Budget Wedding Planning: Part 3 - Why We Decided to NOT Have a Registry

When we decided to get married, I didn't quite realize just how frequently I'd hear the words, "Congratulations! Where are you registered?" Ok, I admit, I knew that it was going to be a question, I knew that we were going to have to figure something out, but I didn't realize how people were going to react to the answer, "We aren't registered anywhere."

The sweet champagne flutes from my mother-in-law, which we were surprised with on our wedding day :)

It is something we thought about a LOT. It's something people traditionally do when they get married. Registries have always been a little weird to me, though. Don't get me wrong - if you want a registry, by all means go and do it! I will admit that it makes gift buying relatively painless, and you end up getting things you want and need. But for us, it just didn't feel like something we wanted to spend our time on. Our marriage/wedding/party is all happening on a much more reduced time frame than many couples (by choice, not by "necessity" - another question we've faced), and with us both working, buying a house, Nathaniel being a student, we didn't want to dedicate time to this specific task. I suppose this doesn't directly correlate to a "budget" but this is definitely something we decided not to budget time for.

*Quick tip - let your parents know how to field this question as well - my mother-in-law has had to answer this question many, many times, and she's come up with a great way to say, "They're not, but they know they want to shop at Ikea to furnish their new place."

So, without further ado, here are some reasons we chose not to put together a registry:

1) We already have what we need. I know, #firstworldproblems... We have been together for over 10 years, and living together for four. One big reason that registries seem to be so popular is that they're a great way to get a couple the essentials they need when they start their lives together. Because we've been together for so long, we have bought most everything we need over the past several years. True, we could have chosen to upgrade a few things, or asked for a matching set of china, but I would rather do that on my own terms rather than rush to pick out a pattern that I think I would like enough to have for the rest of our lives.

2) We didn't have the space for anything extra. (Yes, I know this changed halfway through the planning stages of the wedding/party because we found a house quicker than we thought - see next item). We lived in a very full apartment, and we didn't want to take on the task of choosing what might stay or go, or what to try to make room for, even if it was nice, new stuff, just for the sake of having a registry.

3) We didn't know the space we needed to fill. Even a month after moving into our new house, we still don't know exactly what we need that would even be suitable to put on a registry. Because we had so much stuff in our apartment, we've been able to fill much of our new space, and it feels pretty comfortable. I'm sure we could pick out a handful of things to put on a registry, but most of the items we truly need right now are bigger ticket items - a guest bed, new couches, etc. - and these aren't really registry material. We also have plans to re-do the yard eventually, paint, and a bunch of other projects that we haven't even thought of, I'm sure... but how do you register for that? Plus, we moved into our new house just shy of two months before our party, and now, with just under a month to go, I can't imagine taking the time to do this (so many DIY wedding projects are taking priority), or trying to spread the word that, guess what, forget what we said before about the registry, here it is!

4) You don't necessarily get the things you hope to get when you register. I've heard from a few friends that, even though you registered for matching towels and matching plates, amongst other items, you only end up getting a hand towel and a few bowls (yes, I'm exaggerating, but I'm just trying to make a point). When you put together a registry, you're probably not going to get every single thing on that list, and even if you like everything you've put on the list, odds are there are some things you would prefer to get over others, but your guests are not going to know that, and they're also going to be restricted by their own budgets.

5) We didn't want to register for money, even though that's mostly what we "need". We thought about doing the honeymoon fund or the house downpayment fund, but because we were already house hunting (and now have finished that hunt) and we don't know when we're going to go on our "official" honeymoon, we weren't interested in trying to figure all that out. I think it's great that there are options like this, but it just didn't seem right for us.

6) We both like to be surprised by gifts. We know this seems like a daunting task for many wedding guests - picking out a gift when you don't know what a couple has can be scary! That's why registries can be so useful. But putting together a list, and being able to check and see what has been bought doesn't really seem all that fun for us. Don't know what to get the happy couple? Think about something you loved getting for your wedding, something unconventional, or something you use on a daily basis. My parents gave us a beautiful Waterford serving platter - something they loved getting when they got married, and something we probably wouldn't have even thought to include on our registry. We also got a BEAUTIFUL knife from my husband's grandmother, which comes from her hometown. We never would have registered for that, but had we registered, we may not have gotten such a meaningful gift. I'm not saying every gift needs to be oozing with sentimentality. But if you've got an idea of something fun, I say go for it. Worried they won't like it? Include a gift receipt. Gift cards are always a great option, too - what couple doesn't need to make a pit stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Home Depot or Ikea here and there? Really at a loss? A check is always appreciated.

This is why I got married - a whole lotta love ;)

7) We got married and are celebrating it because we love each other and want to party with the people we love - not to get gifts. Getting gifts is DEFINITELY a perk we enjoy, but we don't want people to feel obligated to get us something off a list because it exists. Lots of our friends and relatives are coming from far away, which means they're already dropping a pretty penny just to be with us. Even our in-town guests are taking time out of their lives to be with us (any many have offered their time to help us prepare). If someone chooses to get us a gift, awesome! If not, it's gift enough that they are there! We'll snap a picture and make memories that'll last a lifetime.

Not to be tactless now, but this does not mean we want zero gifts. We're quite happy that getting married means getting at least a few ;) We just wanted to keep things simple for us, and this was a great way for us to do that!

Now, off to do some more crafts!