5 Things No One Wants to See on Your Wedding Website

Girl, no

by Jareesa Tucker McClure, Contributor


I’ve been invited to a lot of weddings, which means I’ve seen a lot of wedding websites. And here’s the thing about them: They are super helpful when you want to inform your guests about your wedding, and you don’t want to field questions from each one of them individually. They can even be a creative outlet if you want an excuse to make something pretty. (Hint: For a beautiful wedding website that takes less than an hour to put together, our longtime partner Squarespace has you covered, and we’ve even got the cheat codes right here.) But they can sometimes devolve into a forum for people’s worst, most demanding, and greediest instincts. Because hi, Internet, sometimes you make people awful. Meaning, I’ve also seen some terrible things on wedding websites, things that made me clutch my pearls and think: just no.

And while we’ve talked about what’s helpful to include on your wedding website, we’ve never discussed some of the less… awesome things I’ve seen on wedding websites for real-life weddings I’ve been invited to. Because yes. It’s your life and you can do whatever you want. But that doesn’t mean your guests are going to think it’s cute. So if one of these things is threatening to end up on your wedding website, do yourself (and me) a favor and… don’t.

1.ANY TYPE OF GIFT DEMAND: When you’re spending the equivalent of a brand-new car on one day’s celebration, you might think of your wedding gifts as a chance to recoup some of the money spent on your wedding. I get that you may be shelling out $100 per plate, but that’s not an excuse to tell me what I owe you. So no, you can’t write that gifts need to be at least $100 in value (seen it). No, you can’t write that you just want cash or a check (seen it). And no, you can’t require me to submit a gift with my invite (yup, seen it). If I give you something nice, say thank you, like your mama taught you. But please, just leave the gift rules off the website. Your wedding isn’t 1 OAK and you can’t charge an entry fee.

2.INCLUDING INFORMATION ON EVENTS THAT ALL GUESTS AREN’T INVITED TO: Yes, it’s easier to include information about your other wedding events (bachelor/bachelorette parties, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner) on your website rather than doing all that work to inform people individually. It’s a great idea… until you get a bunch of people showing up at your bridal shower who were never invited—whoops! Or you find out your cousin was crying in the hotel because she found out she didn’t make the cut on the (really nice) rehearsal dinner you’re throwing, even after flying across the country for you. Don’t be the person who thinks everyone wants to know about events they aren’t invited to. I guarantee they don’t.

3.OVERLY DETAILED WARDROBE DEMANDS FOR GUESTS: It’s totally fine and expected to let your guests know the dress code is casual or black tie. If you want guests to wear a certain color, folks will gripe, but most will comply with your request. But attempting to dictate fabric choices or specific clothing from your guests? Nope. Cause it’s rude (and expensive) to tell grown folks how to dress.

4.A GOFUNDME OR OTHER FUNDRAISING LINK TO PAY FOR YOUR WEDDING: I get it—weddings are hella expensive. But a GoFundMe link on your website ain’t the way to do it. Trust me. GoFundMe is for injuries, unexpected illnesses, and funeral expenses. Use it like God intended. Invite me to your cake and punch wedding? We’re cool. Invite me to pay for your $50K wedding? We are distinctly not cool.

5.MORAL JUDGMENTS ON SPECIFIC WEDDING TRADITIONS: You might be having a feminist wedding and ditching some traditional elements: wearing white, giving away the bride, mentions of “man and wife” in the vows, etc. Totally cool to feel strongly about ditching those traditions—vent away with your friends. But writing a long diatribe about how morally horrible these traditions are will alienate and possibly offend your guests, especially those who, you know, actually did those things at their weddings. So go ahead and ditch it, but save that judgmental attitude for snarking with your friends.


This post was sponsored by Squarespace. Squarespace makes beautiful wedding websites happen in a matter of minutes. And with their modern, minimal templates, they will even help guide you through the things you should include on your wedding website (like simple registry pages and easy-to-use RSVP functionality). You can even see a bunch of APW reader-designed Squarespace wedding websites right here (none of which break any of the rules above, obvs). Click here to start a free 14-day trial and get your custom wedding website URL today. APW readers get 10% off your first purchase when you use the code APW16 at checkout.

Jareesa Tucker McClure

Jareesa Tucker McClure is a thirty-something newlywed in the Twin Cities. She’s a chemist turned supply chain project manager (and part-time writer) who spends her time knitting and running a Twin Cities Black professionals organization. Follow her rants on Twitter at @Jubilance1922 or on her blog, Black Girl Unlost.

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  • Sarah

    This snark is just what I needed on a rainy morning :)

    • Jess

      Important questions to ask myself in wedding planning: Self, does your wedding need a cover charge?

      • Robyncestrella4

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    • stephanie

      Jareesa is a gift to us all.

  • Woah, people actually put cash demands on their wedding website?!? That is appalling

  • Nell

    If you use AppyCouple (sorry, Squarespace) you can create separate guest lists for different events. So you can make your rehearsal dinner only visible to a specific group of guests. BAM! Solved.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Different guest lists for different events is amazing. (And if you want to support two APW sponsors and get that, you can also merge Glo and Squarespace to the same effect!)

    • Lisa

      We did the same thing. My MIL called us in a panic, thinking that we had listed the rehearsal dinner for everyone to see, because it was so seamless on our AppyCouple site.

      • Rebekah Jane

        We’re tinkering with AppyCouple right now and I like all the features, but the designs are not the best. Did you stick with a theme or did you find a way to customize the pretty?

        • Lisa

          We picked out the theme that most closely matched our invitations. (I think it was purple with some swirly bits.) I think a lot of the pre-made themes on any web platform are going to be just ok for the most part. The functionality of AppyCouple was what ended up selling me on it.

          • Rebekah Jane

            Yeeeeah, I figured. We’re doing a chalkboard look for our invitations (the only design my fiance liked after two months of showing him various options and it kinda works with our brewery wedding, so whatever) but the chalkboard designs on Appy Couple do not please me. I think I’m just going to embrace the “f*ck it” attitude, go with one I think is pretty and move my focus to things that matter more. Thanks anyway!

          • Lisa

            Yeah, I had few feelings about the prettiness of our web-site, but I knew we should have one. Making sure it was functional and had a good RSVP component were the most important things to me!

          • Yeah, it legit does not matter if your invites match your website. I thought ‘rustic charm’ was sorta okay. Maybe you’ll like some of the ones in the color black? Do what works!

        • Also, all the AppyCouple layouts appear to be approximately the same, it’s just the colors and clipart that changes. This makes it doubly frustrating that the ‘Georgetown’ design isn’t 100% rendering properly on LG G5 cell phones. But whatever. Who really cares so long as it’s usable. And it is.

  • Her Lindsayship

    The sub-header + image of this post just tickles me. Thanks, Jareesa!

    I have some friends who I thought did a very polite honey-fund request on their website. One of the couple is from Ireland, so they suggested that if guests wanted to give a gift, they should feel free to follow the Irish tradition of giving the new couple money. Then they also included a small registry for those who just really wanted to give stuff. My fiance and I are thinking of doing something similar, as we don’t really want stuff (he’s German and the cash tradition stands there as well). Does this strike people as rude? If so, is there any wording that makes it sound less rude to you?

    • Amy March

      It strikes me as rude to ask for money, and unnecessary. If there is no registry, or the registry is very small/sold out, I’ll give cash. If your FI’s people customarily give cash, they’ll do that. No one needs instructions on it.

      • LittleOwl

        I agree! If the registry is tiny I feel like that sends a polite signal that you don’t need any more household items, therefore money is appreciated.

        • emmers

          Or if you don’t have a registry, I also always assume you want cash!

        • Idk, maybe it’s just been bad luck but I had 2 separate friends do the small registry/polite signals route and they got… Fewer presents and a very tiny amount of cash.

          Not to imply that any couple is “owed” a certain amount of swag, but not everyone picks up on the whole polite signal thing.

      • Her Lindsayship

        I didn’t find it rude when my friends did it, but I’ve never been one to lean heavily on etiquette. Your comment is getting enough likes that I can see people here do tend to find it rude… Glad I asked.

        • Sara

          I don’t find it rude either.

    • CharlotteJ

      I love the honey-fund registries, especially the ones where you can “purchase” honeymoon items for the couple (like a gondola ride, or breakfast in bed), but you’re really just sending money. Makes me feel like I’m giving the couple something they really want (money) AND getting to “pick out a gift” :-)

      • Lisa

        The thing about HoneyFund is that either you or the couple has to pay a service fee at some point. When I see a HoneyFund (which I love the idea of since I’m a big experiences person), I usually just write out a check for the item towards which I want to contribute and put what it’s for in the memo line.

        • MC

          Just FYI for anyone else who’s curious: We did not pay for our Honeyfund, and we made it so that people could only give us checks for what they bought. Honeyfund makes it pretty easy to set your payment preference, and since we didn’t want anyone to have to pay fees, that’s what we chose. And it still marks the experience as “purchased” so you don’t have 5 people buying you a kayak trip or whatever. I know not everyone chooses that option but it IS an option.

          • Lisa

            Just went to check on this on my friend’s site (she put up her Honeyfund recently), and it looks like they’re doing it through PayPal. Any idea if they get dinged with fees on their end for that option?

          • Kadee

            I’m fairly sure that fees get charged on one of the ends that way. The only way to avoid fees on one end or the other is to not sign up for their e-pay options and people will write a check for whatever it is they are funding. When you purchase something from their list, Honeyfund gives you this little gift certificate (like the one you’d make for your dad for his birthday when you got him tickets to see a concert but you’re waiting to buy the tickets until he looks at the list of shows and dates but you want to give him something) and you can print that out and send it with the check.

        • BSM

          This is why we did not use Honeyfund. We actually set up a donation page on our SquareSpace site using Stripe (super easy) and listed a few suggested donation amounts and experiences they would correspond to. I.e., $20 for two celebratory cocktails, $60 for dinner at a local restaurant, $120 for a couple’s massage, etc.

    • EF

      I found people *did* need instructions on it…but we had a very international crowd and come from different cultures anyway.

      We had a honeyfund and a smaller regular registry. On the honeyfund, we included things people could purchase (‘train tickets to paris’ ‘croissants and tea in paris’). these were very popular. for close friends/20-somethings, in addition to thank you notes we texted pictures of us doing the thing they bought us (for example, friend who gave the croissants had actually been part of a group years ago that we all went to paris in. one of our fondest memories was going to the same pastry place for breakfast 3 days in a row. so when she gifted us that, it was like, aww just like when we travelled together! and she appreciated a whatsapp with a ‘check out these awesome croissant almondes we’re having! thanks!’). but know your people.
      we also had a larger, general ‘travel fund’ on the honeyfund. a few people did that, mostly those who couldn’t travel to the wedding but wanted to throw $25 our way. worked out well.

    • I wouldn’t find that rude & I think referencing regional traditions is good wording/ provides context. Also, I do think doing something like a honey-fund where guests can feel like they are giving specific experiences can help bridge that gap for people squeamish about giving straight up cash.

      AND some people are probably going to find it rude no matter how you phrase it, so I think it’s up to you how much that bothers you? YMMV, but any other context besides “life stage events” grown adults handing each other long lists of gifts they want would *also* be see as rude, so if people aren’t willing to extend you a little etiquette grace around something that is both arbitrary and regional… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • JC

      Language like “if the guests want to give a gift, they should feel free to follow the XX tradition of giving the new couple money,” especially if that language can be repeated by close friends and family members and isn’t only see on the wedding website, feels perfectly appropriate to me. Not everyone feels the same about cash as a gift for any occasion, especially weddings, and I like laying out those expectations.

    • Staria

      Honestly, people need/want gifts less and less these days. I like to think of it as encouraging cash rather than demanding it. I’ve given cash at quite a few weddings – ‘wishing wells’ are becoming more common in Australia. If you’re wording it more like ‘We’ve been together a long time and you really don’t have to bring us a gift, your presence is present enough. If you wish to contribute towards our honeymoon fund, that is very welcome but not a requirement.’, it’s really not rude. Then just accept any gifts you do receive gracefully. I’m not having a registry because I felt weird about a registry and it turns out some of our friends have actually offered to pay for or do stuff at the wedding as their ‘gift’. I have a lot of older relatives, some of whom will have very specific ideas about what they ‘should’ give and wild horses won’t stop them on that path. I’m used to receiving out there or wacky gifts so this is no different! In the past year alone we’ve received three kitchen items from my partner’s parents that we never, ever, ever will use. But they were nice to think of us. I’ll keep them for a bit longer and then they’ll quietly go somewhere else.

  • Alyson

    I may have slightly broken rule number 1, but only slightly and for a good reason (I think)! We really wanted to make it clear that we had no expectations for our friends to be buying us gifts because a lot of them were coming from abroad to attend.The other thing was, we were getting asked a lot if we had a registry, and we did not have one for a reason. If we did get gifts, they might have been lovely, but my partner and I had NO idea what our life plans were. As in, we were in a transatlantic relationship/marriage with the possibility of moving to a third country. There just wasn’t any room for pots and pans and stuff in that equation.

    In the end this was added to one of the pages on our wedding website: “Please donʼt feel obliged to buy us a gift, your presence is present enough! We just want you to come have a good time with us! However, if you prefer to give a gift, we would be grateful for any monetary contributions toward planning out future together… wherever that may be.”

    • tr

      I think that sounds completely reasonable! I’m a pretty big stickler for tradition on registries (I’ve rolled my eyes soooo many times at honeymoon registries), but when there’s a really good reason WHY a Kitchenmaid wouldn’t be appropriate, I’m cool with politely wording things the way you did!

    • I think 100% proper etiquette would say to not mention gifts and have it spread by word of mouth that you were “Saving up for your next household/apartment/yurt move.” 90% proper etiquette would keep the first two sentences, but drop the explicit request for cash, and have that spread by word of mouth as before. Your mileage may vary on that.

    • Natalie

      That’s what we’ve kind of put – we’ve been together for 9 years and have all the things we need.
      It’s becoming more common in the UK at least to ask for cash gifts, and it’s pretty common in Austria where we live, wedding cards even have money slots in them.

      • Alyson

        In fact, my partner is English, and our wedding was in the UK!

  • CB

    I have a question about #1 and cash. In past posts, like the Modern Wedding Etiquette post from May 4, “Can I ask for cash?” has come up, with APW’s answer being, while some people will still get you things, yes, you can. I know demanding anything is one thing, but this post says that you can’t even say that you’d prefer cash. I know a lot of couples who’ve been living together for ages and don’t need a single piece of housewares, so they asked for money or set up a Honeymoon registry. Is this really such a problem?

    • Saying it in person/via phone/via email is totally different than placing it on your wedding website.

      • BSM

        I really disagree. I think language matters, but I really don’t care if people would rather receive experiences or cash instead of table linens. I absolutely prefer some kind of link on a wedding website where I can give using my credit card vs. having to go find a checkbook.

    • Amy March

      The answer was yes but some people won’t like it, and then suggested a small registry and word of mouth. I don’t like experience registries at all, but I still see a big difference between having one and putting a link to it on your website and actually asking for cash.

    • BDubs

      I think the rule is “don’t put it on the wedding website”. That’s a one-on-one kind of conversation.

    • Sarah

      We didn’t include registry info in our invites, but included a paper with directions to the wedding site and a note about our wedding website. We got a fair amount of cash as it turns out most people didn’t see registry info and didn’t go to our site to see we did have a registry. Cash was their default. Kinda sad more people didn’t view our website but the cash gifts were a nice surprise.

    • Loren

      I am a ‘millennial’ but a lot of my friends have included links to Honeyfund or something similar on their wedding websites. Personally I don’t understand how this is tackier than adding a link to a gift registry, but I do think it’s also about the wording. Asking for ‘donations to our house/honeymoon fund’ seems more polite than ‘we’d prefer cash gifts’.

      • tr

        Personally, I’m bothered by honeymoon registries for two reasons: (1) I am a things person, not an experiences person. When people give me things, I think about that person when I use those things. As such, when I buy you a casserole dish, I like to think that you’ll think about me, or at least your wedding guests as a whole when you use it ten years from now. On the other hand, ten years from now, you will not have any daily reminders of the croissants in Paris I paid for you to eat. (2) Again, maybe this is just because I’m more a of things person than an experience person, but to me, Honeyfunds and the like feel like the couple is saying “Hey guys, we’re so rich and fabulous that we can buy all of the stuff we could ever want for our house, so how about you just pay for us to go on an awesome vacation, instead?” Like, logically, I know that is not what they’re saying (usually), but instinctively, that’s how it feels!

        • Sara

          Logically, I know your 1st statement isn’t saying a wedding present to someone else needs to be all about you and your preferences and your need to be remembered, but instinctively, that’s how it feels.

          I don’t have a registry because I don’t need anything – not because I am rich and fabulous, but because my fiance and I have cohabitated for years and have made a huge effort to combine, downsize and minimize. I literally DO NOT WANT any more stuff in my house. We are suggesting a few charities to donate to in lieu of gifts, but if we wanted/needed it, I wouldn’t think twice about a honeyfund. I always gift to the honeyfund instead of buying “stuff” from the registry when given a choice.

          • tr

            I mean, honestly, my registry is every bit as much about other people as it is me. I purposely picked a mix of a practical and “memorable” items at every price point with the very goal of making sure that each guest could find an item he or she felt really good about getting us. After all, it may be my wedding, but they’re the ones going to the trouble and expense to get us a gift–I want them to genuinely feel great about what they were able to give! In some ways, I’d totally rather have cash than a cheese grater, but I know Great Aunt Ethel would rather give me a cheese grater, so that baby’s going on the registry!

          • BSM

            I mean, this is also kind of why we included a honeymoon fund on our wedding website. We picked out a decent number of items to add to our traditional registry, but, like cpostrophe, we just didn’t really need that much stuff. So, in thinking about our guests, I wanted to give them a hassle-free way to give something (only if they wanted to!) if nothing on the traditional registry sparked their interest.

          • A single Sarah

            And the microplane cheese graters are so good!

          • Kate

            I’d forgotten about the charities! We had a couple of charity options too, and they were quite popular (we had unlimited $5 donations, so some people got us something plus a donation, or just bought a lot of donations). What I love about the charity option is when the couple tell people why they support that charity. It makes it really personal.

          • Sara

            I love that as well! We have 3 rescue animals and occasionally foster, so it will come as a surprise to no one when we pick animal charities. :)

        • cpostrophe

          Just to provide an contrasting viewpoint that isn’t about framing a priority for experiences as “privilege”: My fiancee and I are not rich (though we may be fabulous), but we have “enough”, and for us having more stuff in our small apartment is actually genuinely stressful since it just adds to clutter. Our plates are not all coordinated. Our pans are not All-Clad. Our counter doesn’t have space for a standing mixer. But we don’t mind that and we’re happy with what we have. It’s actually an imposition for us to be given these things.

          I will say that memories of trips that I’ve taken and experiences that I’ve had, -especially- when they were shared with friends, linger with me. Those things shaped my appreciation for the world, and they come back in different ways. Sometimes that is because a croissant I had this morning made me think of Paris or a warm day made me think of a Hawaiian beach. And, yes, if someone helped make that possible, I will certainly remember them.

        • Annie

          I have the complete opposite view, actually–I love giving and getting experience gifts! While I love everything I got when I got married, I can’t remember who exactly gave me what dish. (We didnt’ do a honeyfund or similar for a registry.) But whenever I get an experience gift, I remember that way better and think more specifically of the person who gave me that treat. I think it’s good to have a traditional “stuff” registry in additional to a honeymoon registry if that’s someone’s style, because a lot of people are more gift-people like you, but I love being able to give my friends fun experiences.

        • Sarah

          I agree with you, but realize majority opinion has been against us for some time now. Wasn’t the whole point of wedding gifts to provide couples with things they need on their new life? I know, I know times have changed, people cohabitate, have small apts, move a lot, etc. And no one probably “needs” a $500 Vitamix. BUT something about honeymoon registries rub me the wrong way.

          • cpostrophe

            if we could wave a magic wand to make it ok to have a registry for barn-raising / “help us afford a down payment for a bigger house” then I would be totally down for that, and I believe that’s where we’re at as far as what modern couples really need to start a new life together.

          • Sarah

            Or student loan contributions? Not to parent-jack this convo but my mom was asking what our baby’s 1st bday party theme will be (she started asking when he was 4 months, to give you an idea). In private, my husband suggested a 529 college savings plan theme!

          • Amy March

            Which is why cash works so well! It can be used for whatever you want, and doesn’t need a registry.

          • tr

            Oh heck to the yes!!! I would sooooo much rather contribute $100 towards a retirement account or a down payment on house than some snorkeling outing in Tahiti!

          • s

            Hah, that makes me feel better about the general cash fund item on our registry – it’s for a new furnace. Definitely need that more than another set of mugs….

          • LB

            I agree with you. I know it’s probably a matter of semantics, but I’d rather just write a check for $XXX and have the couple use it as they choose, rather than purchase a massage at their honeymoon resort. I think it has something to do with how we’ve all been taught that couples cannot *expect* people to help pay for the wedding through wedding gifts. If you can’t afford a big fancy wedding, don’t have one. When I see honeymoon registries, it strikes me as a similar concept – if you can’t afford first class airfare, don’t buy it.

        • Ashley Meredith

          So, it’s fine if you just do prefer things to experiences; there’s a degree to which I enjoy things *because* having them is an experience… my morning tea just tastes better and perks me up more in an adorable cup. But all the science says experiences are actually more important to happiness than things in the long run, and even, experiences are often more memorable than things. Just google “things vs experience” for a ton of articles about it. So you never know, that couple might actually get more happy memories out of the croissants in Paris than the casserole dish. To each their own but I don’t think you can assume that a honeymoon registry is a less memorable gift for the people who are actually going to use it.

          • MC

            Yep – my husband does not remember who got us what physical thing for our wedding, and probably has also forgotten that the casserole dish we have was even a wedding present, but he definitely knows that certain people paid for certain fun things we did on our honeymoon and we bring that up whenever we reminisce about it.

        • Lisa

          I totally get that everyone has different love languages. It seems like yours is gifts, whereas mine is more quality time/acts of service. We did have a registry, but at this point, I can’t really remember who got us which presents anymore. They all started to run together. I think of all our gifts as a collective whole from our friends and family whether it was money that we used to fund our honeymoon and emergency fund or whether it was the serving platter. I remember our people when I look through pictures of our honeymoon or see our dinnerware or open up our budget with the well-stocked emergency fund.

          Maybe it would help to remember as a gifts person that the couple is asking for you to contribute in a way that will allow them to remember you best? We all have different priorities, and the love you put into selecting a gift for someone off whatever registry a couple puts together is what they’ll remember about you.

        • Sosuli

          Ouch. We asked for honeymoon contributions for precisely the opposite reason – it’s been a really rough year and without help we wouldn’t be able to go on a honeymoon at all, whereas we have accumulated all the things we need over the years of living together.

          • tr

            Oh goodness, I definitely didn’t mean it in such a harsh way! People do honeymoon registries all the time, and it’s totally socially acceptable, even if it’s not really my thing. Plus, honestly, if I knew my friend was in your boat, I’d probably be cooler with it than I generally am…among my acquaintances who’ve done it, it’s skewed pretty heavily towards people who certainly *can* afford a honeymoon (even if doing so would mean scaling back a teensy bit on the wedding itself).
            Also, as I’ve learned from looking through a thousand wedding websites over the last five years, so much of whether something is “tacky” to me depends on the couple. If a guest already thinks you’re tacky, they will think you’re tacky no matter what you register for. If they think you’re awesome, they’ll think you’re awesome no matter what you register for.

        • gonzalesbeach

          I LOVE when my friends tell me years later that they are so happy with their Glass Dolphin/Spiderman Bath Towels/Giant Tent or whatever item that I purchased off their registry. It make them feel happy looking at it, and it makes me feel happy. Mostly we’re happy because looking at that thing in that moment together, reminds us about that wonderful day they got married and about the community that supported/supports their marriage and all the fun times/moments at the wedding/shower/reception etc. And then we talk about the wedding and how fun it was when X Y Z happened. I’m not going be on the honeymoon, so we can’t really talk about our shared memories of it for years to come like we can with the wedding. Of course they can tell me details (usually immediately after and then not really again) about honeymoon but we don’t have the shared experience of it. I know this doesn’t have to be the gift I gave them that makes us talk about their wedding – eg I reuse little favour jam pots from friends’ wedding for my spices so I always am reminded of that day/them when I’m cooking. Sometimes little physical reminders are nice to have around so I get your perspective. Overall I think the important thing is to include both honeymoon/experience registry AND traditional registry options for guests or at least recognize that even if you only do the honeyfund, you may still get New Salad Tongs from Aunt Gertrude. Because clearly from this thread, there are people who prefer both getting and giving different options.

        • the cupboard under the stairs

          This, right here, is exactly why we set up an experience- AND thing-based registry on Zola. Some people are into tangible gifts; others don’t care as much. P.S. we are decidedly NOT rich and fabulous. :)

        • Kate

          Which is totally fair enough, but I guess the flexibility is that everyone is in different circumstances. I don’t put any stock in ‘things’ and I frequently chuck out items that feel like they are clutter (e.g. I am not a great cook and don’t enjoy it – I got gifted 8 lovely mini casserole dishes and was very, very touched to receive them, but someone will get much more use out of them than I will!).

          We had a honeyfund for a honeymoon on the basis that we have lived together for 8 years, frequently move, and don’t need any more than we have, but we also had a small ‘things’ registry, and made it super clear that these were available to guests because family had requested it. Originally I wasn’t going to have a registry at all. We found it awkward but also important to find some wording to point out that we didn’t expect gifts and were stoked that so many people were travelling. In the end, guests kept coming up to tell us how much they loved using the honeyfund. Everyone wanted to contribute an experience and it was lovely. When I look at the photos, I remember who got that experience for us. And yes, I still use my wok and think of my friend who got me that too :-).

    • BSM

      I think it’s fine. Honeymoon and other cash registries are so common these days, who cares.

      ETA: If people don’t like it, they don’t have to contribute. I suppose the language around it also matters.

    • April

      We put charitable donations on our registry as an option and no one had any problem with it. A couple of people mentioned it was an awesome idea and happily donated. I’ve been to weddings that had a honeymoon registry and didn’t think anything of it.

      I think it’s only a problem in certain regions, cultures and classes. No one I know is that stuck on etiquette.

  • ART

    I had an acquaintance tell me the rule really was that wedding gifts were supposed to have a $300 value, minimum. She was expressing here extreme disappointment about her wedding gifts. I wasn’t that surprised that she was disappointed, I certainly had not given her a $300 gift as a guest of her wedding, and we aren’t in touch anymore.

    • Maddie Eisenhart


      • ART

        Right? Like I really don’t even know where she got that. And this was post-wedding, and I actually had given her a gift that I thought was pretty generous, and it was like she didn’t realize she was talking to someone who had not lived up to her expectation. I was kind of like “oh, that’s not a custom I’m familiar with…”

      • Kara E

        I know a bunch of east coasters who think the gift has to equal the cost of the dinner. WTF? No, a gift is a gift. I have a wedding I can afford – you give me a gift you can afford. If you want. From each according to their means… Gah.

    • idkmybffjill

      what even.

    • Sara

      I would not be able to afford this friend. Period.

    • Annie

      I wouldn’t be able to go to anyone’s wedding if I had to shell out $300 for a gift.

    • Sarah

      Boo. Wish there was a Disquis option to vote this friend’s attitude down!

    • Megan

      I have NEVER given a gift that big to anyone. For any reason.

    • April

      hahahahahahahah omg.

      If that’s what she was expecting I can see why she was disappointed. :| Seriously though, where on earth did she get that?

  • Natasha Romanova

    The fact that its okay to spell out exactly what you want with a registry but not ask for cash is such a weird double standard.

    Also, people know rehearsal dinners happen and they’re smaller events. Nobody is going to cry over not being invited, especially when they are invited to the better party (aka the wedding). Ive included my rehearsal dinner on my website, and only the wedding parties and immediate families are invited.

    • Amy March

      Re: rehearsal dinners I disagree. For starters, they’re not always all that much smaller- are you inviting only people involved in the rehearsal? those people + immediate family? + extended family but only if they are from out of town? + out of towers and the few really important local people? It isn’t always clear, and I can absolutely see people being confused by the information, not sure if they are invited, and maybe hurt not to be.

      • Natasha Romanova

        Only immediate family and wedding party, and this is clarified in the event description. So a clear line is drawn.

    • Meg Keene

      Yeah, I disagree. I have actually cried over not being invited to them, because you think you’re drawing a clear and easy line… but trust me, the people right out side the line don’t feel that way. Including it where people can see it who are not invited is a BAD IDEA. You don’t invite people to a party in front of other people you’re not inviting.

      • Natasha Romanova

        I guess I just don’t understand why anybody would think they should be invited if they are not in the wedding parties or immediate family. It is a clear line in my opinion, since both of those terms have clear definitions (bridesmaids/groomsmen, parents and siblings). Anyway, it has to be included on the website, because we are doing online only RVSPs for all events and have no way of setting up RSVPs anywhere else.

        • anon for this

          Okay – I feel that maybe this is a cultural thing? Where I grew up rehearsal dinners are definitely only supposed to be for the wedding party and immediate family/spouses (I think the definition of immediate family is pretty clear, and immediate family and wedding party often overlap), and no one else expects to be invited.

          It’s like if the reception is a thank you to guests for attending the wedding, then the rehearsal dinner is a thank you to the bridal party and immediate family for what was likely a lot of extra time/effort on their parts.

          I mean, I would find it kinda weird to see info about the rehearsal dinner on the wedding site, but I don’t think I’d be offended if I was one of the uninvited, cuz that probably means I’m not in the wedding party.

  • Alexandra

    I’ve come to the (probably controversial) conclusion that the classiest, most sane-making move with gifts (in general, but it is very applicable to wedding registries) is to pretend they don’t exist. Just ignore the issue entirely. Try this thought experiment:

    Moving into a tiny house together after having lived together for fifteen years so you already have a kitchenaid, two dutch ovens, and a great set of all-clad pots and pans that won’t even fit into your tiny kitchen? None ya business what people want to get you. Sell it on ebay afterward if it isn’t gonna work.

    Love experiences? That’s great, but save it for your lifestyle blog because Aunt Marge always gets everybody the same crockpot. She believes good pulled pork IS an experience all its own. Don’t like it? Sell it on craigslist afterward if it isn’t gonna work and let Aunt Marge do her thing. She wiped your butt when you were two. Take her crockpot with a smile.

    Spend too much on your wedding and hoping to recoup some of the loss? Get some therapy as to why you felt you had to do this (Self control issues? Career problems leading to cash flow issues? Not setting good boundaries with family issues? Entitlement issues?) and pay off the debt the old fashioned way, without the added bummer of failed expectations making you resent your friends and family.

    Just pretend nobody. is. going. to. get. you. anything. Then every gift is a happy surprise. Look! A beautiful Crate and Barrel bar set, except we’re Baptists and don’t drink! Wow, this is the equivalent of $75 cash from craigslist! Or something we can regift to our boozy friend! Or a great funky bedside table with bar glass flower vases! THANKS UNCLE JOE!

    Does every gift have to achieve optimal money efficiency? Do we have to run every thoughtful gesture through the lens of: well, they were going to spend the money anyway, so they might as well get us something we really need…I say no! Just let things be inefficient in the name of happy, quirky relationships! You might enjoy yourself more without the baggage of feeling obliged to control the spending of others towards yourself.

    Just my two cents.

    • Antonia

      “Does every gift have to achieve optimal money efficiency? Do we have to run every thoughtful gesture through the lens of: well, they were going to spend the money anyway, so they might as well get us something we really need…?”

      Oh my gosh, THANK YOU.

    • Amy March

      I’m not sure winding up with 7 toasters is enjoyable for you or for the people who genuinely wanted to get you something useful that you would enjoy as you start your married life.

      • Alexandra

        SELL EM ON EBAY! I’m kidding, you know. I had a registry myself. Just wish I could let go of the idea that 7 toasters would be a giant catastrophe. It wouldn’t be. In the end the most useful thing that I enjoy the most is a friend who cares enough to get me a toaster, even though in the end I already had one.

        • Cathi

          I know this post is a little old, but I just wanted to say as someone whose toaster broke this morning mid-toast:

          Having a backup toaster or two would actually be really handy right now. Ha.

    • gonzalesbeach

      this is all wonderful ^^

    • Loren

      I totally get this, I have friends who did a ‘no registry’ thing and wound up with some amazing, and some terrible things. But fiance & I both come from large families and our guest list is pretty close to 250 right now. The idea of getting 100+ gifts that I don’t want or need, and now have to get rid of is a truly EXHAUSTING option.

      • Lisa

        This is what my initial thought was as well. The purpose of the registry is to allow people to be generous with the least amount of hassle on the couple. Putting this expectation on the couple to get rid of hundreds of presents they don’t want is a huge time and storage commitment.

        • TeaforTwo

          I would argue that the purpose of the registry is to allow people to be generous with the least amount of hassle on the GUESTS. If I am going to spend $300 on someone, I want to make sure it’s on something they’ll want. Registries solve that problem and make it easy for me. I don’t have to worry about what to get, coordinate with other guests, figure out how to ship the gift or haul it to the wedding.

          When registries are presented as convenient to the couple, I just can’t. I mean, of course they are, but also I don’t ever want to hear that a gift I spent money to give you as a token of my joy for you was a huge hassle.

          • Lisa

            You’re right on that point that they’re convenient for the guests as well. The convenience is for all parties involved. I shouldn’t try to write comments while talking to co-workers!

          • Loren

            Yeah, I’m totally torn on all of this stuff. I’ve found putting together a registry really weirdly stressful because I’m very picky about what I bring into my house. But also I want to make the process as easy as possible for my guests. But also I would be fine if NONE of them brought us presents. But also I’ve been told that if I don’t register they are STILL going to buy me things (so I know that we need to go ahead & register for some stuff).
            And while I know that they are trying to be nice there is a lot of weird pressure put on gift giving in my family where people will notice if I do not wear the earring they gave me (that were not my taste), or make comments if they present they sent me isn’t displayed prominently ‘enough’.
            And I know that no matter which route we choose SOMEONE will think it is tacky but it has all boiled down to me having very mixed feelings about every item that costs more than $15 that we’ve put on out registry.

          • AMcCRead

            I felt EXACTLY the same way.

      • Selena

        I was in a similar situation. On the website I out a thing about how having everyone together was the only real gift we wanted, but if you wanted to get us something, here’s where we’re registered if you wanted ideas type of thing. Zola was actually super helpful here since we could tag stuff across many different sites and set up group funding for larger ticket items we actually needed/wanted.

      • Alexandra

        I think I mean more like…fine to have a registry, but find your “wedding registry zen” of not attaching too much importance to whether people give you cash or gifts or experiences or whatever. Sometimes it seems like people put more thought into their wedding registry portfolio allocation than their 401(k).

      • Sara

        If I had to be honest, this is also my personal objection to the “just let everyone get you anything they want” thought. Selfishly, I do not want to spend the month after my wedding (when I have theoretically been planning/stressing for months already) dealing with running around and returning or repurposing a bunch of things I never asked for.

    • Anon who LOVES nagging family

      “Where are you registered?”

      “Why aren’t you registered anywhere?”

      “I can’t find your registry and your mom didn’t know where yet, have you registered yet?”

      “I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and they didn’t have you in their system yet. Are you registered somewhere else?”

      *jumps off cliff*

      • Alexandra

        Yeah, I’m not against registries, I’m against massive hand-wringing craziness about registries/what types of gifts to get/can we ask for cash?/what about our honeymoooooon??? on the part of the couple. Just go to BBB for the guests who like to do gifts that way and zap a couple dozen stuffs that might be nice to have and go home. Forget about it. The gifts aren’t the point of the wedding.

        • Alanna Cartier

          My biggest concern with the registry is and always has been just making sure there is a range of stuff on there so that no one feels pressure to spend any more or less than they want. We registered for fancy dishes one place and at BBB for the ease of the guests. We also have a short Etsy list for people who might want something more handmade or personal.

          Anyone who in compels people to get them gifts in any way is an asshole or a child. For reals. If I throw a dinner party, I don’t expect gifts as the cost of admission, and my wedding is no different. Every single person I’ve invited is invited because I am legitimately psyched to celebrate with them. Any gifts were get are a lovely bonus, and nothing more.

    • sofar

      OK I know I am late to the party, but I just read your post and I want to give you a standing ovation.

      We did a little registry on Bed Bath Beyond and that was that. Didn’t post about it, didn’t advertise it, didn’t put anything about gifts on our wedding website. Figured our guests were adults and they’d give us whatever.

      If people asked me where we were registered, we said “BBB” and they bought us stuff and it arrived at our apartment. Some people Googled and found our registry that way. Other people just brought money to the wedding. Others sent us random stuff that we will keep/re-gift/donate/sell.

      My MIL kept freaking out that there weren’t “enough” gifts on the registry and that people wouldn’t get us the “right stuff.” We told her to chill. She did not chill. But, hey, we chilled.

      You’re right — people spend WAY to much time fretting about what they’re going to get and how efficiently they will be given it. But, honestly, people who like to write checks as gifts will do that. People who like to stick a crisp $100 bill in a pretty envelope and hand it to your dad at the reception will do that. People who like to to go off-script and buy you fine china will just do so, no matter what you do. No sense in worrying about it.

    • sheebz

      I have to say I don’t agree with this method. I think I see the nature of gifts very differently.

      A gift is not just a random object with monetary value. It has meaning and emotional value – it becomes part of your connection with another person. It’s a specific joyful physical icon of love. A gift is not something to shrug off and sell on ebay if you don’t like.

      When I give a gift go a couple at a wedding, I want them to be able to use it and love it for years to come. I want it to become a part of their experience. I would feel super-confused if I found out that the couple sold my gift. I would wish that I hadn’t even given it in the first place, or that I’d just given money, if gifts to them were just about conversions to money.

  • Antonia

    Is anyone here familiar with (the now defunct, come to find out) Upon Our Star, which allows you to register for “wishes, not stuff”? I knew a couple who used this and it… just left a bad taste in my mouth. They wanted guests to put money toward things like a new couch, a “future family fund,” wine tasting, etc. Just, no. I can’t explain *why* it rubbed me the wrong way, but it totally did!

    • laddibugg

      I feel the same

  • Leah

    The main reason we got a wedding website was to to tell people NOT to give us gifts (well ok, and parking). And I Agonized over our wording (we encouraged that if folks really wanted to, they could make a donation in our name), knowing how fraught gift wording can be. Some people clearly hadn’t read it and gave us gifts anyway, and we were appreciative and wrote happy notes. But I still worry that people made judgments like we thought we were too rich for gifts (UM no). Wording is (Almost) everything.

  • Lulade

    Also please don’t just leave a PayPal account under registry. I’m attending a wedding in September that had RSVP through their website only (which I had no issue with). Their website is only RSVP, an address of the ceremony and the PayPal link. No pictures, no directions, no nothing. They even had engagement pictures taken and posted all over Facebook. It honestly feels like they don’t care if we come but care about the money instead.

    • Meg Keene

      OMG NO.

    • OMG, I’m so appalled for you. That’s just lazy and screams greedy.

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  • o_o

    “you can’t write that gifts need to be at least $100 in value (seen it).” WTAF
    I just… wedding culture is just so bizarre. I would not go to that wedding.

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