Is it OK to Register for Gifts That I Know My Partner Will Never Use?

Is it OK to Register for Gifts That I Know My Partner Will Never Use?

Taryn Williford
Feb 24, 2017
(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

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.

There's a lot to look forward to as you're gearing up to get married, but be honest: A tiny part of you is really psyched that you might finally have an excuse to ask for a KitchenAid mixer. But the thing is, it's really a gift for you more than your useless-in-the-kitchen future spouse. Is it cool to ask your wedding guests to buy a gift that's really just for one of you?


Go Ahead and Treat Yo Self

A wedding registry is about filling a home with the things you need for your future married life, which, yes, also includes each of you separately. And remember that not every guest at the wedding is a mutual friend or family member to both of you; it's likely that your guests can already tell which registry gifts were scanned and added by whom. Lizzy Ellingson, the founder and Chief Creative Officer at Blueprint Registry says that going for "only me" gifts is absolutely OK. "It makes it more fun for close friends and family to give more meaningful gifts at a wedding or bridal shower."

Vicki Fulop, who founded the home goods brand Brooklinen with her husband Rich, agrees. "Maybe your guy desperately wants a VR headset, and his friends will enjoy giving it to him because they know it's something he'll love," she said.


Yes, But It's About Compromise

Most of our experts agreed that registering for one-sided gifts is OK, etiquette-wise. But many of them suggested that couples also consider compromise as they're making up their lists.

"Not every spouse is going to use every gift anyway; maybe one of you is the budding chef, while the other is a maverick with a tool kit," Vicki of Brooklinen said. "As long as you register for a wide assortment of presents and don't go overboard with the personal items, I say go for it."

Jennifer Spector, a newlywed of one year and Zola's Director of Brand Strategy agrees that one-sided gifts are inevitable, so couples should take some extra steps to keep things fair. "The key is to let your partner register for a few things specific to them," she said. "And who knows, they might surprise you. I registered for exercise classes, and now my husband and I go together!"


Consider How Both Parties Will Benefit

Not every just-for-me gift is as one-sided as it seems. A few of our experts encouraged some creative thinking when it comes to who really benefits from a certain gift. It can sometimes be more about sharing your time than sharing your things.

"Part of the benefit of becoming a couple is sharing your individual interests with each other," said, Kristin Joy, a wedding writer for Style Me Pretty and Refinery 29 and founder of the blog Bridentity Crisis. She speaks from personal experience: "One of the best gifts my husband and I received was a Big Green Egg grill from his groomsman, and I haven't even touched it let alone tried to grill something on it. But I've certainly enjoyed eating many delicious meals that he's made on it."

Now you weigh in: Is it OK to register for gifts that only one of you will use?

The Registry Rule Book

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