Seriously, do we need to find 250 more gifts for our wedding registry?
June 19, 2017 3:59 PM   Subscribe

We're getting married soon. We're tearing our hair out over the registry. We spent over 4 hours in John Lewis and beeped around 50 items. The internet tells us this is not enough, and we need 2-3 times more items then there are guests. We have 120 guests, do we need minimum 240 things?? Is that really necessary?

We also have a dedicated PayPal link for cash gifts to our dining table fund. I feel as though adding more stuff will just add a bunch of stuff we don't want or need on top of the already too-much-stuff that we have. I also feel weird that it will look like we expect our friends to gift us multiple extravagant gifts, which is very much not what we want. Can we just stick with the list that we have? Or rather, is having a small list and a fund going to make life harder for our guests? Location: UK
posted by dumdidumdum to Shopping (27 answers total)
I've been to a wedding where charity donations were on the registry - I don't know if that would be an option but it beats getting two toasters.
posted by kariebookish at 4:09 PM on June 19, 2017 [12 favorites]

How many couples do you have? A couple will just buy you one gift.

One of the great things about wedding registries is that someone can buy you one place setting or four wine-glasses. So if you find some wineglasses you like and put, I don't know, ten of them on your wedding registry, that's not one gift. That's two. Or more. Obviously that doesn't work for single items (bits of furniture, etc), but it works great for other things.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:10 PM on June 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Making up such a huge list sounds like terrible advice - you don't want to make your friends wade through all that! It is the sort of thing that stores would say just to force people to look at more things in their catalog, in hopes of making more sales. I would ignore that and only have items you actually want.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:14 PM on June 19, 2017 [10 favorites]

Smaller lists are fine. You can always update it later if people really do go through the whole list.
posted by samthemander at 4:17 PM on June 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Number of guests doesn't mean number of units. Some of those numbers are probably couples or even families if you've invited kids, who will get you one gift together. Also, nobody has to use a registry. I only buy from the registry if I don't know the couple well. This sounds like commercial bullshit to me. Don't register for things you don't want.
posted by FencingGal at 4:18 PM on June 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Smaller numbers of items are fine. And as noted above, totally okay to add charities if you like. More than okay for some of us.
posted by Bella Donna at 4:19 PM on June 19, 2017

We got the same advice. In the end, rather than add a bunch of useless crap to our registry, we left it at about 25 items that we really wanted. People bought us most of them, and the rest gave us cash. Nobody was mad, and our apartment isn't cluttered with gravy boats. The only loser was Bed Bath and Beyond.
posted by AAAA at 4:35 PM on June 19, 2017 [22 favorites]

We made a very, very small registry at Target. We didn't really want gifts at all (we are both in our 30s, gainfully employed, and I already have a kitchen full of Le Creuset that I bought myself, and china that I inherited). We tried to discourage gift-giving, but it turns out that people really do just want to give you a gift. We got lots of money and gift cards.

Lots of sites recommended setting up at least two registries - is there anywhere else you wouldn't mind having things from (or a lot of gift cards?).
posted by honeybee413 at 4:57 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can only think the reason to have more things than guests is so:
a) the last few people to buy gifts left aren't the most expensive things (so make sure most stuff is "affordable", whatever that means to you/your guests)
b) people feel like they have a choice, like "oh this table cloth is nice, I'll get that" instead of "oh well I guess the only thing left to buy is a set of boring wine glasses" (so make sure there's more than the number of guests, but it double seems a lot).

Another thought: if there's anything that multiple would be useful, add multiples. You'll probably break a plate and a wine glass or two, so why not have spares? Extra table cloth for when one's in the wash?

Also the thing re: number of guests vs number of "gift-buying units". You need to count the number of invites, not individual guests.

Also also: people will almost certainly give cash if they can't decide on something from the list (this behaviour differs a lot in the US it seems). I'm in the UK and we probably got 50/50 gifts/cash at our wedding. We almost always give cash even when people have a list.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:00 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and we did a list at Amazon. So you can just stick a bunch of blu-rays and stuff on there too.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:01 PM on June 19, 2017

I think a smaller list is totally fine. Some people will definitely do cash instead of a gift, especially if you have a smaller list. And, if you find the list becomes totally depleted and someone asks you about it, you can always add more items later.
posted by rainbowbrite at 5:16 PM on June 19, 2017

Surely some of the guests (if not most) are couples and/or families? We had 150 guests but was really around 90 "groupings", so we had roughly that same amount of gifts on the registry plus a wishing well. In the end most people opted for the wishing well anyway.
posted by liquorice at 5:16 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

We chose an artist whose work we both liked and had people give cash toward a couple of his works. It was the most popular choice among our guests.
posted by goatdog at 5:33 PM on June 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

We spent over 4 hours in John Lewis and beeped around 50 items.

Doesn't sound like you're hard up for stuff, and this is causing you grief. Can you just say 'no gifts, please'? 'No presents, just your presence'?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:39 PM on June 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Coincidentally, I'm soon attending a wedding of a couple registered at John Lewis, and among the various items listed were a gift card and a charity donation, right there at the registry. So that's an option too. If they didn't tell you about it, ask them.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 5:54 PM on June 19, 2017

You could also add an airline, travel agent, and/or hotel chain to your registry, so people could contribute to a travel fund for later.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:18 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd actually suggest you have a smaller registry with only things you genuinely want.

In my circles of friends (U.S. coastal big cities), where folks have generally been living together and have a lot of stuff, it's actually become quite popular to have a pretty small registry for physical household items and then hope folks get the gentle hint to give cash.

I'm pretty uptight about wedding etiquette and I think this is an okay way to nudge towards cash without it feeling like an outright cash grab.
posted by lalex at 6:28 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Charity. Most of my friends who have gotten married have had a small, but normal, registry with some expensive items, and the option of giving a (relatively inexpensive) amount to a charity the couple cares deeply about.
posted by General Malaise at 8:24 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

We only registered for china and glassware. No one asked us for other gift ideas.
posted by lakeroon at 8:42 PM on June 19, 2017

Where I'm from, registry stuff is only for the shower. To the reception, one brings a card with a cash or check (gift card could work). People tend to do what they want in my experience, especially if they're your relatives, so don't sweat it.
posted by greatalleycat at 11:08 PM on June 19, 2017

greatalleycat, the UK we don't do bridal showers, so people being the gifts to the wedding where there's a table set up at the reception for them to be left. It can be a bit of a nuisance, as someone has to keep an eye on it, and then it's usually up to family members to take all the gifts home at the end of the night, as the bride and groom will have gone off on their honeymoon (or at least to a nice hotel for their wedding night).

But I remember the fun of getting back from my honeymoon and having this mountain of gifts to open. Plus the not-so-nice task of all the thank-you notes.

I think a small registry is fine. It's better to have things you want than to just fill a list up for the sake of it.
posted by essexjan at 11:43 PM on June 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I would add maybe a few more options but only things that you think you'll use. Some attendees may get you a bunch of the items on your list. One attendee of our wedding got us all the glassware we had requested. Our most used registry gifts included an at home haircutting kit, new mixing bowls, and an alarm clock that connects with an MP3 player. Upgrades of items that you already have but would not necessarily upgrade yourself (sheets and towels) can also fill some slots too.
posted by donut_princess at 4:41 AM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Combining comments above: Many people will get you gifts off the registry, some will give cash, and many will combine. Therefore, you will likely not get all the 50 items you registered for. Cut off a few dozen of the ones you don't really need, and then you can add them back if the higher priority ones are all taken. We ended up having to buy a bunch of our registry items (to complete a set of dishes, e.g.) even though less than half the guests gave registry gifts.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:51 AM on June 20, 2017

I recommend just not having a registry. We didn't, and neither of us has ever once regretted that.

The way we saw it, getting married was about us declaring our intent to each other and to our friends, the reception was a party for people to have a good time at, and wedding gifts were something to pass 90% of along to the op shop.

We actually wanted to skip the gifts altogether and run the reception on a bring-a-plate basis, but my parents wouldn't let us do that and hired caterers instead. Who made some good food, don't get me wrong, but I still reckon our foodie friends would happily have made better.

Registries are just weird. Get rid of it.
posted by flabdablet at 7:22 AM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

We got married last year, shortly after merging our two fully functional adult households and purging tons of extra "stuff." (We're in our mid-30s.) We really didn't need/want much, but were told that the more elderly guests would feel compelled to get gifts. We put together a tiny registry (like 15 items, mostly nice picture frames for wedding photos, some fresh kitchen linens, and a new dustbuster), and made a note on our wedding website that "Gifts are absolutely not expected! We're just thrilled you can join us to celebrate." The grandmothers and older aunts bought things from the registry, a good percentage of guests gave us cash or gift cards, and a handful just brought nice cards. Don't feel pressured into a registry you don't want.
posted by writermcwriterson at 8:08 AM on June 20, 2017

Many of the "rules" around weddings are either based on A) extremely dated assumptions or B) making money for someone. The gift registry is where A and B overlap on the Venn diagram. The assumption is that you are both moving into your first home on your wedding day and need everything to fill it. Your reality is the opposite. The people telling you how many gifts you "need" on the registry probably work for the department store, correct? It can help your wedding-planning sanity to keep both these things in mind. Your wedding is for exactly two people, and anyone else's opinions on what you "have to" do are just opinions.

My wife and I had a small gift registry for those who wanted to give objects, and a honeymoon fund. Most of her family gave from the registry, most of mine gave to the honeymoon fund. I've seen many later-in-life weddings use this tactic, and a few skip the physical gift registry completely.

Congratulations and have fun!
posted by Cranialtorque at 1:29 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can you just add JL vouchers to the rest of the list? maybe even specifically amounts if that makes it more 'gifty'?
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 5:47 AM on June 21, 2017

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