Wedding Etiquette: Registry Information

Now that wedding planning is in full swing for the Parasols, I have become aware of a plethora of wedding-etiquette rules that I never even knew existed. Of course I had a general idea of some of the more “common sense” ones (like don’t wear white to a wedding), but there are a lot of rules I didn’t know about, and quite a few of them don’t seem to make much sense to me. While I could elaborate on a variety of wedding-related etiquette rules, right now I want to focus on one in particular: registry information.

Etiquet

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Prior to getting engaged and planning my own wedding, I had only peripheral knowledge of wedding registries. Essentially, I knew that they were giant lists that basically tell guests what items the bride and groom want and at which stores guests could purchase these gifts. Given this peripheral understanding, I always thought that registries were actually quite helpful. I mean, I want to honor the bride and groom’s special day with a gift, and isn’t it nice that they told me exactly what they want? How thoughtful of them!

But now that I am planning my own wedding, I’ve come to learn that people have very particular ideas about how the bride and groom’s registry information should be dispersed amongst the guests. I’d never really thought about this before, and if asked how guests received this information, I probably would have said that it is included in the wedding invitations.

WRONG.

Apparently many people still consider it a major faux pas for a bride and groom to list their registry information on their wedding invitations. Don’t believe me? Here’s what Peggy Post of Good Housekeeping had to say on the subject:

Gift registry information should never be included in a wedding invitation. Tradition still holds that the practice of including lists of gift registries with wedding invitations is considered tacky and inappropriate. Why? It puts more emphasis on the gift and less on the request that the recipient join you on your special day. Gift registries are wonderful tools. But get the word out the old-fashioned way: word of mouth (and don’t email gift registry information, even if you’re listed on a registry Web site).

(Source)

I get Peggy’s logic, I really do. I can totally understand that if a bride and groom send out wedding invitations that prominently display where they are registered, some might think they are more interested in receiving gifts than celebrating their special day with loved ones. And yes, I’ve heard of some really tacky invitations with disclaimers like: “Cash gifts only! Any other gifts will be thrown in the trash!” Yes, that’s pretty poor taste.

What I find particularly funny, though, is the fact that it is often considered equally rude for a guest to arrive empty handed to a wedding. We live in a society that is always bearing gifts. When it comes to dinner parties, housewarmings, and farewell sendoffs, it’s considered polite, perhaps even expected, for guests to bring a little something for the host/hostess, or at least to offer to do so. Weddings are no exception, and this is where the logic of wedding-registry etiquette starts to get a little muddled for me. So brides and grooms aren’t supposed to expect gifts or even look like they’re asking for them, but guests are thought to be rude if they don’t bring gifts to the wedding? Hmm. Sounds like quite the catch-22.

And let’s be honest: most guests probably want to give the bride and groom a gift. I know I always do. A wedding is a very special and sacred celebration, and it’s an honor to be invited to share in one. It’s only natural that most guests will want to give a gift, and so it seems a little backwards that etiquette dictates that brides and grooms make it more difficult for guests to find out where they’re registered and what they actually want. And thinking as a wedding guest, which is all I’ve ever been up to this point, I always find it helpful to have all necessary information featured in the invitation, including where the bride and groom are registered.

When it comes to our own registry, though, Mr. Parasol and I want to ruffle as few feathers as possible, so we’re just going list our registry information on our wedding website and tell people by word of mouth, but only when they ask. I don’t think it would be that big of a deal if we put our registry information on our wedding invitations. I’m sure a lot of our friends are just as ignorant of these etiquette rules as we are and so probably wouldn’t notice a faux pas like registry information on the wedding invitation. But I guess I’d rather be safe than “tacky and inappropriate,” because those are two words I never want to have associated with my wedding!

How are you telling your guests about your wedding registry? Do you find any wedding-related etiquette rules as perplexing as I do?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Parasol

Location:
San Ramon, California
Wedding Date:
September 2011
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  1. Member
    highwire 1021 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:33 pm

    We put our registry information on our wedding website, which we listed on our Save-the-Dates. We only sent STDs to close friends and family and not our entire guest list. So now, we just realized that many of the people we are inviting (like Mr. HW’s whole office at work) have no idea where we are registered and have no way of finding out unless they ask us. Oh well. They’ll either ask us or get us something that isn’t on the registry. Or nothing at all. It’ll be fine.

  2. Member
    berkie 935 posts, Busy bee @ 2:36 pm

    We put registry information on our website, and we put our website address on the map/directions insert that went in the envelope along with the invitation. It’s a honeymoon registry, and we put that personal gifts and monetary gifts are also very appreciated. We already have all the dishes and linens any person could ever dream of! So far, the only feedback we’ve gotten is that we didn’t make the website address prominent enough.

  3. Member
    bunting 687 posts, Busy bee @ 2:40 pm

    We listed our registry info on our website, too. The website url was tastefully on both save-the-dates and invitations. While I know some of our guests wouldn’t have cared if the registry info were on the invite, there are a few that are VERY stern about etiquette and would have judged us so hard. Bleck.

    The majority of our wedding gifts came in the form of checks, and the physical items we did get were an even mixture of registry and non-registry items. I have no idea if guests didn’t make it to our website, or only knew where we were registered because of my bridal shower, but it all worked out fine. :)

  4. Member
    Miss_Book 54 posts, Worker bee @ 2:44 pm

    I definitely think that putting the registry information on the invitations is tacky. We put our registry information on our website. The website was on our STDs and on our information insert for the invitations. So, the guests can find the information if they look. Or they could always ask me, FH, or our families. :)

  5. Member
    GreenGables 812 posts, Busy bee @ 2:45 pm

    I definitely get the tension you’ve pointed out between those two “rules,” and I’ve thought about it before. I guess in a practical sense they seem to be at odds, but when you really think about it, conceptually they’re not irreconcilable. The focus on each rule is on the relevant party’s personal conduct. Yes, a guest shouldn’t arrive empty-handed (metaphorically, anyway, since it’s better to send gifts ahead of time than bring them), but that doesn’t mean a host or hostess should outright ask for gifts or make it known that they’re expected.

    To me it makes sense – the emphasis of the rule is in your treatment of other people. Like say you got a letter or an email inviting you to a dinner party, and the hostess added a note at the end saying, “By the way, if you’re wondering what you should bring me when you show up, I like pinot noir and jasmine-scented candles.” If I saw that I’d have a little *hmmm* moment. (And this is much different, in my mind, than if you’re best friends with the hostess and she asks you, “Hey, do you mind picking up a bottle of wine on your way? Totally different, IMO.)

    I will say, though, that while I don’t plan on putting my registry invitation on my invites, if I did receive an invite with registry info on it, I probably wouldn’t think anything negative because by now registries have become such an intrinsic part of the whole wedding thing that a lot of people just don’t realize it may be frowned upon and don’t mean to offend. It all depends on the tone, I suppose. If it’s just a registry insert, ok, I’m not gonna raise an eyebrow. If the invite states that money is desired, I’m gonna be like, “Really guys?”

  6. Member
    cannon 513 posts, Busy bee @ 2:46 pm

    We are not doing registry information on the invitation because I think it would outrage some folks we know, but my sister put it on the shower invitations.

    I don’t think it’s a big deal either way. We’ve been invited to a few weddings where we didn’t know where the people were registered and we just checked a couple of the typical stores (BB&B, Macy’s, Target) and surprise! We found the registries. If we didn’t, we just gave them a check.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Sweetmisty, Guest @ 2:51 pm

    Is it really tacky to not inclue registry information? My fiance and I have been living together for a year, and we have all the “house” things we need, and don’t feel the need to have a registry. Now, we need furniture. Do we register for furniture? Or just word of mouth pass it along??? Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

  8. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 2:59 pm

    We put it on our website too, yet people (internet savvy folk even) have asked me where we are registered. I get the whole “not wanting it to seem like gifts are more important than your presence”, but sometimes I think it would be so much easier!

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Kelly, Guest @ 3:10 pm

    We did that… listed our registry info on our website. I don’t think anyone had any issues figuring it out. We got almost everything we registered for… and only had a couple guests who didn’t get us anything.

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Cecelia, Guest @ 3:25 pm

    We put our registry info on our website as well, but my mother also included it with the SHOWER invitation. Since most of the women who came to the shower also attended the wedding, they knew where to look. I don’t think it’s tacky on a shower invitation because a shower IS about getting gifts to start your new life together

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Cecelia, Guest @ 3:27 pm

    @Sweetmisty:

    I totally don’t think it’s tacky to register for furniture. If people can’t afford it, I think they will give you a check and you can go later and pick out your furniture. My husband and I registered for a coffee table and a Wii (best gift ever), and we got both from our friends who went in on them. People want to buy things off your registry that they like (I know I go for the cuter stuff first), so if there’s a really awesome chair or super cute lamp you want, I say go for it.

  12. Member
    CupcakeKelly 135 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:00 pm

    I sold high-end wedding invitations for 4 years and never let anyone put registry information on the invites. It was unexpected for a lot of people, but Miss Parasol said it best…better to not even risk being viewed as “tacky and inappropriate!” THE HORROR! :)

    Engagement party and shower invites are great places to list registry information, and of course, the website is perfect. It’s totally fine to include the URL in your wedding invitation suite, but not on the main invite card if you can avoid it. I’d usually have clients include a small card with the heading of “Additional Information” and the text:

    “For further details
    regarding accommodations, directions
    and other wedding festivities,
    please visit
    http://www.nameandname.com

    That way, you keep the main invite formal and uncluttered, but you can still point people in the right direction. Between that and word of mouth (make sure close family and the bridal party know the deets), you should be a-okay!!

  13. Member
    Miss 1Cent 168 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:17 pm

    Someone will always have something to say about something, regardless of which direction you go in. I put the registry info on our wedding website & plan on having them included on the shower invite. People were annoyed that after one month we weren’t even registered anywhere yet- say what? Who has time? The real hell is keeping track of those damn registries. Things go out of stock & disappear into a discountinued abyss far more often then I care to keep up with.

  14. Member
    calypso0712 421 posts, Helper bee @ 4:25 pm

    I’m on the website bandwagon as well. We created a Weddingwire website that actually includes an app that on the “Registry” page will have store logos that will take guests directly to our registry. On my save the dates I put the address for our wedding website and in lieu of sending 18 bagillion inserts with our invitation for accomodations and directions, we’ll stick in one card directing people to our wedding website again (under the pretense of finding directions and accomodations but also conveniently showing our registry information!) We might use the super adorable mini-moo cards for this purpose if I can convince my fiance they are worth the cost instead of just making something myself… he’s not nearly as enamored with “mini” things as I am =)

  15. Member
    Miss Jenniefart 63 posts, Worker bee @ 4:41 pm

    We are having a “money tree” instead of gifts as we have being living together for five years now. We put a cute little poem on the invites

    “We are trying to grow a money tree
    a difficult task you would agree
    but as its something we really need
    perhaps you would care to plant a seed”

    Hopefully its not to pushy. As our guests are scattered all over the world from England, to Australia and we are in NZ its a bit hard to tell them not on the invitations!

  16. Member
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:25 pm

    I wouldn’t think twice if I got an invite with registry info on it, but we are keeping ours to the website and just directing people to that. Ohh the etiquette!

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Zusie, Guest @ 5:34 pm

    On the subject, if you are having a destination or semi-destination wedding is it polite to indicate on your website that you would prefer gifts mailed for the convenience of both the giver and recipient?

  18. Member
    missicecream 174 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:43 pm

    Maybe it’s different in some circles, but I know my family would be majorly peeved if they had to go rifling around looking for where I’m registered. Most of them aren’t internet savvy anyway, so putting it on a wedding website probably wouldn’t work for us. I know I’d be mad if it wasn’t included. In fact, I’d probably assume that the couple just wanted money since they weren’t registered at a store, and I feel like that’s tackier than just including some store names in teeny-tiny print on your invitation(with a disclosure that gifts are appreciated but certainly not expected). I know a lot of people request cash, and no offense to the bees who do it, I get that you have everything you need-but if you HAVE everything you NEED, I just feel like you shouldn’t ask for more from your guests. Instead, ask them to donate to a charity!

  19. Member
    Miss Winter 260 posts, Helper bee @ 8:45 pm

    The ladies hosting our showers have asked us for our registry info so they’ll be including it with the shower invites. I can’t say I’ve every received a wedding invite with this info – I’ve always received it with the shower invites.

  20. Member
    tartlet 3227 posts, Sugar bee @ 9:11 pm

    We put our registry information on our website, too. I’ve never been offended by an invitation that includes the information (it makes it easier for me to shop!), but as you said, better safe than sorry!

  21. Member
    TamJam 211 posts, Helper bee @ 9:48 pm

    I Put it on our site and I may include it on our “details” card in our invite suit. I’m not sure yet. I don’t think it’s tacky and I think the etiquette contradicts itself. I can’t ask for a gift but I can put it on my site and tell people where to go and find it?! So stupid! Then if I don’t I have ppl asking me all the time where am I registered! Personally I hate when I have to take the extra step to find out where someone is registered. Just put it in your invites so I can be done with it.

  22. Member
    parasol 2955 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:53 am

    Thanks so much, ladies, for sharing all of your perspectives and experiences with etiquette rules and registry info, sharing! I’m glad I’m not the only one who is so often confused by etiquette.

    And I totally agree with those of you who said that you put your registry info on your bridal shower invites. Mr. Parasol and I did this as well because we rationalized that the purpose of a shower is to, well, shower you with gifts! No need to be coy with this one. :)

  23. Member
    davisgirl12 53 posts, Worker bee @ 11:04 am

    @MissIcecream: I agree with you. Most of the people in my and Mr. Bowling’s family aren’t computer savvy. I truthfully don’t even think they would know what a wedding website is (they’d rather we go to the courthouse :( Anyway, I think I’m going to include a small business card (free from vistaprint) that has a nice note and includes where we’re registered.

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    t, Guest @ 10:14 pm

    I can actually see how it could be construed as rude to put registry information in an invitation. It could seem like you are demanding gifts from people, and personally I would rather focus on the celebration and love than getting gifts. Also, aesthetically speaking, it doesn’t look that great to put urls for stores on your invitation :P There are other ways to tell people you’re registered anyway, like putting it on your wedding website if you have one. But if someone sent me an invitation with registry information in it, I wouldn’t be super offended :)

  25. Member
    mellebelle 19 posts, Newbee @ 9:22 am

    there’s a simple solution: create an invitation insert. that is where you write something like: “For all the wedding details, please visit our wedding website: [insert url]” or “We’ve created a wedding website that has more information about hotel, travel, registry, attire and fun things to do in the area. Please visit: [insert url]”

    you want to make sure this info is handy for people, but it just doesn’t belong on the actual invite itself. still, personally, i think leaving it out of the invitation envelope package is a mistake because people can’t use it if they don’t know it exists, and they WILL use it. this way you don’t have to worry so much about word of mouth either, which is exhausting. the wedding website is supposed to take care of it for you :) it’s working great for us!

  26. Member
    cucumbersandwich 604 posts, Busy bee @ 7:42 pm

    I used to say that I would not be bothered by an invitation with a registry on it…. until I received one. It was terrible though. They had it in huge letters and it even said something about how they are trying to update their home and would prefer home depot gift cards or cash. Ughh!

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    ketoneraspberrytips.Com, Guest @ 5:49 pm

    The tablets are not all acai berry for raspberry
    ketones? I don’t want him to start your system.

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