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Modern Gift Registry

Of all the preparations that go into planning a wedding, one would think the gift registry would be a no-brainer. After all, what's complicated about presents? Turns out, the registry is in flux. All but gone are the days when a young woman sat down at the formal dining room table with her mother and decided on the china pattern she would have for the rest of her married life. Couples who are getting married have often already set up housekeeping, and have established styles of their own. Sometimes they decide on a registry that doesn't include things such as blenders and towels, or eschew the gifts altogether. The registry is a shifting concept in the modern wedding landscape.

You Say Tomato, I Say Italy

A typical scenario may look something like this: A couple in their mid-twenties or so has been together two years when they decide to become engaged. A date is set, the families are thrilled, and it's time to get planning. One half of the couple envisions winding down from the stress of the preparations with a relaxing evening stroll through the aisles of Crate & Barrel, coding gun in hand, pointing and shooting at serving platters and margarita glass sets. The other half of the couple believes they already have everything they need, and should encourage enthusiastic gift-givers to put cash toward their honeymoon on the Italian Riviera or, even more abstract, toward a future down payment on a home.

Meet in the Middle

Just like that, the idea of the registry becomes a discussion about responsible consumerism and materialism. While this may be an opportunity to explore methods of agreement that will become essential to a long and successful marriage, arguing about presents is not very celebratory. In this situation, there may be strategies for finding compromise before all the fun is sucked out of the moment. Couples should take a moment to talk about what is important to them. It is essential, as well, to consider how to give other people opportunities to give that are accessible and meaningful for them. Topics to bring to the table:

  • Current living space: Where's it all going to go?
  • Lifestyle: Formal glassware or camping gear from REI? Or both?
  • Giving options to suit every budget
  • Donation opportunities: honeymoon, house, charities

Escapism vs. Fantasy

There is building a dream for a life together, and then there is trying to buy a perfect life straight out of the Williams-Sonoma catalogue. To own it is not to use it, as many people with a closet full of fondue pots and yogurt makers can attest. You want to be that person who fills the home with the scent of fresh beignets every Saturday morning? Having the gadget helps, but you still have to make the donuts. The registry is an aspirational tool, to be sure. It can provide a sort of template for how two people may envision their grown-up life together. That said, a high-quality blender may make perfect sense, but something more whimsical like the snow-cone machine may be just as appropriate for the couple that loves to host summertime rooftop parties. Base your fantasy gift list on the dream of yourselves.

Honor the Intent of the Registry

A registry has two basic purposes. The first is to furnish a couple with the things they need to begin a shared life together. The second is to allow their family and friends to acknowledge and celebrate their union with a token or gesture. In this light, using a registry to help pay for post-wedding expenses such as a honeymoon or a house is perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the thing. It is always a good idea, however, to provide a short and simple list for people who would prefer to purchase something. In the end, the giver decides the gift.

Category: Get Ordained Wedding Materials

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