Posts in the 'registering' Category

Ask Heather: Bridal fee/greenback showers?

Photo by Teddy James

Dear Heather,

Hi! Love your website. I just got engaged this past Christmas and have been enjoying wedding planning our upcoming December wedding. Have you done a post on “bridal fee showers” or “greenback showers,” as they are referred to in different areas? I would love to see a post on this! I have heard this sentiment shared by other brides too. There is not much on the internet, only a few comments here and there on some wedding blogs. It’s a very heated debate. I saw your recent post on PresentValue, and I think this is a great idea, but I know some (especially older) guests might shy away from using a website for a cash gift. A “fee shower” is usually advertised as such on the invite, but I have heard a lot of negativity and comments such as this is tacky, tasteless, rude, etc. Although, IMHO, it is tacky, tasteless, and rude to register for $200 crystal candlesticks or new dishes to replace the perfectly good dishes we have, especially when I have 100k in student loan debt that could be paid off! :) The suggestion with having a fee shower is that it makes clear that you do not want gifts and people can just give cash/checks in the card. I hate the word “fee” though. Do you have thoughts on this? Would love to hear them! Thank you!!


Present Puzzlement

Dear Present Puzzlement,

In a way, you sort of answered your own question. Having a bridal fee shower is controversial, and if you decide to go that route, be prepared to take some flak (either to your face or, more likely, behind your back) for it. Traditionally, the whole idea behind a shower is to “shower” the guest-of-honor with presents, which is why a lot of guests would prefer to bring something tangible. To cater to those guests, I suggest just going ahead and setting up one “normal” registry. And you don’t have to register for fine china if you aren’t that sort of couple! Go ahead and ask for towels (trust me, you can never have enough) or sheets or board games – whatever suits your fancy. A registry doesn’t necessarily have to be just things you need; it can also include wants, and it can be as esoteric as you desire. In addition, you mentioned our recent post on Present Value. For those guests who would prefer to give cash but don’t just want to fork over a wad of money, this is a great option! Plus, having a registry on Present Value might make some guests realize that you’d prefer cash to physical gifts, so it’s a win-win!

Have you ever gone to a bridal fee shower? Or would/did you have one yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

{Real Bride: Mellzah} Macy’s VS. Sur La Table Wedding Registry DEATH MATCH

Proof of cooking enjoyment. Also visible: our wonderful new knives and handpainted sasquatch spoonrest.

Before we mailed out our Save the Dates (and thus, our website info), we decided to register so that we could include that information on the website as well. We took one Sunday and registered at two different places: Sur La Table and Macy’s, the former because we enjoy cooking, and the latter because there’s a location just about everywhere our extended families live.  (Granted, gifts are not something we’re entitled to, and *if* someone chooses to give us a gift, it’s a nice bonus on top of the main objective of the day, which is getting married. Disclaimer complete.) That being said, Jason has one solitary, butt ugly plate from his single days in the cupboard and I hate it with a loathing beyond what you’d believe any inanimate object could possibly inspire, and on the day we receive a set of all new matching plates, I will celebrate by destroying this plate with a hammer. Maybe I’ll even rent a sledgehammer.

We started at Sur La Table, and they helped make the experience top-notch by opening the store an hour early for us, making us breakfast, demoing their products, and answering our questions, all without other people crowding around or talking loudly on their cell phones or doing those other distracting things that people do when you’re trying to concentrate because you’re handling a knife that can cut through bone. Like many stores, they have registry incentives that you can earn if you register for X products or receive X value of specific products, but none of them really appealed/worked for us.  For example, if you register for a KitchenAid stand mixer, attachment, and blender, you’ll receive a small gift card…and if you receive them all, you’ll get a second, larger gift card–but we already have a KitchenAid stand mixer, so that one was out. They all seem to be most applicable to people starting a household completely from scratch, but we’ve already been co-habitating for almost two years, so we’ve been acquiring many of these things piecemeal for ourselves and no longer require an entire set of knives or $1,500 worth of pans. Still, we found plenty of things that we did love, and walked out of the store happy with our experience and loaded down with a bunch of Le Creuset cookware in “Caribbean” as I love the color, and they’re removing it from their store stockline – so it will be long gone by the time our wedding rolls around (which is the big disadvantage to registering as early as we did).

About a week after we registered, the woman who helped us called and told us that the knives we loved were also being discontinued, so we ended up going back and purchasing them ourselves, and we joked with her that this must be a ploy on the part of the store to get us to buy our entire registry item by item before the wedding.  Some time later, as we were browsing through our registry list, we noted that some items were missing, which is how we learned that Sur La Table doesn’t notify you if items are discontinued–they’re just unceremoniously deleted from your list. An email or a section of discontinued items or suggestions for replacement items would go a long way toward making it easier for the couple to refresh their registry with currently available items.

Our second registry experience at Macy’s wasn’t as positive. They also offer registry incentives, but again, they’re for things above and beyond what we’ll ever need, and I don’t feel compelled to ask for four additional china place settings just so I can get a free vegetable plate. The saleswoman was up our collective butts nearly the entire time we were there, freely offering commentary about all of the things she felt we were doing wrong–not registering for enough gifts, not registering for towels. “People look for towels on the registry, and what if someone wants to buy you towels but you haven’t registered for any?” I didn’t realize towels were such a hotly contested item, but if I need towels, I’m going to buy some damn towels, not put them on a wishlist and hope that I get some a year from now!. She was also pushing us to add those extra place settings even after we told her we didn’t want to.  While I’m deeply in love with the Kate Spade china we registered for, and I’m looking forward to having matching flatware instead of a mishmash of Ikea and my dad’s old wooden handled college cutlery, Macy’s overall may have been too fussy a place for us–all I see when I look at crystal goblets is “hand wash” which means either I have to resign to doing dishes by hand every day, or, more likely, they’ll get shoved in the back of a cabinet for something I can plunk in the dishwasher on the regular, in which case, what’s the point of having them?

They’re a bit better than Sur La Table when it comes to discontinued items as the item in question will remain on the registry list with a note reminding you that it will be gone soon, but their website is glitchy as all get-out, sometimes accepting my login credentials and sometimes not, sometimes immediately asking me to login again after logging in, sometimes popping up a mandatory “add a security question” prompt which leads to an error page if you fill it out, and all around being as difficult as possible. They also email me constantly, reminding me about discounts on items on my registry, as if I was going to purchase them for myself or call up my relatives and say “If you’ve been thinking about buying me ____,  you’re in luck, because it’s currently on sale!” Not likely.

In addition to products being discontinued, the other downside to registering so early with our relatively few needs is that one of our relatives has been buying items from our registries rapidfire, sending us nearly a third of the items we’ve indicated we’d like to own…and it’s incredibly generous and thoughtful, but we’re struggling finding anything else to add, and many of the lower priced items are already purchased, leaving things like the ostentatious serveware we added for fun and high priced electrics as the remaining options, which I fear will make us look like douchebags to our friends, who don’t necessarily want to buy us a $600 espresso machine. Or maybe it’s just another way for me to prove that there’s nothing I won’t complain about, including people being nice to me. Probably the latter!

Where did you register? What were your favorite items? Any upsides/downsides to registering where you did?

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Admit it: limiting your wedding registry to one big store is just that… limiting. Well now you can put any item from any store into one convenient registry, thanks to SimpleRegistry! AND – in the event that you should end up with the dreaded double-toaster conundrum, you can redeem that redundant toaster (or ANY gift) as cash…. without having to ask for cash. SWEET ACTION for the broke-ass bride! Will you be using an online registry?