Should we mention our registry on invitations to our reception?

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My fiance and I are considering eloping, and then celebrating with a small-scale party when we get back.

Is it still kosher to say on those invites that we're registered?


Gift BoxesWhile eloping and then “getting weddinged” is a great plan, it's just not cool to put registry info on ANY wedding invitation — whether you're getting weddinged or doing the full shebang.

Call me old fashioned, but I just don't see invitations as the place to ask for gifts. Invitations are about telling your guests how much you love them and that you want them to be with you as you voice your commitment to your party.

To clarify, I don't see this as an “offbeat” issue…. To me, it's more about how you want to manage communications with your loved ones. A communication that says “We love you, come celebrate with us!” just doesn't feel like the place to say “…and here's what I want from you.” Imagine sending a love letter that ended with PS: I like milk chocolates and yellow roses, and I'm home on Sunday evenings if you want to swing by with something wink wink ow my eye. It just doesn't quite fit with the spirit of the communication.

The easiest way to share registry information is via a wedding website. Include the URL in your invitations, and then folks can get all sorts of additional info — venue details, directions, and your registry. Think of it this way: the invitation is all about THEM. Your wedding website can be all about YOU. I touch on this a bit in this advice video.

As for whether you should register when you “get weddinged”? It wouldn't be my inclination, but I think it's up to each bride to do what feels right.

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Comments on Should we mention our registry on invitations to our reception?

  1. I absolutely agree with this, and want to double that it applies to other forms of familial communication, as well! My family has an awful problem of having a reason to call. They always need something! They aren’t calling to say hello and ask how my day was–all that’s negated by the big, annoying (or tiny, simple) favor they had to ask.

    I think the “should we include reception information” question needs to be considered from the point of the recipient. Consider reading the invitation: “We’re getting married on this date! Gifts can be purchased at Target and mailed to our home address.”
    Even if the words “You’re Invited!” are bold, highlighted and covered in glitter glue, it doesn’t seem genuine any more. It seems like small talk on the way to getting to the favor you needed–a brand new toaster!

  2. I’m no wedding expert, but I recently received an invitation to a wedding that came with an insert from argos and a code for the registry. My first thought was ‘Phew!’ Because now I know I can get them something they need.
    Maybe I’m just easy going about it, but I wasn’t offended at all. It’s commonplace to bring a gift to a wedding, why not make it easier for your guest then have them fretting over what to get?
    Although I do like the link to wedsite idea, it lets people have a nosey and informs of the registry too. Everyone’s happy 🙂

  3. i’ve been invited to one wedding where the registry information was included with the invitation.

    at this point, i really didn’t think anything of it. i bought the happy couple a gift, a card, and wrapped it all up pretty.

    …and then i never heard a thing back from them…

    sure, thank you cards are pretty standard and one would have been nice. but all i was hoping for was a quick e-mail or something saying, “hey! we loved the gift, thanks!” shit, even pass the message on to someone i know to tell me.


    it upset me a little. …moreso because they clearly wanted and asked for gifts. that’s what including registry information with the invitation says to me, “please buy us a gift.”

    so i had a bad experience with it, and i don’t really recommend it. HOWEVER, if you really feel like you want to include the info WITH the invites… please please please send thoughtful thank you cards or make some phone calls/send out some e-mails.

    i do think it’s better to put the information on the wedsite, though.

    my guy and i are just going to ask for cards to keep in our wedding scrapbook, if anyone insists on wanting to get us something. not that i have ANYTHING against having a wedding registry…i just think the best gift of all has already been given to us. their love and support.

    • I never received a thank you either… Maybe there’s a trend here :-S
      I was a bit miffed about it too.

      • We were super late on our thank you cards, and I still feel kind of sick about it. I tell every friend, especially if they’re doing up paper invitations, to do up the thank you card envelopes at the same time! We did electronic invitations, in keeping with our environmentalism, but didn’t take enough into account when doing those.

  4. We included minimal registry information on a separate card (our primary registry store and a link to our wedding blog). It was sent in the invite envelope because a good portion of my invitees were folks who were expected to send a present, but who do not do things like check websites (older relatives and friends of my parents most of whom would not actually be attending the wedding).

    That said, I don’t like it when it is on the formal invitation to the ceremony, but at that point it’s probably an aesthetic decision. I’d say since folks will probably expect to bring a wedding present to the post-elopement party, then providing them the information to get you something you want is not crass.

    Just my 2 cents. Good luck! And do send thank you notes. I got a couple thank you notes for my thank you notes and therefore know that at least some folks appreciate getting them. (even though they are a pain to sit down and write… keep a spreadsheet of gifts received mine trickled in over 6 months before and after the wedding and without my spreadsheet I would have been so lost when it came time to do the thank yous).

  5. I think including the wedsite address is an excellent compromise.

    Personally, I do enjoy receiving registry information with the invitation. I’m the girl who will fret endlessly about whether what I want to give the happy couple will match their decor, whether it will be something they’ve already got three of, etc. Having the registry info handy makes my life that much less stressful.

  6. I’m with Ariel.

    But sort of as a side note on that last sentance about maybe not registering for the post-wedding party? You can always just register (because no matter what, people are going to want to buy you stuff as a way to show their love), but just not mention it unless asked (or your moms are asked). That’s the super old school registry way of doing things, and I swear it still works. Because people will TOTALLY ask.

    That’s not pushing you to do that, at all, that’s just an option, should you decide you don’t want to register post-elopement.

  7. When i got married i had a very small wedding. I didn’t include registry information because although i LOVE gift that wasn’t why i was inviting everyone. I was surprised with how many people asked my now husband, my family, or me where/if we were registered. To our delight most the gifts we received were off the registry.

    When i receive invitations with registry information i alway feel like they are just trying to get kitchenaid out of me.

  8. I completely agree with this, but hear’s my question: what about the folks that don’t use or don’t know how to use a computer let alone a website? I’m mainly thinking of our grandparents. Should our parents or other relatives step in and let them know, or should we let them know via a different letter?

    • This is something I address in my book — our experience with web-illiterate family members was that they asked other family members to help them look at the website, and then there was family bonding time in front of the computer, looking at pictures and talking about the wedding.

      • This is what we’re expecting as well. At this point we’re not even planning on a registry because past experience in both families is that whether the couple is registered or not most people call their parents to find out what they want.

        We’re going to either make a list of some things we’d like and pass a copy to our parents, or just pass on some verbal suggestions and then let the info spread from there when someone requests it.

  9. We were planning on not having a registry at all and then got phone calls/emails from various relatives asking for information registry. So we included the registry website, along with all sorts of other information (accomodation, wedsite URL, directions, and such) on an additional sheet of paper inserted into the envelopes. We also stressed we have no great desire or need for presents.
    Hopefully our friends and family know us well enough to know we mean what we say and say what we mean.

  10. We did include registry information on our website, but people still just emailed and asked. I’m on the fence on this one – many wedding guests really enjoy having all the info (location, date, time, registry, etc.) all in one package (i.e. the invitation).

    However, I was quite horrified when friends had a destination wedding at a VERY expensive resort ($1500+ per person) and they included registry information in the invitation. Granted, I think it was mostly for family who wouldn’t be able to attend, and who had likely asked for the info. Still, my inner Ms. Manners cringed.

  11. I think this might also come down to regional differences as well – I’m in Australia, and I’ve not been to a wedding that didn’t include gift/registry info with the invitation… I mean, of course it’s a definite NO to putting the info on the actual invitation, but a separate card alongside doesn’t seem to get too many people miffed here.
    My husband and I put in an info card explaining that people should wear hats etc [for an outdoor wedding], and then explained that we weren’t registering, but would appreciate contributions towards our honeymoon fund. We also made sure to mention that the presence of our guests was far more important than presents 😀

    • Ditto about the separate card in the envelope. I live in Western Canada and our wedding invitation is the FIRST one I’ve seen that didn’t include registry information, and that’s because we put it on the website as we didn’t want to waste paper, and secondly, I REALLY hate asking for gifts for anything (I think it’s being brought up in a JW family so no Christmas lists, no birthday requests, etc).

  12. As a person who doesn’t like talking on the phone I would much rather get an invite with this information included

    Also college friends would have to ask us anyway

  13. I agree with Ann–I think if people want to buy you things, they’ll ask about it. We eloped very quickly, and were planning to have a party to celebrate–and then never got around to having said party. We’re going to renew our vows at the 5 yr mark and have a ceremony, but not register anywhere. I think registering and including the link or mentioning it may also be regional..every wedding invite I’ve seen has a mention of where the couple is registered.

  14. I’m with Sarah on this one – I’m an Aussie, and I’ve only been to one wedding where the registry/gift info wasn’t included with, not on, the invitiation. As far as I was aware, the wedding with no info (an uncles wedding) did not have a registry or anything – no mention of presents at all – which caused no end of dramas with the family.

    So, I agree it can be a bit crass, but including information on the registry/honeymoon fund etc with the invitiation is the most successful plan I have seen so far. I think the key is in how you approach it.

    • I’m with you and Sarah on this, Piper. Another Aussie here and it’s not unusual to get registry information and/or other information in the envelope with the invitation, in my experience. I actually prefer and appreciate it. I’m fairly pragmatic about it. I would rather know all the wedding details up front so I can decide if I’ll be attending or not and knowing exactly what people want and being able to access it in my own time without having to make phone calls is really helpful.
      I wouldn’t attend if I couldn’t bring a gift and I feel rude asking around when people are busy in the lead up. It seems such a trivial thing to be asking about. I also find having the registry information in with the invite really helpful if I can’t attend as it means I am able to send an inability to attend card with a gift.
      I think the website idea is a good one in the right circumstances but it wouldn’t be suitable for us given that a lot of our guests are older and would feel alienated and confused receiving a website URL on their invitation. You can’t stick up a URL with a fridge magnet! Old fashioned probably but I’m ok with that. We’ll be having an extra information pack in with the invitation as we’re planning a weekend of activities and people will need to travel and pay for accommodation. For that reason and a few others, including the fact we don’t NEED anything it’s my intention to include in that information pack a little note card saying,
      “No presents, please. Your presence is the best gift we could ask for.”

      • I would also say this is normal in the UK. I’d expect to see this info either on a second page of the invite, or a separate card. Maybe its because I’m an awkward British person, but I much prefer this. If people don’t give me any info I have to aganosie about whether to call them and ask (but is that wierd? should I call their mother/their fiance(e)’s mother/father/brother/sister?). If there was no info and I went out to buy something, I’d actually be pretty put out to later find out there was a registry that they’d chosen not to tell me about. Of course, I don’t have a problem with including it on a wedsite instead/as well (or indeed not registering at all), but having a registry and only revealing its existence to people who phone up and ask just seems unecessarily awkward to me.

        A slightly unrelated reflection, these major differences between countries which we would usually think of as culturally similar just serve to highlight that there really are no wedding “rules”

  15. I struggled with this. I didn’t even want to register. But with 220 invited guests, and three showers being thrown for us, it was way easier to register and make it known to just about everyone. Did it feel greedy and kind of weird? Yes. But was it a heck of a lot easier than dealing with 220+ phone calls? Yes. We did include it as part of our invitation. Why? When I receive an invitation to someone else’s wedding, I really prefer all the information I need to know to be right there in the envelope I just opened. It’s easier for me to file it away for later, and I guess I just remember what I see on paper a little better than what I see on the computer screen. I also think whether or not to do it might have something to do with knowing your guests. We had people on our list who don’t have internet access, people who don’t have computers, and even people who don’t have phones, so it was easier to do it all at once. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing to do, and no, probably not the most polite, but it was easy and we haven’t had to deal with it since sending the invites. So for us, sending the registry info with the invite was worth it, and I prefer to receive an invite with registry info. I think it’s not a black and white thing but instead something that the couple has to decide for themselves.

    • Oh, yeah – with a wedding that size, I can totally understand. My wedding is going to have 10 guests, so… maybe I forget about these things.

      Now, I live in Seattle, and have attended wedding up and down the West Coast, and I’d say that registry info is more common than not. I also don’t consider it offensive; it’s just not something I’d do, because I’m still trying to GET RID of stuff.

  16. I strongly believe that mentioning the registry ANYWHERE on the invitation is really bad etiquette. No matter what, no matter how easy you think you’re making it for your guests – don’t do it! Trust me, in order to find out where you’re registered they will call you, call your friends, your parents, whatever. It’s just plain wrong to put it anywhere on your printed invitations.

  17. Good advice, and not an offbeat issue at all: actually this one pops up a lot on different sites: I agree completely that even in the “offbeat” wedding world, it’s just no good. It’s like a Christmas card with a gift list for “Santa” attached.

    I am not offended at all by others who put registry info IN the invitation (like on a separate card) – I wouldn’t do it, because it still smacks of “I love you, buy me chocolates” to me (side note: this is totally something I’d say jokingly to my fiance)…but if someone else does it, I won’t bat an eye, and I won’t judge. Whatever. Not worth it to get het up over a piece of paper with some info on it. (Sort of like cash vs. open bar: I would not do a cash bar but I would not get my panties in a twist over someone else’s cash bar. A few $7 drinks does not merit anyone’s ire).

    I do, however, have to wonder about people who put it right on the invitation (that does happen). We are planning to get a copy of our invitation framed because we like it so much – others will quite likely want to keep a copy in a scrapbook or photo album as a memento: do you really want to look back in twenty years and see “Come celebrate our love – and we like gifts from Williams Sonoma”?

    As for those who say “but people will ask!” and “it’s normal to bring a gift!” – that’s why it doesn’t bug me when there are registry cards in the invitation. But honestly, people will find out by word-of-mouth. For me, it gives me an excuse to call people I rarely talk to, so I can ask them this question.

    For the record, we did not register. Not for any moral compunction: we just don’t want stuff, we live abroad, it’s just too much hassle to deal with gifts. People are smart – they’ve figured out without us having to come out and say so that, in fact, if they REALLY want to give us a gift, that cash or a donation to a charity is best.

    • Totally off topic but $7 drinks would bother me. That’s about double what I normally expect to pay for a drink!

      • Ha ha, I meant cash bars in general. Since I am from New York and lived in DC before moving abroad, $7 a drink is pretty normal. At a wedding in the UK I paid six pounds for a vodka tonic, which is like nine bucks US. Grrrr.

        But, yeah. I wouldn’t do that. “Cash bar” is not in my vocabulary. But I *refuse* to judge someone else who does it. Just not worth it. If it’s not a personal insult against me, it’s not worth getting worked up about (as far as weddings go: I absolutely do get worked up about corruption, poverty and oppression around the world that does not affect me.)

  18. Oh man you guys. My sister didn’t do a registry because she didn’t want gifts, and my family FREAKED and basically strong-armed her into listing gifts that she “wanted.” It was the most fucked up thing ever. If you really want to give a specific gift, okay…but if you have no ideas and the couple specifically DOESN’T WANT ANYTHING…let it go! Sigh. This does not bode well for my wedding.

    • I was messing about on the internet the other day and discovered that some couples are now nominating a preferred charity in lieu of gifts. Some of the charities even have a system in place for this and the happy couple can even donate to the charity in lieu of wedding favours. I only mention this as a potential “decoy” plan for you LS. Just in case you do get someone who INSISTS they MUST give you a “gift”, maybe have a charity all picked out and ready?

      • You know what’s funny? It’s such a great idea and we actually tried that with my sister, and people just REFUSED to accept it! They insisted that we throw her a shower, and then I gave like four charity options and ways to donated, and NO ONE did it. Maybe it’s just my insane family that’s stubborn.

  19. I agree it is bad etiquette to include the registry on a formal invitation. Wedding websites are truly a gem. But also remember the pre-parties like Stag and Does and Bridal Showers.. I don’t think there is anything wrong with including your registry info in those invitations.

  20. Due to budget constraints, we had a small wedding with close family and a few friends only, then had a very casual cook-out the next day for everybody else (there were two different sets of invitations). We felt a little weird including registry info with the invites because of this arrangement so my then fiance & I put our mothers in charge of spreading the word. Let’s just say that his mom did a better job than my mom. Since the majority of people from my side didn’t know what to get us, they just gave us cash, which we didn’t really expect to happen.

    It actually worked out quite well because we used the money to partly pay for our honeymoon AND to replace an aging 12″ CRT television with a much nicer flat screen (we watch a lot of movies).

    Disclaimer: This may be a cultural thing (I’m Asian-American). I think the tendency for celebrations is to give a bit of cash with a gift. Since my extended family didn’t know what to get us, they just went the cash route.

  21. I know I said above that we’re planning on just going the word of mouth route but having read all the comments I’m also liking the idea of something on a seperate bit of paper.

    We’re already planning on doing a sort of information pack with directions to the venue, places to stay in the area, some extra info on times and some helpful hints (like you will be walking on grass a lot, stilleto heels are a bad plan) so maybe we could put something in there. Actually it could be doubly helpful because then it’s a safe bet that whoever calls to ask what to get us hasn’t read the other stuff either!

  22. I guess I’m naive enough to trust that when a friend or family member invites me to their wedding, they actually want me there and aren’t just inviting me for the present.

    Most people expect to give a gift when invited to a wedding, why get offended if the couple makes it easy for you to give them something useful?

    • I don’t thing anyone’s getting offended by the idea of registering. Rather, just discussing whether to include the info on the invites.

  23. As the asker of this question, I should probably clarify that I didn’t mean to question the etiquette of putting registry info on the physical invites (though I’ve been getting that a lot lately and haven’t really noticed…and am fascinated by the etiquette surrounding that especially in the digital age). We were planning on tossing in a small piece of paper with our reg info.

    What I was more curious about is the idea of getting gifts for getting weddinged. When we told our friends and family that we decided to elope (for a myriad of reasons), a lot of them said “But you won’t get gifts that way!” And we’re not all about cleaning up at Williams Sonoma, but there are a few things that we could use that we never bought as a couple. Our friends and family are still getting a party, we’re still getting married, so I guess I just don’t understand why one warrants a toaster and not the other. Especially with elopements becoming more common in our society/economy.

    (I should also probably add/reiterate that we are marrying because we’re really just nuts about one another and want to be husband and wife, not to get gifts. But we’re human and there are a few things that would be *nice* to get.)

    • OH! Totally misunderstood the original question, although I guess I sort of answered it in my last sentence. It wouldn’t be my inclination to ask for gifts when you’re getting weddinged.

      Also, I’m going to go ahead and close comments on this one because discussion is devolving to personal stories about people who dealt with registering differently than you would.

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