Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Including Registry Info With Your Invite: Modernly Acceptable Or Timelessly Taboo?

A couple months ago, I received a wedding invitation with a cute little Target registry card tucked neatly inside the envelope. But as cute as the card was, I couldn’t help but feel taken aback.

Before I go on, I should first say that I’m no stickler for traditional, old-fashioned rules, and am all for modernizing invitations and other wedding elements to suit a couple’s style and wishes. For example, our invite included our wedding website address at the bottom, which some etiquette gurus might find unacceptable, plus updated language that reflected the tone we wanted to set for our day.

But according to every etiquette guide I’ve encountered over the years, including registry information with an invite is nothing short of tacky and taboo. This has always stood out in my mind as a major don't, and I, for one, feel it comes across as rude to directly solicit a gift from one’s guests.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Is this practice becoming more socially acceptable, or are couples just innocently not aware of the longstanding etiquette guidelines in this situation? Do some couples actually think they’re doing guests a favor by making their registry info easily accessible, and do some guests appreciate receiving registry details in such a direct way?

(Photo Credit: Alex Neumann Photography)


  1. I have to disagree and say that nowadays I dont think guests mind. They would only end up asking you anyway so you may as well put it on there.

    Certainly over here most people would include it with their invites.

    We put our info on our information sheet but did include a note saying presents were not required, just their presence but that if they wanted to buy us a gift I wrote down the details.

  2. As a bride who did not receive a gift from each and every guest I think it is tacky (in our US culture!) to include registry information.

    Because guess what: gifts are NEVER required.

    They are, in fact, a gift.

    Many of our guests were cousins just starting out who had just enough money to make it to the wedding. It was far more important for us to have them share in our big day than give us a toaster.

    So yes here in the US (as Gaynor pointed out, its definitely different over the pond) I would be taken aback. If I want to give you a gift (and not cash) I'll ask you, your mom or your maid of honor myself.

  3. That's a tough one. Personally I think that it's rude to include your registry in a wedding invitation.

  4. I am no stickler for tradition either, but I think it's a little rude. As some of the other commenters have noted, a gift is a gift - an "extra" that is not required. Our guests' presence will be "present" enough, ya know? That said, I think including a website with registry info on it is perfectly acceptable. And if people didn't want to buy us a gift, but still wanted to do something, we set up some charities so that they could make donations in our name.

  5. As the unofficial leader of the Budget Brides, I think the registry cards should be left in the bridal shower invites. If people want to know where you're registered at they can either look at your wedding website or ask someone close to you.

  6. Yes, I think it's totally wrong. Yes, I think most couples are clueless and don't know any better. Yes, I think it is far better to include registry info in shower invites or via a web site in your wedding invite. Yes, there are people who disagree.

    People have their own opinion. We just received an invite this month that does not have a web site in the info and does not include registry info either. Perhaps the couple does not want gifts because they don't need anything (very similar to our situation). We did get a good amount of money but preferred the cash instead :) And we did have guests who didn't gift anything to us.

    I agree with you and I think others just don't care...but I too find it offensive when registry info comes in a wedding invite.

  7. I think a lot of people are just not aware that it's technically poor etiquette to include registry information with your invite. Sent with a shower invite or on the couple's wedding website...fine. But not with the invite!

  8. I definitely think it's tacky too. I don't think people care really, but I guess it's just the couples preference. I only have our registry info. on our wedding website but that's it.

  9. I just also wanted to add that over here in the UK we dont have such a thing as a bridal shower so there is no other opportunity to give out gift info.

    We also didnt have a wedding website as didnt feel it was necessary as I preferred to give all our guests the info on one sheet.

    In the uk that is def the way everyone is doing it now and I cant remember the last wedding invite I got which didnt have gift list info in it.

  10. Thanks for your comments, Gaynor! It's great to learn about the different practices across the pond.

  11. I really think it depends on where you live and what is tradition in your area.

    Our registry information was sent out with our invitations. There was no registry card, it was just listed on an insert full of other information (hotels, directions, campsites, etc).

    Bridal showers around here don't have mailed out invitations and most of the people at the bridal showers aren't invited to the wedding.

    I think that's just a small town thing, if we invited every single member of the community to the wedding that came to the shower we would have a 500 or more guest wedding.

    I don't find it rude because people will ask for it anyways, I find it convienent and I like it a lot more when I get that information in an invitation! =)

  12. I'm with Salt - having it on the website is fine, but with the invite, just strange.

    The worst thing I've seen lately is "No boxed gifts please" ON the invite (aka cash gifts only).

  13. I believe "The Budget Bride Handbood" said it all:

    "... registry cards should be left in the bridal shower invites. If people want to know where you're registered at they can either look at your wedding website or ask someone close to you."

    However, talking about mom was recently invited to a wedding, where the couple instead of having a gift list, they decided to ask for money for their honeymoon.
    She received this wedding invitation with a little card with the couple's account information and the minimum to be deposited. (?!?!?!?). That was totally rude!!


  14. I think to do it or not is regional. My midwestern and southern friends/family always include an insert; but, my east coast friends and family do not.

    I did not include registry info in an overt way, but even if I did I don't think 99% of our guests would even notice or care. I did a "Details" insert card with hotel, travel info, directions, etc. And on the bottom in a smaller font I put "Please visit *our website* for more information including registry details".

  15. thehickbride: It shocks me that you invite people to your bridal shower who are not invited to the wedding. That must totally be a traditional thing based on region or community because to invite someone to the shower who is not invited to the wedding would be ghastly here! It would be totally offensive and would come across much more as if you just want a gift from them rather than have them celebrate your wedding nuptials with you. That truly amazes me...but as I always say, to each his own. When in Rome, I guess.

    Lilian - Holy cow!!! A minimum amount to be deposited for a honeymoon registry? Wow! That is truly offensive and so rude. I wouldn't even attend the wedding if I got an invite like that! We had a registry through for our honeymoon 'fund' but it was mostly because we knew a ton of people would just give us cash and we wanted to be able to have them feel like they were actually gifting us something a little more personal and personally selected by them. Although we still ended up with most of our guests just giving us cash, checks and gift cards :)

  16. Mrs.Beever: Oh I totally agree, it's completely regional. It has to be the super small town thing I think, because even driving a mere 30 minutes into town produces the shower/wedding invited to both feel. It's funny because we don't even send out invites for showers! A flyer at the local church and it spreads by word of mouth!

    Lillian: I cannot believe someone would post a minimum, that's just rude! I don't even know what would possess a bride to want to include that in her wedding! I hope your Mom didn't get suckered in! ;)

  17. Keep the comments coming, everyone! I love hearing all the different opinions, plus learning about the differences between regions in terms of what's considered the norm. I agree with Mrs. Beever that it’s really surprising to hear that in some regions, guests invited to the shower might not be invited to the wedding. I’d love for you to elaborate on that, Hick Bride, because I’m not familiar with that custom, and it seems a bit confusing to me, since a shower usually includes the bride’s close friends and relatives – people who would definitely be invited to the wedding under all normal circumstances.

  18. Of course I'll elaborate on the bridal shower around here! At home bridal showers are ALWAYS held at the church, you do not hold a bridal shower unless it's in the church auditorium. That is if you are a member of the church I go to, but with only two churches in a 40 mile radius, most showers are held at my church. There are no formal invitations to these showers; usually a flyer is thrown up in the church, in the local post offices and at the local communiplex. A lot of people hear by word of mouth and come to the shower. The shower is all the ladies from the community, the church and people you grew up with; there are very few friends who you didn’t grow up with that actually come. That’s just expected, it’s like a shower is for those who knew you while you were growing up and that’s why it’s always held at home in the church. There are always extreme amounts of gifts, lots of food and a few games, but nothing super fancy and formal.
    The guests are anyone who wants to come; many people who can’t make it send gifts too. For my shower I even received gifts from people who I don’t really know, just have met in passing and they are community members past or present tense. I think in our community the women always try to make the shower, mainly with the understanding that with a community as large, and as tight-knitted, as ours is, not everyone can be invited to the wedding. Maybe that’s why people are okay with coming to the shower and not the wedding? I don’t know, it was only once I started blogging I even heard about bridal showers that were all formal invitations and things like that!

  19. That is very interesting to hear about the bridal shower in your area. I can see why they would be held like that. Now that I think about it, I do remember my best friend had a 'mini work' shower thrown by her co-workers at the school she worked at. She would not be able to invite any of them to the wedding and they wanted to celebrate with her and give her some gifts since they wouldn't be able to attend, so they threw her a little shower after school got out one day at work. Very sweet I guess. It was not one of her 2 'formal' showers that were thrown by her mother-in-law and by me as the maid of honor. But it was a sweet gesture for those who knew they wouldn't be invited to still shower her with love and well wishes.

  20. I consulted etiquette guides before mailing my invitations as well and, from what I've read, rules are changing.

    As for expecting the wedding party to answer registry questions: not everyone invited to my wedding knew my mother or maid of honor; several guests would have had to search for their contact information. Furthermore, I think it would be incredibly rude to expect those people to field hundreds of calls about registry information.

    As far as other ways to get the registry info to guests, there are some people who are not technologically inclined or do not own a computer who would not be able to get the information from a wedding website. Also, with tucking registry cards into bridal shower invitations, not everyone who is invited to a wedding is invited to the bridal shower. My maid-of-honor threw me a lingerie-themed bridal shower, and I can only assume that a set of towels or a toaster would have been out-of-place.

    Our registry cards said: "Your presence is the greatest gift we can ask for. However, if you feel inclined to bring a small gift, we are registered at..." and then we listed our registry information.

    I appreciate receiving registry information directly. I do not think it is rude, just convenient.

    On a separate note, I hope the bride who invited you to her wedding and included the registry card is not reading your blog. Publicly stating you are "taken aback" by a friend's wedding invitation is definitely a breach of etiquette.

  21. Elizabeth, thanks for your input. The person who sent me the invitation does not in fact read my blog, but I am perfectly comfortable sharing with her, not only here, but in person and straightforwardly, that I was indeed initially “taken aback” by her decision.

    I have also been writing for many years, and have always shared my opinions on a very public stage, including in a variety of print publications. I am certainly the last one who needs a lesson about the fact that it is not a good idea to share anything publicly that I am not OK with anyone and everyone out there reading.

    This blog is a forum to discuss ideas and share opinions, and I am not looking to offend anyone. As you can clearly read in my post, I simply stated that I personally feel that including a registry card with an invite is a rude gesture, as it puts pressure on guests who may not be able to afford a gift. I then asked for others to share their opinions. I in no way stated that my way is or should be the only way, and have in fact learned about a lot of other great perspectives through the answers others, including you, have shared with me.

  22. Hick Bride, thanks for sharing more info about the community bridal shower experience! That is so great, and something I think a lot of us girls in the larger cities are defintiely missing out on! Now that I think about it, I did have a somewhat similar experience, where my work colleagues here in DC threw me a cake and champagne shower before I left for California. I was planning to share details about that party in a couple weeks, but maybe I'll bump up the post, since we've been discussing the topic. :)

  23. I have always thought that was common knowledge that it is impolite?

  24. I am not offended by getting registry information with the invitation. Personally, I'm a lazy gift buyer so I find it convenient to just have the information in front of me, easy and simple. Having said that, however, we just registered and the store gave us a bunch of these cards to include in our invitation which we will not be doing. We will be posting the information on our website instead. Great post...interesting discussion!