/or need for their future home. Why not help them with that vision and give them exactly what they want? Don’t YOU enjoy getting a gift that you’ve always wanted?
I think this idea of having to be “original” when giving a gift is a bit… selfish. It has good intentions, but sometimes that line of thinking makes gift giving about the giver, and not the couple in question. And as someone else has pointed out, a registry can tell you what a couple really has little of. If they’re registered for flatware and electrics, they probably REALLY need these things; don’t go and buy them a random bowl or tabelcloth and ignore that they have none of the essentials necessary to run a kitchen or serve a meal.
Furthermore, I have heard of people receiving gifts that completely clash with their decor, their china, and their overall personal taste. Those are the worst gifts of all, especially if there’s no gift receipt! A friend of mine registered for kitchen items all in blue and white; a white Kitchenaid, a blue Emile Henry baker, white and blue Williams Sonoma floral placemats, etc etc. Her FI’s cousin bought her a random set of pistachio green mixing bowls and some bright yellow and green polka dot spatulas. Very odd, and totally out of sync with everything else on the registry. Nothing they’d registered for had indicated that they wanted things in those colors, so why would the cousin pick them? To make matters worse, there was no receipt. My friend was VERY gracious to the cousin, but told me privately she wasn’t sure what to do with these things at all, especially since she didn’t even need the items. Just goes to show, thinking you know best can be a big headache for the bride.
I think if you want to personalize a gift, or pick something you think the couple would like but hadn’t registered for, you should do so carefully and GENEROUSLY. That is to say, give them something they’ve requested along with the additional gift of your choice. My own cousin registered for a pasta roller attachment to go with her own KitchenAid and some olive oil dipping bowls. I bought them for her, along with a bottle of fine imported Italian olive oil, a pasta making cookbook, and a pretty glass cruet. She was delighted, because my additional gifts were thoughtful and went along with her theme, and because she actually received some of what she’d asked for. I’ve also purchased a cocktail shaker and tipsy olives to go with Crate and Barrel martini glasses a friend had requested, with similar success.
Finally, I think the excuses given on page one are unacceptable, not to be rude or offensive. “Not everyone wants to stand around a target printing off forms and touching the dirty touch screen before they go shopping..” Seriously? That’s kind of lame. This is a WEDDING. This is what happens when people register. You look up what they’ve asked for, hunt it down, and buy it for them. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty or watse your precious time doing so for them, then why don’t you at least buy them a gift card at the store of their choice, or just write the couple a check and be done with it?