Wedvice: Gifts and Registering

Beach-inspired Tabletop. Scroll down for details and description!

They always say it’s better to give than it is to receive. That may very well be the case- especially since it seems like etiquette for this arena of weddings seems to either be outgrown by the industry, or difficult to decode for most.

Really, there are two ways you can go, and they certainly hinge on the situation you find yourself in as an engaged couple:

1. Registering for your home [ie: you don’t live together, or you’re still in need of items to complete your “home”] 2. Monetary gifts

We’ll address registering first. Yes, this is the old, faithful, traditional route. Just so you know, up front: people will buy off the registry. And by that, I mean, OFF off. Some folks will feel that they are being more personal, more whimsical, more fun… just because they’re giving you something that you aren’t asking for. Whatever the item is, take it with grace and a grain of salt. I know that while you’ve taken the time to hand pick each matching item for your home, people just want to leave you with a piece of their love- no matter how hideous. Be grateful and deal with it after the big day. :)

That being said, registering can be FUN and stressful, all at the same time. Here’s a few helpful handy registering tips, to guide you more to the FUN and less to the stress!

1. Go as a couple. Do NOT go alone. Do NOT bring along your best man, maid of honor, or parents. It isn’t their home. They’ll probably have an opinion and it may side with one of you and NOT the other. It seems, at times, that some brides are stunned at what their groom cares about putting on the registry [kitchen towel color, really??]. But, either way- opinions or none- make it about you two and the life you’re building together. This should be a positive experience that, in a way, should be special, monumental, and private.

2. Keep it simple! Don’t feel like you need to register at 5 different places and if you DO find yourself registered at mutiple places, don’t register for the same or similar stuff. The facts are these: you do have a favorite. You DO have a desire for that “certain item”- so don’t try and A-team versus B-team [as in, “well I really want the brown towels from Macy’s but if we don’t get those I registered for some tan ones at Target, too”.]. This will leave you mismatched and frustrated. Remember- if you DO find something you fall head over heels for, register for it… but take the similar items that you don’t love OFF of your other registry [easy to do online, I promise]!! This will make your life easier, make your returns easier, and give your guests a clear vision in what you’re in need of!

3. 3, tops. That’s my rule. Go to 3 places, tops. Typically I say this: one “everyday” [target, bed bath & beyond], one “upscale” or “department [crate and barrel, macy’s], one “specialty” [Williams and Sonoma, Restoration Hardware]. There’s no need to get more than this. And if you can limit it to 2, even better!

4. Remember that the etiquette for registries is WORD OF MOUTH. These days, people seem to actually be thankful for the guidance. But, don’t get tempted to throw into your FORMAL invitations the little paper slips the stores give you about your registry. Most couples find a wedding website with information and links posted is the most effective, non-evasive way to alert their guests [as well as telling your moms, let’s be honest]!

Now, here’s the sticky wicket: you live together. You’ve done so for years. Your house IS your home. Sure, you may need new towels, maybe. But, seriously… registering??? Not needed. I wrote a blog on some “touchy subjects” [this being one of them] quite some time ago and I still stand by what I said. So, here I am to reiterate:

Situation: You would like to receive cash gifts rather than registry items

Action: Register at a travel agency that will allow people to gift you with cash [either from their credit card or bank account], to be put towards your honeymoon. If you register for items register at ONE place, with a good return policy, for minimal items.

Wording Solution: “Since we have already established a home together and are not in need of many household items, we have chosen to register with a travel agent, to enhance our honeymoon vacation. Should you choose to give us a tangible gift, we are registered at _________.”
Here is actually what I wrote last night to my client:
“We are happy to accept your presence on our day as a gift in itself, and since we are not in need of many household accessories, our greatest desire is for gifts to enhance our honeymoon vacation and help us start our life together.”

In terms of thank-you notes and when to send them, here’s that darn soap box again: right away! The reasons for sending thank you notes right after receiving your gifts [which, it is a VERY common thing these days to order online or get the items shipped to your address prior to your wedding] are twofold. First off, it lets the guest know that you got it! If they spent cash on you, they’ll want to know it got to you safe. Second, it will really help you in that post-wedding madness. It’s likely that you will get a bundle of gifts to bring home on your big day- you’ll be THRILLED to know you only have to take care of those cards instead of needing to address all gifts and guests at the same time.

Hope that helps!! Now time for some killer details!!

For the outdoor, beach-side ceremony, bottles of water tagged “refresh yourself!” along with signature cocktails are offered to guests.

The cobalt blue “fade” plates make a strong statement, and bring the beach colors to life on top of a capiz charger. The napkins, a warm blue silk, are wrapped in a “coral” napkin ring- keeping the essence of the beach and adding a unique element to the table.

The place card for each guest was tucked into the fork’s tines. A cute, playful way to direct guests to their seats!

The centerpiece was a shell shaped vase that sat on top of a blue mosaic charger. The vase was packed with lush flowers in whites, creams, and tans. Monkey tails stand out and bring a playful whimsy to the arrangement.

We added a warm, woven-style tan fabric runner to the ivory silk linen to create an upscale beachy feel [think Tommy Bahama].

Vendors involved, again, big kisses to:

Jonilyn Photography

The Treasured Petal

Elegant Design Specialty Linens

Signature Party Rentals [the BEST price for Chiavaris]

And, voila! C’est bon!


A. Auer