Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. This week, we’re running an excerpt from Dee Lane’s etiquette column in our New Orleans Bride Magazine Winter/Spring 2015 issue.
Question: I recently was invited to a wedding that included a registry link on the invitation to a website dedicated to helping them solicit funds to redo their home. To me this seems inappropriate. Do I have to give to that site or do I have another option?
Answer: The thing about wedding registries that most people seem to forget—or never knew in the first place—is that they are only suggestions. If you’re invited to a wedding you should send or take a gift, but that present can be anything you choose. Registries, whether in store or online, are useful tools because they allow the couple to let their guests know what they would prefer to use in their home as well as cutting down considerably on duplicate gifts.
With online registries, especially those you can create yourself, come unlimited ways to ask for things. I have seen requests for funds to go toward honeymoons, hiring a surrogate and yes, home renovations. While I personally consider these tacky—they’re akin to asking your grandmother to just give you money for your birthday with the implication that she couldn’t possibly pick out something that you would enjoy—the use of them is growing exponentially. As people wait longer to get married, often they already have joined their lives—and their possessions—for months if not years before their wedding. That means that many traditional gifts are unnecessary and often would duplicate items they already own.
If you find yourself in this position, my recommendation is to give the couple a gift that’s in the same genre as their request, while keeping closer to a traditional present. Since you mentioned that they would like to renovate their home, perhaps a very nice set of tools along with a gift card to a home renovation chain? Or maybe a gift certificate for a whole house cleaning from a reputable cleaning service for after the renovation is complete? Or even a set of gift cards to local restaurants for use while their kitchen is unusable?
Though you might hear some uncharitable feedback for this (unfortunately many couples see their registry as a checklist to be fulfilled, instead of being grateful for the gifts that their guests have so generously given), remember that what you’re giving is a gift and that weddings are incredibly stressful times, and let the comment go in one ear and out the other.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.
For more advice by New Orleans Bride Magazine etiquette columnist Dee Lane, check out her most recent column in the new Winter/Spring 2015 issue.