Wedding Gifts

Etiquette Guide for Your Wedding Registry

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Gift RegistryCreating your wedding registry is one of those traditions that’s part custom and part commerce. Certainly it’s a way for companies to line their pockets on your wedding day, and you may feel like it’s a stressor you don’t need. But despite it making you feel awkward or greedy, the registry has its place in the wedding process. Here are some things to consider when you make your wedding registry.

Have a registry

It may make you uncomfortable putting together a wish list so others can buy you stuff. But think of it this way: every guest who comes to your wedding is going to buy you a gift. They want to buy you a gift. Some of the guests have known you for ages, know exactly what you like and what you need, and they might go off-registry and find something cool and memorable. But you’ll also have distant relatives and old friends who may not have any idea what you want or need, but they still want to buy you a gift to celebrate the day. Why not give them a guide to gifts you’ll actually enjoy? They’ll feel good knowing they’re buying gifts you need, and you’ll save time compared to returning twelve toasters.

Register early

It may be tempting to put off doing the registry until the invitations go out, but register as early as you conceivably can. Sure, some of the guests will buy gifts on their way to the wedding, or between the wedding and reception, but do be considerate to the ones who are planning in advance.

Don’t register for clearance items

When you get that scanning gun, it’s easy to go nuts with it.  You may feel like items on clearance are a good value for your guests, or maybe that one particular set of bath towels you like is on clearance and you don’t want to pass up the opportunity, but resist. They’re called “clearance” items for a reason–they’re likely to be cleared out by the time your guests go gift-shopping.

Try to have a few items in each 10-dollar range.

Be considerate to your guests in every income bracket; don’t load up the registry with pricey items or loads of $5 dishtowels. Try to have a few items in the $10 range, a few in $20-30, a few in $30-50, and so on. No one will think poorly of you for having a $300 vacuum cleaner on the registry if you also have some $20 pots and pans–and maybe your rich uncle will pick up that Dyson for you.

Don’t forget the “thank you” cards

When you open the gifts, have your maid of honor or your new mother-in-law keep a detailed list of who gave you what gift. Then after the honeymoon, sit down with your spouse and write out a personalized “thank you” card to each guest. “Thank you” cards are a dying art, but you want to be part of the solution, don’t you? After all, it’s the least you can do considering they bought you gifts off of your wedding registry, right?

A wedding registry might seem like a relic from another era, but they’re at worst a necessary evil and at best a guide to help people give you thoughtful gifts on your big day. If you embrace the wedding registry and follow a few simple guidelines, you and your guests will both be happy when it’s time to open the gifts.

Thoughtful Wedding Gift Ideas

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SailboatWhen you’re planning to attend a wedding, it is usually appropriate to bring along some type of gift for the bride and groom. Usually the couple will have created a gift registry at a nearby department store with a huge list of items they’d like to receive, or you can give them a card with a gift card or cash to help them get their lives started. However, some of the best gifts you can give at a wedding are completely unique, original, and unexpected. I happen to know first-hand how tough it can be to come up with thoughtful wedding gift ideas because I just had two daughters get married a few month apart. I thought I’d share some of the ideas I had on my list to kick start your brainwaves into a more creative mode.

Gift Registry: This is an obvious one that ensures the couple will get exactly what they want. There is nothing wrong with going this route, but if you are very close to the couple or want to give them something they’ll truly cherish, buying from the gift registry can be a bit bland.

Cash: Giving the gift of cold hard cash is always a welcome token to any newlywed couple. Since they are just starting their lives together and probably forked out a pile of cash for their wedding, cash can be a nice treat. However, like the gift registry, cash is a thoughtless gift that doesn’t really convey how much you care or that you spent some time thinking about your gift.

Personalized Gifts: My personal favorite way to go is to give them a gift that is totally unexpected and very overwhelming. Don’t go into debt trying to impress the couple, just do something on whatever scale fits into your budget. Some of the best ideas that made my personal list are as follows:

  • Charter the couple a private sailboat for a day. There is nothing more romantic than giving a newlywed couple a private escape for a full day. Usually this is done with a gift certificate so they can choose a day that works for both of them.
  • Rent them a lake house for the weekend. This is also a great way to give the couple a weekend away from the normal grind of life.
  • Buy them a wine club membership. Nearly everyone loves a good glass of wine, and enrolling them into a wine club will let them taste new varieties and develop their palettes.  Also, a nice glass of wine can help them unwind after a long day of work.
  • Charter a hot air balloon adventure. This one isn’t a good idea if one or both people are afraid of heights, but if you know the couple well enough a hot air balloon adventure can be a once in a lifetime treat.
  • Buy them a new computer or television. Most couples won’t put anything too expensive on their gift registry because they know they probably won’t get it. If you know the couple either wants or needs a new high-end electronic device, you can really leave them speechless.

Regardless of what type of gift you choose to give the couple, the worst thing you can do is add another useless gift like a bread machine to their pile of gifts from their registry. Though the couple probably picked out those items themselves, they really don’t convey how much you care. Set aside a little time and really think about something the bride and groom would either appreciate or need, and you really can’t go wrong. Good luck and happy shopping!