When I’m invited to a wedding, I usually buy the happy couple a gift from their wedding gift registry. Until recently, I just assumed that the list contained items the couple really want at prices they consider reasonable. Recent discussions with two couples cast doubt on my assumptions.
In both cases, the couples’ attitude seemed to be “we might as well put everything on the list and see if someone pays for it.” It was clear that they didn’t concern themselves much with whether they really want the items, and they certainly didn’t care about price.
In the case of one of the couples, I had a chance to continue the discussion a little further, and it became clear that the salesperson helping them create their list definitely encouraged the “put it on the list and see what happens” attitude.
It seems obvious enough that this approach is bad for both gift buyers and the couple getting married. Gift-buying guests have a limited amount of money to spend. If the registry contains expensive things that the couple don’t really want, then money gets diverted away from the things they do want.
It isn’t surprising that some couples compile their gift registries carefully and some foolishly. But which is more common? I would have bet on “carefully” before listening to these two couples. I can’t say that I’ve discussed wedding gift registries with very many people, and so these two couples represent a fairly high proportion of my very limited sample space.
I’m interested in reader experiences on this subject. It seems doubtful that anyone has collected data on the thoughtfulness of gift registry lists, but if anyone has, I’d like to hear about that too.