Should You Have a Registry If You Plan to Elope?

A newlywed couple standing on the beach

Are you and your future spouse planning to elope? If so, you may be wondering whether it’s appropriate to have a wedding gift registry. On the one hand, asking for gifts when you’re not planning a traditional wedding can feel presumptuous (or even greedy), but you will undoubtedly have friends and family who want to give you something. The answer to this question depends on your situation and how you and your future spouse feel. To help you determine if a wedding registry is appropriate for your elopement, here are a few scenarios to keep in mind.

You’re Eloping, Sending Announcements, and Hosting a Reception Later

If you’re eloping, but plan to send announcements and host a reception at a later date, it’s actually quite appropriate for you to create and share a gift registry. That said, it’s generally considered bad manners to include information about your registry in your announcement. The better option is to send your invitation and include a link to a wedding website, where you can then provide information regarding gift preferences. Some guests may still refrain from bringing or sending something, but etiquette here usually says you’re free to conduct wedding registry business as normal.

Invitation envelope with fancy stamp

You’re Eloping, Sending Announcements, but Not Hosting a Reception

It’s quite possible that you’re planning to elope but have no intention of throwing a reception or afterparty. If you and your future spouse are sending announcements, it’s still a good idea to have a registry prepared. While you shouldn’t include the information on your announcement and you probably won’t have a website, it’s likely you will have friends and family who ask about sending you gifts. In this case, it isn’t presumptuous at all, but rather good preparation for offering guidance to those who inquire about it individually.

You’re Eloping, Not Sending Announcements, and Not Hosting a Reception

This third option, in which you’re eloping, not sending announcements, and not hosting a reception, is a little less straight forward. The best answer here? You can create a registry, but the opportunity to share it will be few and far between. The sentiment of having a list of potential gifts prepared for those who ask is an important one to consider, but sending or displaying information about a registry in this situation would be inappropriate.

Man proposes to woman in Paris

Create a “Wish List”

A good alternative may be to create a “wish list” of items you and your spouse-to-be would like to receive during any special occasion (birthday, anniversary, Christmas, etc.). This way, you’ve given thought to what you need as a couple and can point people in the right direction if they do happen to ask you.

Asking for Donations Instead of Gifts

For all of these scenarios, remember that specifically mentioning that you do not want gifts can be perceived as rude. If you and your future spouse dislike the idea of receiving presents of any kind, consider opting to collect funds for donation to your favorite charity.

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