Your Presence Is Present Enough…

Or: Why We Don’t Have a Wedding Registry

As a general rule, I’m a fan of wedding registries. I think they can be invaluable for guests who truly want to gift the bride and groom items the couple want or need. I’m happy to shop from them. I have nothing against the concept of wedding registries.

But I did not want to make one for our upcoming wedding.

Part of this is that, as an older couple, we have many years of accumulated stuff. We have a 2,000+ square foot home’s worth of stuff, to be exact, already creatively crammed into not quite enough space such that our 2-car garage will never hold even one of our cars. Stuff that, when we first moved in together, took more than a single 24′ moving truck to consolidate more than 3 years ago, and we’ve only added more stuff since then! I have a Kitchen Aid, more knives and kitchen appliances than we’ve got space for, and we’re inheriting my grandmother’s china and silver in a year or two from Dr. Aunt (she’s passing down things to the next generation early, not planning on passing away, and let us have our pick several years back).

We’ve got enough stuff, we don’t need any more. And even the idea of asking folks to help us “upgrade” some of that current stuff makes me uncomfortable.

Because that’s the other part of the no-registry coin: I dislike (almost to the level of hate) asking others for things.

The hows and whys of that particular quirk probably go back to growing up without much of anything to speak of and the dual lessons of necessary independence and the pain of being told disappointment. Mama Leadfoot was (technically still is, even though we’re now grown) the single mother of three with no family nearby and barely a high school education. I have tremendous respect for the sacrifices she made for us and the way she raised us. And while she did her best to make sure that we had everything that we absolutely needed plus what little extras when she could, I grew up knowing that it was better not to ask for some things. Because it wasn’t just the ‘no’ that stung, but the understanding of how frustrating it must have been for her to have to tell us that she just couldn’t give us what we wanted or what she wanted us to have.

Even now, decades after all of our situations have improved, when she asks for Christmas or birthday lists I still freeze up, shrug my shoulders, and have a hard time actually making requests.

Sure, we’ve been tempted a few times to start a registry just for the sake of having one, but we never pull the scanner’s trigger because it just doesn’t sit well with us. (Mr. Road Trip does have quite the aversion to ‘the ask’ that I do, but he agrees that we certainly don’t need anything enough to request it from our guests.)

So if any guests ask about it, we’ll just say that we’re happy to have them celebrating with us, and that’s gift enough.

Nice and diplomatic, right?

Of course, some guests may choose to gift us with something anyway, and we’ll happily accept it and send them a heartfelt thank-you note afterwards. We won’t be putting “no gifts” or anything like that on the invitations, because that implies we expected people to send us something in the first place (and, yes, I’m firmly on the side of NOT including registry cards or anything else of that sort in the wedding invitation), which we don’t.

For us, at this point in our lives, it’s enough that our friends and family are willing to give up a good chunk of their Saturday to spend time with us and celebrate.

How do you feel about registries? Does you opinion change if it’s not either the bride or groom’s first marriage?

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