Rules of the Registry

Setting up my gift registries has been one of the best and worst tasks during my wedding planning process. If you searched my fiancé’s last name, you’d find four different registries for our wedding date but only two of those registries are fully functioning. The etiquette “rules” surrounding gift registries, as well as the lack of a best/worst guide, has led me down the wrong path a few times. Thankfully, I was able to do the leg work, so you guys won’t have to.

Many brides will make it seem as though the wedding gifts aren’t that important to them. Some choose to do a honeymoon registry to allow guests to purchase funds toward the vacation of their dreams. Others will forgo gift-giving altogether in lieu of a donation to the charity of their choice. If you choose to have a gift registry, it needs to be both unassuming and modest, with enough price variation to allow your guests flexibility. There are a number of lists that show what a bride and groom should request as gifts, which can prove helpful in forming a registry that’s both functional and fitting for the newlywed couple.

I’ve owned a home for almost two years now, so we have most of the traditional gifts on registry suggestion lists. The home is also on the small side, and we don’t have a need for multiple linens, towel sets and three different types of Crock-Pots. We will receive my grandmother’s china as an heirloom, and even if we wanted to purchase crystal, there would be no place to safely store it. I’m sure there are many brides and grooms facing this issue, but what can we put on a registry in place of all these items?

The best place to start would most likely be one of my favorite and most versatile stores –– Target. Of course, I couldn’t form my registry online because I wanted to point and shoot my potential gifts with the iconic price gun you see in wedding-themed films. I worked on building a list I felt was the best combination of items in all different price ranges and couldn’t wait to show my fiancé everything I had added. Later I tried to pull up the online registry page; however, a number of items were not available. There was a huge discrepancy between what could be purchased online and what required an in-store purchase. Many of my guests are young or live out of town. What is the likelihood that they will go to the store to purchase? Also, how long will these gifts be available before they become out-dated or out of stock? 

Next, I searched the Macy’s registry online, based on a friend’s suggestion. Nothing seemed to fit my flexible price point requirement. I quickly decided against Macy’s and moved on to Bed Bath & Beyond. Here, I found various price ranges and a number of gifts that we did not currently own. It seemed to best fit what we were looking for, so I headed over to the store to get my hands on a gun. The customer service was excellent! It was the best feeling I had thus far regarding my wedding registry –– and my fiancé liked it, too, which shocked me. What man gets excited about blenders?

A few months later, we decided to add a honeymoon registry to our list. We will be going on the Disney Cruise followed by a few days in Walt Disney World, but we’ve been to the parks quite a few times. There are so many things we haven’t done that we would like to experience as adults (without children), but Disney is expensive. The cruise was a gift from my parents, and the resort stay will be our own personal expense. It seemed natural for us to give guests the option to purchase our honeymoon memories, and creating a list of what we would like to experience on our honeymoon was very exciting. This option may not work for all brides, but it is definitely something to consider, especially if your income is limited to a strict budget.

Now, how will guests know where my registries are located?  The rules of etiquette say it’s rude to announce your wedding registry on your invitations. The contradiction comes into play when your registries offer invitation inserts for your guests’ reference. It’s as if we are telling our guests to purchase a gift rather than allowing them the option to purchase one, and my family had no problem telling me they didn’t agree with doing this. To solve this issue, I created a free wedding Web site at, which allows me to display event announcements for showers and parties, collect RSVPs and even let my guests suggest wedding music!  We will be printing the Web site along the bottom of the invitations as an RSVP request, saving money on RSVP wedding inserts and observing traditional etiquette rules.

I personally don’t agree that it is rude to announce your wedding registry to your friends and family; however, I don’t want to upset the older people in my family. They have been very vocal about their beliefs –– would it be ruder to brush their opinions aside than to print my registries on the invitation? What a dilemma! Although it’s easy to claim that it’s my wedding and I will do what I want, a wedding is essentially the joining of two families. It’s important to make sure that family beliefs are taken into consideration, even if you don’t choose to follow them. It’s important to make sure, at the very least, that the elders were heard and that their opinions were appreciated.

I have to admit I’m excited about checking the registry for gifts as my wedding gets closer. I’m also anticipating opening multiple UPS boxes. We can all admit that for most brides, this is the last time in our lives that a multitude of gifts will ever be truly ours. I plan to enjoy the moment and write many, many thank you notes. Because, of course, that’s what etiquette rules say I should do (and my family would be so proud).

Digital Sponsors

Become a sponsor ...

Sign up for our FREE

New Orleans Magazine email newsletter

Get the the best in New Orleans dining, shopping, events and more delivered to your inbox.