Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wedding Gift Recap: Amazon and Honeymoon Registries

I thought I’d do a little recap on how our wedding registries worked out, since we had two “controversial” registries (in quotes because I really don’t feel like these are very controversial these days, although I’m sure others feel differently).

**First off, I would like to note that I know registries can sometimes be a heated topic, and I’m not writing this to start a debate. I just wanted to share what happened with our registries, and what worked for us may not be what will work for you. I’m well aware that you are never supposed to ask for gifts for your wedding. However, the fact remains that some guests like to give gifts, and like to know what the couple would like to receive, so I’m in the pro-registry camp. I’ve always used registries for weddings I’ve attended, and I enjoy knowing I’m gifting something the couple will actually use.**

Our first registry was with Amazon.com. Long ago I wrote about how easy it was to register from the comfort of our couch and almost all of the items we selected qualified for free shipping, because that has been an argument I’ve heard against Amazon registries, that people don’t want to pay for shipping. However, I disagree with that argument. 100% of the time I’ve bought gifts for weddings, through Macy’s, Bed Bath, etc, I’ve opted to have the gift sent to the couple’s home, and paid shipping every single time. So unless you’re going to be hauling the wedding gift to the wedding (which isn’t recommended because then the couple or someone has to deal with it and get it home from the venue), shipping is going to just be something you have to pay for.

We had a pretty conservative registry on Amazon, with far under the recommended number of items, because we just didn’t really need that much in the way of traditional wedding gifts. We’ve lived together for 8 years, and I felt there was no need to replace perfectly good kitchen items. However, in the end, we didn’t end up receiving that many gifts off our Amazon registry, although we were very grateful for what we did receive. Maybe 12-15 things, and mainly these were items that were purchased for us well in advance of our wedding date.

And actually, the main thing we wanted from Amazon was our Pfalzgraf set of everyday dishes, platters and bowls. So I ended up spending about $500 after our wedding to complete our whole set, because I was afraid that our pattern would be discontinued at some point and didn’t want to be stuck with only half the number of plates we needed!

Then there was our honeymoon registry, which we set up through Paypal on our wedding website. I know some people are still against this kind of registry, but no, we did not use it to “pay for a honeymoon we couldn’t afford” (the argument I've heard against honeymoon registries). You can see my original post about it, but we just gave people the option to gift us excursions or nice dinners. And again, we’ve lived together for almost a decade and just didn’t need that many traditional gifts, so we thought this was a really great way for guests who wanted to give us a gift to do something a little different and fun.

And this registry actually went over really, really well with our friends. It was easy for them because they didn’t have to worry about bringing anything to our wedding, and it was a quick last minute gift. In fact, about 90% of our honeymoon registry gifts came in in the few days before our wedding, and even a few on our wedding day (I got an email every time someone contributed to our honeymoon). So again, this type of registry couldn’t (and really shouldn’t) be used to pay for a honeymoon that was outside our means. We had no idea what people were going to get us until a couple days before our honeymoon, and it wasn’t something we were counting on anyway. But it was a pleasant, much appreciated surprise, and our guests ended up gifting us all our excursions, snorkel and boogie board rentals, all our dining out, and much more!

In addition to gifts from our Amazon and Honeymoon registries, we received many cards filled with well wishes, cash and checks. Definitely not something we were counting on, but we were so grateful for everyone’s lovely gifts, which we put into savings.

So my takeaways on registering:

- Register for what you want and need, but within reason.
- Don’t hesitate to do a non traditional registry if that’s what you want to do, your guests can take it or leave it, and you might be pleasantly surprised at how much they like it.
- If using Amazon, try to find items that qualify for free shipping, and maybe make a note on your wedding website about the free shipping, in case your guests are concerned about that aspect of ordering online. We put a note in small font under the link to our registry, “most items qualify for free shipping.”
- You will most likely receive gifts for which you have zero use for. Just accept that as an unfortunate downside to people not using registries and promptly send the thank you note to the guest.
- Appreciate all your cards and gifts, your guests were thinking of you when they sent them. And don't be offended if you don't receive a gift from someone. Technically they have up to a year to send something, and in this economy, people may just not be able to afford it. At least they spent the time and money getting to your wedding, and you got to celebrate with them!
- And as a wedding guest, unless you know the couple really, really well, my advice would be to just stick to their registry, or give a card. Or at least look at their registry first, to get a feel for what they are in need of. If you don’t see any crystal or fancy knickknacks with no purpose on their registry, chances are they don’t need whatever versions of those items you’ve found off their registry. Just sayin’! ;)

What are your thoughts on buying wedding gifts, do you like to buy from on the registry or off the registry?


  1. Your dishes are divine! So pretty! I'm guilty of hauling gifts to the wedding but now realizing through blogs and posts such as yours that that's probably not the best policy :P As far as buying gifts, I'm split on registry/off registry purchases and base it on how well I know the couple.

  2. I think registries are always a great idea, and now there are so many options out there for people who already have anything - donations to charity, honeymoon funds and amazon.com are all great ones. I love registries because otherwise I have no idea what to get for people unless I am really close with them. And even then, it's hard to "wing it" and get a gift that both will enjoy. I'm glad you were able to complete your dish set, too - it's insane how fast dish patterns become unavailable!

  3. Great tips, and I really don't see why people get so worked up about these types of registries. I love Amazon, and we also had a honeymoon registry. They allowed people to get us something they knew we'd use/want, and that was great. Of course, we appreciated the items that weren't on our registry, too, and understood that some guests couldn't afford to give. Their coming to the wedding was gift enough.

  4. LOVe your dishes! There are some great ideas and tips! I hope you are doing well. I'm offically back into the blogging world and I have a lot of catching up to do!