Registry Ideas & Answers

Registry Guilt: Why You Should Get Over It

Register without remorse? That's what your guests think you should do.

wedding registry ideas, wedding registry advice

A couple putting together their registry is similar, in theory, to a child making a wish list for Santa—except that asking for crystal stemware is harder than asking for a My Little Pony. Many brides report feeling guilty about registering for big-ticket items (hello, KitchenAid mixer!), items they wouldn't buy for themselves, or items they might not use right away (read: fine china).

However, the majority of guests like registries and want brides and grooms not only to register, but to not hold back when they do. Here are the most common causes of registry guilt—and why you should ignore them.

What Couples Say:

"These gifts are totally overpriced."
"I did feel guilty about registering for things I wouldn't buy for myself—I wouldn't pay $150 for a toaster," says Cassandra, 24, of Jim Thorpe, PA, who registered for her 2008 wedding at JCPenney and Sears. McCartney, 23, of Nashville, registered at two local shops as well as Target and Pottery Barn for her 2009 wedding, and the last store gave her sticker shock: "I thought, 'It's ridiculous that I'm registering for a pillow that costs $50,'" she says. "With the duvet, sham, and comforter, it probably added up to $600 for the whole bed set." Other brides make—then revise—their lists. Says Melody, 26, of New York, who got married in 2009, "Early on, we registered for a really expensive set of pots and pans [$600] and a duo coffee/espresso maker [$350]. After the engagement party, we decided to remove them from the list—we felt bad having registered for such big-ticket items."

"We won't use this stuff for years."
Although it's traditional to request china and silver, if a couple's current way of life is more about takeout than table settings, practical brides and grooms can feel torn. "I was a little uncomfortable registering for silver and china because in Boulder, Colorado, the lifestyle is more casual—and I couldn't believe how expensive it was," says Sarah, 28, who got married in her hometown of Dallas in 2007. But she eventually got over her misgivings: "I just love that I have the same stuff my family has," she says.

"Money is tight for my guests."
Many guests (and their budgets) have been affected by the recession, so couples setting up registries are conscious of that. "My aunt and uncle both experienced layoffs in the last year," says Lisa, 37, of Pittsburgh, who got married in 2009 and asked that guests not give gifts. But even in a bull market, young gift-giving guests are likely to feel the financial strain caused by a whirlwind of post-college weddings. "It's especially a concern when you get married in your 20s," explains Sarah, "because so many of your friends aren't making much money—and may even be paying off student loans."

"This isn't the first home I'm setting up."
While younger couples can feel bad asking pals to stretch their budgets, older couples who are more established may also be hesitant to impose upon their friends. "I'm 37—I own my own house and have the things I want in life," says Lisa. "So for that reason alone it seemed odd to me to register. I felt like registries were meant for couples just starting out."

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