The tradition of giving gifts to the newly married is as old as the institution of marriage itself. One of the earliest gifts was food - the newlyweds were left with a larder stocked with meat pies, cheese, spice cakes, and ale. Money or other forms of currency (livestock was once a big one) has long played a role in helping newlyweds establish their own households; it endures as perhaps the most appreciated gift of all.
Household items became popular by the Middle Ages, setting the stage for today's gifts of china, flatware, glassware, linens, and kitchen equipment. Over the years, bridal registries were criticized as crass, greedy, and impersonal, even as they continued to grow in popularity among couples. But guests are now often so busy that most of them are grateful to the bride and groom for expressing their preferences. There's no absolute rule that you must register, but there's no denying that it makes the gift process convenient for everyone involved. And let's be honest, walking through stores and creating a master wish list...well, there are worse ways to pass a few hours. Even if you choose to forego gifts and want to encourage donations to charity instead, it's better to register that desire in some form than to allow guests to flounder.
In recent years, registries have proliferated at all types of stores, catalogs, and websites. Registries at home-improvement stores no longer raise an eyebrow, honeymoon registries continue to gain popularity, and certain sites let you register for anything you could imagine, from a miniature poodle to a Mini Cooper.
Through it all , you need to remain gracious about gifts. That means accepting what people have chosen to give to you with gratitude, not judging them by how much they've spent, and sending out prompt, sincere, and personal notes of thanks. Just as your choice of china pattern send a message about your taste and style, the attitude you display regarding your gifts will telegraph the tone of your entire wedding, so make sure that you're sending a positive signal.
How Many Registries?
With so many choices, it's tempting to start signing up at stores left and right. You could have registries at a department store, a specialty kitchen retailer, a sporting goods store, a home-improvement store....oh, and what about a honeymoon registry?
Registries need to be managed, so having too many can become a burden for you, especially when it comes time for returns and exchanges.
If you're using a registry aggregate suite like Zola or Simple Registry, you can shop from a variety of retailers and provide one easy-to-access link for your guests, even making it possible for them to simply give you cash. Other options are Bed Bath and Beyond or Amazon.
Remember when we introduced your Guest List Management tracker, and you have a tab under each event for "Gift" and "Thank You Card". This is where you can track who buys you what and once you've sent a thank you card you can mark it off, this way you are sure to thank everyone for every little gift you receive.
Interested in some of our favorite wedding registries? Check out our preferred vendors list.
Not sure what you should register for? check out our Registry Essentials list here.