FAQ section 13

13) Gifts (advice for the bride and groom)

13.1) Should I register for gifts?

Most couples do register for gifts, if only to let prospective gift-givers know what patterns of china, silver, crystal, and stainless they've selected.

Registering for gifts allows couples to let people know what kinds of gifts they would like to receive. It is also possible to do this in a less specific way, by telling your parents and members of the wedding party what your general needs are. If you use a registry, these are the same people you will give the registry information to, and they will tell people when they are asked.

Registering for gifts also allows you to have a better chance of not receiving duplicate gifts, because a well-run registry will keep track of what gifts have already been purchased. You can also call the store where you have registered when you receive gifts purchased elsewhere, and they will update their lists to reflect that you've received these items.

However, no one should ever feel obligated to buy something that you have registered for, and if they select a different gift for you, it is not appropriate to criticize their choice of gift because it was not on your registry. There are many reasons why people choose not to use your registry; some feel that a gift is more personal if they select it themselves, others have a brilliant gift idea for you and never even think of consulting the registry, and still others simply never hear about the registry.

13.2) What should I register for?

You can register for almost anything. Most people register for china, silver, crystal, and stainless, because it is traditional to receive a set of these things as wedding gifts. However, that does not mean you must register for these things, though you should be aware that some prospective gift-givers may be disappointed, because they wanted to give these things to you and can't do so if you haven't selected a pattern.

It is a good idea to register for gifts in a variety of price ranges, so all guests will be able to find something they like and can afford.

Some people are of the school of thought that you should only register for things you think you will actually receive. This means you would figure out how much money each of your guests was likely to spend, and register for gifts in that approximate total dollar amount.

Other people believe you should register for what you really want, and expect that you will only receive some of it.

These two schools of thought tend to come into conflict over decisions of whether to register for a less expensive china pattern you like, or a more expensive one you absolutely adore. You should make such a decision based on whether you would rather have a few place settings of the one you adore, or many place settings of the one you like.

If you choose to register in a nontraditional place, such as a home center or hardware store, or you choose to register only for nontraditional items, you should be aware that some prospective gift-givers will be dissuaded from buying anything from your registry because they only want to give gifts of "lasting value", things that are likely to become heirlooms.

It is possible to register now at your travel agent or at a bank, for money toward a house or some such. This is considered tacky by many people, just as many people consider it tacky to request money as a gift. That is not to say you shouldn't do it; merely that you should be aware of this possible reaction.

13.3) How will people find out about my registry?

People will find out about your registry in one of three ways:

It is generally considered to be inappropriate to mention your registry in your invitations, because it might imply that you were expecting to receive gifts from people you invited to your wedding.

I think whether or not it would be OK to mention your registry on a WWW page you created about your wedding, or a newsletter you mailed to your guests about the wedding separately from the invitation, is a more nebulous area. If I were pressed, I would probably think it was more acceptable on a WWW page than in a newsletter, because someone has to explicitly choose to access the information on the WWW page, while if you mail it to them, it's more like you're forcing it on them.

13.4) What do I do with gifts received before the wedding?

Any gifts you receive before the wedding, whether they are engagement or wedding gifts, should be opened and thank-you notes written. However, you should bear in mind that if anything should happen so that the wedding cannot take place, you are responsible for returning the gifts to the givers. Therefore, it is a bad idea to use the gifts before the wedding, and you should keep all the original packaging.

Gifts of money should not be spent, but instead set aside, perhaps in your new joint bank account, until after the wedding. All checks should definitely be deposited into a bank account, because it is annoying to the giver when you wait a long time to deposit a check.

The contents of this document are copyright 2004 Sonja Kueppers. Do not use without permission.

Last Modified: May 15, 2004