Broke-Ass Category: Registry


Affiliate Disclaimer NewAside from determining the guest list, registering was one of the most uncomfortable and awkward parts of the wedding process for Matt and I. When I was younger, I would write up page-long Christmas lists and distribute them to family members. I did this in part for the obvious reason, which was the fact that I was hoping to find the items off the list under the tree each year, but also because every year that I didn’t do this, I was inundated with people asking me what I wanted and I wanted to simplify the process by telling them ahead of time. This, coupled with the fact that I’d often get most if not all of the gifts that were to be found on those pages, gave me somewhat of a reputation of being spoiled. I might’ve been. I might be. I feel like the title of “spoiled” relates more to your expectations of others, as well as the appreciation (or lack thereof) you have when receiving a gift, but all the same, it’s definitely something I’ve developed a complex over because of the accusation of being spoiled. Couple that with the fear of the dreaded bridezilla modern brides (even those of us that reject the existence of the b-word) have shoved down their throat throughout the planning process and the idea of registering becomes a total nightmare.


Despite any “nightmares,” I have to admit, that’s a pretty sweet spread behind us!!

Personally, I really like when other people register when they’re getting married or having a baby. I love buying people gifts in general, but rarely do because I’m broke and I’m perpetually afraid that what I think will be perfect for someone might not actually fit what they’d like/need. When you’re broke, every dollar counts so spending money on something someone doesn’t want or won’t use is just a waste. Buying something someone will actually use and enjoy would probably be a big deal for me even if I wasn’t broke and I second guess myself like crazy when it comes to this kind of thing. When people actually register for things, you get a list of items you KNOW someone wants and they usually run the gamut of affordability so even my broke-ass can find something that works. I love the idea of giving a gift that will become a part of a couple’s marriage. I’d like to think there are gifts that people receive on their wedding day or at their shower that they will enjoy throughout their marriage and remember the person that gave them it as they enjoy it. I know there are items my mom would point out as I was growing up like this. For me, every time I use an item from our wedding, or think about a gift we got, I also think of the person (or group of people) that got it for us and smile.

11254566_10100525671911250_6296102286379248560_oA balloon and flowers I got from a co-worker at the shower my friends from work threw me! I still have the balloon and teapot that the flowers came in. This was a beautiful day!
So despite my misgivings about it, I knew that registering was a good idea. We knew our bridesmaids were likely going to throw us a wedding shower (which they did in a completely epic fashion) and our guests were going to want (or unfortunately in some cases, feel obligated) to get us something. Some would know right away what to get without any help from us and give us thoughtful, awesome things we love. Others would help us pad our bank accounts for the big day and after … and still others would fall into the same boat as me and want a guide to be sure what they were getting was just right. Every gift we got has special meaning for us, no matter how our guest arrived upon the decision to give it to us. The nerve-wracking part was leading up to the shower/wedding and trying to figure the whole thing out. 11960208_10154258073629418_1983341211331207698_nSeriously, this is just a tiny snapshot of the beautiful things they put together for us for our shower.

I think one of the hard parts about creating a registry is that it does make people feel as though they are obligated to give something. I know there are unspoken rules that say you’re “supposed” to pay for your plate with your gift or something along those lines, but truly I don’t believe a wedding guest (or even a shower guest for that matter) is obligated to give you anything. You are not inviting them to help you pay for your wedding or give you gifts. You’re inviting them to celebrate your love and a life-altering event. If they can’t afford to pay their way, do you really want them to not show up in lieu of being part of your day?

It’s hard to really express that to guests though because 1. Guests who WANT to and are excited about buying you a gift might feel alienated if you say “no gifts please”; 2. Talking about wedding presents out loud is tantamount to using the name Voldemort instead of He Who Shall Not Be Named, unless you’re a super ballsy savior figure or a clueless muggle who was raised outside the wizarding world/Wedding Industrial Complex and you’re fearless; and lastly 3. (this is the still very much spoiled part of me) gifts are cool and maybe it’s nice to have them even though it feels completely uncomfortable to ask for them/you don’t want anyone to feel like they HAVE to do anything special for you.

You can’t change how somebody else feels about your registry (or lack of one if you decide to forego one for that matter) no more than you can change what they think of any of your other wedding plans. This isn’t a conclusion I came to easily. I stressed about what people would think about me for having a registry, and about what they would think about every little item I put on there. I was a very guest-oriented bride in that it was a really big deal for me to be sure my guests were comfortable at my wedding. I didn’t so much subscribe to the idea that it was “my day or the highway” the way that brides are often encouraged to. Your registry is different though. Aside from trying to be accommodating to a number of different budgets, what you are putting on that list is ultimately just for you and your husband. You are the only ones that will ultimately get the use out of what you register for.

All of this comes up now because Matt and I have decided to start a baby registry. We have no expectation of a baby shower or anyone buying us gifts for our baby (although again, it would be nice, because gifts are cool), but we decided to start a registry all the same. What’s the point, you might ask? The nice thing about registries, aside from telling people exactly what you want, is that they can come with a lot of perks such as free gifts when you register, completion gifts and coupons and the ability to earn points toward a gift card we can use after the baby is born. This was the nice thing about the wedding registries, too, and when all was said and done with the wedding, we used the registries we had established for it much the same way we plan to use this one. For at least a few of the items that were left over, we bought them for one another for the holidays.
For the baby, our plan is to use the registry as a place to keep track of what we’d like or need for the baby and purchase items as we go, getting the registry benefits. I won’t lie though, when we made the trip out to the store, all the same insecurities resurfaced. I worried about what people would think if they found our registry. I worried about people who found out we had created one feeling forced to do something for us when that’s not what we’re looking for at all. I worried about picking the right items to suit our baby and the baby’s needs. In the past year, I’ve had three new babies enter my life (not counting the one that’s currently taking up residence inside me) and only one had a baby shower prior to it’s arrival. For the other two, every time I would buy them something, I would go crazy with worry that their moms weren’t going to like what I got them. For the baby with the shower/registry, I was able to get her a few different things and one of those weird booger sucker things (partially as a joke, partially because it was on the registry) with the comfort of knowing I was actually contributing something that the baby’s parents wanted and needed. I’m grateful that she had one set up so I could do that. Even if my intention is that the registry is mine alone to use, I’m glad I’m giving people an option and I’m happy I did for the wedding too. I’m also happy that people gave with their heart and didn’t worry that I would be upset if they went off-registry and got me something that made them think of me. If people do decide to buy us items for our baby, I look forward to pointing the items out and letting the baby know who was thinking of it before it even arrived. When all is said and done, I know Matt and I are both spoiled not just with the gifts we received, but with more love and friendship than we could have ever asked for or expected.


One of the many beautiful gifts we were given that couldn’t be found on our registry! My sister and her family brought it back from Disney for us. Photo by SK Photography

How have you felt about setting up a registry? Have you received any backlash?

  • 4/8

    Affiliate Disclaimer New

    Five for Friday Kitchen Essentials for Your RegistryWhether you’re a foodie or not, there are some definite kitchen staples you need. And if you’re swingin’ solo until your I Dos and don’t entertain much as is, you might be uber surprised by how much you’re gonna want to entertain once you’re all hitched and shacked up together (plus, as broke-asses, it’s cheaper to holler at some peeps to come over than have a lavish night out. Also: Cards Against Humanity is way better after a bottle or so of wine). Even if gatherings aren’t a thing, there’s something about newlywed life that makes you really want to just hang with each other … plus, you might want to start saving some scratch again after spending it on the wedding and honeymoon. So, go ahead and pull up that registry and get to addin’ because these are things you’re definitely gonna want:

    A Great Set of Pots and Pans

    360 Cookware Four-Piece Boxed Set from Amazon

    360 Cookware Premium Waterless Stainless Steel Essential 4pc Box Set from Amazon

    I was recently sent one of these pans to take for a little test run, and I’m fully in love. They are a little spendy, but if used right they’re the kind that will last for eons. Using “vapor cooking” technology, 360 Cookware’s heavy clad pans don’t require water or fats (read: butter, oil) to cook, which helps create a healthier meal. They run a little on the spendy side, but they’re totally worth it.

    A Slow Cooker

    CrockPot Cook 'n' Carry Digital Slow Cooker from Target

    CrockPot Cook ‘n’ Carry Digital Slow Cooker from Target

    A slow cooker is one of those kitchen things I didn’t know I needed until I had one … and then my whole life was changed forever. I have a cast iron dutch oven that I use, too, but my digital crock pot is my everything. If this is one of those gifts that arrives before the wedding, get stoked: That super busy final month or so can get crazy, and this will at least save your diner. Set it and forget it, yo! Though, totally truthfully, my favorite thing to make in my slow cooker is beans — get dried beans, fill the crock pot up with some stock (veggie or chicken) and let ’em cook overnight and they’re way better than anything you’d get in a can.

    A Solid Knife Set

    Cuisinart Knife Set from Amazon

    Cuisinart 12 Piece Color Knife Set with Blade Guards from Amazon

    If there’s one thing any kitchen needs, it’s a good chef’s knife. But a whole set of knives is even better. They don’t have to be the boring ol’ silver and black ones by any means, but make sure they’re good quality and they’re taken care of (invest in a whet stone or steel and sharpen the blade after every couple of uses, don’t put them in the dishwasher, etc.). When choosing a knife or knife set, check to ensure the steel runs all the way through the handle — otherwise the blade could break off and that could be super dangerous and sucky.

    A Durable Wood Cutting Board

    etsy mrcwoodproducts butcher block cutting board

    Laser Engraved Butcher Block Cutting Board available from Etsy seller MRCWoodProducts

    Sure, cutting boards are a dime a dozen, but getting a solid, heavy butcher block-style board is never regrettable. Wood boards do less damage to your good knives, and they often stay in place better than any flimsy glass or plastic number you’ll find. Plus, they’ll last a lifetime which makes getting one with your married monogram on it a totally worthwhile (and beautiful to look at) solution.

    A Food Processor

    Sur la Table Cuisinart 8 cup food processor

    Cuisinart 8 Cup Food Processor available at Sur la Table

    I debated whether to include the ubiquitous mixer in this post, and while I do believe that a mixer is a great appliance, it just doesn’t warrant a spot on the list of essentials. A food processor, however, does. Especially in this age of Food Network-Pinterest-foodieness, where seemingly every other recipe calls for this small countertop appliance to be used. I happen to have two small (3 cup) food processors and long for the day when I can get my mitts on a bigger one. Whether you’re whirring up a killer pesto, crumbling crumbs for breading or just going the lazy route to get a small dice out of some veggies, a food processor is a great appliance for novice cooks and culinary ninjas alike.

  • 1/18

    Etsy JDesignPaper Custom Fox and Antler Kraft Paper

    Who doesn't love gifts? Esp. if they come in adorbz paper like this. Available from Etsy seller JDesignPaper Registering for your wedding is hard when you're trying to be budget-conscious in other areas. You have to get yourself out of the broke-ass mindset, and allow yourself the idea of some luxuries and splurges. We already own  a home and have lived together for a few years,…

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    Macy's Wedding Registry

    Amidst all the hustle, bustle and must-dos on your list now that you're in the throes of wedding planning sits one single little nugget of awesome -- your registry! Now, of course it's not "proper etiquette" to discuss gifts, but you're "supposed" to inconspicuously set one of these bad boys up then let it be discovered by your guests through word of mouth. Everyone knows…

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    There are a ton ... nay, a fuckload of registry options out there. And let's be real: Registering for gifts can be a little awkward. Maybz you and your partner have been together forevz and have all the ish you need, so the cash-money could come in SUPER handy. Maybe you need a few smaller-dollar thangalangs for the abode, but are all about stashing some…

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  • 7/27

    With our wedding day fast approaching, we've started to pay more serious attention to our registries. As a second time bride, I can't emphasize the following enough: REGISTER FOR THE WAY YOU LIVE. From bridal websites and magazines to the consultants in the stores who take advantage of your excitement over holding a scanner gun,  there is a lot of pressure to register for a…

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    Have you figured out what you're doing for your registry? More and more couples are going the cash registry route for their wedding wishlist -- whether they're saving up for a house down payment, are whittling away at starting their marriage debt-free or are looking to go on an adventure of a lifetime with their honeymoon. And, y'all, there are a TON of cash registry options…

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    Big Ticket vs. The Little Guys Registry Showdown Target Edition

    One of the super fun parts of planning your wedding is getting to set up your registry ... because let's be real: Gifts, y'all. I was at a specialty store this weekend making an exchange (though, it's not like I really ever need a reason to step into said store) and my newly-engaged spidey sense was kicking into high gear as I realized that at…

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  • 10/10

    Wine Glasses

    Dear Heather, I have an etiquette question for you. Someone sent me a gift in the mail, and it was off registry. It is a kitchen item I already own. It didn't have a receipt, so I don't know how or where to return it. What do I do? Ansley Dear Ansley, Hopefully there was a card with the gift, so you at least know…

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