Finding the perfect gift can be time-consuming and expensive—no matter the occasion. And there’s usually the added pressure of a deadline, like a birthday or holiday. Thankfully, weddings and showers typically have a gift registry, so you don’t have to anticipate what color appliances the happy couple wants in their kitchen. Or worry if the mom-to-be prefers a three- or four-wheel stroller.
A gift registry tells you exactly what the guest of honor wants, and how many they need, too. Gift giving doesn’t get any easier! Of course, as with any special occasion, there is some social etiquette you should be aware of—and gift registries are no exception.
If you’re attending an event with one of these magical lists, be aware of what’s expected—and what’s frowned upon. We’ve outlined some do’s and don’t’s below, so you can make wise shopping decisions.
CHECK THE REGISTRY BEFORE BUYING
We do assume that, if you’re reading this, you’re already checking the gift registry. But you want to do that immediately before buying your items, too. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in the store, or shopping online.
The last time you checked, the bride may have needed two sets of glassware. But someone may have purchased a set since you last looked. If you buy two sets, the bride will have to return one set—which can take a long time if a lot of people buy too much.
DO NOT DEVIATE FROM THE REGISTRY
This is true, unless you know the guest of honor well enough. And even then, we do still recommend buying an item or two from the registry as well. There are two main reasons to stick to a gift registry list.
The first is because the bride or the mama knows best. They are both in the middle of life-changing events, and have been planning for this new adventure for a while. They know what they need to prepare them for the journey. While improvising gifts can be thoughtful, you could also end up getting them something they’ll never use. (Instead of something they would use!)
The second reason is to be considerate to the bride or the mama. If you buy something from a different store—or the same store, but not from the registry—they now have to return the item. As you probably know for yourself, returning an item can be inconvenient. Especially if you have to go to multiple stores!
Before buying something off-list, consider what the guest of honor wants and needs, and see if your gift idea will fit into that plan.
BUY DIRECTLY FROM THE REGISTRY
This is the easy one! Like we mentioned before, always check the registry before buying anything. And when you do buy something—make sure you buy directly from the registry, so it updates the list for everyone else.
If you’re buying online, simply find the gift registry section of the store’s website, and search by name of recipient. From there, you can see all the items still left on the list, and you can add items to your cart directly from that list. When you check out, it will update the list for everyone else.
If you’re buying in the store, tell the cashier that you’re buying off a registry. They will be able to look up the registry, so that the list gets updated for all the other guests. Most stores are familiar with gift registries—so always ask if you’re unsure before buying!
Gift registries are great! They’re helpful, easy to use for any occasion, and they take the stress out of present shopping. Sometimes, though, it can feel impersonal to just buy some items from a pre-chosen list. If you start to feel like this, remember that these items were hand selected by your friend or family member. You’re buying something they want. Deviation is common for close friends or family—but don’t stray too far from the path.
Do you plan to stick to the registry? Or are you feeling brave enough to buy something different?