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wediquette: the registry

Every week Xochitl (pronounced so-cheel), our resident wediquette expert and owner of Always a Bridesmaid Wedding Consulting, answers an etiquette question submitted* by one of our readers. So, (without further ado):

Q: My daughter will be married in December in a 100 guest wedding of close family and friends. Giuliana and Marcelo told me that they would rather not do a traditional registry, but want to save for a downpayment for their first home. They are a sensible sort... thirty, still in grad school. They have many household items and since they will be moving during her residency don't want to carry much more around.
I am not objecting, but they asked me for the weddiquette. Help! Is this done, how to word it, should they give people a choice?--Ann


A: The registry thing is so sticky, since generally people don't know exactly what to do about spreading the word. I think it becomes mildly stickier when the couple wants or needs cash for a particular purpose. From a technical etiquette perspective, registry information should never be published and should always be spread via word of mouth, the Mother of the Bride being one of the more vocal mouths. If the couple is setting up a wedding website I think you can include some casual information there about how they are saving for a first home.

I would caution you about the following two things: the bridal shower and determined guests. It's not customary to bring cash to a bridal shower, so I think that should your daughter really not want any new clutter in her life, she could request a lingerie shower when that time comes. At least then she will get new items that she can always use, and these showers are kind of fun. If she doesn't like this idea, I would suggest another kind of theme shower: such as "Around the Clock" or "Room of the House" or a "Linen Shower " (who doesn't want new 500 thread count sheets?) to limit the random-ness of gifts she might receive. My other point is that there are often guests who simply insist on buying gifts no matter what and they'll just go willy nilly buying whatever suits them. Not always desirable.

As a final note, I just got back from visiting friends who live in Amsterdam. They were telling me about Dutch weddings and about how in Holland when you send a wedding invitation, you often include an empty envelope that says something like "Thank you for your gift towards our new Apartment" on it and sometimes even includes deposit account information. Then, it is often customary in the Thank You card for the Bride and Groom to send photos of what they purchased with the money from their wedding. I do love the practical Dutch!--Xochitl of Always a Bridesmaid

*If you've got a question for our expert, submit it by clicking "submit your question" in the right hand column, under "wediquette".

6 comments:

Sarah Dennis on 2:40 PM

Hey MacKenzie, great post today about "wediquette". I agree, the registry thing can be very tricky. I posed a similar question on my blog in reference to enclosing registry cards and the comments I received were unanimous. "Word-of-mouth" is always the proper way to handle registering, even if you only prefer money.

Check out the comments...
http://toastandtables.blogspot.com/2007/07/registry-103-etiquette-i-do-i-dont.html

fifilaroach on 8:45 PM

Yikes! I'd think most Americans would really be offended by the money request. I had a best man call once before a wedding to "suggest" a wedding gift of $200! We didn't know the couple well, and would never have spent that much anyway. The suggestion just made us spend less than we would have otherwise. It really seemed rude.
fifi
http://www.coolweddingtees.com

Anonymous on 12:31 PM

I would be extremely offended by the money request! Word of mouth is by far the best way to spread your preferences. I would also recommend that you register for a few items, even if you only want cash. As mentioned, some people will insist on a gift, and at the very least you will have a gift you enjoy. This can save you from the dreaded surprise gift. You can also register at places like Target that allow you to return gifts and us the money to purchase everyday items. It won't go towards a down payment, but it will cut down on your monthly purchases, allowing your to save more of your own money.

Lynn on 4:14 PM

I've been working on wedding customs for my blog and have found that giving money instead of presents is very common around the world. One idea is to spread the word that there will be a busta box at the wedding. It is an Italian thing. I'll be posting a vendor for those this month.
http://blog.thehandcraftedwedding.com

Anonymous on 2:36 PM

I don't think that a money request is a bad idea. I love getting an invitation that includes a registry or ideas on what they want for gifts (like a honeymoon registry for Marriot!) It takes the guesswork out of it!

I do think that it depends on your circumstances, though. Especially if the wedding includes a lot of people that you don't know very well, I wouldn't expect them to shell out some dough. On the other hand, if they really, really, really don't want to register for a toaster and a tea strainer, tell 'em not to do it! They should do what ever makes them happy!

(Besides, Target is being REALLY strict about their return policy nowadays!)

Anonymous on 6:27 PM

We asked for money and a few other things. I think it's silly not to tell people what you want for your wedding. People WILL buy you gifts. You may as well get what you want rather than random items.

We put up a wedding registry on our wedding website - http://www.designourday.com. There are other ways to do it to like on your save the dates.