Friday, December 3, 2010


There are many opinions out there about what you absolutely must have at a wedding, what you absolutely can't have at a wedding, and even--oh my!--things the WIC* has deemed it ok to not do (really? are you sure it's ok if my dress is ivory or ecru instead of white, or--gasp!--tea length?). Well, to all of that, I say, punt! As in, I punt your expectations and rules off to some faraway forgotten place, ideally the sort that people start to wonder if it ever existed in the first place. And so, I present a recurring series of posts in which I discuss some OMG-YOU-ABSOLUTELY-MUST-DO-THIS expectation, coming from the wedding industry or from some outdated tradition, and why we'll be saying 'no thanks' to it at our wedding. And so, I present...

Punt! Registering at a housewares store or its related website

Everyone gets the idea of the registry: couples used to get married early enough in life that they actually did need all the stuff for their home and registering for a specific flatware set ensured that not only did company not judge you for having mismatched plates but the plates stack together well when put away.

A and I, like so many couples, have been living together for a while now, and before that lived on our own. We have a lot of stuff. We need little, and we don't want stuff that we don't need. We don't care if things match (I've actually always had a small fantasy of having completely mismatched dishes that all sort of go with each other anyway), nor would we have much in common with the kind of people who would care about the matchiness of our cups and saucers.

But it goes further. A feels particularly strongly about not creating new stuff when there's plenty of perfectly good used stuff around. He gets as much as it makes sense to get from thrift shops--in the case of appliances, the older stuff is often more reliable than the brand new versions. We'd really prefer to not register for anything, to be grateful for the mere presence of our loved ones, and to pick up things as we need them along the way.

Of course, we are inviting many guests, and we cannot control what our guests think about the whole thing. We already know that some will insist on giving gifts. Rather than end up with whatever random things somebody else thought we might want, we've decided we should list, somewhere, the few things we do need, and encourage guests to find used items where appropriate.

And it turns out, there's already a place to make this list, that keeps track of how many of each thing have already been taken care of. I do know how to do a thing or two with a computer, but I'm all for saving my time by using something that already exists. So we'll be "registering with," as it were, the Alternative Gift Registry, where not only can we write our own descriptions, and thus include something simple and elegant about our affinity toward used-but-not-used-up items, but we can also ask for less tangible things like for our faraway friends and family to come visit us, or donations to a charity of their choice.

So this one's a bit of a compromise with tradition. And that, I'm fine with. And if we get somebody's classic, solid, KitchenAid mixer (oh how I covet thee), that's been sitting in their closet for the past eight years, then all the better.

* WIC: Wedding Industrial Complex

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