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Not Registered

6 years ago by

Not Registered

I’ve hit that point in my life where my weekends are becoming filled with friends’ weddings. And it’s not just weddings…it’s bridal showers, engagement parties, bachelorette weekends (this deserves a longer post), which means A LOT of gifts. 

Yes, I know everyone registers these days, but is it just me or are registries super boring? And outdated? I don’t think I know anyone getting married that isn’t currently living with their soon-to-be husband or wife, and I’m pretty sure they already have a set of 10 coffee mugs, sheets for their bed, and a frying pan. So do they really need all of this stuff again? And giving a check is just so impersonal.

So since I pride myself on being a friend with good taste, I’ve taken to going off the registry and buying friends elevated home essentials from places like The Line. Maybe it’s not exactly what they asked for, but my hope is that it’s better than what they were expecting???

But seriously, what do you do? How do you deal with all of these wedding presents and registries that don’t make sense?


Add yours
  • What a great post! You’re right, by the time most people get married, they have most of their home essentials. I like the idea of buying a gift that is more personal in nature. How many people register for gifts because “that’s what people do when they get married?” And how often do couples actually use that special set of dishes?

    Reading this post reminds me of the SATC episode where Carrie adds up how much she’s spent on gifts for weddings, baby showers, etc. and how single people get the shaft. She got her Manolo Blahniks in the end though! :)

  • I’d actually say that while folks living together may have those basic items, generally they are hand me downs, vintage, not so great quality. And this is their chance to get the real stuff. I say stick to it….boring or not….

  • i recently got married, and we ended up doing a sort-of-elopement, so had no guests, no gifts, and no registry! but, when we played with the idea of having an actual wedding, we were torn on the registry issue. i think we would have had two options, a honeymoon registry where friends and family could support our honeymoon, and a traditional registry. because even if you say “no gifts”, people WILL buy gifts, and it’s better for them to be things you’ll actually use. there are moments i think “oh man, if we’d had a registry we would probably have actual serving dishes/towels that aren’t falling apart/a nice dutch oven.”

  • Hi Lindsay!

    I should have mentioned–I recently had a friend get married that did a honeymoon registry which I thought was great! But then I’ve also heard from some friends that they think it’s tacky since you’re not buying actual things for the honeymoon, it just ends up being a pile of money.
    Who knew you could even have so many opinions around this stuff?!
    x Emily

  • I love experiences and traveling, so I find these honeymoon registry the best idea. I would personally enjoy a great trip more than a set of silverware no matter how amazing the design! Also a lot of people spend so much on the wedding that the honeymoon gets short change, a shame I think.
    But in any case, what matters is to get a gift the couple will love, even if I don’t think their choice is something I would have gone for. I just hope their choice is based truly on what they want and not what they think they should do because of how it might look to people if they do something not standard.

  • I don’t know whether I love registries anymore but they can be helpful, I love looking through Willimas Sonoma (because I love to cook) and if I see something I use and love on their list then I tend to by that. I’m connected with it and they asked for it. Otherwise wine glasses or serving pieces, same idea things I use and hope they will too.
    If you really know them and can find a special off registry gift I agree that’s amazing. I made dear friends a basket of all sorts of goodies for their wedding and they loved it.
    When it comes to a wedding I don’t think a check or cash is impersonal anymore, couples are planning a wedding, going on a honeymoon, maybe buying a home or cars etc money is always needed and appericated.

  • Though I see reason for having a registry, as a designer, I feel it’s my duty to find something exquisite they never knew they wanted. I probe blogs and design stores and pin items to my Pinterest boards for just such occasion. I am planning my own wedding (we got engaged in Paris last year), we’ve lived together 11 years. Like you said, we have everything we need really. I would prefer people contribute to our next trip to Paris but if someone came up with a really cool interior designer’s Monkey Lamp, I’d totally love them for it! I wrote a post about gift giving like a designer, tattoo China is a thing. https://garrottdesigns.com/2014/11/20/gift-giving-like-designer/

  • I agree, gift registry is boarding. As a designer, I always feel I need to find that special thing they never knew they wanted. You’re clever enough, I’d totally go off registry. When I find things combing design blogs, I pin them to my Pinterest board “Ironic and Arty Home Goods” for the next gifting opportunity. I am planning my wedding, we got engaged in Paris last summer. I’d rather people contribute to our next trip to Europe but if some brilliant friend went off the grid and found some interior designer’s monkey lamp I’d be all for it!

  • I just got married and a lot of my friends are getting married as well. A registry isn’t very exciting to anyone but the couple who makes it. We all have wildly different taste. I think it’s important to pick your budget and buy off the registry. It’s a woman’s first, hopefully only time, to get all the stuff she’s ever dreamed about getting for her new home at once gifted by loving family and friends. And let me tell you, cash is super exciting to get as well because then you can buy your favorite things off your registry yourself! More than half the time, when people went off my registry for gifts, it was a disappointment for me, even when they were expensive. No matter how heinous, I won’t go off registry. It’s the most polite thing to do. And if it’s too heinous, give cash!

  • I just got married, and I am 100% pro-registry! Even though I am in my late 20’s and lived with my now-husband for several years, our apartment was a mish-mash of items we had already invested in upgrading and hand-me-downs/IKEA buys that desperately needed to be replaced. Creating a registry takes a lot of time and effort, and personally, I think it’s a bit arrogant to assume you know better than the couple in question. Shout-out to the (well-meaning, I’m sure!) relative who bought us luxury towels…. an item that wasn’t on our registry because we already invested in nice towels.

    If the couple doesn’t want to participate in the traditional registry, I’m sure they will let you know by providing an alternative. Also if you ever need to borrow a towel, I have like 20. xoxo

  • I second this! I’m getting married in June and my fiance and I live together, but we’ve been patiently waiting for our registry to update a lot of our dated/poor quality household items (my towels are the same pink, bleach-stained ones I got for my freshman year of college 8 years ago…gross, I know). The only time I’ve given an off-registry gift is when I can make it super personalized…for instance, we got some friends of ours a framed rare vintage poster from the first concert they went to together, and they loved it. But in terms of the general household stuff, stick to the registry…or cash!

    Also FYI that most honeymoon registries take a cut of the monetary gift for themselves. Honeyfund I think takes 7%…which is why I always still write a check when friends register for honeymoon adventures!

  • I’m also in that period of life. I understand. It’s hard enough financially to travel to all of these weddings! And I will say that even with my own wedding being only three weeks ago. We did have a registry, but it was very small, and only included things that we absolutely need. With that being said, we only got a few gifts from the registry anyway. I think that if you do get something different, if it’s a special item that thought was put into…everyone will be pleased!

  • Oh the gifting dilemma. We had a HUGE engagement party and I sort of hoped people would forget about a present. They didn’t. We got 5 water jugs. I should have learnt from this experience, but I was organising my wedding from a distance (we live in outback Australia) and I just couldn’t be bothered with a registry. I didn’t mention presents on the invite again, hoping people wouldn’t bother and not liking the ‘wishing well’ idea or the registry. In hindsight…. I wish I had of been bothered with it. We got some nice stuff, but also some seriously random shit that just gathers dust. I don’t feel I need candlesticks, let alone 2 sets! We got little espresso cups with saucers, in the total classic grandma floral. Mind you we did get some AMAZING things too.. Handmade (by an uncle) keepsake box with our initials ingraved inside it, with vintage brass clasps and wood from the family property… It’s very hard! Also when you have SO MANY all at once – you get present giving fatigue!

  • I always assumed it was kind of…rude to go off-registry? Idk, maybe that’s a little old fashioned, but to quote my mother, your wedding is your only chance in life to acquire matching serving bowls and china. They’re inherently unexciting because you’re supposed to be buying the couple nice items for their everyday life together. Even if they’re only living together, what they own is probably a mix of the cheap stuff they bought as singles in their twenties. I think that it’s kind of a lovely concept that your family and friends buy you good quality basic things to make your home together.

  • I am getting married next March and we decided on a Honeymoon registry through Wanderable. We were able to build the registry and include specific items like a scuba trip, dinner, hotel rooms, etc. The thought of 100+ buying us home goods was extremely overwhelming to us both (living in a small city apartment). We’re 30 so we have purchased and slowly upgraded a lot of our own things. I’ve also heard of couples doing a registry to help them buy a home. I think that is a wonderful idea! How cool is it to know that you helped someone buy their first home? That is not tacky.

  • Since I’m getting married next summer, this has been something that has been my mind. On one hand, we were not super into the registry idea and honestly, after spending so much money on the wedding, getting cheques/ money (if guests wanted to give gifts) from our friends and family seemed like the best option. Probably not surprisingly, we were met with resistance, so we will probably end up giving guests the option of some sort of “Honeymoon Registry”, as well as a traditional registry. But we will also welcome thoughtful gifts apart from the registry- that’s what we actually do when we are invited to weddings…. In other words, it’s pretty complicated!!!

  • Not to sound too salesy here, but your predicament is kind of why Thankful exists. All-in-one. Open platform. Ask for what you’d like. Not too greedy-looking.


  • Please write a post on destination weddings. I would love to hear everyone’s take on it. Myself, I love the idea in theory, and understand why ppl do it, but dislike having my vacation predetermined by someone else when I get so little vacation time, never mind the expense, and have so many places I want to travel to (none of which seem to be any of my friends idea of dream wedding destination (lol out of irony), but then I don’t want to miss being there, sharing that moment with them! So now I get very happy when I get invitations to local weddings!

  • Stick with the registry. The wedding isn’t about you — it’s about them. Two people can both have exquisite taste and still have very different ideas when it comes to what they want to use and display in their home.

  • Why do people feel the need to make someone else’s wedding about them? I don’t think anyone creates a wedding registry to fill it with things they don’t need and cross their fingers that some generous friend with great taste will ignore it and read their minds to get them what they REALLY want. If my friend asks for a 3-tiered sterling silver tart stand even though she never has tea parties, I don’t ask questions; I trust there’s a reason for it. Perhaps if you’re really close and you know your friend super well, you can go off the registry and get something fantastic that she’ll appreciate. Otherwise, it is rather arrogant to decide that the couple “already has what they need” and that your perceived good taste outweighs their wishes.

  • A Club W subscription!

    It’s three bottles of wine a month sent to the couples house. You can pick new wines every month and surprise them!
    It’s the gift that keeps on giving ;)

  • I didn’t like the idea of a registry until I realized we really could use some quality kitchen items. We basically just had been using old pots, pans, worn-out knives, random plastic cups, etc. for years and now we finally have a decent set-up and the difference it has made to the home cooking experience is enormous! Also I guess I am getting older because I really like having matching plates now.

  • I think my favourite registry was one of my coworkers: they had a registry at our local (incredible) fancy liquor store, and a ‘registry’ through the local business commission of which restaurants they’d like to try, and what they’d be interested in from local art shops/galleries! It was lovely and low-key with an actually reasonable price range. Plus the Cellar (the wine shop) took care of delivering and wrapping everything in crates and fancy paper, so it was still a delight to see them open.

    Much better than a wedding we went to where everything was off the department store traditional registry, and we sat around watching them open unmarked cardboard shipping boxes with half the labels gone or mixed up. The piece that couple has used most in the months since? A thermos!

  • En général, je participe au pot commun, même si cela peu paraitre impersonnel. Mais en même temps ils préfèrent que les copains participent à offrir un bon gros voyage à l’autre bout du monde, plutôt que d’offrir des objets, livres, …
    PS : j’adore ton dessin ?

  • Everyone here gives money. And I think it is the best! I believe it is a reaction of all of our childhood memories of old weddings and piles of fancy dishes that never get used. Here the bride and groom say nothing, and you have to ask – what would you like for a present, and they say we prefer no presents – which means money :). So if you don’t ask in advance and bring something it looks as if you are too selfish and want to show yourself and your taste. Please don’t bring them something they didn’t ask for. And you know, since we all actually give money to our friends’ weddings something great happened – we always add something small and sentimental to the envelop with the money – a great looking card with the most amazing text to it, or two very small and very quite plush toys. You get the idea.

  • Having recently gotten married myself, I chose my registry gifts very carefully and really appreciated people buying from it. For one thing, the gifts are delivered straight to our door when we want them to be, as opposed to having to lug them from the venue to our place, then to our future place (we are moving in a month and are basically having all our registry gifts delivered straight to our new address.) We did get some beautiful and original non-registry gifts that we love, despite the fact that some are huge (cue massive Moroccan rug). And take it from me, a cash gift is always appreciated.
    Thant being said, my go-to wedding gift is always the one-of-a-kind kanthas from Bangladesh. They are beautiful and colourful, no two are alike, and you are bound to find one that fits your friends’ aesthetic. The proceeds go to a women’s cooperative. Plus, you never have too many blankets. http://www.kajolikanthaproject.org/gallery.html

  • Ha, totally agree. I created a whole online wedding registry service exactly because of those mixed feelings. So Thankful Registry [thankfulregistry.com] became something that looks good and feels good, and stands for something bigger than just gifts.

    If anyone’s interested, we just created a fun video with some of the real-life couples that have used Thankful this year: vimeo.com/thankful/sayido

  • Hi Kathy,

    I’m not in a relationship, so definitely not getting married & not sure if I’d want to (plus being from The Netherlands I probably wouldn’t use a registry?), BUT: I looked at your website and think it looks absolutely wonderful. Can’t imagine why people would use anything else. Hope it’s going well, and congratulations on the wonderful site you set up!

  • I don’t like buying off the registry either, so for presents I have been giving travelling gifts. I usually give a weekend getaway bundle filled with gift certificates to a hotel, restaurant, a cute cafe or shop, plus some little trinkets in the mix to make it a pretty travel bundle box. Everyone loves a little getaway!

  • Jane with the noisy terrier November, 20 2015, 12:52 / Reply

    I’ve reached the age where my friends have been married (some several times) and now their kids are getting married and I’m buying gifts for people I really don’t even know. For one couple living in Atlanta, the husband was from South Carolina so I bought them a beautiful handmade pie plate by a local artist, decorated with rustic shells and crabs to remind him of his home. It also came with a recipe for a local favorite – seafood pie. Pretty to display, practical to use. For a 30-something “bride who already has everything” shower present, I thought I hit this one out of the park (the shower is this weekend, I’ll report back) – I got her a gift certificate from Bite Beauty in SoHo where she can go have a custom-made lipstick made for her wedding day! For her first kiss as a Missus. Good, huh? She’s having a destination wedding on a tropical beach so I’ve paired it with a candle from Maison Martin Margiela that smells exactly like the beach – sea air, salt and suntan oil – so she can remember her best beach walk ever. My last great wedding present was for a friend years ago – I collected about a dozen Christmas ornaments that meant something to her and her husband – he was a fireman so there was a fire truck, they met in Boston — a lobster, she was from S.F. – a cable car, etc. They got married in Napa and the day of the wedding I found the last ornament – white champagne grapes! I figure their collection will grow throughout the years but this was a good start!

  • Then you will either be the friend that gets lucky and picks an amazing off the registry gift or you will be the friend that buys them the thing they already have/don’t need/don’t want. When I got married I didn’t have anything of my own to speak of and either did he. The gifts we got for our wedding were a great help in starting our life together. I also think I have great taste and a very particular and picky style and I put a ton of effort into our registry and only a few friends successfully purchased off registry. The other gifts I returned. In the end it’s a gift so it’s up to the gift giver but why not give them what they want instead of what I want to give? If I order off registry I always buy something from the registry and give them something extra off registry.

  • I agree that the events and registries and expectation of gifts surrounding weddings and babies and everything has gone… a bit too far. If invited to an event (or series of events) related to one thing (one wedding/one baby), I just get one gift. I expect no more from others myself. I just was married and we didn’t do a traditional registry. We used Zola, which allows you to put in gifts from any site. We loved it, though it did confuse our older guests a little (“Why isn’t this Crate & Barrel gift on a Crate & Barrel website?”)

  • You have to go to bridal showers, engagement parties, bachelorette weekends ánd weddings?

    Pf. The bachelorette weekends are starting to hit The Netherlands, but I hope the other stuff won’t (and that hopefully the weekends will go away also? ;-)).

    I feel like people are asking a bit too much time, effort & money, no? The wedding is already such a big event by itself!

  • When we got married, as we do not like “things” so much, we put our honeymoon on the list so people could offer it to us…And they were more than happy to contribute to our Bali trip!!
    It is true I’m not fond of those lists but I do respect the couple’s choice. Also, in a way it is funny because it tells a lot about people’s dreams :)

  • hello
    i just got married and i’m from Turkey. The best gift is gold in my country cause it gets more value in time if you don’t cash it that day. and the other thing is we don’t do registeries but there’s a common shop that we are listed and in that shop you can find everything, house appliences to towels to tv’s to anything you will need and people put money in your account and you can choose whatever you need and there’s no time limit, this is the same for the newborns. Another shop that keeps your tab open for years until the money finishes and i have a friend who’s still geting things from that shop and her child is 2 years old, she still recieves money from that shop for the birthdays and other occassions.

  • Roquette March, 29 2016, 5:24 / Reply

    I think it is assuming a lot to say most cohabiting couples have all they need. Unless it is declared that the couple are well-provided for, one never knows the true circumstances and I find it rather rude to inquire or gossip for this information. In the grand scheme of things, weddings are fairly expensive so for a guest to attend, it’s with the gracious understanding of the principles of courtesy and thoughtfulness as to why you were included. And a gracious couple understands not all are in the same circumstances so should be considerate as well. I think proximity to the couple suggests how appropriate going off-registry for gifts is, though since tastes vary and one also does not know storage and space circumstances, or decoration tastes, or allergies (for example, gifting edibles or incense & other scented items or even fabrics sometimes)…again, lots od assumptions are being made. So I’d wonder why circumvent the registry in that case, just because it is unglamourous?

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