The MoBster Diaries

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Uber-Registry: Pro or Con?

Back in the olden days (1970s), bridal registry meant china (formal and everyday), crystal (formal and everyday), and silver (and/or flatware) registry. After all, one only needed 8 or 10 or 12 place settings, and a registry helped the bride and her hearty gift-givers build the perfect number of place-settings for her table.

As a newly-engaged bride-to-be, I rushed down to the local department stores and put my name in the hat for my Noritake Polonaise china, Royal Danish sterling, and California Strawberry everyday pattern. (I don't remember what my crystal selections were; priorities change over the years.) Boom! That was it.

The rest of the gifts were - let's face it - a crap shoot. Just so many pigs-in-pokes. Some things were wonderful: lovely placemats and napkins, a Belleek sugar and creamer, sheets and towel sets. Some things were, um, interesting: a "lemon server" (actually, just a saucer with a cup handle glued to it!), a really awful string art thingy (all the rage in 1973), a big carnival glass bowl (which is probably worth a lot of money now, but was considered pretty tasteless in my day). Most things were useful and dear, no complaints here.

The problem was, of course, rampant duplication. You could always tell when the local store ran a sale on, say, silver bud vases or ceramic hamburger patty makers - 3 or 4 would land on your doorstep. Even more embarrassing was opening duplicates or triplicates at a bridal shower. Oh, geez! For one, you're grateful. The second, well, gee, I can certainly use two of these things. But by number three, it's painful nervous giggling. Like a little test for the bride. (Let's see how she gets out of this!)

But nowadays, a bride and groom can register for any and everything. They get to go through stores with one of those zap guns and program a gift registry way beyond tableware. Pillows and artwork and patio furniture and all that fabulous kitchen stuff. They can register for really outrageously expensive things and under-$10 items. The smart couple gives their gift-givers lots of choices, from the ridiculous to the sublime (and also, the practical).

The upside to this is that brides no longer have to come up with a heartfelt thank you for the fourth bud vase at a bridal shower. And she saves the time and energy it used to take to return duplicate or unwanted gifts (if they were returnable at all).

The downside is that she can go online and track what's coming her way. Wait. Maybe that's an upside, too. After all, the gift-giver's name isn't attached, so though she knows what she's getting, she doesn't know who'd giving it.

Some folks complain about the new registry system. It's viewed as a little grabby and gift-centric. My view on this is - oh, pooh on you! First of all, an invitee is not required to send a gift from a registry. He/she can still send that ugly set of plaster-of-paris pink-and-gold vases or slide a nice little check in an envelope. Or send nothing at all.

But many people love the ease of going online, checking a registry, and making a purchase knowing that it's truly what the bride and groom want. Count me in. Woo-hoo! Everyone's a winner!

So, what do you think? Are the uber-registries mercenary or marvelous?

By the way, Kate and Greg are registered at Bloomingdale's, Williams-Sonoma, ZGallerie, and Target. Something there for every pocketbook, friends.

Bookmark and Share
posted by MaryB at


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home