Many of my couples tell me they don't want to have a wedding registry. Lots of brides and grooms are waiting until they're older and further established in their careers before getting married, and so they feel like they already have all of the household setup items that were traditionally meant to be wedding gifts.
Destination wedding couples frequently say that their guests' presence at the wedding is gifting enough. Couples who are both celebrating their second (or third, in some cases) marriage sometimes say they don't think it's appropriate to register since they've been married before while some brides and grooms say they just want money— thinking they have a better chance of getting cash gifts if they don't register.
To all the engaged couples in the categories above I say this: MAKE A GIFT REGISTRY FOR YOUR WEDDING. And here's why:
Even if you write "no gifts" on the invitation or your wedding website, wedding guests will buy you presents. Friends and family who cannot attend your wedding will send a gift. People who love you will buy you engagement and wedding presents regardless of whether or not you are registered someplace for things that you actually want to own.
If you do not register, you will receive things you do not want, or do not have space for, and then you have to figure out what to do. Many gifts cannot be returned for face value, if you're not registered where they were purchased (and that's if you can figure out where it came from in the first place.)
People who don't believe in giving monetary gifts won't change their ways just because you didn't register. They'll choose a gift they think you will love and you will end up stuck with a bunch of very thoughtful wedding presents that simply don't belong in your home. Next you'll have to figure out whether you're going to suck it up and find a place for the ugly vase your aunt gifted, or find somebody to re-gift it to so you can get it out of your house.
How do you avoid that problem? Register at least one place that has some things you like. If you don't give them a registry from which to choose a gift, you need to prepare yourself to write gracious thank you notes for things you've never wanted, and know you did it to yourself.
The convenience of a wedding gift registry isn't just for you — it's to make giving easier for your guests. And they appreciate it.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.