My fiance and I are grown-up type people (besides the eating ice cream for breakfast occasionally thing) and while we're definitely low on the income bracket, we are not children who lack in the basic necessities of household management. I mean, our toaster cost $5 at Goodwill, but it's OUR TOASTER, and I felt good about rescuing it, and I'd feel bad to get rid of it while it still works since we have way too much trash filling our landfills as it is.
I've been a bridesmaid twice, and while I was happy to help both times, I was (and still am) making less than $20,000 annually and resented spending upwards of $500, twice, on a dress-that-I'll-never-wear again, shoes-that-killed-my-feet, shower gifts, travel, and wedding presents...I want any friends and family present to have a good time and not have to worry about money or playing an uncomfortable role.
I had the idea of putting on the invitations (which I'm still trying to figure out how to make both sustainably and inexpensively--getting there!) a line about how gifts are not necessary. My fiance, who is sometimes more practical, is arguing that it might be kinder for us to have a registry of some sort for relatives who wish to get a gift and will ask us what we want. I think the whole thing feels very privileged but I'm willing to bend if I'm being silly and impractical (the worst thing you could ever call me is insensible).
I suppose my question is: is the line I want to put on the invitations possible, or is it impossibly rude? Would it be insulting to tell people to make donations in my name to some charity (insulting because it assumes that they would, naturally, be giving me SOMETHING, no offense to anyone who went this route)? Is my fiance right and is this something I should get over, already? Is there a middle ground, like "Gifts are lovely, but not required- we are registered at blahblahblah should you wish to get us one"?
Any advice would be appreciated.
I hear you! It was important for Matt and me to ensure that our guests did not feel obligated to give us a gift. Honestly, their willingness to join us for the celebration was the real gift.
Additionally, so many of our guests had to travel to attend our wedding. Those folks had to shell out hundreds for airline tickets, then money for rental cars (we tried to coordinate carpooling as much as possible), and then for lodging (we tried to provide them with very inexpensive options). We did not want them to also feel obligated to spend $25, $50, or $100 more on gifts.
Also, we didn't want a lot of stuff that goes on the traditional wedding registry. We already had plates and glasses and appliances up the wazoo. We already had towels and sheets. Heck, in most cases we actually have two sets of these things!
On the practical side, however, I knew that if we didn't set up a registry, people would bombard us with questions like, "Well, what do you want?"
We went ahead and set up a registry but filled it with things we actually wanted (of course some people really do want new dishes!). We wanted a subscription to Angie's List (since we were buying a new house), sharp sewing scissors, a hiking backpack for our dog, ReadyMade's blueprint for building a modular dwelling, organic gardening books, etc. We also had a section for people to donate money (since we were trying to pull together all of our money for a down payment on our house).
This is how we phrased it to the guests on our wedding website:
- Your presence (pun intended) at our wedding is gift enough. Seriously. We utterly and completely appreciate your willingness to make the trek.
- If you stubbornly insist that a gift is necessary, you are welcome to view our registry by clicking on the link below. But honestly, your presence is more than enough. We’re not kidding!
In the end, many of our friends took us up on our "Get out of gifts free" offer. We were just glad to have them there. However, we still ended up with the gardening books, the dog backpack, the subscription to Angie's List, as well as lots of money from family. We also had several creative friends who went beyond the registry and got us very creative and personal gifts.
Wishing you the best with whatever decision you and your partner make for yourselves!