Bridal registry & gift protocol

Question: We have many friends from out of town who will not be able to attend my daughter’s wedding or her bridal shower. The groom’s family is also out of state. Yet these families would like to send a gift. What is the best way to inform them where the bride and groom are registered? I know it is not appropriate to put gift registry information on the wedding invitation. How do we get the word out without giving the impression that the couple expects a gift? Thank you for your advice.

Answer: It helps to know that if an invited guest would like to send a gift it is the guest’s prerogative to inquire about a bridal registry. The initiative for information and gift giving belongs to the guests; not to the bridal couple or parents.

Three appropriate things the bride and her mom can do to make the gift giving process easier are:
1. Be sure to include the address of the bride or her parents where you would like the gift sent on the invitation’s mailing envelope addressed to the guest. This might be different than the address on the response card, but usually is the same address.

2. Choose a well known and major chain store (or two) at which to register. The registry is published online or in the store under the bride and grooms name. Most people know this. (By the way, guests are not required to purchase gifts only from a registry-here again, the prerogative belongs to the guest).

3.  The bride or her mom should inform the groom’s mother and sisters which store has  the “wish”  list of the bridal couple.
You are correct about not printing or including registry information with invitation because this inappropriate gesture indicates a gift is expected. A person does not request gifts nor make them obligatory when sending a wedding invitation. Of course, if and when an invited guest asks mom or bride about the registry, it’s certainly alright to let them know the name of the store.

I appreciated this inquiry about the best way to handle the registry situation. Its one people often wonder about. The question shows the importance of learning about our social obligations and teaching  children early on that responsibilities come with receiving invitations. Being a good guest, whether for a wedding, a party, or an overnight stay has certain responsibilities and prerogatives, which, when followed, result in a more orderly and harmonious flow for everyone.  Stress is reduced for all involved. Protocol matters!

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