Photo: Charity Maurer
Sometimes as a guest, it's hard to shop the registry. As much as you love your friend's taste, buying her that towel set just doesn't seem personal enough. Or worse yet, it's wedding time and there's nothing left on her registry to buy. If writing a check isn't your thing — or you need an engagement or shower gift — there are a few times where it's okay to shop off the registry, and proper ways to do so.
When Their Registry Is Bought Out
Some bride and grooms just don't register for enough — or have very generous friends and family. If you came late to the party and their registry is already fulfilled, it's time to think about finding another option. But don't just go rogue: Even if their registry gifts have all been purchased, you can still see what they had on their list. Take a good, long look at the taste and quality of the items they requested. If the bride and groom only registered for white and creams, don't go crazy and buy them a bright purple serving platter. On the other hand, if you can tell they love patterns, consider gifts like his and her dopp kits or guest towels that come in stripes and polka dots. Did they register for cute wine glasses but no decanter? Complete their set — they may never have known they wanted, or needed, one! Just don't buy items, like coffee mugs and serving trays, they've already registered for and received. Trust us, they've registered for as many mugs as they need.
When You're Extra Close to the Bride or Groom
Admittedly, a registry can feel impersonal. While you know you're getting the happy couple a gift they're going to love, there's not much thought in clicking the order button on a list they put together. If you're shopping for a sibling or best friend, it's okay to go off the registry as long as you use what you know about the bride and groom to your advantage. If you're going off the registry get really personal about it. Consider custom portraits, artwork with important memories the couple shares, or a "date box" filled with a gift certificate for a night out, a bow tie for him, and perfume for her. You can also gift them a special dinner or excursion on their honeymoon, or treat them to a pre-wedding spa day for much needed relaxation.
When You Don't Have the Budget For Their Registry
It's okay to admit that your wallet can't afford their registry. It happens! That doesn't mean you get a pass and can show up to the shower or wedding empty handed. It's perfectly acceptable to look outside the registry when it doesn't fit your budget — again, keep their taste in mind. Find single item gifts that will have a long-lasting impact on the couple, like an engraved cutting board or picture frame with their wedding date on it. You can also DIY a gift — like a shadow box that contains their wedding invitation, flowers, and other special mementos — but only if DIY is really your forte.