So I've got a couple friends getting married this spring. I am very happy for both loving couples and excited for them to start their new lives together. If any of you read this, please don't be offended by my cynicism. It is not towards marriage itself but more so towards the culture of gift giving or in our day and age: gift requesting.
I understand that the idea of the gift registry should minimize duplicate gifts thus making it easier for family and friends to provide the couple with the essentials of living together. However, in these consumerist times of ours, these registries are designed so that the couple can ask for specific items available at the store of their choice. Let's face it, when given the choice to ask for what we want, don't we always ask for the things we don't really need but would be nice to have? Usually the things we can't afford if it came from our own pocket? Obviously, friends & family still have the option of getting something outside of the registry or simply giving a cash gift but really, what does a couple need to live together? Is the latest, high tech kitchen gadget going to help sustain a marriage? Don't get me wrong. I understand that modern technologies can reduce the stress at home by easing certain household duties. But will the fancier dinnerware make for a better transition into married life?
Why can't these registries be designed so that the couple simply asks for specific categories of items? Such as 1 set of bed linens, 1 x comforter, 2 x pillow shams, knife set, pots & pans, vacuum cleaner, etc. Then family and friends can check off what category & specific item they bought so someone else won't buy the exact same thing from the same category. It's all still a surprise.
It just gets to the point now where I think many couples know they don't need anything and it's not like they are greedy but making a registry is too easy. You think, maybe friends & family really want to give you something but feel that giving cash is tacky or insincere, so they might as well put something down. That is crazy! Cash is probably amongst the top causes of problems in marriages. It shouldn't be that way, no, but certainly I would say having a fuller savings account reduces the stress a hell of a lot more than having a house full of stuff you barely even use.
I really think everyone should just write cheques to the couple. It's way more practical & it's easy. The couple gets to go through the first steps after marriage of making decisions together about their money, learning to balance the give n' take. Since likely before the ceremony, most of their decisions regarding the marriage is about other people's money or they had the decisions made for them. Now, they have to be their own self-managed, self-sufficient operation to build a successful and prosperous relationship with the gifts of love, money and good wishes offered by family and friends.
I would hope that no one really gets married for the gifts & money. I just think this minute difference in the registry system would make for a purer start for their wonderful new life.