Gift registries are a big topic of debate these days. Some brides and grooms to be are accused of being greedy, with taste beyond their means. When we got married nearly 16 years ago, I didn't want to register. We had one of those small weddings that happen after a quick two-week engagement because the couple is in...ahem...a bit of a hurry. I changed my mind about registering a few days into our brief engagement, after a call from a local shop showed me that I was making life difficult for some goodhearted, dear friends of my parents and grandparents.
It seemed silly to register, since only our families and our young, mostly broke friends would be in attendance at the small ceremony. We didn't expect gifts at all, much less expensive ones we had chosen for ourselves.
Most southern towns have a shop like Non(e)such, a beautiful boutique packed with antiques, jewelry, linens and an enormous display of multiple china patterns for wedding registries. My mother got a phone call from one of the ladies there. They wanted to know what patterns I had chosen, so they could let people know.
My parents' friends, who weren't invited to the wedding, had been coming in for gifts. Did they do it so we could have fancy stuff? Nope. They did it to show my parents that they couldn't have cared less about the reason for our small, quickly planned wedding. I know things have changed, but back in the day, in my mother's small town, the price of the gift didn't depend on the size or cost of the wedding. A wedding or shower gift showed affection for the wedded-to-be, or his or her parents.
Though one doesn't always discuss such things in a traditional, southern town, I think my mother was a little relieved to get the unspoken message from her conservative (at least, more conservative than I) friends. And I was really moved by the gifts, which I never expected. By not registering — which I did, within a day of that gracious phone call — I was turning a simple show of affection into an annoying task for dear friends.
Over the years, my husband and I have been invited to plenty of weddings. Sometimes, we have the perfect gift, well suited to the couple. Often, we only know one of them. We love a registry, because it allows us to get something we know they'll both enjoy.
What's your take on registries? Do you shop for gifts on the registry or go rogue? Did you make one?
(Images: Anne Postic)