Amid all the early stresses of wedding planning, filling out a wedding registry was supposed to be the fun part. Who wouldn’t have fun making a big wish list of gifts?
But as friends and family are excitedly suggesting items for me to build a registry, I grow more and more uncomfortable with the concept of implicitly asking friends and family for a bunch of stuff that I would never buy for myself.
First off, I adore my friends and family and would be overjoyed at receiving nothing more than seeing them at our wedding.
Secondly, as I think back to past weddings, when normally very sensible friends and relatives got high off the it’s-the-one-time-in-your-life-you-get-to-do-this mentality and went trigger happy at Bloomingdale’s or similar high-end stores, the more I realize that registering for exorbitantly priced household items just isn’t for me.
Here’s my fear: The engagement parties, showers, and the wedding all come and go and our very generous friends and family fill several moving boxes with thousands of dollars worth of very nice stuff, but we’re stuck in the irony of not having enough cash to pay for day-to-day life.
To me, the opportunity to prepare for this milestone of getting married has very little to do with setting up a home — we’ve both been living as adults for years and even if we were starting from scratch wouldn’t buy overly fancy stuff anyway.
Maybe a stylish, designer bowl would look pretty in our cupboard and a tool that lets me slice zucchini more effortlessly would be novel (for a few days). But we have so many other financial obligations — and financial goals! — that it is really hard to justify the cool kitchen stuff.
If someone is going to spend dozens or even hundreds of dollars on a gift, I’d rather they put it toward helping us on our journey toward financial freedom rather than on the nicest set of bowls to eat soup out of. If it were our money, that’s certainly how we would rather spend it.
Some people have said that they’ll feel bad if they don’t buy us something tangible. But if they want to feel like they are giving us something valuable that will truly help us start our lives together on the right foot, spare us the extra storage space (which we don’t really have anyway). Cabinets full of nice things don’t make a happy marriage; happy people do.