I see the appeal of it. It’s neat, it’s concise, it’s convenient. It’ll track everything for you, all but eliminating gift duplication. And it lets your guests know not only what you want, but what you really need. It’s wedding season right now, and of course I am talking about wedding registries.
I’ve had the pleasure of perusing a few of them lately, and I’m trying to figure out what to make of them. You see, for me this is all relatively new. Very few of my friends got married young, so now that most of my folks are hitting their late twenties and early thirties, the wedding bells are a ring ring ringing. And I am a shop shop shopping.
Part of me doesn’t like this. I guess I should throw that right out there. I propose that there is something at least partially effed about registries, and I suppose that explains my need to explore the thought.
Let’s look at one wedding: one of my best friends’ little sisters. I just purchased for the lucky young couple a voluminous footed bowl. Now, if I could entreat you just for a moment not to snicker at the name of the voluminous footed bowl, I will assure you that it is a very fine piece of glassware. It’s a table bowl. The type of fine crystalline object that ensconces a bunch of apples (as pictured) or whatever other decorative bric-a-brac one drums up, and while displaying such decorative objects, indeed in doing so, ties the entire room together. It is an ornamental center piece, ready to anchor many a room for many a years to come.
But what does it mean? What the hell does it say about my relationship to this young couple—what personally—that I just bought them a fucking bowl for a gift? I don’t know, and that’s what I’m struggling with. I guess I want every wedding gift to be intensely personal. I mean, I at least had the class to get the couple an ornamental, elegant centerpiece instead of, say, towels. Or forks. Or an over the sink colander.
With the other wedding I just shopped for, I did at least a little bit better. I went BBQ themed, getting them some grilling items and a cookbook. The registry site even allowed me to gift wrap them neatly in one box. I’ve toasted with this couple many times, especially the bride who I’ve known for some time, over many burgers, beers, and such. But does the BBQ gift set belie a closer connection between myself and the couple… or did they just have a more eclectic registry?
With the last wedding I went to, I actually went out on a limb. Unsure at the time if I was being appropriate or being foolish. I went half on the registry, half off. Of course this was a gift for a friend who I know a lot better and have some history with. And the off the registry gift was a risk too—it was a board game. What kind of schmuck brings a board game to a Tupperware party? The couple can neither sleep on it, cook with it, nor use it as a chip n dip. But this is a couple who likes games, and besides games aren’t cheap anymore. Good ones run $50 – $100. And besides besides, they liked it.
I’ve got my sister’s wedding coming up, and that’s the one that’s really driving me nuts. It’s my little sister. I want to get them something special, and I sure as hell don’t want to get it off the registry. I mean, is the registry only for more distant friends and family in the first place? Is that the point that I’m missing? Maybe.
But I’m working on this one. Something special for my little sister and the luckiest guy in the world. I need a home run on this one. Nothing short will do.