Is this OK for wedding gift registry?

May 5th, 2011

Wedding is very expensive and I have a very tight budget.

My fiance and I are not planning into moving into a new home or anything, and I live by myself right now. I basically have everything we would need already after we live together after the wedding. So I do not want people to give pots/pans/sheets, the “normal” wedding gifts, because I have all those already. And it would just be a waste when the money could be better put towards other things.

I am Chinese as well, so we were thinking of having guests do red packets. But this is going to be a Western style wedding, not Chinese.

I plan on putting this on my wedding website under the registry part… what do you guys think of it? Would it offend you if you read it? Or is it well written?

Just being there is gift enough for us.

But if you feel so inclined,
instead of a gift registry and in honor of our Chinese heritage,

we would like you to partake in the tradition of red packets

which symbolizes luck, happiness and prosperity.
NEW REVISION for gift registry page… is this much better???

The biggest gift to us would be the help you can give in Andy’s process of immigrating to the US and starting a new life together with me.

Whatever amount you choose to give will go towards the immigration processing fee and the purchase of a car.

We sincerely thank you from the bottom of our hearts for not only being able to join us in our special day, but helping us start off our new lives together.

Thanks everyone for their input. I see 95% of people have a registry section on their wedding website, so I thought it was a very common thing to do to always provide a registry page so your guests know what to get you instead of guessing what the couple would like. I thought people would think that giving something the couple actually wanted would be better than giving something they will never use.

So I guess the conclusion is either to have a registry page with tangible items that we have no need for, or have no registry page/items at all. So I guess I’ll just remove the registry page.

I may be of Chinese heritage, but I grew up in CA (so I am westernized) but I am the first of my friends to get married, so I have no idea about the process of it all nor do my friends. I just see the easy parts on mass media.

13 Responses to “Is this OK for wedding gift registry?”

  1. bostonGKR says:

    Don’t do this. It’s extremely rude, tacky and tasteless to ask your guests for money. Set up a small registry with towels and sheets, or don’t set one up at all.

    It’s not the guests’ fault that you chose to have an expensive wedding. You could’ve always had a less expensive/smaller wedding. And it doesn’t matter than you’re Chinese, it’s still tacky and rude to outright ask for the red envelopes. You’re using it as an excuse to beg for money, not some crap about “honoring your heritage.”

  2. Vibiana says:

    Asking for money is rude, whether in Chinese or English. Unless everyone you are inviting is Chinese and will understand this cultural custom, you will be offending people to no good purpose.

    American couples with no ethnic defense also are tempted to request money as gifts, but it’s rude. Let your guests give you gifts and if you don’t want them, return them.

  3. mariahrose85 says:

    Nope, sorry, you can’t dictate what and how people will give.

    Tell your people (mom, bridesmaids, whatever) that if people ask what you want that you’d both prefer cash, but..
    just no.

  4. Sara says:

    Why not send traditional Chinese invitations then those who know the custom will know what’s expected and those who don’t won’t worry about it. Don’t forget though that if you are doing the red packets in honour of your heritage then you need to give them out as well and you then run the risk of getting less than you give.

  5. trishdg says:

    I agree with Vibiana just make a small registry and if you don’t want or like then return them

  6. Bob says:

    I believe ‘red packets’ and what they are will not be understood by most English guests. They will understand a straightforward request for money. They will give money but they will need to know what you intend to spend it on. My son asked for wedding money so he and his new wife could travel much of the world before they settled down. Great motive, so we all dug deep and they had a great time. To this day we are all happy for them and that we managed to fund their world tour.

  7. blhenne says:

    This is a sticky subject but handled tastefully it can be done.

    Asking for money and/or gifts at all is tacky BUT there is a spot on your website for registry info so if it’s ok to put your list of gifts you want, why can’t it be ok to put that instead of stuff, you would rather honor your heritage in this way? Make sure you include a link to describe the tradition so those who don’t know about it can learn but if this is the only place you do this I don’t see the issue with it.

    That said, if you are having a bridal shower, or some kind of party where it’s customary that you open all of the gifts and comment on each and every one in front of the group you’ll need some kind of small wish list. Maybe ask for things for the wedding (think cake knife, garter, toasting glasses) that can help cut the costs for you but allow the gift giver to give you something tangible they are proud of.

    Lastly, as another poster says, if you ask for money in any way, I would include what you will spend it on (new car, honeymoon, etc) so the giver can feel like they are buying you part of that item/experience and not just helping to pay your water bill.

  8. TheOne says:


    If you are having a western style wedding, it is inappropriate (bad etiquette) to request money.


  9. Messykatt says:

    If you’re having an American wedding, it’s tacky to pull in the one Chinese custom where you get to ask for money. If the whole thing was Chinese, it probably wouldn’t be a big deal. But follow Western customs in Western weddings (and this isn’t one of them).

  10. Dream Big says:

    I wish it was OK but, it’s not. Make your registry for somewhere you shop at often like target or walmart. That way, when you return the gifts for store credit you can use it towards stuff you need like toilet paper and toothpaste. That is a lot of toothpaste! Good luck…

  11. Because I Said So says:

    well I could google it, but off the top of my head I have no clue what a red packet is. If it’s a way of asking for cash, it’s totally verboten for you to do that on a wedding invitation.

    If you’re not registering for gifts, there’s no need to come out and ask your guests for money because that’s what they’ll automatically give you! 99% of my wedding guests last year gave me cash or checks, and I got only 3 gifts out of 100 people. and I did have 3 gift registries, but people would rather just bring an envelope to a wedding than a gift bag.

  12. BloopieBlooper says:

    This one is a hard one, however, I agree that if you are having a Western wedding in the United States and inviting Westerners, most will not understand this. I would advise you to speak to your parents and perhaps they can encourage/suggest red packets to your relatives and Chinese friends by word of mouth. Solicitations for money or gifts don’t go on an invitation and I would strongly urge you to take it off your website.

    Westerners also like to receive money too and this questions is asked by other Americans all the time. So my advice would be to not mention a registry or gifts at all, and people will most likely bring you checks or money. If someone calls or asks you about gifts just say, “We don’t really have any gifts in mind and we aren’t registered anywhere. My family is going to do Chinese red envelopes, but really your presence is all we want.” and I can almost gaurantee you they will get the hint and bring you a check.

    Oh and one more thing, if you are going to go ahead and do it anyway, I would say the first message for the registry is much better than the second one. You don’t need to tell guests the sob story of your fiance and ask for them to pay for him to come here. The first one where you explain Red packets is much better, but again I advise you against doing this at all.

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