For today's brides, preferred gifts aren't always china, crystal and the likeWhen today’s bride registers for wedding gifts, her list is just as likely to include board games and camping gear as the traditional china, crystal and silver. And, more often than not, her husband-to-be is registering with her.
When today’s bride registers for wedding gifts, her list is just as likely to include board games and camping gear as the traditional china, crystal and silver. And, more often than not, her husband-to-be is registering with her.
As in all things nuptial, times have changed for bridal gift registries. Forty or 50 years ago, the only establishments that offered wedding registries were high-end department stores. The bride-to-be went there to select fancy dishes and tableware she expected to use once or twice a year during holidays or dinner parties.
Today, many couples are older than their parents and grandparents were when they said “I do,” and many have been living on their own for at least a couple of years. When they register, they’re more likely thinking about upgrading the stuff that survived their first apartment and replacing the hand-me-downs from Mom and Dad.
“We actually have been living together for a while, so we’d been waiting to register for new household stuff,” said Laura (Brower) Tibert, who married Michael Tibert on June 30 in Minto, N.D. “We approached it as: ‘When we have a family, what will be need for holidays and everything else.’ And we actually did everything online.”
It wasn’t always that way. Laura Tibert’s mother, Karen Brower of Grand Forks, and her finance, Jim, registered for china and goblets at Norby’s in downtown Grand Forks before their 1978 wedding in Fordville, N.D.
“We were back in the blue tux days, and that’s what we did,” Karen Brower said.
After their wedding and reception, they returned to Karen’s parents’ farm, fed everyone one more time and opened their gifts before they went on their honeymoon.
Laura and Michel Tibert opened their gifts the day after their wedding in a casual setting that included family, friends and a meal. Many newlyweds today open their gifts the day after the wedding, inviting parents, grandparents and other family members and friends. It’s almost like one last party before the final good-byes.
Gift-opening during reception
When Karen Brower’s mother married in 1955, some of the bride’s female friends were asked to open wedding gifts for display during the reception. That was the tradition in many area communities for many years, said Gloria Sanford, who serves as wedding coordinator at Grand Forks Calvary Lutheran Church. She said she didn’t know how or where that tradition began.
According to L’ Evento Boutique’s website, the first bridal registry was instituted in 1924 by Marshall Field’s department store in Chicago as a way for engaged couples to indicate chosen china, silver and crystal patterns to family and friends. Target stores were the first to introduce an electronic self-service gift registry in 1993, according
When she married Mark Sanford in 1959 at Watford City, N.D., there was nowhere to register for gifts, Gloria Sanford said. Today, Sanford noted, most stores that sell household goods have electronic bridal registries that tell you what the couple wants, down to the size and color of item and its location in the store.
Many times, you don’t even have to go to the store. You can check the registry online, pick a gift from the couples’ list, pay for it with your credit card and have it shipped to the bride and groom.
Registry advice from a bride
As a recent bride, Laura Tibert’s advice on registries was to pick gifts in a variety of price ranges, and to register at stores that have a good return policy.
Etiquette books also have plenty to say about the do’s and don’ts of bridal registries. Here’s what good manners maven Emily Post has to say about today’s wedding registries.
• Wedding invitations should never mention gifts — not even “no gifts, please.” Nor should you list where you are registered on any part of your wedding invitation. If your family and friends want to know where you’re registered, they should ask. It is OK to post where you are registered on your wedding website, and to link to your online registries.
• While it’s OK to have more than one registry, draw the line at three. You want to offer your guests variety, not list your every wish.
• It’s fine to have a less traditional registry — one with gardening equipment or camping gear — but include a traditional one, too. Some guests will feel much more comfortable with a few classic options.
• As shower gifts are typically less expensive than wedding gifts, it might be a good idea to set up a shower registry separate from your wedding registry with lower-priced items.
• The best registries have a mix of both prices and types of items, so all of your guests will feel comfortable finding something they will be excited to give you and that they can afford.
• It is acceptable to give cash (or a check) to the bride and groom. It is also OK for the couple to signal that gifts of money would be welcome. As with registries, give this information out by word of mouth, as in: “Of course we would love anything you get us, but we could really use help with a down-payment on our first home.”
Emily Post’s last bit of advice? “Just remember in the end, the choice of gift is always up to the giver, so great aunt Edna might still buy you a blender.”