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A Wedding on Your Terms: The Registry

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I used to work upstairs from a fancy kitchenware store. In the months before we got engaged (we’d picked the ring together, so the next step was pretty obvious), I used to go downstairs and run my hands over all the expensive goodies: plates, platters, pots, and all the things you could use to create a (slightly expensive) married home together. Of course, the odd thing about this situation is that I don’t cook. Of our duo, my husband is the cook, so I was never going to touch an expensive pot unless I was washing it. But still, I found the fantasy of this happy, shiny, pricey, domestic life crazily enticing.

And then we got engaged. After about a month dealing with the wedding industry and their vapid but aggressive insistence that I Buy All The Things, I was no longer excited by the registry. It felt a little weird to me. Uncomfortable. Why did getting married mean that I got to order my friends and family to buy me pricey stuff? And I didn’t care about those pots anyway! I wasn’t a cook. Why did the registry have to be about the kitchen?

Well, I’m here to tell you what I figured out. Basically, I was right about the pots, but dead wrong about the registry’s intention.

In much of the western world, we’ve collectively decided that registries are for kitchen things. It’s as if we’ve all collectively agreed that marriages mean you’ll stay home a lot of the time, where you’ll cook and be domestic (this is totally not true, by the by). I was right to feel like a registry full of nothing but pots and pans was not quite what we wanted out of married life. Because over the past two-and-a-half years, I’ve learned that marriages and families are what we create. Our marriages can push us to dream big, to go outside our comfort zone, and to travel far outside the kitchen (or stay in the kitchen, cooking up daring feats of deliciousness). For us, marriage has been more about travel and professional adventure (I mean, I wrote a book thanks to the support of my marriage) than it has been about being at home. And what I was figuring out during our engagement is that building a registry is part of dreaming up the life you want together. So, for goodness sakes, if you’re not into pots, or mass-produced linens, put down the scanner, turn to Etsy and conjure up a bit of magic (hand thrown pottery, anyone?).

But what I didn’t understand is that the registry isn’t about you, exactly. It turns out when you make a list of things you’d like for your married life together, you’re not twisting your guests’ arms to get them to buy you stuff. Nope! In fact, you’re allowing them to love you. Because when you stand in front of everyone you love to make your vows, many of them know something that you don’t: that marriage is complicated and that a life together is longer than you can imagine. They don’t just want to come to your wedding, have a few drinks and do the conga line. They want to provide tangible support for the two of you as you grow and build a life together. A registry lets your guests do that. A registry is like a modern barn raising. When your guests give you plates or awesome pottery, they support the dreams you’ve created together, and they know that for years when you take their gift off the shelf (possibly well after they’re gone), you’ll remember that they loved you, hard.

Dailey Woodworking

Not the pepper mill in question.

Because it turns out, the registry is not about stuff. (I suppose this is an obvious conclusion, given that I’ve already written for Etsy about how your wedding is not about stuff, but I literally did not get this ’til recently). When I sat down to write this post, I started pondering what we’d gotten as gifts when we got hitched. And I kept coming back to this…interesting…pepper grinder that someone got us off-registry (because yes, people will buy you exceedingly odd off-registry gifts). When we opened it the day after our wedding, we laughed, and commented to each other that we’d probably never use it. But here we are, almost three years later, using it every day. Because for all it’s funky oddness, it reminds us of all the people who loved and supported us on our wedding day, who still love and support us now. It reminds us that our marriage is not isolated: it’s part of a community. And yes, that community sometimes has strange taste, but it’s a community that loves us and supports our vision for married life.

Now go build a dream you believe in, starting with your registry. Because that’s really what a marriage is.

For more wedding advice, visit Meg’s blog or check out A Practical Wedding, available from Amazon or an independent bookstore near you.

More Handmade Weddings Posts

Meg Keene is the founder and executive editor of A Practical Wedding and Reclaiming Wife. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was released in January 2012.

5 Featured Comments

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  • crazyelflin

    Jacqueline Wild from crazyelflin says: Featured

    It's really good to read stuff about weddings that gets to the core of what it really is about. I got married two weeks ago and I read a lot of Megs advice on her website (those spreadsheets were pretty awesome!) We didn't have a registry - 20 years of togetherness had already brought us all that we needed - and so all we really wanted was for people to be there to share in our day. Our friends however had other ideas and they clubbed together to buy us glamping vouchers. It was the most incredibly touching and thoughtful thing they could have done. It really felt as though our love was not just shared between 'us' but it went out to all our friends and then came back to us in an even bigger bubble of loveliness. It's easy to get wrapped in weddings being about 'you' but actually it's about everyone and it's a really lovely thing.

    2 years ago

  • Alicebr1

    Alicebr1 says: Featured

    We did the whole registry thing, and honestly, while it was kinda fun running around looking at beautiful (kitchen!) stuff it did feel overwhelming. Trying to get a range of prices so everyone, if they wanted, would be able to get us a gift. There are so many things now that I wish I hadn't put on the list, because people bought them for us and now I have them. I don't want to get rid of them because they were wedding gifts, but sometimes I wonder if someone else would be getting much better use out of them. And, the best (or most useful) gift we recieved was a set of sheets- that was not on our registry. They are the most beautiful blue colour, and are 1000 thread count egyptian cotton. It was something we never thought about putting on our registry and yet sheets are something we use everyday. I would highly reccommend backing off from the registry and letting your friends and family do their own thinking- you will end up with some not-so-wonderful items, but then again, what you do recieve will be the product of their own experiences and love.

    2 years ago

  • FalconandFinch

    Lynelle Miliate-Ha from FalconandFinch says: Featured

    When my husband and I got married last year, we purposely registered for things that would make our new life together easier or simply "better." These were things that cut housework or chore time or made organization more efficient, so that we could spend more quality time together. Or things that made that time more luxurious or fun, like big fluffy towels, soft sheets or even a waffle maker and a little grill that we could take to the park. Of course we also asked for the heirloom things and the fancy things, but it's the every day things that we received that make our shared time happier. Every time we crawl into bed between those super soft sheets, we breathe a little sigh happiness.

    2 years ago

  • tortillagirl

    tortillagirl from tortillagirl says: Featured

    When I got married in 1996 I registered because it was customary to do so where I lived at the time. I did have fun browsing around and considered it more of a wishlist than anything else. Still, I was shy about the list and felt odd "telling" people what I wanted so I only mentioned that I was registered if outright asked. (And written mentions of the registry were not included in shower invitations or in the wedding invitations.) Gifts that were purchased both off and on the list were welcome and appreciated, of course. But I did notice that because my husband and I didn't live with each other before the wedding (so we had a whole household to set up) and because I was so quiet about my list I was given repeat items of the same thing (i.e., two coffeemakers, several sets of china, etc.). This made me realize that a list can be useful as a guideline for guests who would like to give you what you need to set up a home or to make your everyday married life more comfortable. They dont have to get you exactly what is on the list, but at least get an idea of what your tastes are. I know that when I buy someone a gift, I would like to get them something they would like to receive, not something *I* would like to receive.

    2 years ago

  • eggagogo

    Sarah C from eggagogo says: Featured

    Great article. This is such an interesting topic that people are pretty passionate about. As a wedding GUEST, I love when a couple has a registry. If I don't know the folks well, it's a nice way to know what they need in their life. If I DO know them well and want to make them a gift, the registry can give me hint about what color scheme they want in the bedroom (based on linens they registered for) if I want to make them a pillow, for example. Giving gifts is a wedding tradition. If I was to get married and someone didn't give me a gift, I wouldn't care - but for those people who DO want to give gifts, the registry can be a great place for ideas or hints.

    2 years ago

  • DecadesOfVintage

    DecadesOfVintage from DecadesOfVintage says:

    You are so right about having a vision for your married life together. My brother and his wife registered for a canoe.......and got it. My favorite wedding present that I have ever given to someone was the tent from their REI registry.

    2 years ago

  • VoleedeMoineaux

    Hillary De Moineaux from VoleedeMoineaux says:

    Oooooooooo love that wrapping paper!

    2 years ago

  • savannahcat

    Lisa Jeffrey from savannahcat says:

    I lOVE the water bottle vase! so unique! great story!

    2 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    Kathleen from myvintagecrush says:

    I never registered for gifts before my husband and I got married. It was uncomfortable for me to pick out gift suggestions when I could just buy them myself. Some people liked it, some people hated it.. go figure.

    2 years ago

  • kh1467

    Kelly from KikuPaper says:

    Very insightful thoughts about Wedding Registries. (Correct me if I am wrong but I think the Wedding Registry was first started in NY City by the department store Wannamakers in the late 1800's. Whole rooms of furniture were set up so the engaged couple could walk through and register for everything.)

    2 years ago

  • maggiesraggedyinn

    Mary Robertson from MaggiesInn says:

    Interesting article on another part of wedding planning. I never registered for anything for my wedding long ago. It just seemed wrong for me at the time, yet I know it makes sense for many people.

    2 years ago

  • Verdurebydesign

    Veronica from Verdurebydesign says:

    What an inspiring article. A wedding is a celebration, not a time to be burdened with stuff.........but a well purchased gift travels the journey of a marriage.

    2 years ago

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage says:

    Gimme money! Interesting. Great picks.

    2 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery says:

    I love the odd unexpected gift, sometimes people just know you better than yourself!

    2 years ago

  • TresChicNmodern

    TresChicNmodern from TresChicNmodern says:

    YOU HAVE SUCH BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL ITEMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE COOL AN DUNIQUE HANDMADE GOODIES JUST LIKE YOURS :-)

    2 years ago

  • QPeeLove

    Kerryn Taylor from GunstoreDaddyVintage says:

    Thats hilarious!! I fully understand, mine is a weird layered twisted Italian candle! ODDLY I LOVE That pepper Mill. I think its just beautiful, so I thought it was an etsy item that someone had hand dyed blue in their canadian barn, layered the wood with organic resin and then hand lathed on their mid century foot powered lathe!! haha! Brilliant article!

    2 years ago

  • QPeeLove

    Kerryn Taylor from GunstoreDaddyVintage says:

    oh oops, it is an etsy item! (The pepper mill) The guy is from Maine! sorry. (his shop is beautiful though - check it out!)

    2 years ago

  • rushgirl2112

    rushgirl2112 says:

    "It turns out when you make a list of things you’d like for your married life together, you’re not twisting your guests’ arms to get them to buy you stuff. Nope! In fact, you’re allowing them to love you." That is perhaps the single weakest and most twisted justification that I've ever heard anyone use to try and get the things they want. If love is important, then you should be grateful for any gift you receive, but especially the ones the giver spent a lot of time and thought selecting or making for you. I'm not trying to knock registries outright because they can be useful, but let's not kid ourselves about what they are. Registries discourage thought, they discourage creativity, and they discourage unique handmade items. They are all about financing someone else's shopping trip. Which is perfectly fine, but please don't expect me to thank you for "allowing" me the privilege of buying something off your pre-approved gift list. The gift-givers are the ones who are doing YOU a favor, dear.

    2 years ago

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle says:

    Great article and beautiful pics!

    2 years ago

  • mikiheather

    Heather Butler from MikiandHeather says:

    We had a lovely practical wedding, we had no money, my mother in law and friends did all the food and managed to feed over 100 people! We made our own invites and I arrived at the wedding in my dad's jeep! But our wedding day was beautiful and relaxed and 2 years later nearly all our furniture and house things were given to us on that day!

    2 years ago

  • essentialimages

    Kate from essentialimages says:

    Ah, wise, wise Meg! I've been married over 40 (eek!) years and I still remember who gave us each of the wonder bowls, cheese trays, etc. as I haul it out to set a table or put out a buffet. Each item represents a Person who thought about us and wanted to gift us. So, yay for gifts that bring memories of happy people and happy times!

    2 years ago

  • crazyelflin

    Jacqueline Wild from crazyelflin says: Featured

    It's really good to read stuff about weddings that gets to the core of what it really is about. I got married two weeks ago and I read a lot of Megs advice on her website (those spreadsheets were pretty awesome!) We didn't have a registry - 20 years of togetherness had already brought us all that we needed - and so all we really wanted was for people to be there to share in our day. Our friends however had other ideas and they clubbed together to buy us glamping vouchers. It was the most incredibly touching and thoughtful thing they could have done. It really felt as though our love was not just shared between 'us' but it went out to all our friends and then came back to us in an even bigger bubble of loveliness. It's easy to get wrapped in weddings being about 'you' but actually it's about everyone and it's a really lovely thing.

    2 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    Love this post! Such beautiful finds too!!! =)

    2 years ago

  • dieseline

    dieseline from Dieseline says:

    Bridal showers were to help a young bride get necessary house hold items if it was a quick wedding or they did not have much. A registry still seems like telling people what to buy you because you want it, especially if it's not an item to create your new home together.

    2 years ago

  • NecessiTees

    NecessiTees from NecessiTees says:

    Lovely gift ideas you selected for your 'related items' and a great wisdom that the gifts should not be about the 'stuff' but about the remembrances of the people who gave them.

    2 years ago

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly says:

    I still think of the people who gave us special gifts for our wedding 6 years ago now. I have beautiful china that I don't use much but I still love it. I think of all my family members who came together to get us pretty close to the whole set. It is such a sweet remembrance, even if we don't use it often, because it is displayed in a gorgeous antique cabinet with glass front doors so we see it every day.

    2 years ago

  • VintageMarketPlace

    VintageMarketPlace from VintageMarketPlace says:

    I really think that this wedding thing has gotten out of hand. When did it become acceptable for couples to say in lieu of gifts please just give us money. WHAT!!! I think that miss manners would be appalled at this. We did not have a registry for our wedding, people gave from their hearts not from a list of material things.

    2 years ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat says:

    The last time I bought gifts for a couple who got married without living together first & so actually NEEDED to be set up with all their household belongings I got them 2 gifts... one was a huge box filled with a bucket, mop, dusters, squeegees, washing up scrubbies & "boring" cleaning stuff & the other was a small box containing a pair of gorgeous mugs, some artisan hot chocolate & a big bag of marshmallows for their first quiet evening in their new house. I wasn't there when the gifts were opened, but apparently they both went down well & I have the satisfation of knowing that at least the first gift would have been useful for a long while & the second was a celebration of their love. I always ignore registries, my budget doesn't run to posh china & I resent being presented with a wish list to fulfil the couple's materialistic needs. Never having bothered with marriage, everything in our house has been gathered along the way by me & my better half. I think that's more satisfying than being presented with a ready made matching domestic kit.

    2 years ago

  • Alicebr1

    Alicebr1 says: Featured

    We did the whole registry thing, and honestly, while it was kinda fun running around looking at beautiful (kitchen!) stuff it did feel overwhelming. Trying to get a range of prices so everyone, if they wanted, would be able to get us a gift. There are so many things now that I wish I hadn't put on the list, because people bought them for us and now I have them. I don't want to get rid of them because they were wedding gifts, but sometimes I wonder if someone else would be getting much better use out of them. And, the best (or most useful) gift we recieved was a set of sheets- that was not on our registry. They are the most beautiful blue colour, and are 1000 thread count egyptian cotton. It was something we never thought about putting on our registry and yet sheets are something we use everyday. I would highly reccommend backing off from the registry and letting your friends and family do their own thinking- you will end up with some not-so-wonderful items, but then again, what you do recieve will be the product of their own experiences and love.

    2 years ago

  • TheEverlastingPosy

    TheEverlastingPosy from TheEverlastingPosy says:

    Pretty wrapping paper!

    2 years ago

  • MelissaKojima

    Melissa Kojima from ArtistInLALALand says:

    Such beautiful ideas for the wedding registry. Thank you for this article.

    2 years ago

  • illiniwu

    illiniwu from illiniwu says:

    i was skeptical as well about people remembering who bought what off their registry. after visiting my married friends' homes, they'll pull out a glass or a plate and say so-and-so bought this, no matter how mundane.

    2 years ago

  • NerdDog

    Melinda from TheWhiteSchnauzer says:

    It's funny that this is on Etsy when Etsy still doesn't have a wish list/ registry option like people have been asking for for ages.

    2 years ago

  • OceanAvenueSilks

    OceanAvenueSilks from OceanAvenueSilks says:

    Wonderful article! I am in the middle of registering for our May wedding, and it has been the most difficult thing about planning so far! Thank you!!

    2 years ago

  • laMarmotaCafe

    Marmota Café from laMarmotaCafe says:

    Unless you´re really hurting for stuff to set up your new home as a married couple, registries are completely outdated. How is choosing something from a list of pre-approved objects showing love? Are you going to look at that place setting in 20 years and get nostalgic because it brings back memories of Great-Aunt Chartreuse? …Doubtful. Pardon me, but this is ridiculous.

    2 years ago

  • RamblinRiver

    Jessi from RamblinRiver says:

    I think an Etsy gift registry would be great!

    2 years ago

  • HouseOfMoss

    Alison Comfort from HouseOfMoss says:

    I'm not engaged yet, but I'm very much hoping that Etsy comes up with a wedding registry system by the time I am! ;)

    2 years ago

  • JulieMeyer

    Julie Meyer from JulieMeyer says:

    I absolutely hated registering when I got married. It just felt greedy to me. I do check registry's though when shopping for weddings and showers to see if they have a clock they want. It's something they look at numerous times a day and hopefully think of the giver more frequently.

    2 years ago

  • lifemeetsart

    Jolynn from lifemeetsart says:

    For those who are picky a registry works great . My husband of 15 years and I eloped and family bought us what ever they wanted. There are those random family members we don't know well enough to buy for so a rehistry is helpful. If we can't make the wedding we send a gift card to where ever they registered. Too bad Etsy doesn't have gift cards.

    2 years ago

  • jamieribisi

    Jamie Ribisi-Braley from jamieribisi says:

    A registry is not a bad thing and it doesn't have to be about getting "stuff." In practical terms, many people need basic necessities when they are starting off their lives together. You likely only have crappy pots and pans and plates from not being able to afford nicer things. My husband and I didn't want fine china so, instead, we registered for handmade pottery via http://www.etsy.com/shop/claycoyote And the rest of our registry were practical items that we would use every day. I think the main gist of this article is more about Etsy not having a registry!

    2 years ago

  • uswatsons

    Sylvie Liv from SylvieLiv says:

    That is the neatest chalkboard ever!!!

    2 years ago

  • FalconandFinch

    Lynelle Miliate-Ha from FalconandFinch says: Featured

    When my husband and I got married last year, we purposely registered for things that would make our new life together easier or simply "better." These were things that cut housework or chore time or made organization more efficient, so that we could spend more quality time together. Or things that made that time more luxurious or fun, like big fluffy towels, soft sheets or even a waffle maker and a little grill that we could take to the park. Of course we also asked for the heirloom things and the fancy things, but it's the every day things that we received that make our shared time happier. Every time we crawl into bed between those super soft sheets, we breathe a little sigh happiness.

    2 years ago

  • QsGoodies

    Q from QsGoodies says:

    Great article! Luv the 3 drop porcelain and leather hanging container!

    2 years ago

  • ModernChicDesigns

    Amy from ModernChicDesigns says:

    Love this post. Great story! Marriage is soooooooo different for everyone!

    2 years ago

  • sismandeer

    sismandeer says:

    rushgirl2112, I second that emotion. A registry is convenient for your guests in only one way: it reassures them that you will not return their gifts. When I got engaged, my in-laws wanted to give us china, so we picked out a pattern. We registered for some other housewares in case people wanted to give us pots and pans and not duplicate each other's gifts, but we didn't include registry information in our invitations, and we told our honor attendants and families that we absolutely did not want a shower. At our wedding, we received some things from the registry, and some things not, and I couldn't have cared less *what* people gave us (or if they had given us anything)--the fact that they came to witness our vows was what we appreciated most. As far as giving housewares goes, though, I'm greatly in favor of the idea of Etsy-ing instead of Bed Bath & Beyond! I've found some items at oakmoss and whimzythyme, for example, that my friends have loved receiving at Christmas and on birthdays. I would love to read a blog post like this one, from the perspective of a wedding guest :-)

    2 years ago

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage says:

    Awesome article!

    2 years ago

  • EgyptianInspirations

    EgyptianInspirations from EgyptianInspirations says:

    Ahhhh those spider plants in those hanging baskets reminds me of my early years of married life in our first apartment.

    2 years ago

  • loralyn1

    Laura King from LoralynDesigns says:

    Funny, I have been putting of the registry for the same reasons you listed. My fiance and I are nearing our 40s, well established, don't need much, especially pots and pans... Meg, thanks. This makes me look at it in a whole new light. We'll need to get creative, which will be fun!

    2 years ago

  • iammieCLAYshop

    iammieCLAYshop from iammieCLAYshop says:

    Thanks for sharing.

    2 years ago

  • debbyhillberg

    Debby from DebbysHandmadeGoods says:

    I remember those who came to the wedding, not the gifts that were given. I like to pick out gifts for the couple I can afford so a registry can be helpful in that way but I have found that they register so early that most of the items they have selected are no longer on the shelves. My favorite gift when I didn't have much money was a journal that I personalized just for them and included a page for each year of marriage memories. I too think a registry on Etsy would be a great idea.

    2 years ago

  • PeachyKeenCreations

    Brittany Pirtle from NaturalEnemy says:

    My father grew up always supporting someone else and never having much money to buy himself anything nice. When he got married this January it finally hit him that things like registries are there because people DO love you and DO care about you and DO want to give you tokens of congratulations. There are of course uppity couples who feel they are deserving of such gifts (thinking of $15k + weddings), but that's not everyone. It's moreso a guideline for those who would otherwise have no idea what to get (because they really want to get you something!) and you'd end up with things you already had or would never use like an iron or a juicer. So as a guideline, good to follow, but doesn't mean you have to stick to it. I don't think I'll -NEED- anything when it comes my time for marriage, but I will list things I would love to have and cherish very much (like a little higher end than $6 store brand toasters) while making sure everyone knows it's not mandatory nor expected and could not compare to sharing such a special day with me. :)

    2 years ago

  • TheScarletWood

    TheScarletWood from TheScarletWood says:

    If only there was an way to register on Etsy!

    2 years ago

  • TedandTrim

    TedandTrim from TedandTrim says:

    Omigod. Thnak you for making sense of these issues. I went straight to by the book.

    2 years ago

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl says:

    The favorite thing I ever bought a friend of mine off her registry was an UNO game. It was so much fun, and I even gave her instuctions for my favorite versions of UNO. Best present, and I am sure she thinks of me everytime she opens it to play.

    2 years ago

  • grimmlynn

    Jeni from grimmlynn says:

    My husband and I had an outdoor wedding on a lake last April. We skipped the registry because we were more concerned with the event and looking forward to the actual gathering of people we loved. Family and friends showing up, whether they had to drive across 5 states or 5 blocks, meant more than any rice cooker could ever dream. We still received a barrage of gifts and cards, which meant a lot that people did that even though we didn't have to provide a 'shopping list' so to speak.

    2 years ago

  • ezliving

    ezliving from ezliving says:

    Nice! Very Nice! Wrapping paper!!

    2 years ago

  • uniquefabricgifts

    Unique Fabric Gifts from uniquefabricgifts says:

    I really enjoyed this post! The registry is a great idea for every new couple. People feel happy to know that they are giving you something useful that you are going to enjoy and probably even remember them everytime you use it.

    2 years ago

  • tortillagirl

    tortillagirl from tortillagirl says: Featured

    When I got married in 1996 I registered because it was customary to do so where I lived at the time. I did have fun browsing around and considered it more of a wishlist than anything else. Still, I was shy about the list and felt odd "telling" people what I wanted so I only mentioned that I was registered if outright asked. (And written mentions of the registry were not included in shower invitations or in the wedding invitations.) Gifts that were purchased both off and on the list were welcome and appreciated, of course. But I did notice that because my husband and I didn't live with each other before the wedding (so we had a whole household to set up) and because I was so quiet about my list I was given repeat items of the same thing (i.e., two coffeemakers, several sets of china, etc.). This made me realize that a list can be useful as a guideline for guests who would like to give you what you need to set up a home or to make your everyday married life more comfortable. They dont have to get you exactly what is on the list, but at least get an idea of what your tastes are. I know that when I buy someone a gift, I would like to get them something they would like to receive, not something *I* would like to receive.

    2 years ago

  • shuqi

    Emily Lim from shuqi says:

    great story. merci:)

    2 years ago

  • cottonbirddesigns

    Angela Cotton from CottonBirdDesigns says:

    Great article!

    2 years ago

  • lockinyour

    David Bateson says:

    Funny, I have been putting of the registry for the same reasons you listed. My fiance and I are nearing our 40s, well established, don't need much, especially pots and pans... Meg, thanks. This makes me look at it in a whole new light. We'll need to get creative, which will be fun! Best of Luck www.lockinyourspot.com

    2 years ago

  • JulieSpins

    JulieSpins from JulieSpins says:

    I bet that few people remember who gave them place setting number 2 out of 12, or that small saucepan, or any of the other hundreds of items on a wedding registry gift list. The notion that you remember who "loved you hard" when you use that set of silverware is disingenuous to me. to say the least. It is the odd,"off registry" gift that you MIGHT remember came from a particular person, as it says at the end of the article. I don't think registries are a greedy gift grab, more a convenience precisely when I am not close enough to the couple to want to spend the time thinking of a special gift. I found the article interesting, if a little disturbing in its assumptions and spin. When the natural reaction of so many people who go to set up a registry is that their distaste must be overcome (perhaps by articles like this), I think it tells you something. Trust your instincts.

    2 years ago

  • redlinecs

    redlinecs from redlinecs says:

    You're absolutly right about registry! My husband and I made a registry for a wonderful honey moon of 3 weeks in Australia and it has been the most interesting and exciting journey of our life!

    2 years ago

  • 622press

    Kristin Joiner from 622press says:

    Beautiful sentiments about family, community and marriage. Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • BridalSashesOnly

    Kathy Johnson from BridalSashesOnly says:

    I love it when couples have a registery, takes the guessing out of it. Thanks for the article!

    2 years ago

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 says:

    I like the registery because it gives you a choice of what to give the bride and groom, yet getting them something they really need and want. great article, thanks for sharing1

    2 years ago

  • AlicesEyesDC

    Felicia DeGiorgis from AlicesEyesDC says:

    I'm in the midst of planning my wedding and I can relate so much to this article (I was until just now completely baffled as to what to put on my registry!) This even made me cry a little! I have your book in my amazon cart right now I think its going to help me a lot! Lovely post!

    2 years ago

  • janicewd

    janicewd from janicewd says:

    I think a registry can be helpful for guests to choose a gift. But, after being married for 25 years, I still cherish all the gifts that I still have whether from our registry or not. And, I think it is nice also to be surprised with something that isn't on your registry as well. All in all its great to have wedding gifts to cherish over all the meaningful years of a marriage.

    2 years ago

  • BrightWallVintage

    Jenna and Erik from BrightWallVintage says:

    What a thoughtful article. My husband and I opted to not do a registry for our wedding, and he even had a hard time coming to terms with people giving us gifts (monetary or otherwise) at all. It took a couple of family members explaining that people WANT to give you gifts at your wedding, and feel happy doing so, for him to finally accept the idea. I think you are right on about the intentions behind wedding gifts!

    2 years ago

  • anickascottage

    Ann from AnickasCottage says:

    Back in MY day, (I am 66) it was considered rude and presumptuous to "ASK" for specific Gifts from your friends and family, if they had a doubt they would ask your Mom or family member for a suggestion...or give $. I still can't grasp the modern concept....but things change...as the World turns...

    2 years ago

  • greenyogini

    greenyogini from greenyogini says:

    This is, by far, the singular best article I have ever read on this topic. Thank you. :) P.S. I love that pepper mill. :D

    2 years ago

  • L2Country

    L2Country from L2Country says:

    Nice article and lovely picks..."L"

    2 years ago

  • acertainworld

    Meg Reber from acertainworld says:

    It's so interesting to hear all of these different perspectives! When my husband and I got engaged, we weren't sure that we wanted a registry, since we had already been living together for a few years so we didn't need, or even want, "stuff". Our parents encouraged us to register for at least a few things, for the very same reasons Meg outlined: people would want to give gifts as a gesture of love and support for our marriage, and would want some ideas for what we wanted/needed. Once we started making plans for a 2-month honeymoon (!) we did end up building our own honeymoon registry on our wedding website, though we specifically told visitors to our registry that we didn't expect them to get us anything at all. Still, friends and family got us things like reservations for high tea in Edinburgh, a day-long bike rental in Berlin, and a night at a B&B in Siena; an aunt and uncle who rent out a flat in Provence "gifted" it to us for four nights, with recommendations for awesome things to do and see in the area. Especially for people who have traveled a lot, this ended up being really fun for the gift-givers: the friends who "gave" us that night in Siena had been there years ago themselves and loved it, and were delighted to be able to provide us with a way to have our own wonderful experience there. We sent a postcard from each place where someone got us something, as a personalized thank-you. We also wrote a travel blog as we went, so that everyone could follow our trip, an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience that was made possible by the people who we care about, and who care about us. Our blog - which we continue to update every time we travel - and the things we brought back from our trip are the wedding gifts that make us remember that we have an entire community of friends and family who love and support us and our marriage.

    2 years ago

  • OneClayBead

    OneClayBead from OneClayBead says:

    I've offered Bridal Registries right here on Etsy for 4 years, and it gives me great pleasure. Dinnerware is a traditional registry item but my hand built stoneware ceramic plates are far from ordinary. Each piece is made individually, one at a time, with materials and techniques that make them far stronger and more durable than any commercial dinnerware. They are heirloom quality, and will be passed down through generations, much like the memories of the gatherings and meals that the new couple will create. Their guests will soon stand in the place where a commitment to live in love is made. It seems right that each guest brings an offering that also represents a commitment to our earth, to happy and fulfilling work. Each plate purchased represents an affirmation that this couple will see beauty and find pleasure in their own unique way. It may not be what their aunts, or boss, or neighbors, or we would have chosen for them, but we honor that it is right for this them.

    2 years ago

  • BlueMoonLights

    Alexandra Simons from BlueMoonLights says:

    Great post! I love the idea of giving unique wedding gifts from Etsy.

    2 years ago

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations says:

    What a lovely reminder about what marriage means, and about the people who love you. We eloped and skipped the registry altogether, mostly because we live in a NYC apartment (where would we put things?!), but this is a great way to look at the gifts people give you and the thought behind them.

    2 years ago

  • priya123

    Priya from amuandpri says:

    awesome article ! Love it !

    2 years ago

  • justbuyin

    Michelle says:

    When got married, we were each setting up our first home. I had been collecting some things for a while, but we did register for towels and linens and simple kitchen stuff. We did get alot of surprises, which I loved. But I have to disagree with the idea that a registry can't foster creativity. I find it fun to pick something boring from the registry and pair it with off registry gifts to make a themed goody box. One registry I shopped had this plain ole glass cookie jar. I got it and filled it with some fun measure cups and spoons, cookie cutters, a bottle of the best vanilla extract I could find and recipe cards, some of which had my favorite cookie recipes on them (the rest I left blank so they could add their own).

    2 years ago

  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags says:

    Great article ! Thanks !

    2 years ago

  • jbeaudet

    Jennifer Beaudet from JBeaudetStudios says:

    Great article! Etsy should try to set up a registry for brides. That would be very helpful for everyone. I never registered for anything because my wedding was so small but I was thrilled with everything I got. Thanks for this!

    2 years ago

  • thehappycouple

    Brianna from thehappycouple says:

    This article said it so well. After we got married, my husband and I wanted to buy a house because the rates were so incredible, but we also wanted to travel, so we have a house with no furniture which irritates other people in our lives, but we're doing our marriage and our life the way we want. I also think it's wonderful to indulge a little in the registry if you want to, you don't have to use every item every day.

    2 years ago

  • dianemc60

    Diane says:

    When I got married 37 years ago, I believe it was tradition that drove people to bring gifts. I still have some that I cherish. One that comes to mind is a beautiful hand-thrown pitcher. I always think of the person who gave it to us. On the other hand, I refused to let anyone give me a bridal shower--even back then--because I didn't want to obligate anyone to buy a gift. I agree with others in that I would not have cared then or today if someone didn't bring a gift--only that they cared enough to attend on our special day.

    2 years ago

  • JanJat

    Catherine from JanJat says:

    I love how the pepper grinder found a home! Lovely to hear how taking time, patience and self-awareness will ultimately create the perfect wedding for you and only you. I agree with the comments above too - Etsy NEEDS a registry!!!

    2 years ago

  • InspiraMetroJewelry

    Micci Cohan from InspiraMetroJewelry says:

    Great article! Years ago I decided instead of giving whats on the registry, I would give a piece of jewelry I made or a painting, making it a bit more personal and special. Love the selection here especially the prints!

    2 years ago

  • LittleWeeShop

    Jennifer from LittleWeeShop says:

    Here Here on the ESTY Registry. When I married I created my own on-line registry and requested quite a few Etsy items, not only introducing many of my guests to Etsy for the first time but these gifts then had more meaning being hand made. Additionally we requested many USED ITEMS! We are an eco-friendly family and we received some great used pots, an iron, rain barrel... it wasthe perfect alternative to new new new. ~Little Wee Shop~

    2 years ago

  • dottywalker

    Dotty Walker from SewThoughtfulBlanket says:

    Love the pictures! Thanks.

    2 years ago

  • NicoleNicoletta2

    Nicole Nicoletta from MintMarbles says:

    that present looks simply beautiful! i've always found registries to be super helpful since i never know what to get anyone. i'm all for it.

    2 years ago

  • lovelygifts

    Linda from lovelygifts says:

    Very interesting!

    2 years ago

  • ruchla
  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy says:

    Enjoyed your article! thanks for sharing-really like the pottery!!

    2 years ago

  • LCooperDesigns

    LC Cooper from LeMaisonBelle says:

    "In much of the western world, we’ve collectively decided that registries are for kitchen things." In my area, brides register for everything from crystal to garden hoses...LOL!

    2 years ago

  • bellbirdbeads

    Amanda Mae from bellbirdbeads says:

    This article has been an eye opener! I am not yet married but two of my friends who were recently married were both openly vocal about their excitement of getting gifts and i thought to myself they were being rather shallow and that I wouldn't want a registry if i were to get married. But perhaps you are right that the gift is a symbol of the gift-givers love and support and having a registry will hopefully guide people away from too many odd looking pepper grinders! Hahaha! Really enjoy your writing, thanks.

    2 years ago

  • sarahkaydesign

    Sarah Lucero from sarahkaydesign says:

    I enjoyed your article. My husband and I were married five years ago and we registered for this beautiful silverware. It had been sitting in my drawer for the last four and a half years, until I realized that someone took the time to show their love for us by buying that silverware and what a disservice it was to just let it sit in the drawer. So, my husband and I decided to start using it and the most amazing thing happened. Whenever we used the fancy silverware, we were reminded of our wedding day and of how much love we share for each other and our friends. So I say register away!

    2 years ago

  • BlueBrocade

    BlueBrocade from BlueBrocade says:

    Meg, I find your views on marriage and weddings wonderfully refreshing and inspiring! I always look forward to your posts on redefining marriage on Etsy, these are great!

    2 years ago

  • eggagogo

    Sarah C from eggagogo says: Featured

    Great article. This is such an interesting topic that people are pretty passionate about. As a wedding GUEST, I love when a couple has a registry. If I don't know the folks well, it's a nice way to know what they need in their life. If I DO know them well and want to make them a gift, the registry can give me hint about what color scheme they want in the bedroom (based on linens they registered for) if I want to make them a pillow, for example. Giving gifts is a wedding tradition. If I was to get married and someone didn't give me a gift, I wouldn't care - but for those people who DO want to give gifts, the registry can be a great place for ideas or hints.

    2 years ago

  • misponko

    Liudmila Rosario Ponko from PonkoWorld says:

    Great article!!! great story!!

    2 years ago

  • arianaalysedesigns

    Ariana Alyse from arianaalysedesigns says:

    My husband & I got married last October and decided to do a non-traditional registry. We already lived together so we had all the basic things needed for a household. We could have gotten nicer towels and more expensive cookware, I suppose, but we felt like that was so unnecessary. Instead, we did a honeymoon registry so our guests could help us afford a great trip. It was fantastic, because not only we were able to go on a honeymoon (which otherwise we not have been able to afford), but we created wealth of great memories together that we'll look back on for the rest of our lives. And we've been able to share our experience with our guests, because they're actually somewhat invested in it. Nobody was ever going to ask us about how things are going with our new pots and pans, but they do ask us how our honeymoon was. And specifically, how their contribution made our honeymoon special. I think that is what marriage and family is all about - sharing our memories and experiences.

    2 years ago

  • TheWeddingFairy

    Petya Georgieva from TheWeddingFairy says:

    one great article .... bravo ...

    2 years ago

  • TheBeautyofBoredom

    Gracie from TheBeautyofBoredom says:

    No idea what I would put on a wedding registry if I were to get married. Most of my family just gives me money these days.

    2 years ago

  • StuffinUp

    Stacey and Stephanie from StuffinUp says:

    I think the greatest thing EVER would be an Etsy gift registry!!!!!!! I can see it now on an invitaton "registered at Etsy, to view registry, click www.etsy.wedding.jones-smith.com ." Wow! That would really be AWESOME!!!!!!!! -Stacey

    2 years ago

  • LadyLyBoutique

    Lady Ly from LadyLyBoutique says:

    Great article. I believe deciding to have a registry is a balancing act. In one hand you do not want to end up having a lot of things you will never use. In the other is having too much predictivity when getting you gifts. Also is challenging registering for a wide price range. There are people that will give presents they like and are unique. I personally will not give a gift, even when is in the person's registry, if I do not like it. I rather give money... if I am unsure of their taste.

    2 years ago

  • weareboundtogether

    Andrea Davis from weareboundtogether says:

    It would be great to see a registry with etsy somehow, not just for weddings, but baby showers, and all that too. It's true about the kitchen stuff. When I got marries 7 years ago, I had already been living on my own for a couple years and had the basics. But it was nice to register for that nice bedding I could never afford on my own. If etsy had a registry, it would be great to get all that cozy, homemade, high quality personal stuff you wish you could get, but can't. Your friends and family could look and see, okay this is what you like, as opposed to department store homes.

    2 years ago

  • KatieRichcreek

    Katie Richcreek says:

    Meg Keene hit the nail on the head with her comment about how you are allowing the people you love to love you. When you purchase expensive gifts as you usually do for a wedding, you definitely want the people you are giving the gift to, to love the gift and think of you with pleasure when they use or see your gift to them on that special occasion. If the bride and groom do not create a registry for some reason, they are putting their guests in an awkward position trying to chose a gift for them when the wedding guests will probably not know the couple's tastes very well. This takes longer to chose a gift, and can be quite embarrassing in the case of duplicate gifts, or gifts the couple may obviously not care for ever use.

    2 years ago

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger says:

    It would be nice if there was a way to have a Wedding Registry on Etsy!! If there is a way, please share....Nice article!

    2 years ago

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    Great post! A good friend of mine is getting married this summer and they are planning to write their own vows. Also, my husband is a Dudist Priest and he is going to marry them. Knowing my husband and my friends, this is going to be one fun wedding. I know my husband is planning to reference The Big Lebowski (after all, that's where Dudism came from) and my friends are going to talk about zombie invasions in their vows. I seriously can't wait! Now, because of all these oddities, I have to get them something fun for the wedding as well! So, I'm relying on the etsy community, and I've got some great ideas thanks to them!

    2 years ago

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas says:

    hahah...we got an odd pepper grinder too. I've been married almost 15 years and we still use it.

    2 years ago

  • fineartstoneware

    fineartstoneware from fineartstoneware says:

    great picks and great article!

    2 years ago

  • MeadowbelleMarket

    MeadowbelleMarket from MeadowbelleMarket says:

    So many of my most cherished and memorable wedding gifts were not purchased from my registry. I remember these gifts because a little bit of each loved one's personality shines through and reminds me of that person every time I use the item. I definitely surprised myself by really loving the gifts I never even registered for best!

    2 years ago