Navigating the world of registry etiquette is tough work. To put together The Registry Rule Book, we asked some industry experts to weigh in and answer some of the hardest questions engaged couples might have.
It's far better to fill your registry with gift ideas that flutter your heart than ones that will clutter your cabinets. So if, say, you already have all the potholders and cutting boards a couple could want, you might start to think, "What I'd really love is a new coffee table." Or mattress. Or a really nice set of pots and pans. But is it OK to ask for those sorts of high-ticket items from your guests?
WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR:
Yes! Go Crazy!
The heart wants what it wants. And truthfully, your guests want to give you things you'll use and appreciate all the time (while wistfully thinking of them, of course, and the joy they bring to your life). It's OK to put some expensive wishes on the gift list if they're things you know you'll love.
But, you know, everyone's on a budget. That's why Kristin Joy, a wedding expert and founder of Bridentity Crisis, recommends striking the right balance. "You shouldn't expect your guests to foot the bill for that new $10,000 designer chair you're lusting after, however if there's a stunning set of crystal that you think could someday become a family heirloom, go ahead and add it to your gift list," she said. "After all, nobody has to buy you anything."
If you do decide to scan a few big ticket asks, Kristin noted that couples should be ready for the consequences. "Some guests or family members may find your extravagant registry requests to be a bit greedy, so add these items sparingly," she said. "And make sure to have a thick skin if they make snarky comments about it to you. I'm speaking from personal experience on this point!"
THE EXPERT ANSWER:
Yes, Within Reason... and for a Reason
A sometimes necessary, earth-to-bridezilla-type of reminder: Your wedding registry wish list isn't a gift grab—it's a service to your guests. Most of our experts agreed that it's OK to register for some pricier items, but you should be doing it mostly because it gives your guests more options.
"I think you should register for items with a wide variety of prices," said Tabitha Abercrombie, an event and floral designer and founder of Winston & Main. "That way your guests can spend what they're comfortable with."
The truth is, some of your super excited, crazy proud relatives and friends are going to want to splurge and bless your new marriage with nice things for your home together. So keeping your price points varied helps everyone—and offers plenty of flexibility for everyone.
"A few larger ticket items create an opportunity for several people to go in on a gift together, so that they can give you something extra special," said Vicki Fulop, who founded home goods brand Brooklinen with her husband Rich. "It's exciting both for them and for you!"
Consider Organized Group Gifting
Another argument for including some higher-priced gifts if they're something you really love: Sometimes, a group of tight-knit guests (like your college besties, or a cohort of cousins) will decide to all go in on a gift together. For most of wedding history, group gifting has happened organically, like Brooklinen's Vicki Fulop suggested. But today's couples and wedding guests have even more options.
"We all have that one special piece of furniture or artwork that we would love to have," said Lizzy Ellingson, founder and Chief Creative Officer at Blueprint Registry. "This dream piece costs too much to ask of one person, but luckily group gifting is now a common and tactful solution to asking for expensive gifts. It's a polite way to request a pricier item by breaking the total cost into smaller price segments."
With universal registries, like Blueprint Registry and Zola, a couple can opt to split a big-ticket gift into lots of little contributions—which means your aunt Jill and your college friend Luke can each chip in for the chair you've had your eyes on, even though they've never met. The great part is that if the group gift isn't fully funded, the couple gets to keep the balance of what was contributed—as a credit for something else at Zola or as a cash gift on Blueprint.
Jennifer Spector, Zola's Newlywed-At-Large and Director of Brand Strategy, thinks her site's group gifting is the perfect solution for today's couples and their thoroughly modern guests: "What's important is to register for the gifts you really want, whether that is a snazzy bar cart, a picture frame or both!"
Now you weigh in: Is it OK to register for gifts with higher price points?