oh, i have had such inner turmoil over gift registries!
my first response was: “this is silly and i won’t do it.” the reason for this was that i thought i had been on my own long enough to have already accrued plenty of necessities. i have enough to make-do and i don’t want to get new stuff just because i can. furthermore, our wedding is a potluck, which means our guests are already having to provide the food and surely they won’t also want to feel like they have to give us a present.
but then… well, then many of my married friends told me i might regret it. they said that probably people will WANT to give us gifts, and they might appreciate a little direction from us about what we could use or might like to have. i started seeing how the act of giving a couple gifts at a wedding is symbolic just as much as it is practical. it’s a ritual and tradition in our culture that maybe i oughtn’t be so quick to discard. the ritual, at heart, is a community saying a young couple this:
“we believe that this thing called marriage, which you are stepping into together, is good for all of us. it matters to the well-being of the whole. and because we want to see you set up to succeed, and to have a home established into which you can practice hospitality, bear children, and enjoy one another, we will give you gifts. and you will be surrounded by tangible objects, each of which will bring to mind the person(s) who care about you and invested in your life together.”
when you put it that way, it seems silly not to register.
besides all that, i have to admit that once i started setting up the registries, i got really into it! i started seeing our future home come together in my mind’s eye as i selected butter dishes, towels, bedding, and baskets. and there is so much warmth in that, so much satisfaction. these objects that will surround us and suffer our daily uses, will belong to only us, our first set of shared possessions that create the backdrop on which our new marriage will unfold.
so i’ll receive the harvest of my community’s generosity and i’ll clothe my new family in it. and it will be very good.
(as for the old stuff, i’ll pass it on to some younger single friends who are establishing intermediary homes until they get engaged and are gifted by their community in turn).