The Wedding Report: To Registry or Not to Registry?

Twelve lavender pages with line after line of items that a new bride and groom cannot live without:

Two palm scrubbers.
One steel-wool cleaning cloth.
Set of three Jalapeno-themed dish towels.
Steel dish rack with matching sink mat.
One egg-shaped kitchen timer.
Three pastry brushes.
That list only covers the items selected from one wall, and a fraction of a couple’s bridal registry, at Bed Bath and Beyond. At the home-goods superstore you can get any household item that is legally produced and sold in this country. It is the perfect place for new home owners and apartment dwellers alike to stock up and transform their living areas. For those who are getting married it has one item prized above all others: a gift registry.

A snap to create, the registry includes objects made to fit any guest’s fancy and budget – though not necessarily both. Even for friends of hair-brained couples, the registry will offer abundance options, as BBB employees fill in any gaps in home-wares the unthinking couple missed. With the registry in hand you can arrange for free gift wrap and make sure no one else purchases your gift of choice, be it the ever-useful set of pyrex bowls, the much-desired hair-removal system, or matching pink bathrobes. If you like to shop from home, you can scroll through the registry and select a gift that comes with free shipping. Best of all, if the couple decides that the palm scrubbers are out-dated or that the dishes they inherited from Aunt Rita are much nicer than the ones their friends scrimped to buy them, they can return their gifts to BBB for cash or credit.

There is only one drawback to buying off the registry: the couple knows the exact amount at which you value their friendship. While they might adore the egg-shaped kitchen timer you selected, the fact that you value their friendship at $7.00, or $3.50 each, might affect the future of that relationship. The obvious alternative is to buy a gift that is not on the registry. This quirky approach will save the bride and groom from, consciously or unconsciously, putting a price tag on your friendship. However, if you take this inspired choice, you might become known as the purchaser of their most ridiculed and unreturnable gift. It’s not a bad fate, but it is a waste of your $7.00.

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12 Comments

  1. I’m so anti registries…. yes, I had one, but still. Everything you buy at bed bath, you can get for half the price somewhere else. The gift wrapping is beautiful and bed bath and beyond makes their stores a fun destination point, but really… it’s unnecessary. I appreciate all of my gifts, no matter where they are from. Though I’ve never done this, I think people should just look at someone’s registry, see what they like, and go to marshalls and buy them the same thing for cheaper. Isn’t that a good plan?

  2. Registries are the genius brain-child of some marketing executive who I hope capitalized heavily off her revolutionization of the marriage gift-buying industry. Genius should be recognized. Registries almost completely did away with the cliched awkwardness that a bride-to-be has to deal with when at her bridal shower she is trying to effusively gush over her third blender when she has never used a blender in her life and doesn’t foresee marriage causing her to start loving smoothies.

    When I will be attending a bridal shower I usually look at the BB&B registry online before I go to the store. I find it fascinating to see what people thought they should register for. Really, a $300 trash can? Of all the china patterns in the store you really had to choose that fugly one? And am I the tref one or did the Lord say unto Moses: “Thou shalt have red, green, and blue oven mitts”?

    No matter how judgmental I am of the registry list, I always buy from the registry. I view it less as an overpriced baking dish and more as a classier way to give $20 than a bill with a bow on it. I just flip to the kitchen items page and scan the prices column until I land on something that I don’t think is absurdly stupid. No pie tins for someone I don’t believe will ever make a pie. Also, I am a kitchenware snob and I wont buy brands that I think are junk. I figure either the bride will return it for cash or she will keep it and it was something she (thought she) wanted. Either way, it prevents the bride from receiving duplicates or something she stows in the back of the closet with a vague intention to regift it to someone she doesnt particularly care for.

  3. Also, I never buy things like bedding, or towels, or bathroom accessories. I find bedding too intimate, towels too boring and utilitarian, and bathroom accessories ugly and unexciting. I always go for kitchen things. Usually pyrex (love my pyrex stuff, use it all the time) or baking pans (I always need other forms and sizes, but I’m probably not the norm on that one).

  4. I’m going to admit to judging people based on their gift registries. While we’re here, I’m going to admit to judging Na’ama because she registered for a potato masher. Only when I went to register myself did I find out that they automatically put a whole list of useless things on there for you, including a potato masher. That restored my faith in Na’ama’s ability to mash potatoes with a fork like the rest of the universe.
    The only reason I’m anti buying the same things from somewhere cheaper is that you’re never really sure if they even need what they registered for. And considering that until recently bed bath was giving cash for returned gifts, it’s just better to buy them something cheap that they can return than something useful they can’t take back. But at that point you might as well slip ten bucks into an envelope and call it a day.

  5. ariella, I actually needed a potato masher (I don’t remember registering for it, but I believe u). no one bought it for me. I think i ended up getting one for free when I went to see “The Nate Show” being taped and got a gift card to a random housewares store and purchased useless things like pans and a potato masher. I do love it!

  6. Potato mashers are unnecessary; you should have gone with a whisk. It’s a multipurpose instrument with which you can beat eggs AND mash potatoes with ease, while at the same time keeping your kitchen clear and uncluttered. Whisks are also much better, faster, and productive than forks when it comes to food prep.

  7. You cannot mash potatoes with a whisk. The easiest way to mash potatoes is with a handmixer. A handmixer is great appliance because you can use it for everything from mixing cake batter to mashing potatoes to whisking egg whites and its way better than a kitchen aid because it is light and small and easy to clean. I use mine all the time. Now that is a good wedding present.

  8. The beauty of a handmixer is that it is barely an appliance. It is small and lightweight and it will evenly and quickly mash your potatoes. It makes the potatoes all nice and whipped and creamy instead of uneven and chunky. Speaking of potatoes, I wish I magically had a whole bunch of potato bar fixings ready for me in my fridge for dinner. Let’s have break-fast (not the first meal of the day, but the first meal after fasting) again but without the fasting. I haven’t seen a catered potato bar since bar/bat mitzvah season, but they should definitely make a comeback. I need to remember potato bars for a pesach day meal.

  9. Not only do I have a potato masher (which I use), I also have a potato ricer which needs to be kashered and toiveled.

    My husband and I had a very small wedding and we made a list of special things we wanted for our respective parents to share with close friends and relatives. So, there was no registry to buy from, but there were guidelines. Not everything was expensive and people could certainly have chosen to purchase one or two of the handmade glasses at the Irish Design Center…. 26 years later, we recall getting a set of demitasse cups from one of his parents’ friends (he’s never been a coffee drinker) and a “newlywed set” of cheap pots & pans and towels. Though we got none of the lovely handmade glasses, a very special friend made us a hand-pieced quilt. Also a handsome pair of silver-plated tongs came unexpectedly from a distant friend. Moral: if you aren’t going to buy what the couple has asked for, then get something *nice* and not necessarily what you want.

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