Your Presence Is Present Enough

Or: “Why We Don’t Have a Wedding Registry”

As a general rule, I’m a fan of wedding registries. I think they can be invaluable for guests who truly want to gift the bride and groom items the couple want or need. I’m happy to shop from them. I have nothing against the concept of wedding registries.

But I did not want to make one for our upcoming wedding.

Part of this is that, as an older couple, we have many years of accumulated stuff. We have a 2,000-plus square foot home’s worth of stuff, to be exact, already creatively crammed into not quite enough space such that our two-car garage will never hold even one of our cars. Stuff that, when we first moved in together, took more than a single 24-foot moving truck to consolidate more than three years ago, and we’ve only added more stuff since then! I have a KitchenAid, and more knives and kitchen appliances than we’ve got space for, and we’re inheriting my grandmother’s china and silver in a year or two from Dr. Aunt. (She’s passing down things to the next generation early, not planning on passing away, and let us have our pick several years back.)

We’ve got enough stuff, we don’t need any more. And even the idea of asking folks to help us “upgrade” some of that current stuff makes me uncomfortable.

Because that’s the other part of the no-registry coin: I dislike (almost to the level of hate) asking others for things.

The hows and whys of that particular quirk probably go back to growing up without much of anything to speak of and the dual lessons of necessary independence and the pain of being told disappointment. Mama Leadfoot was (technically still is, even though we’re now grown) the single mother of three with no family nearby and barely a high school education. I have tremendous respect for the sacrifices she made for us and the way she raised us. And while she did her best to make sure that we had everything that we absolutely needed plus what little extras when she could, I grew up knowing that it was better not to ask for some things. Because it wasn’t just the ”˜no’ that stung, but the understanding of how frustrating it must have been for her to have to tell us that she just couldn’t give us what we wanted or what she wanted us to have.

Even now, decades after all of our situations have improved, when she asks for Christmas or birthday lists I still freeze up, shrug my shoulders, and have a hard time actually making requests.

Sure, we’ve been tempted a few times to start a registry just for the sake of having one, but we never pull the scanner’s trigger because it just doesn’t sit well with us. (Mr. Road Trip doesn’t have quite the aversion to “the ask” that I do, but he agrees that we certainly don’t need anything enough to request it from our guests.)

So if any guests ask about it, we’ll just say that we’re happy to have them celebrating with us, and that’s gift enough.

Nice and diplomatic, right?

Of course, some guests may choose to gift us with something anyway, and we’ll happily accept it and send them a heartfelt thank you note afterward. We won’t be putting “no gifts” or anything like that on the invitations, because that implies we expected people to send us something in the first place (and, yes, I’m firmly on the side of NOT including registry cards or anything else of that sort in the wedding invitation), which we don’t.

For us, at this point in our lives, it’s enough that our friends and family are willing to give up a good chunk of their Saturday to spend time with us and celebrate.

How do you feel about registries? Does you opinion change if it’s not either the bride or groom’s first marriage?


Mrs. Road Trip

Wedding Date:
November 2013
The Best Gifts Are Unexpected
DIY Friday: August 23, 2013
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    stealinghoney, Guest @ 11:15 am

    I am torn about a registry. I absolutely agree that my friends and family showing up is more than enough for me. Whether they are coming from across town or across the ocean, that they are there, or send a card or send me positive thoughts is enough. I talked about this with my mom, but she said that people like giving gifts at weddings. So, for the people who do like to give a registry is very helpful. And, there are certainly things that it would be nice to have and to use for the rest of our lives together, but we certainly don’t NEED anything. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to buy a gift, especially if they are already stretched thin with the flight and hotel expense. Perhaps the answer is to say that your attendance is enough, but if you want to give here is a registry with a wide variety of price points to suit all budgets?

  2. Member
    ykyegbride 681 posts, Busy bee @ 12:11 pm

    I’m generally a practical person, so I find that when I’m purchasing off registries for other people, I gravitate towards the gifts that I actually believe will be useful (linens, towels, slow cookers, etc) and away from things that will most likely collect dust.

    We did register, but only for things we actually need, which has resulted in a small registry. Very little has been purchased off of it though, which I think is due to the fact that the wedding is local for everyone BUT my FI & I, and everyone is keeping the logistics of getting gifts to our home in the back of their minds.

    I don’t think my opinion would change if it was a second wedding, but I would anticipate there being a smaller registry at a second (or third) wedding because people are generally older at a second wedding than a first, and thus have accumulated more “stuff” over time. I’d still want to give a gift as my token of appreciation for including me in their day, and to start their lives together.

  3. Member
    fall2014 250 posts, Helper bee @ 12:24 pm

    Why not do a honeymoon registry… some people would like to give to you gift so leave that option open for them. And this way it is not stuff crowding your house 🙂

  4. Member
    CPM 26 posts, Newbee @ 12:28 pm

    I definitely understand the sentiment that our guest’s presence is more than enough, especially since we are having a destination wedding. People are spending *a lot* of money just be there, and it seems ridiculous to ask anything more of them. However, we do have registry and this is why: I look at it as a convenience for the guests. Whether we expect or want wedding gifts or not, I’ve learned that a lot of (often unexpected) people still really want to give them. Not just the people on our tiny guest list of 20, but many of the friends, coworkers, and family members who won’t be able to attend our small wedding want to bless us and participate in our celebration by giving us a gift. Really, why should I deny them the opportunity to participate in this way if it’s meaningful to them? And if they want to give anyway, why not make it easier for them with a registry–just take the guesswork out of it for them. We opted for a honeymoon registry because we truly don’t have space for any more stuff nor is that something we want. We didn’t mention the registry in our invitation, but linked to it on our wedding website. The registry page on our website has a paragraph explaining that we’re extremely grateful people are attending the wedding given all the travel expenses, and that that’s more than gift enough and we expect nothing more. However, if they or their family still want to give a gift here is our registry. I feel comfortable that we’ve created an easy option for those who want to give while making it clear that it is in no way necessary or expected.

  5. Member
    creeative1 932 posts, Busy bee @ 12:41 pm

    I totally echo your sentiments, as a 40 plus bride with 2285 Sq foot of living space and a groom with a rather large apt, we don’t need a bunch of stuff. But people kept asking about a registry, so we registered at sears and mainly put things no the registry related to the yard. Wish there was a home depot registry.

  6. Member
    Nmlaske 11 posts, Newbee @ 1:03 pm

    We have a small registry set up for a few items that we need to have replaced, but we opted for a Honeymoon Registry through our agent that allows for our guests to contribute to our vacation.
    I too wish there was a Home Depot/Lowes registry.

  7. Member
    Fizzy8 1662 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:44 pm

    We’re not having one either, because the wedding is in Mexico and every single guest has to fly there. I am so excited, but I also cringe when I think how much this is costing everybody. We consider that our gift, and an extravagant one at that.

    I was worried that people would just give us money instead, so we put up a charity registry on our wedding website. There are 2, one for Canadian Cancer Society and one for the local animal rescue.

    The funny thing is, we actually COULD use some house things, it’s just that it’s not practical given the location of the wedding and I don’t want to impose on our guests any more than we already have. Also, FI hates registries with a burning passion. It was the one detail he insisted on not having. Now, if someone gives us anything I will appreciate it without feeling guilty. We’ve done everything we could to convince our guests that we really mean “Your presence is present enough”.

  8. mspalmtree Bee
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:26 am

    @Fizzy8: I think it is SO awesome that you set up charities on your website for those that still feel inclined. What a nice touch!

    I know that a lot of brides (and grooms!) feel this way these days – my BFF is one of them. As a guest, though, I know that I would never attend anything empty-handed. I think not having a registry would just force me to get a little more creative and personal, which I am A-okay with. . .it makes things fun, for both the giver and the receiver!

  9. Member
    mdoodles 56 posts, Worker bee @ 4:33 pm

    @Fizzy8: I am in the same exact situation. We are having a destination wedding in St Thomas, USVI where our guests are paying for their airfare/hotel stay. I actually put my foot down and said no bridal shower, no bachelorette party, and no gifts. However, with guests still fighting me, I LOVE your idea of having charity donations! (And both of the ones you picked hit close to home for me). Thank you so much for posting! That’s the best idea I have come across yet! 🙂

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