Should I do a bridal registry for a small wedding?

April 3rd, 2010

My fiance and I are having a hard time deciding whether it would be proper to do a bridal registry or not. We are only inviting immediate family and our grandparents to a wedding that we are having in a different state than where either of our families live so everyone will be traveling which will cost them money.

We have lived together for a few years and have most of the items we need. We are paying for our own wedding and it will be a hardship. My fiance doesn’t like people giving him gifts because he thinks he can buy himself anything he really needs and thinks we really could use money if anything but really doesn’t want anything. He thinks a registry is rude. I think everyone plans to give us gifts no matter what we say. My family have told me they think I should register to help people buy gifts who are not comfortable giving money and want to give us something tangible as a keepsake. I think having some keepsakes and not just all money would be nice.

Additionally, I work at a Bed Bath and Beyond and we have used my employee discount to purchase top of the line cookware, cutlery, bed linens, towels, kitchen utensils, etc.

We have some china from his mother that I don’t completely like but aren’t sure china would be used enough to register for a different set. I would like to select a china pattern but wonder if registering for 12 place settings for a wedding with 20 guests seems excessive.

I could see upgrading some things, like our toaster oven and registering for some nicer things we don’t have like crystal drink ware and vases. But if most of our registry is nicer items since we have nicer basics, does this seem greedy? I probably could think of some less expensive items, like a cookie dough scoop but that seems silly.

Also my fiance does not want his family to know about the registry. He is successful, more so than most of his family, and feels it would be in poor form. It seems unethical to only tell my family and I think his family will probably find out anyway.

Help! Sorry my question is so long- this is complicated!

8 Responses to “Should I do a bridal registry for a small wedding?”

  1. Messykatt says:

    Part of me is somewhat sympathetic to your fiance, but the other wants to yell at him and point out he’s putting you in a horrible position. The registry isn’t a demand for gifts, and gifts are part of a wedding. Money is actually the tacky way out here (unless it’s your parents) because you’re correct in that people want to find something nice that you want that they gave you.

    However, since the one big no-no on a registry is to only offer pricy items, take a look through They have bridal registries and they have tons of options – everything from books to gourmet foods. You’d be able to offer all sorts of price varieties and it’s fun just to look. It doesn’t always have to be china and tableware 🙂

  2. Jennie says:

    i may be wrong but I always thought you register more for the shower than the wedding. Where I am from it is traditional to get money at the wedding. So if I were in your position I would not register unless you are having a bridal shower.

  3. elizabeth says:

    I would register for what you would like up graded. People usually tend to give gifts whether you ask for them or not.

    Best of luck and Congrats!

  4. insurancelady82 says:

    I would register, but not mention it in the invitations. If someone asks, then provide them with the information, or say we aren’t asking for anything as your attendence is a gift in itself (or something like that).

    This situation really isn’t that complicated, and you are overthinking the whole thing. You can always register, pick the cheaper stuff for the sake of being nice, and return it for what you really want.

  5. Annie says:

    I think if you are just having the families there and that your hubby to be is uncomfortable about gifts, don’t register. If you have lived together for a few years you probably don’t need much. You can tell your parents that money would be best and if anyone else in the family asks they can pass that info on. I do feel with a family affair like this that to register would be unnecessary.

  6. Jen says:

    I like for a bride to register for nice things like crystal drink ware. That’s the sort of thing I prefer to give. I think you should pick out a pattern you like in something mid range like Crystal d’Arque – no need to go with Waterford – and register it at a dept store in your hometown. Then when people ask your mother where you’re registered, she can say “she chose [name the pattern] for her crystal. I know she registered it at [name of store].”
    Dont tell anyone where/what you registered unless they ask, and you dont have to worry about your fiance’s family finding out. hint – these days, everybody wants to select something “personal” so you wouldn’t get many pieces of your china even if it was the only thing you wanted. Some people would rather give a Walmart gift card than to spend $25 on a salad plate. Go figure.

  7. Quirky Coonhound says:

    I had a semi small wedding of 50 people, we took a while to pick a place and then all the stuff that we wanted.. Guess what! only 2 guests bought us something off the registry and they got the same thing! I would do some of the more expensive stuff and let them go in on gifts together, just don’t expect much. If they want to know about a registry then tell them other wise its a word of mouth and if no one knows from his side of the family, then there won’t be anything to worry about. And either they won’t give you anything or they will give you money which you can put towards the stuff you actually want.

    Good Luck!

  8. aspasia says:

    You are thinking in exactly the right way about registering — except for the one off-putting detail that you are associating the registry exclusively with gifts. Brides and housewives have been relying on department store registry services for generations to help them *plan* their household effects. It works like this:

    You decide what you would like in the long term for your household, remembering that a decade or two from now you may be hosting a bat mitzvah, a family Dewali gathering, a christening, a graduation party, whatever. As a wife and co-head of a family, part of your responsibility will be to promote and upbuild your community by hosting gracious gatherings. Think about the style of entertaining you will aspire to, and the size of gatherings you will host.

    Choose your patterns and the number of pieces based on that long-term plan. Arrange with a store that maintains your registry long-term (some stores call them “lifestyle” registries nowadays, but they are just the traditional permanent registry) and will notify you of sales and discontinuations, and will help you replace lost and broken pieces. Register for “open stock” that you can buy a piece or two at a time. This is *your* plan, so register for things that you will buy over the next ten or twenty years. That way you are not rudely using the registry to solicit gifts — but, if people do buy gifts off it, you are getting things that fit well into your household. If they don’t, you still carry on with your household stocking like any frugal and patient housewife.

    Twelve place-settings, by the way, is an awkward number. If you do full sit-down formal meals, it is more gracious to sit down 2, 6, or 10 guests, than 4 or 8 — a balanced table just works out that way. If you do buffet dinners then you need a dinner-plate for each guest, but probably not a soup-plate, salad-plate or bread-plate. And think about what courses you normally serve: if you don’t serve a salad course you don’t need salad-plates. “Open stock” lets you acquire what you need, instead of getting five-piece place settings where three pieces you may not use. Think about the crystal and silver that you will need alongside the china too, and also consider table-linens.

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