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Wedding Gifts and Registry Tips

The Essential Guide to Buying Wedding Gifts

Is cash better than a gift? How much should you spend? Here, answers to your most common wedding gift conundrums.

By Amy Beal
pink-flower-arrangementJames Merrell

Q: The couple invited 200 people but only registered for half as many gifts. What should I do?
A: “Couples sometimes view their wedding as a chance to get everything on their gee-I-want-that-so-badly list,” says Black, meaning they limit the items to make sure they receive them all. Or some couples do this hoping for money instead of gifts. Regardless of the motive, this means that your choices are wide open. Note: It’s probably still a good idea to choose something classic, not quirky.
Q: The couple registered a year before their wedding. Is it okay to buy their birthday and Christmas gifts from their registry?
A: Yes. Buying gifts for other holidays from the wedding registry helps make sure the couple will get everything they need, says Mark Kingsdorf, Master Bridal Consultant at The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants. In fact, this is why many stores offer the option of keeping a wedding registry open for several years after the event.
Q: Their registry is full of really expensive items―way more than I want to spend. What are my options?

A: Don’t feel obligated to buy from the list. Rather, give a meaningful gift within your budget. “One of my favorite wedding gifts is a framed needlepoint picture of my wedding invitation,” says Black. Another option is to get something they didn’t register for but that goes with their tableware. “Buy the serving utensils, salt and pepper shakers or the sugar bowl and creamer that match their pattern,” advises Smith. Lots of couples forget or don’t think they’ll need items like these until they’re serving guests (oops).

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Talk to your venue before renting any items. Ask if you’ll be charged additional fees for using outside vendors and if the site can accommodate additional setup and breakdown time for special lighting, ceremony chairs, or hanging lanterns.