Friday, April 2, 2010

I Do: Think Wedding Registries are a Racket

(I never thought I'd be planning a wedding. Then again, I never thought I'd convince a girl to marry me. But here I am embarking on this grand adventure. I will chronicle my trials and tribulations in a new segment called "I Do.")

You would think that registering for presents would be the most fun part of getting married. It's like Christmas but with a higher price point. And since you've presumably reached a point in your life where you are nearly self-sufficient, you already own all the boring necessities like underwear and water filters. Your wedding registry, then, is reserved solely for crap that you want – stuff that you might point to while window shopping one spring day and think, "Soul-crushing consumerism aside, that's a really attractive serving bowl."

But I soon learned that wedding registries are all smoke and mirrors. Like strip clubs, they are great in theory. Naked women serving you drinks in between provocative dances involving polls? Heaven. Then you get there and the women are subpar, the dances are half-hearted, drinks are overpriced, and nudity is top only. The disappointment is only compounded by the immensity of your expectations.

So too is it with registries. For example, Shitty Fact #1: You can't register everywhere. So let's say I really want this set of antique dueling pistols. And why wouldn't I? Vintage is really hot right now, and I'll be needing to defend my wife's honor, right? Not according to Williams Sonoma! Because neither they, nor any of the other members of the United Confederation of Wedding Registries (UCWR) sell my coveted antique dueling pistols.

So what's an antique gun enthusiast like me to do? Well, one option is to create some sort of freestyle registry where you pull together items from all over the Internet into one big wish list, regardless of where they are sold. But if you think that sounds too easy, congratulations for paying attention. Apparently you can't just go making up catalogue of items on some renegade registry site because Shitty Fact #2: there are fucking RULES here. This is wedding country, and you're just visiting.

For example, you've just announced your engagement, be it via blog, Facebook, or old fashioned word of mouth. Apparently, this sends people into an etiquette frenzy. My mom called the other day and was like, "Are you registered?" and I'm like, "As a sex offender?" and she's like, "There's no time for jokes." It seems ever since word got out that Brooke and I are making all the premarital sex legit, people have been asking my mom where we are registered. And my mom, who has made it clear that she is neither a money tree, a house keeping robot, or a wedding registry directory, is flustered.

Brooke says there's only one way to solve this: register on The Wedding Channel, STAT. For those of you unacquainted with The Wedding Channel, it's basically the site where THE ENTIRE WORLD INCLUDING AUSTRALIA goes to search for you gift registry. And since they only partner with certain stores (isn't it everyone's dream to register at Kohl's?), you're not only cock blocked from those antique guns, but also from cool stores that have their own registries (CB2 comes to mind) which The Wedding Channel refuses to partner with, presumably because of NATO alliances.

Of course I balked at signing up at first because "disestablishmentarianism" is my middle name. I mean, I use Firefox for Christ's sake. Take you’re wedding registry puppy mill someplace else, Wedding Channel. But then Brooke explained that if we want presents (which we do, because one of love's greatest rewards is a vegetable juicer) then we have to do it. Short of creating a viral video entitled "Megan Fox Justin Bieber sex tape starring Dan and Brooke are engaged," this is how people find out where to buy you all the stuff you want.

The other problem? Shitty Fact #3: This has to be done now. Not five minutes from now, not after you're done with that ice cream cone – now. Brooke even made me miss this week's episode of Lost so we could register. I told her we'd better order a crapload of presents, because that's all we'll have left when we're social pariahs.

So there we are at Crate & Barrel with the gun thing, which everyone makes such a huge deal about regardless of the fact that it's basically technology from the 80's. Still, there's something fun about being sheriff of Crate & Barrel Town gunning down my enemies. BAM! Highball glasses. BAM! Table lamp. BAM BAM! Cheese platter and matching knives. I am the Wyatt Earp of home entertaining accoutrement.

Once the novelty wears off, though, Shitty Fact #4: it becomes overwhelming. Sample situation: There's a glass pitcher that seems kind of cool. It's sitting on a picnic table with colorful placemats, a tin ice bucket, and an umbrella overhead. You think, "That pitcher is part of the life I want to have." So you scan it. Then you leave the store and you start to think. Do I really want that glass pitcher? Do I put things in pitchers? It's not like the last time two of my friends came over to watch the game I was like, "Let me mix up a pitcher of lemonade." Panic sets in. What is someone is on The Wedding Channel RIGHT NOW purchasing this pitcher and I don't even know if my friends like lemonade!

This is how it goes with everything on your registry. The anxiety is oppressive, which inevitably leads to insane arguments like:

Brooke: "We should register for a lamp."
Me: "We already have three lamps."
Brooke: "Someday we'll need more lamps."
Me: "If we get a fourth lamp now it's going to look like a lamp store in here."
Brooke: "I'm registering for a lamp."
Brooke: "I can't believe this is my life."
Me: "Why don't you buy a lamp about it?"

But even though you're just a pawn in the Wedding Registry game and the powers that be at have exercised so much authority over your whims that now you're stuck getting all your wedding presents from Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn (or CB2 and if someone were so inclined to look), every so often an item comes along that makes it all worth while.

Bend over, Wedding Channel. I won this round.


Anonymous Becky said...

seriously, how are you so funny?

congrats, btw.

April 2, 2010 at 12:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger red said...

Even worse than registering is when you open the gifts and receive something NOT on your registry. Something like a set of 30 (not very nice) wine glasses. Who needs that many?! Buy off the registry moron!

Also, congrats.

And finally, Rescue Me is awesome. Stick with it through seasons 3 and 4 (when it kind of goes off the rails) because season 5 is like nothing ever on TV.

April 2, 2010 at 1:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger danielle970 said...

My unwarranted advice? Register for a lot of small, random crap. In my bridal-shower-gift experience, people look at the registry and go, "Oh look, towels. Those are big and expensive, I'll get them those. But is that really enough? I should get them something else. Maybe the matching soap dish. Crap, someone already got them that. How about this garlic press? Or the measuring spoons? Or maybe the wooden salad tongs?" If there was ever a time in your life when you felt you needed a melon baller, now is the time to ask for one.

April 2, 2010 at 1:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ed said...

Registering is lame.

Just tell people you want money.

Then you can buy your guns and all that shit SHE wants.

April 2, 2010 at 2:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Joe White said...

When my cousin was registering, he sneaked away with the beep-gun while the fiance was looking at silverware, and registered for ten large packages of underpants.

And even when he was confronted, he refused to admit that he was wrong. "What?" he said. "I could use some new underpants."

April 2, 2010 at 3:50:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous [mother] said...

One thing on Amazon? That's all? What am I to tell people???

Get with the program.

And, yes, I am very happy.

April 2, 2010 at 5:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger 12minds said...

The best friend got married. He pretty much got to pick one thing while the fiancee (now lovely wife) got to pick pretty much everything else.

What did he pick? A deli meat slicer. Obviously, this is the gift I purchased for him, thus ensuring that his wife always view me with deep suspicion.

April 2, 2010 at 8:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ms. A said...

I've always wanted to throw one of those "Stock the Bar" showers for an engaged couple - print the invites on some sweet fiesta-themed card stock with a little hombre on the guitar in the corner, say phrases like "Mexican chic attire!" and "'Ritas and Fajitas!" - and then, unbeknownst to them, but kick ass to me, list their registries at PetSmart and IHop. They'd thank me later...when the all the wedding dust has settled, you'll be pulling out the dog food and an occasional 2AM French Toast Dunker a lot more then you'll ever be going for that pitcher. Trust.

April 2, 2010 at 8:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Anna said...

My best friend and I have started a list of things we've seen on people's registries that, in our humble opinion, do not belong. A few of the items include:

-20 lb of dog food
-6 pack of tube socks
-indoor/outdoor extension cord
-Reynold's Wrap
-brown washcloth (but no towels?)
-electronic hair remover
-Homeward Bound on DVD
-paper plates

What my friend doesn't know is that I'm buying all of this for HER wedding this summer. I'm an excellent maid of honor.

April 2, 2010 at 10:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Maddie said...

When my brother got married, my dad gave him a pistol...but I think that's just a Pennsylvania thing. You're a New Yorker; stick with Quesadilla makers and waffle irons. I bet you could even register for a waffle iron shaped like New York City!

April 3, 2010 at 11:43:00 AM EDT  
Blogger LiLu said...

I've already told B that when the day comes, we're registering at SkyMall. DONEZO.

April 4, 2010 at 10:37:00 AM EDT  
Blogger rinya said...


April 5, 2010 at 1:45:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Anjum said...

the disestablishmentarianism joke got me so good - i wasn't expecting it. congratulations on winning the registry war. :)

April 5, 2010 at 11:06:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh how I wish we could have registered for TiVo when I got married (back in the dark ages before TiVo). Not that it mattered because my husband's family found it impossible to buy off the registry so we ended up with (among other things) a monkey clock, a 70s wine ewer, and a random horse sculpture. WTF would rather have not received any gifts.

April 5, 2010 at 11:15:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous scottsdale girl said...

Do not under ANY damn circumstance let anyone talk you into buying that set of "Fine china". You'll think OH we will use it every day and the first day? You'll break 3 dishes and think Oh we can replace them but YOU CAN'T BECAUSE They JUST DISCONTINUED them! FUCK!

/end rant

April 5, 2010 at 6:21:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lara said...

The answer to all registry angst? Bed, Bath & Beyond. Because no matter how they paid or if there's a receiot or not, its all returnable for cash. Holla!

April 5, 2010 at 6:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Hollywood Sucker said...

Ok sometimes people do very handy things like just buy you gift cards for the stores at which you're registered and then you can hoard them in a little folder and bring them out when you are desperately in need of something new (like another new pitcher, or lamp).

I haven't actually found the time or reason to use most of my wedding presents. Except for the beer mugs... and the margarita glasses. But it's nice to know that should I ever need something like 2 whiskey decanters and a silver platter, they are ready and waiting.

April 5, 2010 at 7:29:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take you’re wedding registry puppy mill someplace else, Wedding Channel.

April 5, 2010 at 10:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kane said...


Congratulations to you and Brooke. No matter how bewildering this new adventure will be, it must feel good you always have each other. =)


April 6, 2010 at 3:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jadeny said...

Having lived together in NY for 4.5 years before we got married we had everything we really would need and could fit in our apartment, so we opted not to register. No regrets, we got lots of cash :-)

One fun thing you can do now...register your honeymoon! Google it.

April 6, 2010 at 9:52:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just an fyi, if you want an alternative, check out:

My fiance and I don't want any wedding presents so we are directing our guests to donate money to charity instead.

April 6, 2010 at 10:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger -J said...

Seriously, can't you just ask for cash instead?

April 6, 2010 at 7:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Allison Hatfield said...

listen, you kids live in a tiny apartment and you already have a seltzer maker at home AND at work. so you won't be getting any gifts from me. you should have registered at the bank of america anyway.

April 6, 2010 at 7:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dana said...

Lamp. ha. You two are insane!

I stumbled on this wedding announcement a little while ago. It's pretty awesome.

April 8, 2010 at 3:27:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When my now husband and I got engaged everyone immediately started asking when the wedding was and when we were registered. One day we were walking by a Crate and Barrel and I said let's START our registry... we walked in got the gun and literally 5 minutes later we were out the door and I was telling him I'd figure it out later. He HATED IT - I HATED it... in the end I wound up having a girlfriend come with me to Macy's relinquished control of gun (because it made me get red splotchs and sweaty) and we walked around the store - she would say you'll need this - I would say ok - then she'd pull the trigger. It worked perfect. :) Mind you we have been married almost 2 years now and we still have shit on a shelf we've never used... but SOMEDAY we will.

April 8, 2010 at 9:36:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. Your blog is great.

--Then you leave the store and you start to think. Do I really want that glass pitcher? Do I put things in pitchers? It's not like the last time two of my friends came over to watch the game I was like, "Let me mix up a pitcher of lemonade."--

I laughed so hard I almost fell off my seat. And that's just one of many things in this post I laughed out loud at. My boyfriend ended up sticking his head around the side of the door and asked, "What on EARTH is so funny?"

May 5, 2010 at 7:02:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best thing EVER about registering at crate & barrel is that you can return it all and the checker will ask you if you'd like a store credit or a CHECK.

duh. check please.

May 25, 2010 at 10:40:00 PM EDT  
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Anonymous cheap furniture online india said...

When my cousin was registering, he sneaked away with the beep-gun while the fiance was looking at silverware, and registered for ten large packages of underpants.

August 24, 2012 at 7:06:00 AM EDT  

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