Wedding Registries Part Deux: Off Registry Gifts

Gifting off registry. This can get tricky.

As a guest I typically don’t recommend it. If you know the couple very well and genuinely believe that they’ll love what you’re gifting them, I’d cautiously say go for it. However, they made these registries to help guests who don’t know what to get them and to help stock their new home together with essentials (and some non-essentials). And if you do decided to gift off registry, try not to be hurt or insulted if they choose to return or exchange your gift for something else (assuming you give them a gift receipt).

If you choose to make a gift for them, I’d do some research and ask the couple if they’d want, enjoy, or have use for what you’re making for them.

As a couple, remember these gifts and gift registries are just guidelines. They aren’t hard-fast rules for guests, that they must buy off of, and you shouldn’t expect to get everything off of them. If someone chooses to gift you something off registry, regardless of how much you do or do not like it, graciously accept it. They put the time and effort in to deliberately choose (or make!!) something that they thought you would like, want, or need, and you should thank them kindly for it. If the gifter chooses to give you gift receipt for the item and you genuinely don’t want or need it, then you can certainly return or exchange it. But be prepared for any potential follow up questions, like why, from the gifter. If there’s no gift receipt, hold onto it and use the item as often or infrequent as you desire, or choose to donate it appropriately.

Couples, please do not be upset or offended if someone gives you something off registry. Not everyone is tech savvy and can navigate your online registry. Sometimes that older relative believes you need these crystal wine glasses or paisley serving dish for holidays rather than that Amazon Echo you’ve been eyeing. Depending on what you put on the registry, your friend or family member might not be able to comfortably afford anything on there.

One friend of ours was always so offended and upset when someone would send them something off registry because “she had no use for it” or “it was ugly” or “what was the point of making these registries if you’re not going to get something off of it” and “at least we’ll be able to get the money back, or at least store credit, and can get something we actually want.” Every time she ranted on this, I would cringe. Be thankful you’re getting these gifts at all! Be grateful that they thought of you when buying these items, that they thought you could use them well. Even if you don’t like them, send a thank you note and gush over how wonderful, thoughtful, and kind they are. This is doubly true if you created only a money fund or honey fund (whichever platform you choose) and didn’t register for physical gifts at all.

If money is extraordinarily tight for your guest, remind them that their attendance is gift enough. I know I’d rather celebrate with you in person than you send your regrets and struggle to get something for us. Weddings are about celebrating love, not getting everything off the gift registries.

I know I’m repeating myself but I needed to get this off my chest.

Shabbat Shalom

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