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.
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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.
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).
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?
- San Ramon, California
- Non-profit writer, editor, and blogger
- Wedding Date:
- September 2011
- Bent Creek Winery (Livermore, California); Reception: Family Residence (San Ramon, California)