I want an espresso machine.
July 2, 2007 5:42 AM   Subscribe

Can my partner and I still make use of a gift registry even if we are not doing a traditional ceremony-then-reception type event?

So, my girlfriend and are going to tie the civil union knot. We are leaning towards just going to City Hall, doing the deed and then having a big ol' party sometime after. Here's the thing, I am greedy for some of the trappings of a traditional wedding-- like registry gifts. Is it kosher to still have a registry even if people won't be present to witness the nuptials? I guess I'm a bit insecure that the more non-traditional we get from our end (same sex wedding, no ceremony, etc.) the less traditional we are allowed to be in what we ask from our guests.

Opinions? Experience? Suggestions for other ways to do stuff? Thanks a lot in advance.
posted by sneakin to Human Relations (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The people who will want to give you gifts will also want to celebrate with you. Even if you can not afford to throw a big reception with open bar and buy them $100 dinners, you should throw your party sometime very near the actual wedding. People you invite may ask about a registry, other people won't ask but will search on-line. It's totaly acceptbale to have a registry without a big wedding, IMHO, but the closer your party is to the actual wedding, and the easier you make the registry to find (use the common on-line resgistries), the more likely you are to get presents from it.
posted by mds35 at 5:53 AM on July 2, 2007

the less traditional we are allowed to be in what we ask from our guests.

Traditionally you aren't allowed to ask for anything from your guests other than a prompt reply to your invitation. If they want to look you up on a registry, that's their business. I don't see anything wrong with signing up for a registry under any circumstance, just as long as you don't volunteer the particulars unasked.
posted by grouse at 6:01 AM on July 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Good points all around, especially on the timely party bit. And, lalex, yes, we will host the party ourselves. Thanks everyone so far.
posted by sneakin at 6:06 AM on July 2, 2007

Wedding etiquette says that you can't include registry information with invitations. Yeah, I know everyone does, but you aren't supposed to. Instead you just send out the invites and let people know about your registry via word of mouth.

When I got married I didn't include registry in my invites. Instead I had a website with maps, hotel information, information about the city for out-of-towners, and I put the registry info on the website under the FAQ section (apparently you can't include the information on invites, but it is proper to put it into a website - weird). That worked quite well.

I don't think it would be weird to have a registry for a civil ceremony.

Good luck!
posted by christinetheslp at 6:07 AM on July 2, 2007

Some people buy gifts even when not attending a wedding but just know that others don't buy gifts unless attending. Don't take it personally if you don't get as much swag as you would if you had a ceremony to which you invited guests.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:32 AM on July 2, 2007

No reason you can't have a registry, but I wouldn't expect everyone to give you gifts. In fact you can't even expect everyone to give you gifts off the registry even if you have a big wedding. Not everyone can afford to give a nice gift, and you should simply be happy that you have people you are close to in this world who want to come to your celebration.

Same sex wedding? If you are feeling greedy you can try to play on any hidden guilt that your relatives might have to get them to spend a lot of money on you. Not my thing, so I don't have any further advice on that score.

I didn't give a gift at the last "celebrate our wedding" party that I went to, but the couple had already done a wedding/reception combo. Some people did give gifts.
posted by yohko at 7:45 AM on July 2, 2007

If I were invited to such a thing, I would appreciate a gift registry. It is hard to buy presents.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:34 AM on July 2, 2007

It is hard to buy presents.

Yup. A registry is actually a courtesy to your guests -- they're going to want to buy you something anyway despite the lack of a traditional ceremony, and a registry makes it much easier!
posted by footnote at 8:56 AM on July 2, 2007

apparently you can't include the information on invites, but it is proper to put it into a website - weird

For posterity it should be noted that this is by no means The Universally Accepted Rule. Where I'm from, it would be considered gauche to put registry information on a wedding website. What's "proper" is very much affected by region and community custom.

My answer to the question is "what grouse said."
posted by pineapple at 9:41 AM on July 2, 2007

My biased opinion:
In theory, I am opposed to registering for anything. I don't think I would ever do it. It seems presumptuous. In practice, when giving a gift, it does make it easy to give something useful.

Now on to this:
No one owes you anything for getting married. I know that registry is common now, and accepted as normal. I agree with the statements that you shouldn't include registry info with an invitation to your party. I seem to recall that registry used to be used as a way for family members (especially the bride's mother) to point others to a way to find something they want to give. "What do you think they would like? Do they have a toaster?" "Oh, all they want is to have you celebrate with them, but any kindness you show would be greatly appreciated. They are registered at GimmeeTheGoods.com if you are interested."

Like a bridal shower, or a baby shower, registration in my opinion is something done by family member or friend on behalf of the modest ("aw shucks for us??") couple.

Your question sounds like this: "I want to be greedy, and get stuff, without appearing to be greedy." I don't think there is any way to do this.

To directly answer your question: YES you "can" especially if those who are "invited" to give gifts are also invited to the party.

My opinion: Invite your friends to a party so YOU can give to THEM the gift of celebrating with you. If you want an espresso machine, skip the party and put that money toward buying your own.
posted by The Deej at 11:33 AM on July 2, 2007

It sounds me me as if you'd welcome gifts, but that you're definitely not considering a caligraphed note saying, "We want big fat checks and the entire small-appliances array at Williams-Sonoma.

Some people are GOING to ask you or your relatives if you have a gift registry. Many people like to give gifts, and they especially like to get you something that you want. So go ahead and register -- you can even register at more than one place -- and let certain people know the details for when the question comes up.

What might be nice: send out an announcement after you're wed. Even nicer: at the same time, invite people to the party, or at least tell them, "We'll be having a party sometime in (name the month) and we hope you'll be able to celebrate with us then." That way, you include them and share your good news immediately, instead of later on when it's less exciting for them to hear.
posted by wryly at 12:56 PM on July 2, 2007

Response by poster: Hey Deej, actually there is a way to do this! Just look at all the answers above yours. People are saying to go 'head and register which I'll do. The "espresso machine" title was kind of a joke. And, to be clear, the question was more about etiquette than greed. I was just trying to add a little levity.

Everyone else-- thanks for the great advice!
posted by sneakin at 12:57 PM on July 2, 2007

Yeah, I get the levity, honestly.

I gave you my opinion of the etiquette. Up to you whether you agree or not.
posted by The Deej at 1:19 PM on July 2, 2007

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