Monday, June 4, 2012

Can we say that we don't want anything, unless it's money?



Dear ESB,

My fiance and I have been together for five years (five and a half at the time we'll be married) and living together for nearly two. We own a condo together and all the requisite detritus that two people accumulate when they've lived together. We have all the furniture, knick-knacks, dishes and things we could possibly need. We're really not interested in registering and could probably use money more to save up for a better home, vacations, a new car for me and for him, etc.

How completely inappropriate/tacky/god-awful is it to include non-registry information on our invitations? Can we say that we don't want anything, unless it's money? Something like "We have everything we need for our small condo, however, we would happily accept your generosity to our travel fund/house fund/etc."

How entirely terrible is something like that?

-- Unregistered & Etiquette Confused

*****


a) It is COMPLETELY inappropriate/tacky/god-awful to include ANY KIND of registry/non-registry/gift-grubbing information on or in your invitations. That shit goes on your wedding website, or you can disperse the dets via word of mouth.

b) Would you have the nerve to tell someone to her face, "We don't need any housewares, but we're happily accepting contributions for NEW CARS"?


_____________________________

For more on this subject, I suggest you peruse "Is it okay to just ask for cash?" "Is it tacky to register for a honeymoon?" + "A forkless wedding, and showers for $$"

49 comments:

  1. I don't know, I don't think it's that crazy, if I was going to a friend's wedding I'd rather put my money towards something I knew she actually wanted/needed. But that's just one girl's opinion...

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    1. It's interesting how everyone's comments are all very anti-cash. it's all bc we're use to american traditions of reg. for gifts.

      However, for example in Chinese weddings they ONLY GIVE CASH. I think it's bc they know that they'll actually use it & also it's to help out they couple/family who shelled out $1000s they just spent on the wedding to have them there

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  2. errrr...thats exactly what i did. well i didn't straight out ask for cash but we used deposit a gift where people can put money towards things we need. all my friends were actually super excited to do it that way. older people might not get it but your friends will understand and prob prefer it!

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  3. You know this drives me crazy.

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  4. Several of my friends have used one of those websites that lets you list honeymoon items on their registry (i.e. you can list "a boat ride for two, $50" or something else at your honeymoon destination). There must be something similar, where you can add "Help us save for our future home" and people will give to that. You could also look at this as an opportunity to upgrade some of your appliances...everyone has a gross looking toaster or something.

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  5. No to putting that info on your invites, yes to setting up a registry for a new home etc... I think that it has become totally acceptable to set up a cash registry. I don't know the number of "honeymoon" registries I've bought things off of, or donation registries. People don't have the need for gifts like they used to. That said, sometimes family members want to give you something more tangible/and or sentimental (not using that word as a pejorative). I certainly wouldn't turn anything away or refuse something and ask for cash instead. But you're friends/acquaintances etc... won't really mind what you ask for.

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  6. I'm all for not buying people extra crap when they are saving up for a big purchase such as house, etc. But I COMPLETELY agree with ESB that it is majorly tacky to put any gift information on your invitations. Put it on your website or tell your parents/maids what to say when people ask them where you are registered.

    We actually got an invitation last week that said something like "Monetary gifts are appreciated, no boxed gifts please" right smack on the front of the card. It was really off putting.

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    1. omg i do not think i could resist sending an anonymous note to that bride telling her how completely tacky she is.

      what if you wanted to give a box full of money? i bet she'd accept that "boxed gift"! Lame.

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  7. I have been to a wedding where the couple spread the fact that they only wanted money via word of mouth. A bunch of people still got them physical gifts. Because people *like* to give *things*. It's just a fact of life. And since the couple had not registered for anything, they ended up at the mercy of their guests' taste in gifts. AKA they got shit they maybe didn't want.

    My advice: Have a small registry with a few items that you guys want. When those things are all bought up, your other guests will default to giving you cash.

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    1. Totally agree with the small registry option. You can even take it a step further if you want, like we did, and not register anywhere. When people asked me about this, I told them that their presence was gift enough for us. Some people didn't get us anything, but the majority of our gifts were cash.

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    2. And this couple should have had no problem giving that gift they didn't want away. Giving a physical gift to someone who specifically says I do not want/need/have room for more STUFF is just as rude as saying you only want cash. I don't care if someone likes giving out STUFF as a sign of love. I am moving right now and knee deep in STUFF and I don't need anymore.

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  8. you don't make presents and you can't tell people what they can or can not give you. It is not your choice.

    Step 1. you decide to celebrate an event
    Step 2. you invite people to the event
    Step 3...
    Step 4...
    Step....100000 (no..there isn't an appropriate time for you to 'tell guests we want money as a present')

    If they ask you what you would prefer, you let them know you would like to buy your new car or that you would like to go on Holidays to Japan, or save it so tat you have some savings in case things get tough...so that people know what they are contributing to. It doesn't matter hwat, but you need a true cause here.

    People in syntony with you will just give you money full stop.
    People who need to give SOMETHING as a present so that they can fell the joy of giving you a concrete thing can KNOW what you are using it for.
    People who still want to give you cuttlery, they will and you have to accept it and be grateful.

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  9. Do not put anything about gifts on invitations. Invitations are supposed to be about wanting that person at your wedding. The only time it's permissible to mention gifts on an invitation itself is for a shower (where gifts are kind of the point). And even then it's at the hosts' discretion.

    That said, it depends on your crowd. If it's a fairly intimate wedding, with family & friends who have seen your place, etc, I would go with word of mouth about the non-registry. If it's a bigger event with extended family and acquaintances, have a wedding website with this info. Personally, I think cash registries (even the cute honeymoon ones like Marnie mentioned) are tacky, but you should let people know that you don't have a registry/don't need housewares. They will get the hint and write you checks, or pick out a gift of their choosing. You can always return stuff you don't need.

    TL;DR - IMO there's no way to ask for money without coming off as greedy/entitled/materialistic. Have a registry, or don't, you will get some cash either way - just smile and be grateful for other gifts (even if you don't need them).

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  10. Ditto Tonia's advice. Small registry (everyone needs an upgraded SOMETHING), then ppl will go to cash.

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  11. mmmm even better is when people do a "honeymoon registry" and have their unsuspecting guests shell out $100 for "chocolate covered strawberries to greet us at the resort!" when it's really just $100 direct depositing into their checking account. lying to your nearest & dearest? theres some divorce karma for ya

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    1. I honestly could not care less if I gave someone $100 to their bank account or it went to strawberries. Still $100 out of my pocket. Big deal.

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  12. I really got over giving things to people getting married that isn't a special gift. I worked for a while at a major kitchen/cooking store who made a killing in wedding registries. It was awful seeing the newlyweds come in, shooting everything in sight -- like drunks on a spree -- and then coming back after the wedding to exchange it for money or something they want more. It disgusted everybody. Once a lovely bride dumped a bunch of giftcards on the counter and instructed me to tell her their worth. When I handed over one that was for $50.00, she said to nobody in particular (she wouldn't look any of us in the eyes because she was the royal bride, I guess): "Cheap people." All I could think of was someone coming into the store and taking the time and thought to buy her a gift card so she can get something she wanted. I'm sorry, since when is a $50.00 gift card a cheap gift? It disgusted all of us and made me hate brides. Please don't let this be any of y'all.

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  13. ESB, I love your curt brevity. Best response ever. Jesus H.

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  14. We avoided getting a bunch of gifts by not registering at all. We told people to donate to Lambda Legal for marriage equality instead. People who would have probably given us money anyway (like aunts) gave us money, a few people gave us gift cards and most people gave us nothing or donated (we only know if they donated if they did it as a gift in our honor). No junk, duplicate toasters or anything we didn't need. Hooray!

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    1. I should clarify, we put the charitable registry on our web site/told people who asked. NEVER put that on an invitation! Come on now.

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  15. I feel like I've possibly weighed in on this subject before, but husband and I were in the same situation (only double the amount of years together... we definitely didn't need more stuff). The solution is, just don't register. Don't say anything. People aren't dumb, they'll figure it out and give you gift cards or cash. We received a total of about 3 physical gifts (from a total of about 75 guests).

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  16. On the invitation, we linked to our website. On our website we said:

    Our greatest gift is your presence at our wedding, but if you would like to give us something else, we have created an Amazon.com gift registry. This allows us to have a single list of gifts from a wide variety of stores. The lovely items on this list are interesting and personal to us.

    Alternatively, we would love contributions towards our future travel. We are thinking of visiting Scandinavia next year, and any gifts made monetarily will be used for this trip.


    We registered for quite a few things - appliance upgrades, fancy linens and art mostly. But it wasn't nearly enough for all of our guests to buy. MOST of them gave us cash and, actually, a lot of them later referenced it being for vacation (so they clearly read the webpage).

    AND we leave for Stockholm today! BOOM.

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  17. I have been told that people who want to give cash will give cash; people who are sensitive to the fact you are a young couple with aspirations to travel, to buy a Dyson vacuum/car, etc., will give cash; BUT MANY PEOPLE WANT TO GIVE PHYSICAL GIFTS. Wedding gifts are symbolic perhaps more than anything and in that sense they have nothing to do with whether you need that thing or not. It is a privilege, it is your distant aunt so-and-so saying tangibly "I am helping you build your life together". So, bitches, it's not an entitlement.

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  18. It is so interesting to me that asking for money is considered such a faux pas because it is absolutely the norm where I am from (central Canada) for people to straight up ask for money. No one even thinks twice about it. The few people who want to give you gifts will still give you gifts but most people just give cash. Everyone I know will attempt to give enough to at least cover their meals, if not the free booze as well. Granted, things here are cheaper probably in comparison to larger cities - $150 for a couple should cover the cost of meals at most venues.

    I guess the idea is that you don't want the couple to be in debt for throwing this huge party? I'm not really sure because it's just what we do here. In my case, we paid for most of our own wedding and the money allowed us basically to break even on the event. In the case of a friend, her family paid for most of her wedding and so they came out of their wedding with thousands of dollars which they used to build a garage, among other things (like buying whatever housewares they would have put on a registry).

    I don't see how this can be considered tacky? I would much rather support a newly married couple financially than buy them some appliance they may never use.

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    1. It's the same in my culture (Taiwanese) too. Cash is the norm and physical gifts are actually thought of as tacky. I tend to take comments about tackiness regarding weddings super lightly since I reeeeeally think it's a cultural/regional thing.

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  19. I wish putting the registry on the invite was acceptable for my own ease. I hate having to go to corny websites just to find if it's Macy's or Bloomingdale's. #lazy

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    1. Set up a Tumblr page. It's super easy. Then you can have a cool (or just plain) template.

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    2. Oh I'm not a bride. I'm saying as a guest, it'd be easier for me if it was just on there.

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    3. We registered at Macy's and they gave us a stack of tiny cards that said simply "the happy couple is registered at Macy's" to slip in with the invites.

      However, we only included those in the invitations to people we knew wouldn't care about etiquette--mostly people our own age.

      Plus, I really liked that the language on the cards were gender neutral.

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  20. we did word of mouth via my parents and my husband's parents for cash because we have a TINY place and already lived together for a year before getting married. it's not that we were money grubbing jerks, we just had literally NO ROOM for one more appliance. thing is, people buy you physical gifts regardless, so just get ready for it. luckily, since the $$$ word was out, all the physical gifts were very small and useful.

    for the love of haysus, do NOT put anything about only wanting money on your invite. can you say "TACTLESS"?

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  21. This just irks me.

    1. When people used to make their homes after they got married, it would make sense to me that you might need a list of things the new couple would need.

    2. Now that people wait until they are adults, have jobs, own homes.... WHY oh WHY do people need to purchase them shit that they pick out?


    I had a friend who thinks people giving any less than $150/person for a wedding is rude. She also publicly called out people on FACEBOOK for not sending her gifts.... Same woman who lived with her mother until she was 30 so she could save up to buy a house...

    I think I'm jaded... I just got over that crazy shit.

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  22. people who opt out for this kind of registry do it because they didn't want one to begin with but EVERYONE insist that they ask for gifts...and then they do (for something they really need like cash) and then they are criticized for it. it drives me insane!!

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    1. Completely agree! We didn't want gifts or a registry of any kind. I know sometimes people want to buy you stuff, but why isn't it acceptable to not ask for things??

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  23. we live together. when we need something we buy it. we have most of what we need already, but the fact of the matter is people are going to buy you gifts (or at least give you something as a present)
    we invited 150 people to our wedding.
    we registered for about 50 normal items at bedbad and beyond
    and then we registered for large ticket items at
    www.depositagift.com
    where people can contribute to a new bed frame or our honeymoon or what ever they feel like.
    and we put it on our website for people to find it.
    super tacky to put on the invitation.


    super easy. it works. people are going to buy you gifts

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  24. Charity registries are great - it's a great way of spinning the situation to "we're already so lucky" rather than "we don't need your stuff." Plus, a lot of people will just give you cash anyway. So no need to ask, really.

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  25. I guess I always thought the point of giving the couple a wedding gift was because they needed help starting their life together, traditionally. now that more couples have already established a home, what IS the point of the wedding gift? is it just congratulatory? in which case I now better understand that Sex & the City episode where Carrie wants to throw herself a "I'm still single and kicking ass at my career" party and expects gifts

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    1. What is the point of a birthday gift? You love someone, you're celebrating a milestone, you're happy for them, we often commemorate such occasions with gifts.

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  26. Don't most of the honeyfund/deposit-a-gift/etc... websites take out a chunk of change to use? Like 5%? That's why I don't like them because I think they are a ripoff. As others have suggested, just make a small registry of items you actually want and then mention you are also saving up for something tangible (e.g. Upgrading our kitchen). People will give money (Cards with checks or cash) if they want to, and people will give gifts if they want to do that.

    That said, just because a couple has been together for a long time and lived together, please don't be annoyed if they register for kitchen basics. I am so grateful that our friends bought us new dishes so we can get rid of our crappy chipped ones from Target and Ikea.

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    1. That is exactly why I refused to start that type of registry; taking a cut from your guests' gifts is absolutely ridiculous. We didn't need or want stuff, but we created a few small registries just to appease people. In my family, people like to buy physical, tangible gifts. Maybe it's a southern thing, I don't know. Some people even gave us gifts that were not on our registry. Oh well. We did ask our parents to spread the word (to close relatives only) that cash gifts would be very much appreciated simply because our wedding was several states away from where we live, so carting things back would be difficult.

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  27. it's too bad cash gifts can't buy you class.

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  28. can we ever make fun of wedding websites on this blog? i think they are d.u.m.b. but of course, i haven't had a wedding yet... i know they're convenient, bla bla bla.

    but people survived without them until approx the year 2003. so what is the big deal with wedding websites?

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  29. Unregistered and Etiquette ConfusedJune 4, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    This was my question and I'm just popping back in to say thanks to ESB (dude, that was fast!) & all the commenters (you're all damn quick too).

    A couple responses to you folks...
    ESB - The suggestion to write "We have everything we need for our small condo, however, blahblahblah" came from a family member. For some reason, it almost seemed okay and then after I emailed you, I realized how truly GOD-AWFUL it sounded and I kicked myself in the ass for being a d-bag.

    Allispin - I agree. Knowing the friends whose weddings I have been and (maybe) will be invited to, they've already established a home. I'd rather give them money that they can use towards whatever they choose.

    Sarah (from Canada) - I'm from Canada too (Alberta), and my experience with invitations including registry info/asking for money has taught me that it's Just Not Cool. My fiance's family was invited to a wedding recently and the invitation basically said, "We have a house and all that goes with it. But if you want to give us something, we love money." I nearly shit myself because it seemed so rude to expect anything, let alone money. I can appreciate that money is always needed (especially after hosting an event), but the expectation of gifts doesn't belong anywhere near the invitation, as ESB said.

    Marnie, et al - I'm not a fan of deposit-a-gift type registries. We're not planning an extensive honeymoon or house-reno. I don't think it's fair to ask people to donate to a specific charity, since they may not believe its philosophy. I donate to the Humane Society regularly, as well as semi-regularly to a couple other local charities and am happy to continue doing so. Also, as Erin mentioned, deposit-a-gift registries often skim 5-10% off the top, and you could very easily be lying to your guests about what you're actually using the money for.

    Tonia - Your suggestion is actually what we ended up doing - this weekend, we went out and registered for a small amount of stuff to upgrade current, worn-out items. Our registry print-out was only one sheet long. And they used nice, big fonts so I don't feel greedy about a seven-page long registry list. Additionally, the items we registered for were things that: a) we both agreed we could use upgrades on; b) things we both agreed we liked; c) things we'll actually use; and d) things that we will NOT return/exchange post-wedding.

    Thanks again to ESB & all the commenters for helping me NOT BE A D-BAG.

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  30. A friend of our got married in his native country and of course wouldn't fly all the stuff to US..so the card simply said ' No boxed gifts please.' It did not sound rude and all the guests got the point!

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  31. ok, so question to the audience then, because I literally just made my invitations and sent to print and have been known to royally fuck up wedding etiquette in the past:

    My fiance are doing a private ceremony for just him and I, then a month later a casual reception/party, not doing any receptiony-type traditions and we put on the invitation in small print 'no gifts please'. I guess some people will ignore that, but we already have everything and don't want to impose on people to buy a gift for a wedding they didn't even attend. Is THAT ok? I guess it doesn't matter now but...

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    1. Technically, it is considered improper to even mention gifts at all on the invitation (even if it's to request none) because it implies that you assumed that people *would* give you gifts. However, I doubt that people will mind.

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    2. yeah, I think because the nature of the party is so casual, we just didn't want people to feel obligated. On another note, cool blog, I teach too and am always trying to find fun/appropriate work clothes :)

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  32. in case this helps anyone, we used the following attempt at neutral charitable gift text on our wedding website:

    If you agree that others are in much more need of your generosity than we are, please consider making a charitable gift in our honor--either to your own preferred organization or to one of the charities we love, which include:

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