Weddings are a wonderful opportunity for couples to celebrate their marriage with the people they love the most. Though traditions vary from culture to culture, it is commonplace for the bride and groom to receive gifts from their family and friends that will help them start their lives together. The idea behind the bridal registry is offering family and friends a guide as to what newlyweds really want and need. As wedding traditions have changed over the years, so has bridal registry etiquette. Here’s our quick guide for soon-to-be married couples.
Today’s Registry Etiquette
The engaged couple should decide on what they would like as gifts and register for items they plan to actually use. They should register as soon as a wedding date is set, but at least before any bridal shower invitations are sent out.
The old tradition of registering for china, crystal, silver and small appliances has often been replaced by more practical items, including honeymoon expenses and home down-payments. Asking for cash donations like these is known as a “honey fund” registry. This is considered acceptable etiquette since guests are contributing to the couple’s future, but it’s good to combine a “honey fund” with at least a few traditional registry items. Many people don’t like to give money and they will buy physical gifts whether the couple has registered for them or not.
A registry keeps track of purchases to avoid duplication and lets you which of your selected items are being bought. Use an online service or department store that is easy to access for traditional gifts. Most department stores have an online registry and they will deliver gifts ordered online anywhere in the U.S.
In the past, registry etiquette required a couple to register at only one or two stores. With wedding websites that link directly to registries, however, it’s now commonplace to have multiple registries. There is no longer a rule for how many stores you can include, which means a couple can register for a variety of items specific to their individual styles and needs. For example, one couple might include a registry at a department store for linens, an outdoor store for camping equipment, and a boutique type store for special pieces.
Select items you would like, but be aware of the cost. Proper registry etiquette is to choose a range of gifts at different prices. Everyone has a different budget for wedding gifts and it’s nice to give your friends and family a variety of options. Expensive imported crystal and china may not be in your friends’ budgets, so be sure there are plenty of options at all price levels.
Registry information should never appear on the wedding invitation. These days, most couples create a wedding website with information about the event. This is a great place to list your registries and you can link directly to the individual stores where you have created a bridal registry. This also helps people who are invited to showers or engagement parties and want to bring a gift. Everything is in the same place and it allows your guests to give generously, at a comfortable price point, without a lot of effort.
Friends and family want to help you start your new life together and a thoughtful bridal registry is a great way to help everyone enjoy the gift-giving experience.