Wedding registries have been as common as throwing the bouquet since Macy's invented the concept in the 1920s.
While some might think registries come off as demanding or greedy, I -- both as a guest and a bride -- am grateful for the reduced chance of redundant gifts. As kind of a gesture as every present is, there are only so many toasters one couple needs.
Here are some tips when shopping for wedding gifts:
1. Check the couple's registry as soon as you can
Many couples take advantage of free wedding websites, some of which come with the option to set up an online registry. The advantage is that guests can shop online and find a gift with a price tag they are comfortable with. Many online registries also allow guests to make a pledge for a more expensive gift, like giving $50 towards a $200 appliance.
2. Don't give a registry item your own flavor
If you're checking out the registry and see an item you want to gift the couple, pick that exact item. Don't replace the knife set on the registry with a similar one you found online or in store. Chances are the bride or groom put thought into the item they would like to receive. If the item is too expensive for your liking, find a less pricey one.
3. If you go off registry, go all the way
There's nothing on the registry you like or it just seems too impersonal to you? Feel free to buy or make something not on the registry, but make sure nothing similar is on the list to avoid double gifting. Include in the card why you think this is the perfect gift for the couple or that you were thinking of them when you found it. It's the thought that counts more than anything.
4. Cash or gift cards can make good presents
If all the good items have been picked off the registry and you're stumped for ideas, don't shy away from a cash gift. While it may seem impersonal, you can let the couple know you hope they will use it for something they wouldn't usually buy for themselves and will cherish for years to come.
5. Ask the family
Check with the maid of honor, best man or family members to find out how attached the couple is to the registry. They will be able to tell you if the registry is only a suggestion or if the couple spent hours carefully selecting each item. In general, it's safer to assume the couple wants you to stick to the registry.