When you're planning a wedding, it can feel as if every decision you make is mired in the unwritten rules of wedding etiquette — especially when it comes to creating a wedding registry. Whether you choose a tradition, honeymoon or cash registry, there are certain rules that need to be followed to ensure all guests feel respected, welcomed and appreciated at your wedding.
Still worried about those rules? Here are 12 registry etiquette mistakes you and your partner need to avoid and how to take care of them.
Skipping the registry
You might think that the best way to avoid asking for too much from guests is to simply avoid asking anything of them, but skipping the wedding registry entirely won't please guests. If anything, it will just frustrate them, and they may decide to skip giving you a gift at all.
Although they should never be required, wedding guests often love giving the happy couple a gift to celebrate their big day. They want to help the couple set up their new home together or take that dream honeymoon. By not offering any options, you're leaving your guests to do all the guesswork about what you might like or need. It's a frustrating experience for them — and for you as well because you can bet that you'll end up with gifts you don't want or need.
Creating a registry at the last minute
If you really want to annoy guests, wait until the very last minute to create your wedding, honeymoon or cash registry. If they've already bought a gift and now they see that it's not on your registry, they might feel pressured to return and replace their gift, which can be a major hassle. Guests also might feel neglected if you wait too long to build a registry, and they might decide to skip the registry altogether.
To best prepare guests, build your registry at least six months out from your wedding date. This gives guests time to look over your registry and familiarise themselves with your registry, especially if they've never seen a honeymoon or cash registry. At Hitchd, our research shows that most honeymoon registry gifts come in the last few days leading up to the wedding, so don't be discouraged if you don't receive gifts right away.
So long as guests have the option of purchasing gifts as early as they'd like, you'll be in the clear as far as wedding etiquette goes.
Asking for cash outright
One of the worst wedding etiquette crimes you and your partner could commit can only be asking for cash outright. It's never polite to simply ask for cash, checks or donations to your PayPal account.
If you do want to raise money for a specific cause — a down payment on a house or a charity of your choice — then create a cash fund. These registries, like the ones created through Hitchd, allow guests to give any amount of money while supporting a specific cause. Yes, you are still asking for money, but with no minimum and a clear cause, guests will feel confident that they're funding something important and that their money will go straight to the cause you outlined.
Failing to research company policies
If you decide to create a traditional wedding registry through a store, do not pick one or two stores without checking their policies first.
Some stores have a higher threshold for free shipping than others while some store offer only store credit on returns. If a guest decides to swap one gift for another, then he or she may run into problems trying to get money back.
Choosing too many items within a high price range
It's hard to resist the allure of asking for all the things on your registry that you cannot outright afford for yourself. You might prefer that every guest show up at your wedding with a stand mixer or a contribution to your flight or hotel on your honeymoon registry, but not every guest can afford those high-priced items.
Like you, some of your guests may be studying in uni, planning their own weddings, buying homes or expanding their families. They might not have the spare cash to drop on an extravagant gift for you, and if you only fill your registry with expensive items, then they'll probably feel pressured, which no guest likes.
Fill your registry with items from all different price points. For honeymoon registries, include $20 “round of drinks” as gifts and break up large-ticket items, such as airfare, into smaller $50 gifts.
Registering for too few items
You might think that asking for just a few gifts will subtly tell guests that you want cash, but that approach could backfire. If all of your registry items are chosen, then guests who missed out might just not give a gift at all. Stock your registry with more gifts than guests to avoid this.
Adding personal items to the registry
A wedding registry is not a birthday wish list — so don't treat it like one. You may love that gorgeous coat you saw online, but don't add it to your registry. Stick to home- or honeymoon-related gifts.
Opening too many registries
At best, you should have two registries — a honeymoon or cash registry (you can actually combine these at Hitchd) and one registry through a store. Too many registries with different companies will confuse guests and make you look greedy. Instead, build your honeymoon registry and then, if needed,
Neglecting introductions and descriptions on your honeymoon website
Want to know the secret to a killer honeymoon registry? A welcoming introduction and great gift descriptions.
When guests come to your honeymoon site, especially if they've never seen one before, they'll want an introduction that assures them they're in the right place. The introduction should include both of your names, the wedding date and a warm greeting.
Gift descriptions should get guests as excited about giving the gift as you will be experiencing it. The most successful honeymoon registries on Hitchd include links to hotels, spas and adventure tour sites as well as photos so guests can imagine the cool experience they'll be helping you create.
Writing out the introduction and all those gift descriptions may seem daunting, but Hitchd's into and gift text generator can help you get started. Our gift generator has hundreds of descriptions ready to go for our most popular gifts. You can use the description as is or tweak it a bit to make it more personal.
Forgetting to check the registry occasionally
A registry might look like a one-and-done wedding task, but once you make your honeymoon or traditional registry, you need to check in with it periodically.
As guests start purchasing gifts, you'll need to monitor how many gifts have been purchased versus how many guests are left and the price points of the remaining gifts. You might need to add more gifts to accommodate other guests and well wishers or divide expensive honeymoon gifts into multiple gifts at a more affordable price.
Mentioning the registry on your invitations
Although this rule may fade away in time, it's often considered tacky to include any hint of a registry on a wedding invitation. Before the internet, guests were supposed to ask the parents and bridal party where you and your partner were registered.
Now that couples create their own wedding websites, the polite thing to do is include the link to that website on your save-the-dates and invitations. From your wedding website, guests will be able to find details about the wedding day, such as location and time, and links to your registry.
Younger generations may consider mentioning the registry on invitations less of a faux pas then older ones, but for now, just leave your registry information off the invites and include a wedding website instead.
Waiting too long to write thank-you notes
Thank-you notes mean a lot of wedding guests. It assures them that you noticed their contribution and appreciate the thought they put into your gift. When guests don't receive a thank-you card, they might feel slighted and pushed aside — or they might even believe that their gift got lost somehow.
You don't want an awkward conversation with your aunt or friend later about a potentially missing gift or thank-you card, so make sure you send out thank-you cards within the first three months after your wedding. Most guests assume you two will likely be swamped with missed work when you get back from your honeymoon, but you should start writing thank-you cards as soon as you get home.
If you're using Hitchd, then you can send email thank-yous right away. Though you still need to write out a physical thank-you card, an email thank-you from Hitchd lets guests know that you received the gift and that you're thankful. Hitchd will keep track of who sent what, so when it comes time to write out thank-you cards later on, you won't have to rely on your memory of who sent which gift.
You may feel apprehensive about building your registry and avoiding wedding etiquette blunders, but with some mindfulness, you can create a registry that makes everyone feel appreciated and welcome.
Looking for the #1 way to fund your honeymoon? Hitchd.com has you covered.
Hitchd is a new type of honeymoon registry that helps fund your adventure of a lifetime. Think of us as your very own wishing well, Kickstarter, and travel planner, all rolled into one beautiful experience.