How To Get The Wedding Gifts You Want
by Rebecca Sherman
As with most aspects of a wedding there is an “etiquette” to receiving gifts, and these rules are as basic as the manners we all learn as small children. It is not polite to ask for a gift and one must be sure to say “thank you” when someone gives them something. Unfortunately, it seems that these basic principles have been long forgotten when it comes to planning a wedding.
Today many couples are asking, “how can we get money as wedding gifts?” First and foremost it is NEVER, under any circumstance, appropriate for a couple to ask for money as a gift.
News of where a couple is registered should be passed along by word of mouth from close friends and family members and never included with the wedding invitation.
The Bridal Registry
The bridal registry is a free service offered by most department and specialty stores used as a vehicle through which a bride and groom can tell guests exactly what they need and want. The couple chooses the items they would most like to receive and when gifts are purchased from the registry it is recorded so people can tell what has or has not been purchased. The advantages are obvious, those buying the gifts do not have to struggle with what to get, and the couple does not have to spend a lot of time after the honeymoon returning duplicates or items not compatible with their home decor or lifestyle. Registering should begin as soon as the engagement is announced. Most couples register at two or more places. The bride and groom should check around to find the department or specialty stores that have the patterns and styles of goods they want. Couples should also consider where most of their guests will be able to shop when they buy their gifts. Some stores now provide nationwide registry information through a chain of store locations or via the Internet.
Both the bride and groom should register; after all, they are both going to live with the gifts they are given. The couple should register for as much as possible. Many couples feel uncomfortable doing this, but they should not. The more items they register, the easier it will be for guests to shop for gifts without duplications.
Registries exist in a variety of places. Most commonly, people will register at department or specialty stores for housewares and other home accessories. Hardware, camping gear and sporting goods have joined the list as non-traditional registry items. Other unique options include a honeymoon registry through the couple’s travel agent, where guests can give money toward the actual honeymoon. Some furniture stores also offer similar registries.
After shopping around and the decision of where to register is made, the store’s registry department should be called to find out the best time to go in. Weekend afternoons and sale days should be avoided, and a minimum of an hour should be set aside for the excursion. Keep in mind that all decisions don’t have to be made on the first trip. It is very common for couples to make two to three visits to the store before their final choices are selected.
Depending on the store, a sales associate may assist the couple in registering, even setting up place settings to see how the crystal, china, flatware and linens complement one another. Other sales associates may simply provide a special scanner, explain how to operate it and leave the shoppers to browse and make their selections. Whatever process is used, in the end a record of items desired will be available to anyone requesting the couple’s registry information. From that point on, whenever someone buys a gift and indicates that it is for that couple, the store will mark that item off as purchased. It is wise to check in with the registry periodically to keep the people there informed about any gifts that are received early.
In the end, couples must remember that use of a bridal registry will not prevent some duplication or eliminate all hassles. Not everyone will shop through a registry, so be prepared to be tolerant.
Better to Give Than to Receive
As more couples are getting married at a later age in life, many are finding they already have everything they need and prefer not to receive gifts. Couples who find themselves in such a situation may declare “no gifts” or may ask that their guests donate money to a certain charity in lieu of a gift. This generous gesture not only keeps the couple from receiving many items they may never use, but it can also go a long way in helping others!
No matter what type of gift is given, a “thank you” is always necessary. Be sure that as gifts are opened it is immediately recorded what was received and from whom. Thank you’s should be sent as soon as possible after the gift is received, generally within two to three weeks. Even if the person has already been thanked in person, a written note is still a must. A thank you note should include mention of what the gift is and if it’s appropriate, its usefulness, along with the appreciation of it. In the case of money the amount should not be mentioned, but how it is planned to be used may be included.
About the Author: Rebecca Sherman is an editor at ModernWeddingPlanner.com Our Free Online Wedding Planner Software has sections to track guest information, RSVP’s, budgets, shower and wedding gifts and More! Plus export your data to Excel.