When you and your partner come from different cultures and different parts of the world, the wedding can take on a whole new level of importance. It may be the first time your families meet each other, and your ceremony and reception will likely blend traditions, customs and acknowledgments from each side. It’s a very exciting time that will allow you both to honor your families and thank them for all they’ve done for you.
But throwing an international wedding can, of course, turn into a stressful time. With so many people and schedules to accommodate, it can feel overwhelming and difficult to remember to handle the wedding basics, let alone where Uncle Ben from London or cousin Elizabeth from Sydney will stay.
And the one wedding essential that often gets forgotten is the wedding registry. But wait, where do you register if you have international guests? For that matter, should you register at all?
Don’t stress it. Here’s how to create an international wedding registry that will impress your guests and make them feel welcome at your nuptials.
Should you have a wedding registry if you have international guests?
Let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, you should have a wedding registry if you have international guests attending.
You might think that guests will find it rude that you have a wedding registry at all. After all, these guests will be paying for flights and accommodations just so they can be at your wedding. Therefore, it may feel awkward and even rude to then ask them to buy a gift on top of everything else that they’ve purchased for this trip.
But you will have local guests, and they will be expecting a wedding registry. If you don’t have one, then you’re likely going to end up with gifts you don’t want and maybe even some disgruntled guests. They expect some guidance on what to buy you as a present, so don’t leave them guessing. And many of your international guests will also be thinking about what to give you as a wedding present, and they won’t appreciate having to guess what you want.
What to consider before you build your international wedding registry
So as you now know, it is important to have a wedding registry even if you have international guests. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider your guests and their needs when building your registry.
Nowadays, couples aren’t limited to registering at their nearest department or big-box store. While those options still exist, the internet has opened a whole new realm of possibilities for couples, allowing them to build their own unique wedding registries that list what the couple really wants and makes it easy for guests with all types of budgets to find the perfect gift.
With guests coming from all corners of the globe, it’s important to keep a few key things in mind as you decide where to register for your wedding and how to build your registry. Here’s what to think about.
A convenient wedding registry matters, especially to events where people will be coming from not only out of town but also out of the country. When you think about how to make your wedding registry more convenient, it’s important to think about that factor in a few different ways.
Are you choosing a store that only has stores in specific parts of your country? Does the store have a robust online presence so out-of-range guests can shop online? How much will the store charge for shipping or is there a reasonable minimum for free shipping?
It’s okay if you want to register for some home goods. After all, they’ve been popular gifts for weddings for generations. But if you have international guests, then it will be difficult for them to shop in-store (yes, many people still prefer to shop in-store versus online).
This isn’t a convenience for your guests. This one’s for you.
Some online wedding registry platforms, like Hitchd, keep track of who gave you which gift to make it easier for you to send thank-you cards after the wedding. You can even send emailed thank-yous right away to acknowledge your guest’s generosity and make them feel appreciated.
Since your relatives will be flying or driving in, there’s only so much they can fit inside a suitcase, and if they have to make room for a wedding present, it’s going to make lugging around that carry-on bag much more difficult.
You might expect those guests to just give you a card with a cheque inside, but many feel that is too impersonal for a wedding. Guests like giving wedding presents that have meaning, but that can seem hard to do when traveling is involved.
Physician vs. experience gifts
When your parents or grandparents got married, they were mostly limited to physical gifts, usually home goods like toasters and blenders. It made sense then. Most couples didn’t live together before marriage, so they didn’t have all of those basics yet. They were also more likely to be young, in their early 20s or even late teens, when they tie the knot, which would have made it difficult to buy all of those home goods.
But you may not be in the same position as previous generations. You and your partner might be living together already or you’ve spent enough time in the workforce that you don’t need help buying home goods.
If that sounds like you, then consider experience gifts. These are gifts that you and your partner will be able to do together, like enjoy a meal at a nice restaurant or a day at the spa. With an online wedding registry platform like Hitchd, you can register for experiences related to your honeymoon or even ones in your hometown, like a membership to an aquarium or children’s museum.
Experience gifts still feel thoughtful and personal, but they don’t require space in a suitcase, making them ideal gifts for international guests. And if you still have a few physical items that you really want, Hitchd lets you add those gifts for your local friends and family members to choose from.
Wedding etiquette can be baffling and infuriating. It’s essentially an unwritten list of rules and traditions that every couple should follow when planning a wedding. By following the rules, you ensure that all of your guests feel welcome and respected when attending your wedding. When you have guests flying in from all over the world, it is more important than ever that you show your guests how thankful and excited you are to have them with you on such a special day.
The first rule of wedding gift etiquette for weddings with international guests is to acknowledge that all presents are completely optional. No guest should ever feel pressured to give a gift. You can outline this on your wedding invitations and write it at the top of your online wedding registry. If you use Hitchd, then our templates can help you if you find yourself with a case of writer’s block.
The second essnetial rule is to make sure guests know that you’re thankful for their gifts. You will, of course, be sending thank-you notes after the ceremony, but there are ways to use your wedding registry to show guests gratitude.
What to look for in an online platform for your international wedding registry
Now that you have an idea of what to think about when it comes to creating an international wedding registry, it’s time to consider what an online platform can offer you.
Here’s what to look for when choosing an online platform for your international wedding registry.
When you have guests coming in from other countries, it can be difficult to know what to do about the currency clash. If they bring a cheque, will you be able to cash it? If they give you cash in a card, will they think to include your local currency or expect you to exchange it?
If you’re using an online wedding registry platform, the site should be able to accommodate multiple currency types and allow guests multiple options to pay for the gift. All platforms should allow for credit card payments, but those can come with some serious fees. Before singing up, check to make sure there are multiple types of payment options.
At Hitchd, we allw credit and debit cards, PayPal and even bitcoin payments. This makes it easy for international guests because they can choose the payment type that is most familiar to them.
How useful will your international wedding registry be if your friends and family members abroad can’t access the site? Or read it in a language that is comfortable for them? Some websites may be blocked in some countries. You can always reach out to the online platform if you have questions, but you can also send the link to a friend or family member abroad and ask if they can access the site. If you do this, make sure to remind them that they do not have to buy you a gift, but you did want to make sure they could access your site because it will also have other important information regarding the wedding on it.
It’s safe to say that your traveling guests probably won’t have time to swing by Crate & Barrel to pick out a gift on their way to your wedding, so you want to choose an online wedding platform that offers tons of gift options.
You want to be able to add both physical and experience gifts to accommodate both local and international guests. Of course, you can always forgo physical gifts altogether if you don’t need them and opt for only experience gifts. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to raise money for your honeymoon. With Hitchd, you can create a hybrid registry of both physical and experience gifts or you can create a honeymoon registry, which is made up almost exclusively of experience gifts related to your honeymoon.
Bonus: Hitchd users can also create cash funds on their international wedding registries. These funds are like online money pools. Anyone can contribute, and there’s no minimum or maximum. This is a great option for international guests because they won’t feel obligated to buy an expensive gift. They can simply give whatever fits their budget.
The design of your international wedding registry matters because it will help you personalise your site and make it fun and enjoyable for your guests to visit. A registry that looks boring and uninspired suggests to guests that you don’t care much and that you only want the gifts.
With Hitchd, you’ll have access to thousands of stock photographs to jazz up your site and make each gift look exciting and interesting. We also have introduction and gift templates, which can be used as is or tweaked to fit your gift, making it easy for you to add your own personal touch.
Creating an international wedding registry may seem daunting, but when you have a platform like Hitchd by your side, it’s easy to build one that can be accessed for anywhere in the world and will give guests thoughtful options about what to give you as a present.
Ready to get stared with Hitchd? Sign up here to start building your site.