No, you aren’t required to register anywhere for gifts. If you don’t see a need and don’t plan to register, then that’s fine.
On the other hand, there is the sad tale of my sister-in-law’s friend who didn’t register. Every single guest at her wedding gave her a casserole dish, because, hey, who can’t use another casserole dish? The woman who just received eighty-five of them, that’s who.
Registries are expected these days, and couples are getting more imaginative with them, as well. Still, there are a few rules in place, and some advice I can offer. If you’re thinking of setting up a gift registry, look behind the cut for more information.
Think about what you can really use. Yes, there are places where you can register for a bag of Cheetos or an industrial wetvac, but is that really what you want for a wedding gift? Does it fit with your lifestyle or fulfill a need in your life? By the same token, consider whether you’re really going to take up outdoor cooking before you register for a top of the line gas grill, and whether you’ll truly use that silver tea service. If the answer is yes, go ahead. If it’s no, don’t bother.
Act as a couple. Discuss together what you want, what you don’t want, and where you want to register before you go. Present a united front, and get the job done more quickly.
Register for items in a variety of price points. It’s perfectly fine to register for expensive items, such as stand mixers, fine china, and and power tools. Just remember that not all of your guests are likely to be able to afford these high ticket items. Chances are you can use some wash cloths, hand towels, board games, or a shower caddy. Go ahead and register for those, too.
Never, ever, EVER include registry information on your invitations. As useful as registries are for both the happy couple and their guests, the fact remains that it’s perfectly polite and absolutely within the bounds of proper etiquette for a guest to choose to give no more than a congratulatory note. It’s also perfectly polite for a guest to choose to give something the couple didn’t register for. Including registry information is the equivalent of telling people a) that you expect gifts from them and b) what that gift ought to be.
The proper way to disseminate the information is to make certain everyone in both families and the wedding party knows where the registry is. Then any guest who wishes the information can ask the person they know best or are in most regular contact with. This is also a great way of passing the word if you’d prefer a donation to a favorite charity or cash toward a major purchase instead of household goods.
Be gracious no matter what gifts you receive. Look, nearly every couple that gets married winds up with a duplicate gift or one that leaves them scratching their head in confusion…or even horrified at the bizarre tastes of a good friend or relative. Whatever your private feelings, find a way to be nice about it in public. If you can’t love the gift, love the generosity behind it, and thank the giver for that.