Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tell me whatchoo want

You know that song "Puttin' on the Ritz" (as opposed to the Mase song I quote in my subject line)? There's this line in it to which I've always felt some relation: "spending every dime, for a wonderful time." The rest of the song, about dressing up like million dollar troopers, trying hard to look like Gary Cooper, not so much. That is to say, that while some girls covet bags, shoes and clothes, I always liked spending most of my money on travel, restaurants, and general experiences over objects (the exceptions to this are bathing suits, sunglasses, books and skin care products). A wonderful time, in other words.

This has proven to be a bit of an issue when registering for wedding gifts. We weren't going to register at all, partly because I find it kind of tacky to ask for specific wedding gifts, and partly because giving money in lieu of actual presents is customary in both of our cultures (mine Russian, his Israeli, both New Yorkers where cash is the norm) (Sidenote: yes, I realize I just called registering tacky but my culture says cash in an envelope is ok). Also, IC and I are both in our 30's and we've had our own apartments for some time, we already have a toaster, a blender, and two fondue pots!

But people started asking for our registry and, encouraged by comments I received when I asked for advice on whether to do it, IC and I took a trip to Bloomingdale's to register. Three hours later, we had about four items on our registry, none of which we wanted all that badly. We made a slightly better list on Amazon though, honestly, if we really wanted a hamper wouldn't we have bought it already?

So, we started looking into a honeymoon registry. But there are some major problems with that too. For one thing, most of the honeymoon registering sites take a big cut of the guest's contribution. Why would we let our guests give 9% (or more!) commission to a site who is really just passing cash along to us? Also, we don't really know where we're honeymooning yet. We're planning to look into various Cays in Turks & Caicos, but haven't narrowed it down at all yet. Ambergris Cay, Salt Cay, Pine Cay, or maybe none of the above. So we can't even ask for specific items because we don't know what items will ultimately be available at our chosen location.

In closing, I don't know how to handle a registry and it's one of the few moments in my life where I really feel the weight of being an immigrant. It seems so odd to me to form a registry but I realize it is expected of us and I don't know how to do it. Suggestions? Thoughts?


  1. You are really overlooking all the wonderful things that you could be registering for. While yes you don't feel the need to buy any more kitchen appliances, there other household things you can look into. You must look into the future as well, and assuming you won't live in an apartment forever, what are the things that a couple would need. And I know I know, where will I store all this in the meantime? With your parents and your inlaws...its all good. So, items to register for are: Guest towels, new sheets or duvets or blankets or pillows or shams - eventually you will have guest beds or other sets you will want to rotate yourself. Different types of artwork or paintings that you may want to use decorate your place. Put aside the fact you dont know the colors yet of your wall yet... envision. Now just go through other rooms of the house and think. Kitchen? - Napkin holders, fancy wine glasses, pretty salad bowls, different tablecloths and so on. Outdoors- backyard mini-bbq grill, bbq utensils, a bird feeder (haha ok maybe not.) Anyway, you get my jist, make sure you get stuff you like and you will use, maybe not tomorrow but eventually. Or even lotions or bath products or a comfy robe! I'm giddy with excitement thinking of all the things I'd register for if I could ;) You can do it, may the force be with you.

  2. Hahahah, so I'm getting a birdfeeder for a backyard area of a house that I don't yet have and may not for many years (or maybe never, who knows, your brother's big plan is to move to Aruba and become a professional poker player).

  3. I don't recommend a honeymoon registry either, if only for that hefty surcharge. Why pay the travel agent 9% of your guests' money when most department stores will give YOU a 10% discount on their merchandise for registering with them?
    Have you considered upgrading the things you have? You might already have two so-so fondue pots, but is there a really nice one you have your eye on? What about furniture, or even art for your walls? If you truly can not think of a single thing you need, or want, around the house, then just don't register. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not registering. Most of your guests, when they see you don't have a registry, will just shrug and give you cash :)

  4. I too hate the idea of a gift registry, mostly b/c I can't imagine a worse torture than spending an afternoon selecting towels and kitchen appliances I'm doing just fine witout. Don't do it!

  5. I just thought of the most brilliant idea! Register for a dog!!! And a doggy bed, and doggy toys, and doggy medicine and shampoo!! Why didn't I think of this before?!?!

  6. Kristen, we do need furniture, and badly need art for our walls, but it's more than we haven't seen any we've liked than that we need it but haven't gotten it.

    Stacy, it *was* hell. Bloomingdale's has a guy walk you around showing you everything you can register for. He was very nice but it went something like this "this is a pot. You can cook things in it." "Here is a toaster, you can put slices of bread in it to toast." We were dying.

    Anon, are you trying to kill me? I'm allergic!

  7. Here are your choices:

    A giant pool table for your living room
    Guido, who has a bent nose, comes to your door with a fistful of cash.

  8. Do you like to camp, or ski, or play pool (as Jake recommended)? I know you like to gamble, so maybe a really nice poker table, or professional lessons in Vegas? (Surely such a thing exists.)

    Or ask for cash, with an explanation of what you'll use it for, if that's what you want. It's not that unusual anymore.

    It doesn't have to be linens and crockery.

  9. Since you like experiences register for some things, like couples cooking classes, or spa treatments. Maybe a wine, cheese,fruit, orchid etc. of the month club.

  10. Yay! Get expriences, we had a wonderful gift if a whale watching trip off the West Coast of Scotland which we will always associate with the people who gave us that, they even gave us money to get somewhere to stay and go for a meal which we didn't ask for, and they couldn't make the wedding! Some people are too kind.
    We didn't need anything either and said no gifts please, but people kept bugging us so we used a site called what to give, let us add what we wanted at no charge and we picked things we wanted but couldn't/wouldn't buy, and Ian added stuff for the garage! Hey we got an axe and a fire extinguisher! I picked some housey stuff of varying prices and trees for the Highlands - we have a forest up there! It was fun, and we look at these things and think of the lovely people that gave us them. xx

  11. You're still getting a toaster. Again, it will be a nice toaster. Like super nice. All the neighbors will be coming over for toast. At christmas you can totally give the doormen toast.

  12. We used TheBigDay.com for a honeymoon registery. It was SO much fun and they didn't take a huge cut. We didn't need many household items so using a honeymoon registery helped us cut back on those costs plus gave our guests something fun and relatively inexpensive to get us. Also, for the art stuff you guys need, Google art registeries or something like that. I remember seeing that you can do something along those lines. Good luck guys!