Thursday, December 9, 2010

Is it tacky to register for a honeymoon?

Dear ESB,

My fiance and I have been living together for almost four years and pretty much have all we need. And while I could make a whole list of pretty things, I would much rather have some money to pay for the honeymoon.

I recently came across a gift registry site that allows you to put things from anywhere on your list for your guests to purchase. You can also put a trip (i.e. honeymoon!) on there and guests can make donations toward it. While the idea sounds awesome, I am wondering if this is tacky to ask of your guests?


I give you this anecdote Naurnie emailed me recently:

My mother's very good friend was at my wedding shower + we were having a discussion about people who register for cash or one of those 'honeymoon' things. 

Her response? "You can't afford a honeymoon? Put that in my 'I-don't-give-a-shit bucket.' I am NOT paying for your damn snorkeling excursion."

(Michele Lamy via Alison Feldman via Love is the new black)


  1. Pfff, I've known tons of people who have registered for a honeymoon! I think it is more acceptable to register with an actual travel agency, but this can also be a little more difficult for people who are out of town. I know a couple who did a honeymoon registry and a store registry, and not a single person purchased a gift from the store. They had a fabulous time on the Mexican Riviera, snorkeling included.

    Whatever you do, read this before you make your final decision:

  2. OOH! Naurnie burned you/me/anyone else who has everything they already need and don't want to waste time returning your lame shower gift.

    I say go for it. I registered for a down payment for a house, and while it got some panties in a bunch, most of our guests were fine with it.

    Just create a small registry with a few items that you may be missing (mine was that Kitchen Aid stand mixer.. you know, the one dreams are made of) to placate bunched panties.

  3. meh. naurnie is from the south. i love her, but they seem to be stricter about the rules there. prob depends on your crowd, are they very traditional/formal/from the south with lots of friends of parents? than maybe don't do it. but if they are more like, younger california do what you will types, i dont think most people will find it TACKY.

  4. As Ariel on OBB says, just about everything about a wedding can be tacky when looked at in a certain way. Know a) your audience and b) if you give a shit what your audience thinks. Your extended family may love the idea of giving you a gondola ride in Venice (or whatever) or they may think it's horrendous to ask for anything that even hints at money. Easiest way out of the dilemma is to do both, so that Gran can give you the Kitchen Aid mixer (or whatever you still don't have) and your best friends can get you awesome experience type gifts. (Skydiving! Whale watching! Romantic dinners!)

  5. Yeah, I totally disagree. We are registering for our honeymoon and it's not about not being able to afford it. We have lived together for a couple years in a teeny boston apartment, I get pissed when parents send us stuff we can't put anywhere, I cannot *imagine* doing your typical registry. People want to give you something so it will be either something you want (like an awesome honeymoon) or stuff you don't need or have room for.

  6. Maybe it's because I'm past the wedding planning stage, but I say who cares if people think it is tacky. Really no matter what you do, some people will be naysayers. My mom thought it was tacky that my bachelorette party invites were online.

    My 2 cents is to register for what you want - whether it's for a honeymoon or for stuff. Most people under the age of 40 won't think it's tacky.


    (to be fair i find regular registries a lil tacky too)

  8. If you're gonna register, this is way more green! As long as they pick a responsible destination & buy carbon offsets too, this is a way better eco option that buying more useless crap!!

  9. i agree with wool and misc. i think registries are all-over tacky. i mean, we have one, but i think they're strange.

    i also think this is one of those things you can't really win on. people hate you if you do, people hate you if you don't. so stop giving a shit and do what you want.

  10. i say register for whatever you like, as long as you're prepared to own the decision and deal with the consequences. traditional types will judge you for a honeymoon registry; alternatypes might get more excited about your charity registry than about your gift registry, and you might get fewer items from the latter (horrors!) as a result. me, i find extraneous cutting boards and crap-ass $200 toasters (registrants, i judge you harshly) way more offensive than a sincerely expressed desire to snorkel.

    point being, haters will hate. make your own kind of music.

  11. I hate the concept, but if you're going to do it, for the love of not being an asshole, don't have a shower then. That's such an obvious money grab, that it is totally, totally distasteful/tacky.

  12. it's tacky (period) to ask other people to pay for your vacation. and you will definitely risk offending anyone over 40 (or hell, younger, I'm offended by then and solidly in my 20s.) a family friend recently got married and they only registered for a honeymoon - let me tell you there was a lot of head shaking amongst the parental crowd.

    People like to give wedding gifts because they imagine that it's something you'll have forever and hopefully think of them when you use it. I seriously doubt you'll be thinking of me while you're hang gliding, and probably won't remember that I "gave" you that six months from now, let alone on your 20th anniversary.

  13. my fiance and i also lived together for a few years before getting married, so we were in your same boat of already having most of the household stuff we need (granted, it's all hand-me-downs from our parents, but it works so why get new stuff??)

    our experience was that our family actually *wanted* to give us money towards a honeymoon rather than buy us THINGS. but, they all know us very well (we live in the woods on a solar powered farm, for one thing) and knew that we wouldn't want to get stuff that would just fill a landfill in a few years.

    we were extremely grateful that they were so willing to do something for us that was meaningful, even though i am sure shopping for newlyweds at crate and barrell is a real hoot, and simply writing a check with "horseback ride on the beach" in the memo is super boring. but so, i say go for it and hopefully your family is as accomodating as mine was! i don't see it as tacky at all. but make sure you send them all a thank-you with a picture of the two of you enjoying the hell outa wherever you end up going!!! :)

  14. We lived together for 5 years before getting married. We also had a small apartment full of stuff, we really didn't need more so we registered with a travel agent. Now instead of some random crap we didn't need I get to look at pictures of us visiting family in South Africa that we hadn't seen in 10 years and remember all the great people who helped that happen for us. If people think it's tacky they can not come to the wedding/not contribute/ignore the list and buy you something else. I say you do what you want and they can do whatever the hell they want

  15. We only did a honeymoon registry and it was AWESOME! I've always loved buying presents off honeymoon registries and we seriously do not need another set of towels that the cat will just destroy.

    If people think it's tacky, then they could just not buy anything. Half the guests gave us money in a card and half gave us paypal money that went to the honeymoon. We're in our thirties and seriously do not need housewares.

    And my shower was awesome and I didn't not expect any presents at all but got a few anyway. We did silk screening at a local arts and crafts store and everyone got to make their own T-shirts and canvas bags. We even silk-screened onesies for my dude of honor's adorable baby who also attended.

  16. Sorry, I don't buy this 'tude that . There is no difference for registering for a honeymoon and registering for expensive white goods. You could say, "What, you can't afford a KitchenAid Mixer? Put that in my 'I don't give a shit bucket.'" just as easily. But you know what? I don't. When I buy a gift for the couple, I want to buy them something that they truly want and will appreciate. Or, sometimes, I do the lazy copout check-and-card ... which, we all know, is actually the best gift EVER.

    You're making the gift about you, the giver, when in fact the gift is about the receiver. Maybe they'll think of you when they use their coffee pot, but coffee pots sure as hell don't last a lifetime.

    More likely, maybe they'll look at that ugly frame you picked out and try to track down where it was bought so they can exchange it for store credit and buy a new hat and gloves to walk the dog with (I may or may not have actually done this myself).

    I'm not trying to be a bitch, but I get really peeved when people seem to think that one brand of "wedding gift" is superior to another. Honestly, I would rather give the couple a once in a lifetime experience than something they don't want or need, but feel pressured to ask for/accept because people can't seem to realize that the white virginal "never left home til the wedding night" princess ideal doesn't really exist anymore. Most engaged couples are trying to pare down doubles and triples of things such as pots and pans and dishes, not trying to build a bridal trousseau.

  17. If it makes you feel like a douchebag, you shouldn't do it. If you don't care about possibly ruffling feathers because you're terribly attached to this idea, then do it.

  18. i have been with my guy for 12 years, we have 2 kids and we are finally getting married this year. there is no f-ing way we are registering for plates and crystal bowls when all we really need (and everyone who loves us know this very well) is to get the hell away from our kids for 2 weeks.

    personally i think the traditional houseware registry idea is strange and SUPER boring - i mean buying a good friend some forks or towels?! blah.

    the new normal should be a honeymoon or downpayment fund all the way!

    and hey if people don't like it then who cares? see you at the beach!

  19. Ohhhh, this topic burns me up. Seriously, we spend WAY too much time when planning weddings worrying about what other people think is "proper" behavior. Good lord, this blog was BUILT on that premise. It's why I love and adore it and read it even more than a year after my wedding.

    Why is it more offensive to ask for travel money than to ask for a specific vacuum cleaner from a specific store? Because people have been asking for the specific vacuum cleaner for long enough that it's become normal. I'd bet the ranch that the gift registry was once considered tacky tacky tacky. Soon enough, the honeymoon registry will become common enough that we'll wonder why we ever questioned it.

    Most of our friends gave money toward the honeymoon, and were relieved they could do so. (They're lazy, and tired of buying gifts for the bazillion weddings this year. Sue them.) Most of our relatives bought us gifts (most of which weren't on the registry, few of which we actually use, several of which are beautiful and meaningful and we'll cherish forever). If anyone was offended, they were probably even more offended that we didn't have a minister. Some choices we made for them. Some we didn't. Period.

  20. Isn't the reason behind registering for things is because they are items that you couldn't typically afford? So I would assume the same logic goes for a honeymoon? That's why I don't understand why people register at places like Target. What a waste!

  21. listen, anon, some people really like ICEEs.

  22. yeah the older generation (parents age +) who, while they're not opposed to you living together first, may to be turned off by the fact that you've got the gall to ask for $$/gifts

  23. p.s. be careful

    a close friend registered solely for their honeymoon, didn't get even half of what they registered for, and ended up shelling out a ton of unexpected duckets last minute to cover their costs

    i was kind of embarrassed for them, everyone seeing that and all :/

  24. I think it's fine. Shit on registries that really piss me off are like $300 serving plates and $100 flat sheets and $500 throw blanket. That's rude!

  25. when i see a $300 serving plate on a registry i think, "i bet in their language that means bourbon. done."

  26. On the contrary, my husband and I used a honeymoon registry and it was the single most popular gift we received. Our guests loved it and chose to give from that rather from Williams Sonoma or Macy's.

  27. I don't know if I fall in the tacky camp, but I'm not hot on honeymoon registries at all. I don't even like regular registries, but maybe I'm just more okay with them because they've been around longer. I did register, in part because I felt pressured to, and then almost nobody bought us anything off of it. The whole thing was a strange experience.

    I also really hate this mentality about gifts: "don't want to waste time returning your lame shower gift" It's a GIFT. Why do weddings make it okay to act so entitled?

  28. Just give the aunts and moms' friends an option to buy you a thing, as well. I couldn't have been more excited to buy my friends an adventure for their wedding gift - life experinces are the best gifts, I think. Your friends will love it.

  29. @Desert Fete: Geez, generalize much? Get over the younger California crowd elitism. TACKY is universal.

  30. i always thought the idea of people registering for a honeymoon was total bullshit.

    however, i recently got an invite from a friend who has lived with her fiance for a long time - aka they don't need any of that typical blender, yada yada stuff...that had a little slip of paper in the envelope that said Her name and His name are registered at Target and are saving up for their 2011 honeymoon.

    If you wanted to be REALLY careful, you could put the slip only in the envelopes of guests that you feel most comfortable around. (I might)

  31. Think guests would rather pay for your wedding china? Does anyone do that anymore?

  32. I would be more psyched to help pay for maybe one of the best trips of your life, than whatever dumb shower curtain you picked out...
    just sayin

  33. How about this gem from the source of all slightly questionable knowledge, wikipedia:

    "The term honeymoon originates from the tradition that the in-laws of the couple were required to supply a month's worth of mead, or honey wine. In many parts of Europe it was traditional to supply a newly married couple with enough mead for a month, ensuring happiness and fertility. From this practice we get honeymoon or, as the French say, lune de miel."*

    So, instead of registering for snorkelling, perhaps register for booze to consume while honeymooning?

    *found in the delightful archives of Bowie Bride

  34. At the risk of squeezing between a rock and a hard place... the number of people doing something bears no relation to how tacky it is or isn't (we just get more used to being surrounded by it). And, the thing about weddings seems to be that *everything* can be done tackily, or can be done well. Some tend more easily to one than the other, but however fabulous, you can be almost certain that somebody out there's made a pig's ear of it, and for everything seemingly dodgy and questionable (almost!), the right people and the right attitude can elevate it to unimaginable heights...

  35. If the comments on this post are any indication, some people will find a honeymoon registry tacky, some won't have an opinion on it, and some will think it's brilliant. (Personally, I don't see how it is any way different from a traditional registry.)

    Moral of the story? Do what you want. As the internet kids used to say: haters gonna hate.

    The option of both a honeymoon registry and a gift registry strikes me as the best middle ground.

  36. We did both to appease everyone. The older or most likely to offended crowd received paper invites in the mail. Paper invites had the BB&B and C&B registries.
    The ones who would not be offended by the honeymoon registry got evites. Evites had the 2 traditional registries and the honeymoon registry.
    This way no one was offended and I could move on to more important topics like what F'in shoes am I going to wear.

  37. Where I come from when you receive an invitation for a wedding you also receive a card with a bank account number. This has been the norm for the last twenty or so years.
    Where I currently reside this hasn't arrived yet and the registry is still the norm. Currently we are trying to find a way of registering for a honeymoon fund without actually asking for it on our invitations.
    What bugs me the most about the subject is that I want to call a spade a spade and say what we need the mostest is a bit of cash for a couple of weeks in NYC and the Caribean. Saying it in a long winded cutsey poem just makes my skin crawl.
    Asking for china and cristals is prettty much the same as asking for a snorkeling trip: you are asking people to help you afford something you couldn't afford on your own.

  38. Why can't you simply spread the word amongst family and friends that you have all the things you want and would really appreciate cash for a wedding gift? Maybe its just a northeast wedding thing, but in NYC the showers are for gifts, the wedding is where you give cash. Even when my mom was married (in the rural midwest) spreading the word amongst the family that what the couple needed most was cash worked just fine. Though I'm also of the mindset that registry information is only given when requested by a guest and/or included on a wedding website, those "x and z are registered at big box store" slips annoy me to no end, it seems very gift-grabby. And if the guest doesn't know either you or your parents well enough to call and ask where you are registered, why the heck are they invited?

  39. I read about a couple who asked guests to each bring them a copy of their favourite book. The bride said it was a brilliant way to get to know everyone even better, and they had a huge pile of wonderful books that would give many years of pleasure.

    I would totally steal that idea!

    Plus if you're a guest it feels so much more personal, and if you like you can give something that will contribute to their education in life, or will make them laugh, or a beautiful art book...

  40. If you don't like what is on the registry then don't purchase something from the registry. No need to bitch about it. Couples should register for whatever they want - that's the whole effing idea.

  41. wow! who knew i was so controversial? this is new for me as i am usually a people pleaser. i feel so ESB right now!

    anyway, i would just like to say that i think everyone is overlooking the hilarity of a middle-aged southern woman with usually impeccable manners using the phrase,"Put that in my I-don't-give-a-shit bucket". I mean, really, folks. that is some funny mess.

    and yes, i am from the south. perhaps the 'rules' are more strict around these parts, but manners are also important. they may not be the same standards as the rest of the country and i understand that. clearly, folks will do what folks will do and many will have the honeymoon registry, or will ask for cash. but i was just raised in an environment where you should not be going around asking people for money or asking them to pay for a down payment on your home. it's just an opinion.

    i see the point, also, that all registries are basically asking for things. but honestly, when you get married, people who love you really want to give you a gift. and really? that's the sweetest thing. it truly is. and we registered. mostly to avoid the question, 'where are y'all registered?' and to give people guidelines about what we needed. we didn't register for expensive things + only registered for what we needed. if you don't need anything?? don't register. sure you might get lots of rando crap you have no use for, but just be gracious, thank them... and if you don't like it? return it. and yes, every time i use certain things in my kitchen, i absolutely remember who gave me that gift. it makes my kitchen a very happy place.

    but the book registry? BRILLIANT.

    and hey, anon. lay off my girl jamie. we may disagree? but we are friends + that is just mean.

  42. Amen to the commenter that mentioned the gifts are about the couple you're giving them to not about yourself! If the couple wants a honeymoon or a charitable donation or a china set or a down payment on a house, then they should ask for what they want. The whole idea of a registry is letting people know what you'd like. That's the whole reason guests appreciate them so they can get you what you want. But then for a guest to pass judgement on what you want is just rude. Don't look at the registries at all if you don't want to know.

    I thought it was so ridiculous at our wedding recently when a few of my husband's friends didn't get us gifts at all and then proceeded to tell us (we didn't ask they just brought it up) the reason they didn't get us anything is because they didn't like what we had registered for and were still looking for the perfect gift. Seriously?!? Its a nice sentiment and all but our getting married wasn't about them and we thought long and hard about the items on both our traditional and honeymoon registry. These things mattered to us whether or not they mattered to them. Whats the point in telling us the things we wanted were stupid. Why go to those lengeths, just get a damn gift. jeez.

  43. Whoa, did the first commenter just give my link in favor of honeymoon registries? No.

    Look, here is how it rolls down: do what you want to, some people will be fine with it, lots of us won't. So know that going in.

    BUT. Here is how I see it. Your getting married doesn't mean that I feel obligated to give you a chunk of money. Your getting married means that I want to do something to contribute to your marriage over the long long term. Think of it like a barn raising. Do I want to buy you a butter dish that your grandkids will eat out of? Yes. Am I going to give you cash or help you pay for a vacation? Not even a little bit.

    My big realization in that link up above was that the honeymoon isn't about the people getting married, really. It's about allowing the people who love you feel like they are contributing to the rest of your lives together (not the next two weeks). Getting married doesn't' entitle you to my cash, it entitles you to part of my love and support for your lives together.

  44. As someone who works in a gifting industry, it's considered common knowledge that "experiences" are more memorable and appreciated than "stuff." Go for it! I'd much rather contribute to a wonderful, life-long memory for a couple than buying them another toaster.

  45. I was just shopping for an upcoming wedding, and the couple registered for a personal grooming kit. I envisioned pre-wedding night manscaping, laughed my ass off and bought them a stand mixer. I am not gonna buy them something I dont wanna buy, so just give options and I am sure everyone can find something they like.

  46. I wrote this email to ESB. I really don't see how asking anyone to buy "a butter dish that my grandkids are going to eat out of" is any different than asking for money. I am still asking you to spend your money. And chances are, I am going to replace a butter dish before I have grandkids. It was never a matter of not being able to afford a honeymoon. Rather, I hate "stuff". I don't like clutter. And while I do think of my amazing fiance everytime I use my kitchen aid stand mixer(in a custom satin nickel finish), I will defintely appreciate the contribution to a lifetime memory just as much if not more. I am paying for my entire wedding myself and am not having a wedding shower either. So, maybe I just shouldn't register for anything.

  47. Registering for money (which is essentially what a honeymoon registry is) bugs me big time. I like giving GIFTS - physical things - that will help them set up or improve their household for their married life. Getting married is not a fundraising opportunity. If you already have everything, then don't register. Some people will give you cash, others will give you gift cards or pick out a gift that they think you'd like. Deal with it.

    Oh and agreed with a previous poster who pointed out that if you must have a honeymoon registry, at least don't have a shower!

  48. OK, first, how is buying someone something that they picked out on a registry (often, these days, by clicking a "purchase" button online) any different than just handing them the cash? Most friends of mine who had registries can't remember who actually purchased all of the individual things that were on their registry.

    Also, for couples who have lived together for years, more "stuff" is simply not practical, ecological, or desirable. My husband and I registered for a few things to appease the aunts and parents' friends -- housewares, OXFAM goats and chickens, and yes, (gasp!) donations to our honeymoon fund. We told any of our younger, more-cash-strapped friends who asked that we would prefer no gifts since they already had to travel out of town and stay overnight for the wedding, and that was truly the best gift ever.

    In the end, some of our friends just gave us a simple card wishing us congratulations, and a group of close friends got together and pooled cash donations towards our "Honeymoon Fund" so that our road-trip 10 day camping honeymoon could be a little more lavish. It was a truly unexpected and amazing gift and totally NOT TACKY. Just like some people remember who gave them butter dishes forever, we will remember the amazing experiences (and have the photos to remind us) forever. Among a group of people who are clearly so into the idea of the value of creating a day of celebration for a wedding, why is a honeymoon not also a valuable experience worth investing in?

    Gifts are gifts. If people want to give, they will give, no matter what. If you don't give them any ideas of what you would truly value, they will give you what they value. If you don't EXPECT anything, it will all be icing on the wedding cake of awesome.

    Do you know what's TACKY? Pretending to be all alternative and accepting of others' choices and then going all nutjob judgey. THAT's tacky.

  49. I'd like to contribute to a honeymoon, particularly if I didn't have time to buy a gift, and especially if I got a personal thank you email/card with a picture (just an idea). I certainly wouldn't judge someone for having a honeymoon registry. I mean, unless there was like a suggested $50 donation and a slip included in the invitation.

    Personally though I'd rather buy someone a physical thing - books (love the favourite book idea) and art don't take up that much space.

    Like everything wedding-related, gifts are a cultural thing and what may offend someone's sensibilities another person will find awesome. Just phone up your guests (or a reasonably representative cross-section) and ask them if you're worried, otherwise, just register for the honeymoon and maybe some pressies for those who feel the need, let them know about it if they ask, and let the chips fall as they may. If an unwanted set of glasses (*cough*or some unduly harsh comments on t'internet*cough*) is your worst problem in life you're doing well.

  50. Experiences are way more valuable than things. A memory of an amazing vacation is way more valuable than a butter dish.

    Interesting article on the subject...

    That being said... we're doing both. Gift and honeymoon. And honestly (as an apartment dweller), no gift is more helpful than something we don't need. We at maximum capacity in terms of space already. I think that guests should just follow the bride and groom's lead and leave their judgments on the matter aside. You may consider it tacky but it's their wedding. SO deal. Just spend what you would have on said butter dish and don't have a honeymoon registry at your own wedding if you have a problem with it.

  51. fisrt, I want to thanks everyone for their opinion. Second, I was not planning on including a "we are registered here" card in the intvitation. Third, I am not having a shower because I hate them. Forth, I very, very seldom put any sentimental attachment on things. This is a small wedding less than 100 people, thus all these people know us very well and know that we would not really want more stuff. The only reason I was considering this was because people kept asking me where I was registering. Honestly, if I can cut something like this off the list and have one less thing to worry about when planning this thing, the better.

  52. we're having a honeymoon registry for our wedding. because we are grown up people who have been together for 7 years and don't need any more useless shit crowding up our flat. actually, what we've told guests is that the best gift is them just coming to the wedding - they don't need to get us anything, however if they feel inclined to then we are taking donations for our honeymoon. which is not just a vacation to us. it's something we will remember forever... unlike a butter dish. sorry, just saying. also, who says i'm going to even have any freaking grandchildren to stuff their fat faces out of this imaginary butter dish. all this judgey judgment has got me all antsy - time for a drink.

  53. I don't think stuff purchased from a registry is more sentimental than a honeymoon. And, we got mostly cheques as gifts, and I feel no less sentimental or thankful for that despite the fact that it's not some physical object that I can watch my grandchild enjoy.

    I think regular registries are more socially acceptable because they're one tiny step further away from saying "please just give us money."

    It's all asking for people to spend their money on you, on a pre-approved list of items, whether it be a trip or a butter dish. Some wedding guests like these lists, so it persists.

    Also, as an aside, lots of people consider those slips in invites about registries to be impolite, regardless of if they're for a department store or a honeymoon.

  54. What Meg said.

    Registries in general are tacky, but so expected that people get confused and upset when you don't have them. People like to be told what to buy you.

    Verdict: Acceptable to grandmothers, ergo necessary evil.

    Registries for honeymoons, OTOH... I've seen them inspire nothing short of rage in many, many people. Sure, the under 40 crowd may be down with it, but why risk ailienating your Aunt Ivy and Uncle Ed?

    Verdict: Offensive to grandmothers, ergo a no-go.

  55. Whoa. Registries bring out opinions, apparently.

    As a guest - I personally love it when the invitation tells you where the couple is registered, although I'm also happy to go to the wedding website and figure it out, if the website is listed. I always give off the registry and I actually enjoy it. I wouldn't like giving money to a honeymooon registry, but I don't think I would be offended if it were one of the options. I just wouldn't choose it.

    For our registries - I'm an adult and I've purchased most of the stuff I really want by now. We'll probably register for a few things we could really use (or to upgrade some of our old stuff) and then make sure that word gets out that we honestly, truly, will not be offended if people don't get gifts because we already have plenty of stuff. I would feel uncomfortable asking guests to finance a vacation.

    Oh, and about those over the top items on registries that upset people ... keep in mind that sometimes you see outrageously expensive stuff like couches on registries not because the couple expects it as a gift but because some stores give you a nice discount if you buy yourself stuff after the wedding. I know friends who have taken advantage of this, because they're smart cookies.

  56. What sort of shallow people get alienated by an in-satisfactory registry type selection? And the idea that we can't evolve wedding customs because god forbid we might offend the older generations is ridiculous. I honestly find it phenomenally tacky for guests to criticize what the bride and groom have thoughtfully decided what they need and thus have registered for... whether it be pancake molds or a down payment or a honeymoon. A lot of high and mightiness of this thread from normally thoughtful commentators.

  57. Oh, and PS - some people are always going to be offended, no matter what you do. Some people enjoy getting righteously worked up (I do myself, sometimes) so just think of it as a gift to them. They won't see it that way, but whatevs.

  58. Dear folks, gift giving is VERY cultural.

    In some cultures, asking for money is totally tacky. In some cultures, cash is the normal gift. And in some cultures people don't see the difference.

    BUT gift givers usually like to feel in control of whatever they are giving. So to some people, registering only for a honeymoon feels like a demand for cash, and for folks who feel uncomfortable about giving cash or have a small budget and feel like a $20 check feels more paltry and insubstantial than a similarly priced bud vase, then it can feel unpleasant to be faced with giving cash or giving something random. Personally, I don't like to give cash and wouldn't be very enthusiastic about a honeymoon registry. I wouldn't complain to the couple, but I'd be a little annoyed.

    That said, if people ask you about where you are registered, you can say "what we really want is cash for our honeymoon" but it might be nice to have a small registry or even a list of general ideas outside of the standard registry lineup (books, camping equipment, wine, whatever does it for you).

    And having everything you need and getting married and being surrounded by people wanting to celebrate you and give you more stuff? That's a great problem to have...

  59. Do whatever the fuck you want. We had registry anxieties, namely I didn't want one, husband didn't care either way. Websites, magazines, people who didn't really know us told us that we should have one, people want to give you gifts build your life, it's expected etc... After many wasted weeks worry about said registry we just went with our original plan and had no registry. What's more we told folks don't bother getting us anything, all we want is for you to be there and party with us. No one cared/was offended/felt left out of life building. People still gave us gifts because they wanted to so everyone was happy. Long story short, you know your friends and family, you know yourselves, you know whats right for you.

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  61. We registered for the regular items at two stores and had a paypal account for honeymoon donations and tried to make it all very casual. Beforehand I talked to my mom about it. At first she didn't like the idea of the honeymoon fund, but then she talked to her fav cousin who was delighted to give money towards it, and Mom changed her mind. We had a mix of gifts, and some of our guests didn't give gifts, which was totally fine. I, personally, find the registering for specific activities a little weird for some reason, and preferred just saying donations towards the honeymoon and leaving it at that. Also, I didn't do a shower. I think as long as you have options it's fine. Alternatively you could leave it out, and I'm sure a lot of people will still just give you money, and you can use it towards the honeymoon. I know some people think it's weird to put money towards a vacation, but if you're poor like we are, a lot of people are happy to chip in for a post-wedding trip. It's a special experience. Also, for the record, my great-aunt, who is in her 90's, chose to give us money for the honeymoon over the other options. She had an amazing marriage, and I know she wanted to send us on our way as well.

  62. hahah I couldn't help but burst out laughing when I read the response about the snorkling excursion. I like the idea of having your honeymoon paid for (I'm getting married in July) but as my fiance's aunt put it, the idea of a gift registry is for new couples just starting out and everyone wants to give to make their live together easier. She also mentioned most of the older folks in their family would be extremely put off by the idea. But if your real aim is to have some cash, you can register for fewer items and once those items are bought people will most likely give you cash and you can use that however you like. Just a thought. :-)

  63. We live in LA and hang with the more liberal of traditions crowd. We love traveling and I don't mind throwing a couple dollars towards a special trip.

    I think it comes down to your income level. I find it really non-offensive when friends who are struggling ask for cash or a honeymoon.

    However, we recently went to a wedding where they registered for their honeymoon. They are our richest friends and something about writing a check to my friends who don't need money at all didn't seem right and tacky.

    I think with all things it's the couple and the situation. It's impossible to have a blanket rule for everyone.

  64. At the end of our lives, what do we have? Do we have stuff like a stand mixer or a coffee machine? Hell no, even the nice ones will have broken by then.

    Great memories are all that's really worth a d*mn in this life. I say, make them. Have a honeymoon registry.

  65. While traveling is not Green..... traveling in place of gathering 'stuff' is! It would be MUCH better to register for a honeymoon - especially since it is what you REALLY want rather than getting more junk to rot itself into a landfill.... take up space... consumerism consumerism - must have more stuff!

    GOOD FOR YOU!!! for looking to go on a journey and collect wonderful memories and experiences that you can't replace with 'things' - Love needs to live - not to collect dust on a shelf honey. Get yourself a cash registry for what you want... and try DAG!! DepositAGift - Dana will take incredible care of you - she has done so much for us already. The customer service on her website is phenomenal.

    Check her out -

  66. Yeah.... I would just tell family about the whole honeymoon thing and then have a normal registry. Family will understand and totally help out; random friends-of-parents might not. Plus, some people feel that a good, solid, useful gift item will "last longer" than the trip (not how I feel, but I've heard that before...).

    All else fails, sell the crap you got that you don't want and use THAT money toward your honeymoon. We definitely sold a few gift cards to my parents for cash (esp. for the stores that we don't have where we live and could totally do without).

  67. I just went and added a honeymoon option on my registry after reading some of the comments about stuff vs experiences. Thanks guys!

  68. I don't get why it is okay to register for stupid plates but not for a honeymoon. I could afford the plates, I could afford the honeymoon, but I don't need or want more plates. I much rather go on a great trip and keep that memory forever.

  69. I don't see how in this day and age it's tacky at all. It made sense to register for housewares, etc. back in the day when you lived with your parents until you were married but nowadays most of us have lived on our own for years thus acquiring all the things we need for our home.

    Of all the weddings I've been to over the years the majority have asked in a polite way for cash, be it for a honeymoon or a down payment on a home. It didn't get my panties in a bunch and it didn't seem to offend anyone else.

    I got married this past summer and I momentarily pondered the same question. But then I got to thinking... how many times have you looked at someone's gift registry and scoffed at all the expensive items on the list? I really don't see the difference in asking for a contribution to make your honeymoon absolutely fabulous or a $300 mixer. Am I right or am I right?

    To be honest, most people I know, myself included like being able to throw some cash in a card and be done with it.

    At my wedding, once we decided to go the honeymoon fund route, we made it known that only our friends and families presence was needed and above and beyond that if anyone was feeling so kind we were going to New York City for our honeymoon and anything towards that would be awesome and appreciated. (our wedding was very low key, casual, bbq, camping style)

    I should note that I declined to have a shower, in fact I even declined a bachelorette party.

    And in the end everyone, even our old grannies seemed more than happy to contribute to our honeymoon and everyone was very excited for us to go on the trip and to hear all about it when we got back. They seemed really happy to have been able to help.

  70. People that ask for gifts on their invitations GROSS ME OUT. Register if you want to, but let your parents spread the word to those who inquire. And trust me, those aunts and everyone will ask your mom. And the younger generation will ask you if they care to. Or they will google it and see it on your wedding wedsite. Inviting someone to your wedding is not an invitation for them to give you a GIFT. -e

  71. "Do you know what's TACKY? Pretending to be all alternative and accepting of others' choices and then going all nutjob judgey. THAT's tacky."
    Also wanted to throw in full support of the comments making fun of the butter dish. We lost our home and everything in it in a fire and a close friend took us on a trip to South America. It was a wonderful gift. Overvaluing possessions and undervaluing experiences in order to pass judgment on those you deem tackier and less respectful of their friends and family than you is a worthless and mean spirited exercise.

  72. Checking in on this post after a while. Meg, I love you, and part of what I love about you and your blog is your strong opinions, but I gotta agree with the commenters who called you out on being "nutjob judgey" on this one.

    It goes back to my original point - the gift is not about you. YOU might value a china butter dish that your grandkids will use, but I don't plan to have kids at all, so obviously my grandkids will never use that butter dish.

    I realize this is a very specific example, but my point is that what you value is not the same as what others value, and some people see more stuff as clutter (like the OP). Case in point: My uncle had a temper tantrum whine-fit to my mother because my husband and I didn't register for china. My mother pointed out that we had regular dishes, as well as sheets, blankets, and a fancy schmancy Rowenta iron still left on the registry (for example).

    "But I want to buy them something SPESHUL!"

    Dude, we really needed new sheets. That was special to us. We had old sheets with holes in them, and we like nice linens. China we'll never use and don't have room for? No.

    And that's not to say we didn't receive some really lovely gifts that weren't on our registry, because we absolutely did. My husband talked me out of registering for a Magic Bullet ("We're already registering for a new food processor!"), and a friend got me one anyway. I insisted on keeping it, and husband likes it as much as I do, as it is handy for chopping up smaller portions and not dragging out the 12-cup food processor.

    I actually, too, did appreciate the items that I had no use for and ended up returning for store credit. I was being a little obnoxious with that comment, but I wasn't lying when I said I loved those gloves I bought instead. They're fleece lined and have the open-fingers with the mitten covering. Great for picking up dog poop. (Seriously, taking off your mittens to open those little bags for even 30 seconds in the Northeast cold is unpleasant at best and downright painful on the worst days.)

    I never meant to imply that one shouldn't be gracious and thankful for anything a guest gives them. But if what you really need is, as one commenter put it, "to get the hell away from the kids for 2 weeks," I see nothing wrong with it. The only reason we didn't do a honeymoon registry was because we couldn't afford a big honeymoon, and I didn't want to be stuck with the bill in case it wasn't covered. Book a honeymoon you're prepared to pay for yourselves and work your way up from there - anything additional will be gravy.

    Also, if you're worried about sniping aunts, make a small registry with white goods that you may need upgrades or replacements for. New sheets, towels, and pillows are ALWAYS handy and easy to store. This is what we ended up doing, and we found we could "use" more than we initially thought. No china, no pots and pans, but some new everyday dishes (that match), a new shower curtain (the old one was ratty), and some metal shelving to store it all on, for example, turned out to be quite useful after all.

  73. I agree with the comment that "normal" registries were once tacky (as was the necessity to say "will/will not attend" on a reply card) and are now de rigueur; honeymoon registries will follow. My BFF is Parisian and she and her Italian hubby registered for a safari plus assorted housewares. The guests LOVED the safari bit. So, it's in in Europe and the kind of minds that want to judge your registry and don't love your wish to snorkel usually ADORE whatever is happening on the Continent.

    Use one of the fancy setups that helps people not feel that they are just writing a check (like you're not just writing a check to Create & Barrel?) and it will all be fine.

  74. Register for your honeymoon! We did, and it was amazing. We too lived together for two years before we got married so there was nothing we "needed". And in fact, many of our guests LOVED that they could do it online, and feel a part of bringing us joy to our celebration which included the honeymoon.
    And to anyone who says it's tacky, are probably already saying other things are tacky too. You can't win with them either way.

  75. My mom hates registries. When I told her we were going to Target, she shook her head and said, "what do you need? I'll buy it for you." So supposedly mom is going to get us an almond Kitchen Aid mixer.

    But she's the only one who doesn't like it. If I can't find someone's registry for a wedding, I panic. If you've gotta travel out of state for a wedding, fly up there, drive all around the world for it, figure out what to wear, take days off, etc., then for Pete's sake I pray for registries.

    I am a terrible gift-giver but a really good helper, so I'd much rather get there early, help someone make an escort card display or finish gluing cardstock & stickers on favors, and give them either a gift card or a honeymoon-type gift. As a wedding guest, it makes my life easier.

    We were UBER TACKY as we've already booked our honeymoon and are registering for it to replenish the bank account. Which is horrible, and surely has some guests talking behind our backs, but we don't give two craps.

    I've also had Polish-Italian friends inform me that they are writing me a check for a crapton of money, even after flying out from Seattle to attend the wedding (and be in it, and then be in another wedding the next day).

    The only problem I have with the registry is that I think my fiance should register for video games and he won't. NOW'S YOUR CHANCE - TAKE IT!!

  76. "Do you know what's TACKY? Pretending to be all alternative and accepting of others' choices and then going all nutjob judgey. THAT's tacky."

    Completely agree! Jeesh people, why is it that we can be so chill about all kinds of different choices but when it comes to registries we're lining up the firing squad? WHO CARES!?!? Meg, I love you and APW, but I agree with the commenters calling you out for the butter dish comment. What's important to you is not what's important to everyone else, and that doesn't make anyone else tacky or obnoxious or selfish. That's the whole point of a registry - because different people have different wants and needs and values, and gifts are supposed to be about the receiver, not the giver. Personally, I could give two shits about what someone "wants" to give me... If they don't like what I actually want, then don't get anything! That is fine! But what I think is tacky is deciding that someone's carefully chosen wish list is not good enough and buying something else, or getting your undies in a bunch just because someone has different values than you.

  77. I find registries tacky in general. I'm 25, never married, but most of my friends & family are upper-middle class. Lots of them waited til late 20s/early 30s to marry. They don't need my help buying a mixer, but you bet your butt they don't need my help buying a honeymoon, either. I agree with that woman's mom's friend - go with what you can afford. Let people give whatever they like. I prefer giving money at weddings. If I don't care who the bride & groom are or don't think they're marrying for the right reasons, I decline to attend and just send a "sorry I couldn't make it" card. This isn't the 70s, it's not all 18-year-olds getting married anymore. If your honeymoon registry includes airfare, the hotel, meals etc., you'd probably be better off going somewhere closer to home. If you live 2hrs from a beach, drive there & get a hotel on the water. Still pretty, but family & friends don't feel the same financial obligation. A few of my recently-married cousins are incredibly aloof, and I haven't ONCE seen a honeymoon registry. If I see one, I'll punch whoever made it. Seriously. It's my hard-earned money, NOT yours.

  78. What's next, Middle School Graduation registries? DUI-based Driver Re-education Funding registries? Child Support Custody Battle registries? EVERYONE wants gifts, doesn't mean their "special event" deserves them! If you're old enough/responsible enough to make a big financial decision, try funding most of it too... If someone offers to help, graciously accept it, but don't EXPECT it. Lots of people are cutting down in this economy, not spending more.

  79. Hey, in Japan, guests usually bring the equivalent of $300 in cash for the couple. $200 is considered bad luck, and $100 kind of rude but maybe acceptable if you're super broke. This is to help the couple in their new lives together but also a thank-you-for-putting-on-this-party-that-cost-tons-of-money gift. I'm just throwing that out there because Japan definitely has us beat as far as a culture of etiquette. Yes, there are different cultural norms.

    I see registries as a way to ease along the entire process. Couples register for what they want. People can buy them a toaster, rest assured they don't get 5 other toasters. No registry? 5 toasters? Whose do you keep? Aunt May comes over to your house. You returned HER toaster. That's fun to explain.

    As a guest I LOVE it when people register. A long time ago I committed to giving consumable gifts only. I hate the idea of contributing to other people's clutter. If it's something on a registry that I KNOW they want, I'm so happy to get it for them. One of my best friends got married last month. I was a bridesmaid and I donated to her honeyfund (they had a charity option as well) and made her a handmade, heartfelt card. She can keep the card in scrapbook or whatever or not.

    Oh, and guess what? They could totally afford a honeymoon. So? Their house is already full of housewares. If they hadn't registered, I would have been in a slight panic as a guest. ("Do they already have a toaster?!?! What color of dishes would they like?!?!) I think it was polite of them to provide the option. Not tacky or money-grabbing. I don't think it's entitlement either. People like to give at these kind of things and registries are guides.