Is there a better solution to wedding gifts? Today most wedding gifts are handled with a variety of gift registries but how well do they actually work? Do couples really get what they want?
For starters, wedding registries definitely make life easier for the people buying the gifts. At least they narrow down the search and buyers don’t have to fret spending hours in the mall desperately looking for gift ideas or suggestions. It is convenient to take care off this from the internet.
In an ideal world, gift registries make life easy for the buyers and more importantly, the couple always gets what they want. How come then most couples are not happy with their gifts when they are the ones selecting the items on the gift registry? Studies show that most couples prioritize their friends and family and they really don’t want to ask for the things they really want simply because they are too expensive or what they actually want or need is money. So instead they select a group of items from these gift lists that fit in the appropriate price range and the couple end up with a large amount of unwanted or unnecessary gifts.
What about giving cash? I just contributed to a wedding gift last summer where the couple set up the registry asking for several $ 80 salad bowls and a $ 120 knife. Even if it were made out of diamonds, we figured that it would be a complete waste of money. Instead we decided to go in together and buy a suit case and fill it with cash. Each one of us contributed with less money than every single item on that gift registry and the couple used the money to go to Bali for their honeymoon. I personally normally prefer the easy way out when it comes to buying gifts and I am fine selecting the silver toaster but this time I was really happy that we could leverage the group and pull this together. The pictures spoke for it self. No toaster can replace that trip.
Several surveys have been conducted in this topic and most of them find the same thing, it is not easy to ask for money but people would prefer money or prefer getting one useful gift instead of many not so useful gifts. One survey conducted by the Wedding Channel suggests that more than 40% of brides and grooms find this to be one of the most challenging tasks. So until alternative solutions come up or it becomes more socially acceptable to ask for money, people will continue getting silver knifes for the weddings.
What are the options?
One obvious one is group gifts. Set up a gift list with several expensive gifts you really want. Make sure everybody knows that they are only paying for a small share of it or you might really get them mad. This solution allows everybody to contribute the same amount they would have had they purchased the nice knife and instead you get money towards a nice vacation or maybe even a new flat screen.
The next one is to simply ask for cash. But the key is to do it the right way. One of the main challenges with cash is that the people giving it don’t know how much to give and they don’t want to spend too much and they don’t want to appear cheap either. So the key is to tell them how much you want and ask everybody to contribute the same amount and explain what the money will be used for. If you just started a new family and you have a dream to buy a new home, explain that you are raising money for the down payment of your new home. As long as they know how much they need to contribute and that the money is used for something wisely, then most people would be more than happy to give cash.
In retrospect, wedding registries take away a lot of the pain of shopping for wedding gifts and finding gift ideas, but they don’t solve the fundamental problem with this process, the fact that the gifts are not used. Grouping together towards a group gift or cash gift will get the couple something that is more likely on their real “wishlist”.