5 tips for creating a "judge-free" gift registry, by Thankful Registry

May 1 2015 | Guest post by Thankful Registry
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Raise your hand if you've ever indulged in being judgey over other people’s gift registries. It’s kind of like the equivalent of snooping inside someone’s bathroom medicine cabinet, right? Except after snooping you actually have to choose something to buy. That must be why conversations about gift etiquette can get so hairy. It seems everyone has their own rules and preferences.

Our sponsor, Thankful Registry, is an open-platform service that believes gift giving is about the people you love, not just the stuff you want. Here, they’re sharing five tips on how to create a wedding or baby registry that’s useful for you and should also be well-received by family and friends. Trust us, you’ll want to share this one around!

Also, if you have any helpful tips of your own, we’d love to hear in the comments.

1. Ditch the registry checklist

The registry checklist is a helpful place to start if you’re completely lost, but there’s no way anyone needs to add every item on that checklist. Sure, use it as inspiration, then you can toss it out. If you don’t, you’re in danger of having a storage cupboard of things you won’t use.

Instead, spend time thinking about what you already have, what you’d like to receive, and also what you like to give to others as gifts. (The third part stops you from adding things like garbage bags and laundry detergent.) If you really sit down and consider the items you add, you’ll receive gifts that are much more personal and special to you.

2. Make it super-personal

You know those gift registries at department stores and big-box retailers? They should be banished already because your friends and family deserve better than scrolling down a shopping list. Where’s the joy and love in doing that?

Instead, create something your family and friends will have a good time browsing. Maybe upload a photo from a vacation or engagement shoot, and write a cute welcome message so it’s the first thing they see (instead of that big store logo). And why register for the “ZWILLING ® J.A. Henckels VistaClad Stainless Steel 5-Piece Cookware Set” when you could simply rename it the “The 5-Piece cookware set that's going to rule our kitchen” or something much more creative?

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3. Keep the gift count under control

Did you ever hear the rule that you should have two or three gifts on your registry for every guest invited to your wedding? Well, department stores made that one up and it’s the fastest way to overwhelm people, even if you don’t mean to.

What you should do is make sure there are items at different price points on your registry (starting as low as $25) and that you have all types of things for guests to choose from. For instance, traditional registry items for more traditional guests, and more fun things, like camping gear, for your close friends to get you as a group gift. The same goes for baby registries.

Another great tip is to add a couple of generic gift card options (e.g. Amazon.com or Home Depot) for guests who know their price point and don’t want to spend time choosing something specific.

4. Be upfront about what you're asking for

The catch-22 is that even though cash is the most practical, some people get antsy about giving cash as a gift. In some countries and cultures, cash gifts are totally normal. But in other circles, it’s considered impersonal and rude. So if you’d prefer cash gifts, let your guests know that it's because it’s a lot more practical for where you are in life.

5. Pay it forward by adding a charity

If you feel discomfort or guilt about being showered with gifts, add a charity or two to your registry. It’s a great way to raise awareness and donations for issues that are important to you!

Wanna try these tips out on your own registry? Then start a free one-week trial at Thankful Registry.

As always, big slobbery kisses to Thankful Registry for being an Offbeat Home & Life sponsor!

  1. Woohoo!!! I've been looking for something like this for the future. I've been disappointed with other eclectic registry sites' lack of transparency (or what I feel is a lack of transparency).

    I like their business model- I don't mind paying a $30 fee for a year if it means my friends and family won't get hit with extra fees/shipping on top of the item's regular shipping costs, if they want to get our in-the-future baby a gift.

    Tucking this in the back pocket for someday!

  2. Guys, you read my mind today! I specifically came to Offbeat Home looking for info about registries, and this was the most recent post. 🙂

  3. I'm probably being nitpicky (ack, I'm judging on the judge-free registry rules! Sorry!), but "starting as low as $25"? I would personally make sure to also include a number of items below that price. But maybe that's a know-your-guests issue.

    • Continuing with your nitpicking… sorry but I really don't think it is possible to have a judge free registry, ever. Especially if hosting an event that has people from different cultures or countries where registries may not be the done thing. As a 20 something Australian I have been to a lot of events in the last few years, baby showers, engagement parties, weddings, milestone birthdays and I have only ever been on the substitute guest list if someone should drop out for one event that had a registry (yet they still sent the subs the registry info).
      Now wishing wells are becoming far more common at weddings and generally more accepted though can still be considered rude depending on the crowd but registries are definitely considered rude, at least where I live.

      I think you just have to accept if you register for gifts not everyone will think they same way that you do and some people will judge. That being said if you are going to have a registry having one without any hidden fees for guests seems like the best option in my opinion, nobody wants to think, oh I'll get them this great mortar and pestle it's within my budget and then discover it's $150 to ship. And personalizing is a great idea, we'd love these wooden toys and cloth nappies because we don't want to be contributing to landfill or whatever it's a good way to get guests on your side.

      • Hi Lozza,
        Totally agree with you. We have a lot of customers from Australia actually, and I know the shipping prices can be really crazy. Like, insane. I think that's why a lot of our Australian couples expect guests to buy the gifts in-store, and then bring them to the wedding. I guess the bottom line is the gift registry is a courtesy for family and friends — to make it easier for them to decide on a gift, if they choose to give one — and that's the point of view we're sharing. Thanks so much for your comment, all the way from Australia!

        • Yeah I totally understand why people would use them its just not the done thing in my part of the world… As is life. You can't please all the people all of the time. And as crazy is shipping is, it can still often be a lot cheaper to buy online!

    • Hi Ashlah,
      You are absolutely right! It's definitely a "know your guests" issue. We picked $25 kind of arbitrarily, to be honest. Just to have a nice, round number. Also we know many gift card denominations start at $25.

    • Plus some of those cheaper items ($5 or $10) are fun to grab up and make a gift for those of us that are on tighter budgets. As in, "I know you wanted these tea towels, so I got you that and wrapped them around a bottle of wine!!"

  4. I love this advice! I wish I'd had this article when my husband and I were registering before we got married. I especially love the advice to think about what gifts you like to give… this site is totes getting bookmarked for use when we grow our family!

  5. A friend had things like "a picture of us together", "a book you love and think we would too" and "a song that makes you think of me" on their registry, as well as more traditional items, which allowed people to be flexible price-wise but still give something really personal and meaningful.

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