• Relationships

Wife With A Life: The Greed And The Glory Of The Wedding Gift Registry

There are plenty of perks to getting married: the attention, the made-for-you gown, the whole life-partner thing. But the presents are pretty sweet, too. Registering for gifts can seem like more fun than an adult female should legally be allowed to enjoy. Basically, it’s like catalog shopping, only there’s a good chance someone will buy the items that you dreamily dog-ear. Plus, with those little UPC-code readers and the Interweb, it couldn’t be easier. But beware: The gift registry is a source of hidden stress and trauma. So before you go apes*** in the home department of Bloomingdales, there are some wedding registry traps to be on the lookout for: It will suck up all your time
You tell yourself you won’t but you will. There you are, wandering back to your registration page again. And again. And again and again. Sometimes to add things. Sometimes to take things away. Sometimes to browse for new ideas. Other times to see what’s been purchased (and by who). Sometimes pretending you’re not yourself and imagining what your registry looks like to strangers. Like candy, it’s fun at first, but you kind of feel sick after too much registry.

People are looking and judging
In this day and age, odds are that your registry is available to people who are bored at work and would like to see your registry on sites like The Knot and Weddings.com. I knew other people had glanced at mine (“Oooh, someone bought you those candlesticks!” a friend emailed), and I had certainly taken a peek at others’. In fact, I was tempted to purchase a New York Yankees grill cover I spied on the registry of an old “friend” of mine, but I didn’t think his fiancée would like that. Knowing that people are checking out your gear can make you a little paranoid. Do you have tacky taste? Are you a gift-grubber? Are you boring? You must put together a registry that says, “I have excellent taste, but not too excellent. And, I am pretty.”

Whatever the amount of things you want is, it’s not the right amount
If you register for too many things, you’re greedy. If you register for too few things, people will buy everything and then start giving you confederate bills as presents. YOU MUST REGISTER FOR EXACTLY THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF THINGS. OR ELSE.

He won’t care and this will bug you
Unless your future spouse enjoys cooking, setting up and operating the registry may be a lonely task. Thanks to my bridal showers, my fiance wasn’t forced to pretend to be excited about things like my beautiful blue Le Creusets. The only kitchen appliance we’ve received that generated any interest on his part was the ice cream maker. We had a fight one day when I was discussing a few pieces of furniture I registered for from Crate & Barrel (where they cheerfully advised me, “Don’t underestimate what your friends and family will buy for you!” as they tried to get me to register for a bed). “Yeah, that stuff is fine,” Steve said, looking at the coffee table and front-hall bench I was considering. “But it’s so overpriced.” I offered Steve the chance to pick things out himself if he didn’t like the way it was all being done, but that didn’t happen. Shopping is shopping, and I think even the best of guys can only be interested — or feign interest — for so long. Even though the adorable drawings on the Target registry material feature couples enjoying all their new household gear together, you’re kind of on your own, sister.

The guilt
What did you ever do to deserve all this stuff? What about your gay friends or your single friends, who might never get the chance to receive a fire-red KitchenAid standing mixer with a big-ass bow on it? What about the starving children? Well, there’s a solution to that last one: You can register for a charity. That way, when someone kicks $20 to the organization of your choice, you can feel Christlike in your selflessness.

The remains
I was thrilled to receive everything I did. It helped me immensely in setting up our new house (especially since we couldn’t afford things like plates once we’d experienced the thrill of a home down payment) and humbled me to be the beneficiary of our friends’ and families’ generosity. But nobody’s going to buy you everything. When the dust settles, and you’re no longer the Bride but the Wife, you have to crawl back to the store and buy the rest of your cereal bowls, napkins, and pillowcases. Or you can be awesome like me and order them gift-wrapped and prolong the fun just a little bit longer.

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