Weddings are much different than they were 10 years ago. The differences range from styles and traditions to the age in which couples choose to tie the knot. As of 2015, the median age for marriage increased to 27 years for women and 29 years old for men. It’s not surprising that many couples are waiting until they complete school and have established careers before they consider marriage. Planning a wedding often becomes about navigating etiquette and trying to determine how to apply it to modern times and situations. There are lots of questions and we’ve heard them all. Today, I’m sharing thoughts on the age-old tradition of gifting.
Do we need a gift registry?
The short answer to the question is yes you need a registry. A wedding is one of the few times in your life when it is perfectly acceptable and expected for you to make a list of things that you want. Your wedding guests will seek out your gift registries because, simply put, that’s what they've all been taught to do. Your wedding website is the perfect place to publish these lists. Thanks to technology, you and your fiancé can set up your gift registries online and share the links on your wedding website. The bottom line is this: if you don’t create a gift registry you will have zero control over the gifts you receive. Most of your guests want to give you something that you really want (or need) for your new life together. Absent the guidance of a registry list, they're likely to select something you may not need or want (and may not even be able to return or exchange).
What do we put on this list?
For young couples, gift registries are an important part of starting a life together. With the median age of marriage shifting, it’s not uncommon for couples to already have the basics to outfit their homes. My best advice is to think about your lives together and how you think they might change in the next 5-10 years. You may not have a desire (or room) for formal china, but think about bath towels, sheets, guest room bedding and kitchen equipment. Do you plan to live in your studio apartment downtown for the next 5-10 years or will you eventually need to furnish a larger home?
It’s important that you select at least one department store so that guests have the option to physically visit the store to buy you a gift. This could be a Bloomingdale's, Macy’s, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Williams-Sonoma, or even Target. Older generations tend to want to touch and feel the product before purchasing. While it is of poor etiquette to ask for cash, sites like Newlywish have made setting up registries for the modern couple a breeze. Through this site (and others like it), you can register for experiences and funds. Experiences may be tickets to the Kentucky Derby and funds may be a couple’s massage on your honeymoon. Newlywish also has options for group gifting which allows your guests to contribute any amount they want to a big ticket item like a new TV or sofa set. While you may be thinking your whole list could be composed of experiences and funds, I encourage you to diversify. Some older wedding guests may find these modern registry items odd, so be sure to have a good mix of more traditional household items too.
Keep an eye on your registries over the course of your engagement. After engagement parties, showers and other celebrations, smaller items tend to get depleted from this list. It’s best to keep a good mix of items with a wide range of price so no matter the guest, they can find something they would be delighted to gift you. Although planning your gift registry may seem like another pesky to-do item on your planning checklist, I encourage you to have fun! Set up a couples shopping date and whether you are in store with a scanner or at home on your computer, have fun with your fiancé dreaming about your lives together for many years to come. And my last piece of advice is early morning coffee and afternoon wine always seems to make shopping a breeze for everyone!