Further Reflections on Gift Registries, or In Which I Once Again Reveal Myself to be a Terrible Person

Another day, another opportunity to talk about gift registries. And you thought I was getting married to enjoy the benefits of lifelong companionship and health insurance with someone I love. No siree, I do it all for the All-Clad.

This is my third post about gift registries, but I’ve only written 18 posts total, which means my materialism can be quantified. Oddly enough, I have experienced a complete turnaround in my views on wedding registries. A couple years ago, when I figured any future wedding of mine would consist of a backyard commitment ceremony between me and my cats, I thought all unattached young adults should throw themselves huge parties and register for gifts in protest of the maritals. Seriously, just because you’re one of a pair, are you any more deserving of nice pots and pans or serving ware? Single people like to entertain, too, you know! (I sure did, back in the day. Now I just watch Antiques Roadshow.)

I still think unbetrotheds deserve to be able to register for gifts (and not face disdain), but I am no longer joining them in protest. Although at first I found registering for our wedding gifts an extremely awkward and bizarre prospect — in what other context can you say “I would really appreciate it if you bought those $200 candlesticks for me even though we see each other about once every five years”? — I have learned to relish it. I stalk our registries (Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, and Pottery Barn, FYI!!!) almost daily to see what has been purchased so far. Please don’t hate me, Wedding Guests. Just know that your presents, I mean presence at our wedding, will mean so much to us.

As long as this post has degraded into an unflattering confessional, I will reveal one of my most embarrassing secrets. Not only do I stalk my registries, I stalk yours too! Not daily, mind you. But if I know your first and last name, and you have gotten married in the past five years or will be getting married in the near future, you can bet I have spied on your gift registry once or twice. And I have judged it.

The Knot is good for one thing and one thing only, and that is looking up gift registries. On their home page is a little box on the right side where you can type a premarital’s first and last name and Voila! Links to all their registries (assuming they are registered at large chains) will magically appear. You can then while away a slow afternoon at work, amusing yourself with supercilious little thoughts such as, “$250 for a vase?? Who does that?!” or “Girl, no one is buying you that mango pitter. Because everyone knows it’s STUPID” or “Not even Le Creuset can save your sorry cooking.” I know it’s wrong, but we all have our vices and mine is judging your choice in place settings. (Enough with the plain white bone china, already!)

Just as fascinating to me as the registries themselves is observing what people actually buy. The items that always seem to go quickest are the entertaining pieces, such as serving platters and fancy stemware. I believe this has to do not only with price point, but also the fact that this type of gift tells the recipient, “I expect you to return the favor by inviting me over.” For this reason, I too like to give couples gifts they will only use when throwing parties. That way it’s a gift that keeps on giving [back to me]!

The registry items that the last minute gift-buyers usually get stuck with, or that never get bought at all, are the mundane kitchen gadgets. Really, as useful as a whisk may be, no one wants to buy it for you. That’s a gift that says, “You’re 33 years old. You really should have bought one of these for yourself ten years ago, but you didn’t so now I have to.” (Don’t even try the “weddings are an opportunity to upgrade your stuff” rationale – everyone knows you can buy a perfectly good whisk for under five bucks.) No one who gives you the whisk is going to say, “I can’t wait for you to open my gift!” Instead, they will probably say, or hopefully just think to themselves, “The whisk was the only thing left on your registry. Seeing as how it cost $9.95 and I didn’t want to come off as a cheapskate, I bought you six of them. You’re welcome.” Of course, the possibility of this happening didn’t stop me from registering for these same mundane kitchen gadgets. I am counting on getting those Oxo Good Grips ergonomically correct measuring cups. I mean, what if I have arthritis some day and find it painful to lift half a cup of sugar? Whatever would I do? Buy them for myself? You must be joking.

Above image of the All-Clad collection stolen from this link, which I assume stole it from All-Clad.

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11 Comments on “Further Reflections on Gift Registries, or In Which I Once Again Reveal Myself to be a Terrible Person”

  1. Ellie says:

    HAHAHA I totally judge other people’s registries too! I’m really awful about it. I might go stalk you right now…Good choice on the mini-prep – I had one and loved it, and husband made me give it up because we got a big one, but now I just don’t make hummus.
    I go one step further and like to tell people when they registered for items that I used to own and broke within a year. Like I’m going to do right now: We have the Oxo good grips measuring set and the numbers all rubbed off pretty quickly and they are starting to get nicks. Plus, they don’t feel much more ergonomic than regular measuring cups(and I LOVE Oxo stuff. Most of our kitchen is Oxo.)

    We found that our young friends who had gotten married recently got us the sets of potholders and the whisks and utensils we had registered for – maybe because we were all unemployed and broke, but more likely because they had gotten married and knew that nobody gets you the whisk or the showerhead or the potholder. I also mentioned to my one friend that I really wanted the boring stuff, like our laundry sorter and dish draining rack, and she spread the word with our other friends.

    BTW, it is super cool that Macys will let you state you don’t want gift wrap or a box! That’s awesome.

  2. Sheena says:

    I think entertaining pieces tend to be in that magic $50-150 range. And as a newlywed (until June? How long can I say that?)

    And my dishes were awesome!

  3. Sheena says:

    I have a head cold so I posted half a comment. I meant to say: as newlywed, I figured out after the wedding that all that mattered was that I was married and that people were there to celebrate it, and I was SO MOVED. I mean, I knew beforehand that all that mattered was that I would be married and that people would be there to celebrate it, but the SO MOVED part was an honest-to-goodness surprise.

  4. I laughed out loud at the candlestick joke. Because seriously? Candlesticks are too expensive, and you know the only person who will buy them for you is your mother-in-law’s aunt who thinks the power grid can’t be relied on and the breakdown of modern society is no excuse to stop striving for elegance.

  5. Oops, I forgot to log out of my informational wedding website. How embarrassing.

  6. Sandy says:

    Why settle for All Clad? Go for the Mauviel! Can’t beat copper.

  7. skepticbride says:

    Ellie: Glad we are kindred spirits in registry-stalking! Also good to know about the Oxo measuring cups, I will change that right now! I actually have a perfectly good set of measuring cups but broke one of them (brute force) and you can’t buy just one, you have to buy a whole set. Seems silly, so I might just get a new one from a thrift store so no one “has to” buy us those as a gift.

    Sheena: That’s good to hear, I hope to have the “SO MOVED” feeling for the right reasons. Right now, with all these silly little details to work out (which I know don’t really matter in the end), my shallow little heart can only be moved by the thought of…owning a high-quality coffee maker for the first time in my life!!!! Goodbye forever, Mr. Coffee! Hope you feel better soon!

    Robin: Agh, I know! Candlesticks! We found this one section at Macy’s that actually had some pretty interesting stuff and we neglected to check the price tags before shooting them with the little gun. Then when I looked at our registry online, I noticed the candlesticks were like $100 each and this chip n dip was $300. Had to delete. BTW, as long as I’ve admitted to being a creepy registry stalker, your wedding web site is AWESOME! The best I have ever seen. (Sorry – creepy, I know. I couldn’t help it.)

    Sandy: Not even you love us enough to spend the money on copper pots! Actually, you are the one who got me hooked on All-Clad with your frying pan. Can’t go back.

  8. kathleen says:

    Haha, I’m totally guilty of knot/registry stalking as well. It was helpful for ideas when I was figuring out what to register for and usually good for a laugh or snark on all other occasions 🙂 For my first friend who got married, and who really didn’t have any kitchen stuff bc she had just graduated college, my mom and I picked up all those cheap things (spatulas, whisks, tongs) that were left on her registry and sent her a box full of kitchen implements. Unless you’re gonna buy a lot of them at once, though, you’re right — no one is gonna touch those. This is one of the reasons I like to buy early, and/or make my gift half-from the registry and half from what I think makes a good gift (if it’s a close friend).

  9. Nicole says:

    Hehehe. I definitely stalk registries too. In fact, one of the first things fiance and I after registering was stalk the other couple with my name on the site. They were so greedy (I say as we are asking everyone to pay for our honeymoon).

  10. KWu says:

    Wow, that Knot link is fascinating/creepy, as is much of the stuff on the internet. It reminded me of a Williams-Sonoma registry I started for a giveaway but don’t actually want to use, so I went in and deleted everything. Thanks for the reminder!

    Be careful about stalking your own registry. I totally do it and it’s loads of fun for procrastinating against other wedding stuff I have to do, like the presents are my reward or something, but I found myself ranting a bit the other night when I found out that a guest bought us something that was in the lower range of what I expected from them. Not very gracious of me, but fortunately I came to my senses…mostly.

  11. Katy says:

    Late to the party!

    I am so relieved to find another registry stalker. I suspect that most people who register for the cooking stuff don’t actually use it, because they don’t actually cook. I also like to stalk those weird “wedding web pages” many people have through The Knot. I want to know about your bridal party! And how you met, and what the proposal was like! Because I’m nosy, even though I haven’t seen you since high school.


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