Should wedding announcements mention a gift registry?

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How cute are these custom elopement announcement cards from Etsy seller Jazzdoodles?

My son and daughter in-law got married in a civil ceremony in a very unusual way due to Covid restrictions. There was no one present other than his father, who was needed as a witness.

We haven't been able to have any social gathering to celebrate the wedding nor made any of the traditional wedding announcements etc. How can we send this out and incorporate a wedding registry while being tactful and with proper etiquette?

Claudia, thanks so much for emailing and asking this question. While Coronavirus has canceled many weddings, love of course will find a way! Weddings will never completely stop happening… these days, they're just looking more like elopements or micro-weddings.

So first, let's consider the two goals of sending a wedding announcement:

  1. Share some joy by giving them some good news
  2. Invite folks to share in that joy by getting in touch

These goals in mind, it's never appropriate to include a wedding registry on a marriage announcement.

That said, since one of the goals is inviting folks to get in touch, many people may reach out to extend their congratulations — and they may ask about gifts. If someone asks, a wedding registry link should absolutely be shared!

But if folks weren't invited to the wedding, it's not typically considered tactful or appropriate to suggest they send a gift. Remember: the goals of sending a wedding announcement are just about sharing some joy, and inviting a congratulatory conversation.

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We changed the date, but we couldn't wait! This announcement from Etsy seller DottieAndCaro does a great job of expressing how many coronavirus couples feel.

The etiquette around not including a wedding registry remains true regardless of the reason they weren't invited… whether that's because it was a big wedding and they weren't invited, whether that's because only a few people could be invited (a micro-wedding), or whether that's because no one was invited (an elopement). And it's still true even if the reason the couple eloped or had a micro-wedding was one as devastating as COVID-19.

Basically: if someone doesn't have the opportunity to celebrate in person with the couple, it's not great for them to feel like they need to give a gift.

I think this is especially true during this time of economic downtown, when many people are extra sensitive to any pressure to spend money they may not have.

This is all to say: YES, send the wedding announcements! YES, spread the joy! YES, invite conversation about that joy! We are all having such a challenging time, and a little good news about a wedding is what we ALL need in our mailboxes.

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We love this wedding announcement design from Etsy seller Studio Forty Design

Now, what about wedding announcement wording when the wedding was canceled because of COVID-19?

Remember, wedding announcements have two goals: 1) share the joy 2) make it easy for folks to share in that joy back.

These goals in mind, here's one example of marriage announcement wording:

In light of recent events, we decided to have a private ceremony at [our home / the courthouse / whatever].

We look forward to celebrating with you all someday soon!

Thank you for your love and support as we navigate this new journey. We miss you. Please be in touch!

In love & gratitude,

Partner & Partner
[include an email address, phone number, or social media handle so that it's easy for folks to get in touch — or even just see wedding pictures on social media!]

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“Quarantine couldn't stop us” shirts available here.

I'd love to hear from couples who chose to elope due to COVID-19 concerns: how did you announce your marriage? What wording did you use on your announcements? How did you handle the idea of gifts?

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Comments on Should wedding announcements mention a gift registry?

  1. I know that traditional etiquette gurus ( Emily Post, Ann Landers, etc ) are absolutely firm on announcing any type of registry ever : NO.
    I have always disagreed with that. Pleeeeeeease don’t make me hunt down your registry by “tactful word of mouth”. Please just put it in the invite and while we’re at it, can I get an electronic version of the invite too?

    Now having said all that…
    I have also always considered printed wedding announcements to be nothing but a money grab, especially these days when there’s lots of easier ways to tell me you’re married. I’m willing to relax this stance because of COVID. But if I see a registry on the announcement, I’m going to be back to thinking “money grab”.

  2. Your announcement could include a wedding website with pictures from the ceremony, perhaps some narrative prose about the wedding day and anything that didn’t get captured on camera, and the *website* could have a link to a registry for the people who really want to send gifts. That way it’s polite, adds clarity, and is entirely voluntary.

    • *this is for people who have already gotten married and couldn’t invite people because of the pandemic – if you’re going to have a ceremony and/or wedding party at a later date then better to just do things the normal way, if a bit delayed.

  3. absolutely LOVE this blog post. my mum always thought registries were rude because you’re asking for gifts.. but then when I got married 20 people gave me towels!

  4. We received a postcard announcing that my nephew was “eloping” and a registry was included. As it turned out, he didn’t elope but had a small family gathering with just the immediate family of the bride present. Other members of the bride’s family were given the opportunity to attend via Zoom. However, my side of the family was not invited to the Zoom or the ceremony and yet we received a simple postcard with the elopement announcement, including he registry. I found it very inappropriate to suggest a gift be given and no invitation to attend either the zoom or the actual ceremony.

  5. Just sent out announcements of our wedding a few days ago. We had no one at our ceremony due to Covid. Announcements have no implication of a gift, but we received one already (cash via paypal) which we are going to return. We hope to one day have a “normal” ceremony at which time people can gift or not as they choose.

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