Buy me a pony

October 16, 2011

Let's be honest, I'd much rather have one of these than a KitchenAid mixer, but wedding guests aren't Santa Claus

Ooof. Wedding registries.

As a guest, I love ’em. Makes it easy to shop, and you know you’re getting people something they love.

As a bride, putting together a registry is causing me a lot of angst. I know that guests will very much appreciate having a registry to choose gifts from, but I can’t help but feel that I am being greedy and selfish by creating this huge list of “buy us things!”. Which is ridiculous of course, but I am really not great at holding myself to the same standards and expectations that I do other people. It’s fine and legit for other people to have registries, and I appreciate when they do, so what is this idea that as soon as I make a registry I am a little troll? Perhaps it is because we are having a “destination” wedding…which is only really true for about half our guest list. With family and friends on both sides of the Atlantic, no matter where we have it, it’s going to be a “destination” for some of them. I guess I feel bad implying that those who are already forking out the big bucks just to be there should buy us a gift on top of that. But you know what, our guests are all adults, and they can decide whether they want to buy a gift or not. But I want to make it clear that it is not expected. Is a short note to the effect of “your presence is presents enough” on the registry page of our website sufficient, or does that imply that those who can’t come are expected to buy us a gift? I don’t know.

Jan Brett's Christmas Trolls - I loved this book as a kid. They stole pretty mittens and the like even though they had no use for them. They just wanted pretty things.

So anyway, I am squashing the troll feelings and having a registry, but then the next problem is what to register for. We live in a small house, and given our respective employment status, we are open to the possibility of moving in the near future (which is also making the purchase of our own trans-Atlantic flights a bit sticky – it’s hard to buy them when you’re not sure where you should fly out of next July), so we don’t really want to accumulate a lot of stuff, especially in the eventuality that we will be moving overseas. However, we sure could stand to replace the mismatched Goodwill flatware, and the bargain basement “non-stick” pans I’ve had since college which are shedding Teflon. I am scared to cook with them, and it would be cool to replace with some really solid, pass it on to the grandkids cookware instead of continuing to buy the $6 pan from Ikea whenever another one bites the dust. (I inherited my great-grandmother’s cast iron Dutch oven, which is so meaningful to me, but that is a story for another time.) And recently there seems to be a small appliance flu going around – the blender, food processor, and crock-pot have all kicked the bucket within the course of a few months. But I use these so much I don’t really want to wait until next July for someone to buy them off the registry.

So yes, there are a few traditional registry things that we would love to have, and so we will register for them. I wish that were the end of it. However, I am told that we should register for 3 times as many items as there are invited guests (really!?!?) in order that there will be plenty of things for them to choose from, and we need to register for things over a wide price range (which OK, if we only register for fancy enameled cast iron cookware, that’s not leaving a lot of options for our equally cash-strapped friends). But we don’t need a lot of cheap gadgets and stuff…so what about registering for some real grown-up art? There is some great stuff on etsy from artists I love in the $15-$50 range, and if we move, it’s easy to pack. But it feels weird to register for such luxuries when many people we know are as precariously employed as we are.

And then, the question of where. I am inclined to just do an amazon universal registry. I love me the little one-click that can add things from anywhere else so it’s all in the same place and easy to find. But it won’t keep track of purchases from other sites so if guests forget to go back to the amazon list and say they bought it, we might end up with 3 copies of the same etsy artist’s print – I think it might be hard to return the duplicates in that case.

Pile of Presents

Some “registry guides” suggest registering at one online-only site, and then a couple of brick-and-mortars. I don’t know if this is for real or if this is another myth from the WIC. I can understand that some people who like to shop (I am not one of these) prefer to go into the store and pick it up themselves, but given that we are traveling to the wedding, we are not going to be registering in brick-and-mortars near the wedding destination. Guests who might buy gifts from brick-and-mortars on this side of the pond will not want to pack them all way over there, and we will not want to pack them all the way back, so perhaps the brick-and-mortar point is moot.

Some people register for honeymoon activities, which is great, but we’re not sure we can afford a honeymoon in the first place, so I would hate to have people buy us “zip-lining through the rainforest canopy” or something and then not go. My mom thinks we should do a honeymoon-type registry for the wedding itself, giving people the opportunity to “be a part of it” by paying for the bagpiper, or the ceilidh band, or the highland games, or something. Certainly, there are some guests who I think would love this, and we would surely appreciate it, but I am really hung up on the idea that some more traditionally-minded guests will see it as us asking them to pay for the party that they’ve just shelled out to travel to. Ugh.

I’m just really not sure what to do about any of this, and trying to sort it out makes me want to go hide under a rock.

What say you, oh wise intertubes?