Ryan and I are walking down the aisle in three weeks. It may sound totally cliché and cheesy, but there’s one wedding gift we want above all, which is for our guests to enjoy themselves at the wedding. They’re having to travel to attend, which means it’s costing them. But some of these guests often want to give a gift, even if it’s not required or expected.
Enter the Jane & Ryan registry: an adventure & decision so meandering that I had to break it into two posts.
Why did we register?
Nowadays there are many registry alternatives, from the “honeyfund” that collects money for the honeymoon to the new home down payment registry that collects funds towards a purchase of a home, to even a charity registry where the truly generous raise funds. Or heck, the couples who don’t register at all, asking that their guests not give gifts.
I didn’t think any of those ideas would go over well with our older guests, and my gut instinct was to ask guests not to give gifts. But when people do that they seem to end up with bizarre random trinkets because – let’s face it – people like to give gifts.
The problem with random gifts is that Ryan and I do not want to amass stuff that we won’t use and love, yet I won’t want to give away an item that a loving guest gave us for our wedding. The only solution, in my mind, was a small registry of items we’d love and use for years to come.
Challenging the traditional “wedding registry” expectations:
We started registering in December, scoping out several chain stores, because we needed to find something that was accessible for the majority of our guests.
At Macy’s we could register for luggage, towels, sheets, and a few other housewares. During the registry visit, the sales associate made a strong suggestion – one that I totally disagreed with. Here’s how that convo went:
Sales: “You’ll want to make sure you put a few of the pre-boxed gift items on the registry. Like the silver photo frames, champagne flutes, and glass bowls.”
Me: “Why? I don’t need any of them.”
Sales: “You have to have some of these “grab and go” items. It makes it easier for the guests that don’t really know you, and don’t want to spend a long time looking over the registry list.”
Me: “What? We aren’t inviting anyone like that. I don’t want someone giving a gift if it was chosen because it was the easiest and fastest to buy.”
Sales: “I know that’s your plan, but you will have people like that on your guest list. It always happens.”
Newsflash, in case you didn’t already know me well enough: No way would I do this. And I told her as much.
Choosing items for the registry:
Over the years I’ve seen so many friends receive a ton of registry gifts – random kitchen gadgets, housewares, etc – only to see them still sitting in boxes, unused. Maybe they were all “grab and go” items from Macy’s!
Gah! I cringe at the thought of our basement filling up with boxes of stuff. A wedding gift is given with love, to usher you into your new lives together as a committed couple. It should be used and seen regularly.
We didn’t have a ton of items for the list, though, because let’s face it – when you’re getting married in your 30’s, you’ve had time to amass the items you need. In our case we already have good dishes that we use every day, they were a gift to me from my mother who gave them to me over the last 5 or so years.
But despite knowing that Ryan and I only needed a few things, I’d occasionally fall victim to the Marketing Monster, adding things like a super-fancy wine opener to the registry list. Fortunately the next day I’d wake up and think:
“That wine opener will take up a ton of space. I don’t want to store that and I don’t need it. Our pocket-sized corkscrew is just fine. ”
And then back I’d go, logging into the registry and removing the ridiculous item of the day.
My mom struggled with my bare-bones approach. Every time I see her she’s got pages torn out of catalogs, asking me “Do you have an asparagus steamer pan?” No, I respond. And I don’t want one. I don’t need one.
This happened a little while ago, before I decided to “hire out” the cake-baking:
My mom: “You’re baking your own cake. Do you have good cake pans?”
Me: “No, mom, I don’t. And I don’t want “good” cake pans. I have a few disposable aluminum pans that I use, but for the most part I just don’t bake cakes. And I don’t want to store cake pans.”
I was explaining to her that we don’t need a potato masher. We rarely eat potatoes. Why register for a potato masher just in case we one day want to make mashed potatoes? If that day comes, I can improvise. Especially now that I have a hand mixer.
And speaking of mixers, for the last 10 (or more) years I’ve been getting along just fine without an electric mixer.
That’s right, every time I’ve made a cake in the last 10 years I’ve mixed it by hand. With an old wooden spoon. Even when I made my best friend’s 3-tiered wedding cake and icing two years ago. That wooden spoon got a LOT of use!
Did I enjoy all the hand mixing? Not really. But by the time I was ready to cave in and buy one, I thought “I’ll probably be getting married in a few years. I might as well wait and put a mixer on the wedding registry.” That was three years ago.
Two years ago, when Ryan and I moved in together, we talked about getting new utensils. But I said “We might as well wait. We can put it on our registry someday.”
And you know what?
We’re getting married in 3 weeks, and I’m finally getting new (matching!) flatware and an electric hand mixer. They were totally worth the wait.
And so was Ryan. ♥