And You Can Pay For The Wedding Vendors, Too!

by admin on July 18, 2012

Today’s post was submitted to Ehell by a reader. It is a Yahoo.com article on wedding registries and the part the reader wanted me to see was towards the end of the article where the author makes the following registry suggestion:

Wedding costs

If couples are going to make the guests flinch anyway, they may as well get some freebies out of it.

For couples willing to press the issue and test guests’ comfort levels, Naylor suggests asking them to chip in and cover wedding costs as a gift. Couples can announce on their personal wedding Web site’s registry page that they welcome gift cards to their photographer, videographer, floral designer and beauty salon. Whether this gambit actually works and reduces the cost of the wedding by any degree is in question, but you don’t get an open bar tab covered without trying.

“These gift cards can cut down your wedding expenses and allow you to get those extra things you wanted added on to your order down the road,” Naylor says. “Guests don’t have to get you these — so you don’t have to worry about anyone being offended — they’re just there with your traditional gift lists.”

This is just a fraction of what is wrong with this article (I’m not fond of the attitude that one “hits up the guests” to get what you want), but for now we’ll focus on this particular point.

Registries were birthed by the retail industry to increase sales and therefore *anything* written by anyone associated with the wedding retail industry is biased to favor registries in all their mutations.   TheKnot.com,for example, has their own registries and therefore has a financial interest in promoting registries so any endorsement by the resident etiquette gurus on TheKnot.com suffers from a lack of credibility.   So, any suggestion for a wedding registry that specifically benefits a segment of the wedding industry must be viewed as self serving.   Let’s be honest….registries like this are not for the benefit of clueless guests who cannot for the life of them figure out what would be a suitable wedding gift.  Nooo, it’s another way to extract money from guests to fund a wedding the bride could not afford.    The only people who would think this is acceptable are wedding businesses hungry for more business and greedy brides who cannot seem to have a wedding within their financial means.

And note the language used…..”making guests flinch”…..”pressing the issue and test guests’ comfort levels”.   Would you want to be a guest at a wedding where the hosts viewed you as a test market to try their “gambit” to cover the bar tab?  Why would anyone want to pressure their guests beyond their comfort level for money?  Eeeeuw!   What kind of greedy gimme pigs are these people?

And don’t believe for a minute that disclaimer that “guests don’t have to get you these (gift cards to wedding vendors)”.   Earlier in the article the author cited the statistic that fully 70 of couples “strongly prefer” items from their registry so the expectation is certainly there that guests will give according to the registry.   Flee the registry!   Resist!

And finally, there is the falsely comforting assurance that even if you do make your guests flinch, push the past their comfort levels and solicit them to financially subsidize the wedding you cannot afford, no one will be offended.   Oh,they may not say it to your face but trust me, they tell *me*.

 

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie July 18, 2012 at 5:50 am

I totally agree with most of the points here, but just one thing: why assume it’s ‘greedy brides’ who are to blame for this? Why not ‘greedy couples’? It’s both their wedding!

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Hemi July 18, 2012 at 9:59 am

I agree it very well may be ‘greedy couples’.

My friend recently got married and did not want a registry. Her HTB *insisted* that they needed a registry. When they went to the store to register, her fiance registered for tons of male-specific items vs. couple items. My friend was embarrassed but she is “in love” so …

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Kendra July 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I think it is because in our society and especially in the media…(that show Bridezilla) we seem to think of the Bride to Be as the mover, shaker and planner of a wedding, with her mother and girlfriends’ help, and the Groom to Be as an accessory so the Bride can actually get married. I think that is why most of the advertising is geared toward women. For example, Bridal Fairs don’t seem to have much for the Groom. We’ve described brides on their wedding day as “Princess for the day”, but has anyone ever heard the groom called “Prince for the day”. On the other hand, if anything goes wrong, etiquette-wise, then we blame the bride. If the thank you notes don’t get sent out on time, we blame the bride. Anything way over the top in an over-the-top wedding industry; yep, it’s the greedy bride’s fault. It seems whether we’re praising the wedding, or panning the wedding, we still treat the groom as an accessory to the bride.

@Katie & Hemi I think you are absolutely right. It’s time to stop treating the groom as an accessory to the bride’s wedding and start treating the bride and groom as a unit with equal praise or equal blame for the success of their wedding.

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Library Diva July 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

My local paper has an “Ask Jen” wedding advice column that runs on Sundays. She recently fielded a letter from a young woman with an upcoming wedding who was actually UPSET that her fiance wanted to get involved in the planning. She whined that she and her mom “had a good system going” whatever that means, and wanted to know “how can I tell him to butt out?” Though this Jen had passed on the heinous advice about covering your plate the previous week, to her credit, she blasted this girl, pointing out that it was her fiance’s day, too, asking whether she intended to say “I do” to her mom or her man, and concluding with the advice that if this is genuinely how she felt, all planning needed to stop immediately and she needed to consider whether this guy, and marriage at all, were right for her.

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Jenny July 18, 2012 at 7:29 am

I will say I like registries for some purposes. For instance, I will be meeting my cousin’s bride for the first time at the wedding and have not seen my cousin since he was in college. From the registries, I’ve noticed we have very different styles, and I honestly would have done a terrible job picking china or similar for them. As they both live overseas, it would have been very tough for me to figure out their style before buying a present. So for things like that, registries really aren’t that bad. Even if I don’t buy her a present off the registry, now I know how they are decorating their house.

However, a wedding cost registry? Yeah, yuck.

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The Elf July 18, 2012 at 8:33 am

*facepalm*

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MoniCAN July 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

Hahah, I love the admin’s last two lines. Just a couple of posts prior multiple people commented about their own wedding saying something like “well, we did X and no one at all was offended.”

How do you know? Did you juice up guests with truth serum and poll them? Most people will not tell you to your face your wedding choices made them less than comfortable/think less of you.

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Kaymar July 18, 2012 at 8:59 am

I am as horrified as you are about the Yahoo article, but I don’t think it helps the situation to be sexist about it – “Nooo, it’s another way to extract money from guests to fund a wedding the bride could not afford.” Why not say “that the couple could not afford”? Statistically, and I have no idea, it may be that the bride is more often the one who wants an elaborate and expensive wedding, but from reading this and other sites, it isn’t unheard of for the groom to have demands and/or for the couple together to work themselves into a frenzy about all aspects of the wedding.

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Katie July 18, 2012 at 9:07 am

Yes- that’s exactly the point I was trying to make earlier. I think that this reinforces the stereotype of the grasping bride who must have the ‘perfect wedding’ at all costs.

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Kaymar July 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Yours wasn’t showing up yet when I posted mine, or I would have said, “Yeah, what Katie said!” 🙂

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The Elf July 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm

While I agree with your sentiment of “bride” vs. “couple”, brides are more likely than grooms to be more heavily involved in the wedding planning. Hence, the wedding industry markets to brides.

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Library Diva July 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I actually got a piece of mail about tuxedos addressed to me yesterday. The piece said “Make sure he looks good on your special day.”

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alex July 18, 2012 at 9:06 am

ah, that is so wrong! Although, I feel bad because I think sometimes people really don’t know things are wrong to do. My sister is getting married and I am her MOH. When I was discussing the shower my mom mentioned to put registry information on the invitation. I was floored. She is normally such a classy lady. I informed her that in no way would I be doing that and if people wanted to get her a gift they could easily find where she was registered or ask.

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Dowagerdutchess July 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm

It’s fine to put registry info on a shower invite; it’s the wedding invite that’s the problem.

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Just Laura July 18, 2012 at 9:26 am

“…but you don’t get an open bar tab covered without trying.”

Um, I did. We offered California pinot grigio and a French pinot noir, as well as Kentucky bourbon, a stout beer and a micro-brew lager that isn’t even imported to my state. We did not break the bank, nor did any guests contribute to what I was offering them.
In fact, if guests pay for the wedding, should their names be on the invitations? Sounds like they are getting awfully close to being “hosts” rather than “guests.”

Would like to echo those who point out that the bride may not be the only greedy person getting married – grooms aren’t all perfect either.

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doubleyou July 18, 2012 at 9:41 am

Reading this, I’m ever so pleased I was able to convince my fiancé not to include ANY information about gifts, registries etc. in the wedding invitations we recently sent out. We simply planned a wedding that will be within our budget.

We have noticed that people react well to the absence of this kind of information: a few have told us they already have a great wedding gift in mind, or that they looked forward to shopping for one, others have approached us or our parents to ask if there’s anything specific we’d appreciate. Some have said they would like to make a financial contribution towards the refurbishments to our home we’re planning in the months after the wedding. All of this we have gratefully accepted. After all, they offered, we didn’t ask for anything except for them to come to our wedding and have a good time.

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KiKi July 18, 2012 at 9:59 am

I’m still shaking my head over this article. My fiance and I are paying for our own wedding (note: we’re making all decisions together so I’m also a little offended by the thought that brides are the only ones driving up costs). We’ve had some generous offers from my mother (on a fixed income due to a stroke she had in her late 40s), my grandmother (also on a fixed income), and my wonderful in-laws (who should not be spending their retirement money on a wedding). We haven’t really accepted any of these offers because it feels wrong to do so. However, the subject has been broached several times by these parties and so we’ve tried to find small ways where they can help since they won’t take no for an answer.

I created an Amazon wishlist that can’t be seen without the direct link. On there, we have some decorations, ceremony items, and smaller vendors (makeup, hair, etc). I basically have used this as a way for myself to remember things that I want to buy when I get money. In fact, it was “private” until this week. My mother is the only one that has the direct link and I gave it to her because she asked for it to see if there was something small that she could purchase to help.

This article makes me burn because, though I know I haven’t asked for anything, I still feel bad for accepting the offered help. It makes me mad to see others who are blatantly using their families and friends instead of celebrating them. Everything I’ve done for my wedding and reception has always been with the idea of making my guests comfortable and thanking them for taking the time to spend this happy moment with us. I’m just happy to be marrying my wonderful fiance and gaining entrance into his family (I truly love my in-laws).

This article is what is wrong with the wedding industry. I hope that other couples ignore its “helpful” advice and realize that weddings don’t have to be expensive to be nice. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

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TylerBelle July 18, 2012 at 11:52 am

“For couples willing to press the issue and test guests’ comfort levels..”

Goodness! It makes me imagine a wedding host announcing to guests, “All right, since those of you who chose to go in on the rental cost for our venue here came up short, the air conditioning will be cut off in ten minutes.”

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Just Laura July 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

LOL

“Oh, and the bride’s cousins failed to pay for part of the venue, so they don’t get chairs.”

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Kate July 19, 2012 at 1:08 am

I imagined the bride and groom going through the wishing well, counting the guests’ financial contributions, and allocating ‘good’ and ‘bad’ dinners based on who gave the most.

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Kendra July 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm

What really got me in the article was toward the beginning when the author said something along the lines of guests are happy to get HC’s gifts from their registry in exchange for a free meal. Beyond the smarmyness of this comment, doesn’t it also mean the meal is no longer free? If you give a gift in “exchange” for a free meal; you just “paid” for your meal with your gift. In that one sentence, the author seems to take weddings from a HC “celebrating a major milestone in their lives with loved ones” to a “commercial exchange where various commodities and services are exchanged”. Ewww!

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Library Diva July 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm

True, and I hate the reasoning behind it. Unless most couples are inviting hoboes, everyone pays for their own meals every night of their lives. It’s not that much of a treat. The treat is supposed to be sharing in a special day with family and friends, most likely reuniting with some you haven’t seen in a while, and celebrating with a couple you care about.

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No Wedding July 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm

That whole article really read like advertorial copy to me, articles intended to sell specific sponsors’ specific products. Also, ridiculing items they’ll “never” use like a double boiler, and touting items that you “need to order lots of” like expensive china, really makes it sound like they’re trying to sell expensive products. (I’ve used my double boiler plenty of times, never had a need for expensive china, and I inherited my great-great-grandmothers!)

The article also suggests maintaining a honeymoon registry for things like airfare, hotels, car rentals, spa services and meals and further suggests you pick out various “activities” people can purchase if they don’t feel like giving you a ‘share’ of something. NO. Just no. I am NOT paying for your vacation, I don’t care how much I love you as a friend/family member. Go on the vacation you can afford or don’t go at all.

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b-rock July 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm

how about this little gem from the end of the article?
“If all of the above seem like the most self-absorbed solutions imaginable, that’s kind of the point. Your registry is perhaps the most inherently selfish portion of your wedding and the one time in life people won’t shake their heads at you for trying to shake them down for gifts.”
yikes.

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The Elf July 19, 2012 at 7:57 am

OMG. Yes, people will still shake their heads at you for trying to shake them down for gifts. How did selfishness and greed become virtues?

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Katy July 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

If someone said (or, Heaven forbid, sent an insert in the invite) that my gift/part of my gift would be to help pay for the wedding, I would tell them I could save them a lot of money by not having to feed or entertain me. I’m so generous 🙂
When I was getting married I only made a registry because I had several people asking. But I didn’t want to go along with the suggestions of expensive stuff. DH and I had been seeing each other for a while, and we lived together for a little over a year before the big day, so we had almost everything we needed. I registered for things that I thought it would be nice to have, like a matching set of plates or wine glasses that didn’t once have some kind of sauce in them. Nothing too expensive, despite the pressure from the ‘registry consultant’ to go for the gold. She gave up quickly with us, when she realized we weren’t going to bring in big-ticket item sales.

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Lisa July 30, 2012 at 6:09 am

I too made a registry only because I was asked by my mother to do so. We created a free on-line one, and gave her and my m-i-l the web address – and didn’t look at it again. It helped though that we were very generic in descriptions (except for the deep fryer which DH insisted *had* to be a certain model) saying items such as “Frypan” or “Noodle bowls”, and had a variety of price points. While it was nice to get items off it, it was also nice to get non-registry items which we would have never thought of, such as a slow cooker which is used weekly!

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TheVapors July 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm

“If couples are going to make the guests flinch anyway, they may as well get some freebies out of it.

For couples willing to press the issue and test guests’ comfort levels…”

I audibly gasped. Those are weddings I would not be attending. It’s apparent from that kind of attitude that I’m not really a -guest-. I’m a gift (or if they send a “cutsie” poem, cash) with legs. No, thank you. I must regretfully (not so regretfully) decline the invitation.

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Kate July 19, 2012 at 1:05 am

There was an article on this topic in my local newspaper yesterday, and it actually recommended including a request for cash/home loan/honeymoon donations with the invitation. This just strikes me as a one way ticket to tacky town.

My fiance and I don’t really need anything for our home (although my washing machine is currently making a strange noise) so cash would be appreciated, but we certainly are not going to volunteer this information unless directly asked.

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Stacey Frith-Smith July 19, 2012 at 5:55 am

It is interesting how an originally more subtle, softer shift in attitudes has become blatant in that some getting married actually expect to have social pressure exerted to force guests to produce cash and luxuries in kind. Weddings are hosted events. To put it bluntly, either the couple or parent(s) are hosting. Blurring the lines between the role of host and guest seems to create entitlement on all sides. So greedy ‘zilla behaviors and expectations spiral out of control. Guests complain that there isn’t a fully stocked bar or that other amenities are lacking. Couples complain that those they invited don’t “”support” them sufficiently with money and gifts. And those that don’t want to witness these episodes of misconduct write to Ehell after suffering through the indignity.

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whatever July 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm

There’s something to be said for figuring out how much people are going to spend and listing items around that amount, even if you are trying to be modest.

When my husband and I made our registry, we picked items that were pretty and were going to used regularly. There wasn’t a lot of stuff we needed- we both had our own apartments- and to be honest we were trying to simplify and de-clutter our lives. However, lots of people complained to my mom that we hadn’t registered for the usual items, particularly fine china. We registered for 8 settings of a moderately priced (non-china) table setting, and the first people who bought us something bought *4* of them because they wanted to spend X dollars, and it took 4 of our place settings to do so. This was a couple, friends of my mom, we hadn’t even invited. Of course we were grateful, just very, very surprised, and worried that would our registry would run out too quickly. It did, which generated more complaints.

I’m not sure what we should have done instead. We really didn’t like the look of the expensive stuff, and we didn’t want to register for stuff we didn’t want. But I feel bad that my mom got complaints from her friends.

An addendum: My mom kept hassling me about how my husband’s boss is going to come to dinner one day and look down on him because we don’t serve him on china plates. Does that really happen anymore?

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okayfine July 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I like one of the comments made on the article itself, regarding a person’s BIL with an obvious good sense of humor:

“My brother-in-law put a gallon of milk on his Target registry lol”

🙂

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LadyMage July 24, 2012 at 2:04 am

I am sad to say I had a registry when I was married (my mother forced me too, saying it was ‘to get things for our house and start off right’ I balked and just did a amazon one to appease her while barely telling anyone about it) however the best gifts I got were off the registry! So I am glad to be part of that article’s minority of couples who prefer gifts on the registry. Honestly I can half see the point of a registry, its like a child’s Christmas list in a way; but making a big deal of it makes it a monster from ehell right off the bat. I would also add that you shouldn’t expect gifts off of the list in the first place, I honestly didn’t expect gifts at all at my wedding. I got the one gift I wanted though; everyone having fun at the celebration of me and my husband starting our life together. Can’t put a price on that, or put that on your registry

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twik July 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Technically, if your guests have to pay for the open bar, it’s not really open, is it?

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