Oh, it’s summertime, the time for bridal showers, engagement parties, weddings, and even a few baby showers. Over the years, I’ve attended many weddings and showers where gift registries have run the gamut from ridiculously expensive to downright cheap.
One bride I know registered at both Bloomingdale’s and Target. She thought wealthier guests would purchase from the upscale registry while less well-off friends and family could shop at Target.
Interestingly, most of the bride’s more affluent guests provided cash gifts. The remaining guests purchased off the Target registry or went off the list. Very few bought items off Bloomingdale’s list.
Is It Rude to Buy a Gift Not on the Registry?
Some people think you should always purchase off the registry, some think it’s okay to venture elsewhere, and others never pick something off the list.
Some folks, like my grandmother, absolutely hate to purchase from a registry because “it takes the fun out of shopping for someone you love.” Others don’t want the bride and groom or parents-to-be to know how much they paid for a gift.
Some guests might find a present they can’t resist buying, while others might realize they can’t afford the remaining items on the list.
Keep in mind that older generations may struggle to use a digital gift registry or choose to provide a gift with a personal touch. When I got married, my grandmother didn’t want to buy towels or sheets; she chose to give me a lasting gift I would treasure for life.
Do You Have to Buy Off the Registry?
I have a love-hate relationship with registries. On the one hand, I think registries are a great way to tell family and friends what you want. On the other hand, I think the major chain stores that offer registries overcharge for merchandise.
An expecting friend recently registered for a whole host of baby furniture from a chain store. A simple google search revealed much lower prices at brick-and-mortar and online shops. Within minutes I found lower prices for nine of the first ten items on her list. Sometimes, I found the same item for less than 50% of the registry price.
My friend knows I’m a frugal fanatic, so I sent her links to cribs, bassinets, high chairs, and baby furniture. She was so excited to find cheaper alternatives that she removed the items from her original registry and created a new list.
So what do you think? Do you choose items on the registry or go off the list?
Do you ever buy something that isn’t on the list, and if so, do you have rules for those purchases? In essence, do you think it’s ever okay to buy gifts that aren’t on the list? If so, has anyone ever told you they don’t like your gift or, worse yet, told you it was a thoughtless gift?