The typical bridal couple here in the U.S. is either previously married, living on their own — and/or with each other for years — and have everything they need for their homes. Because they don’t need many of the typical items found on a traditional registry, the honeymoon registry seems a natural alternative to the traditional registry and is extremely popular these days.
Even though this type of registry appears to be mainstream and common, is it proper to use? How do guests view it? Tacky or useful? Follow this etiquette expert for an answer.
A trip through history to pick up a little perspective
In my nearly twenty years of teaching bridal couples about wedding etiquette and the history of weddings, I have found very few who know why we give gifts. Many just believe that since they are marrying, they are owed gifts. Not even remotely. Let’s take a look at the past and how the giving of wedding gifts evolved.
In the past, even during ancient Greek times, wedding gifts were given to young brides – who didn’t have dowries — to assist them in their new role as wife. These gifts were not extravagant, but useful items like bowls and jugs. Traveling through time, this trend continued with townspeople and families giving useful inexpensive household items to the young bride. The reason continued to be the same: To help the bride fulfill her new duty as “wife”.
In the early part of the 1900s, retailers began to solicit brides directly with ads and with in-store bridal departments. This was the beginning of bridal-mania and the first registries. Couples would typically register for tableware, such as china and utensils. Still, guests were not expected to shell out a week’s wages per bridal couple.
How’s that perspective working for you?
Today, as I mention above, many bridal couples feel that they deserve gifts if they are marrying–somewhat of a wedding mandate. However, this is not so. In light of what is most polite, only those who attend the wedding ceremony – not the reception — are required to give a gift.
How do guests view honeymoon registries?
Since I answer etiquette questions every day, I hear what guests really think of the bridal couple’s plans. Most wedding guests chime in negatively about most registries, but spew a true hatred for the honeymoon registry. A simple Internet search for honeymoon registry reviews confirms this. Of course, there are those who support each other with comments like, “Just do what you want to do and ignore those who tell you it’s not polite.”
Yet, consider that when you invite guests, it’s no longer “all about you and your day.” When you invite, you are now a host. Thus, guests’ needs and feelings are most important.
So, should I create a honeymoon registry or not?
While there is nothing ill mannered about a honeymoon registry, I recommend not using one since there is a negative connotation associated with it. Nevertheless, if this is something you want to do, it is best to create a traditional registry as well and follow strict wedding etiquette rules: Do not include registry information with your wedding invitation. Additionally, do not include information about this registry with bridal shower invitations, as this is not a proper bridal shower gift.
If you have everything you need and you don’t need gifts, rejoice! You are one of the lucky ones. Consider how fortunate you are. Guests really shouldn’t have to contribute toward your wedding, reception or honeymoon.
Enjoy the day, your guests and each other.
More by Rebecca
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Wedding Etiquette 101: How Do Wedding Guests Use a Gift Registry
How to Create a Wedding Website Your Guests Will Love to Visit