I recently received an invitation to the wedding of an acquaintance, and saw that the bride was registered at Walmart. I went online, and was shocked to find that the items on her registry included four standard bras. Even though she also picked out a sexy negligee, something sort of appropriate for a wedding night, the bras are what I can’t get past. Is there any kind of rule about what is appropriate to ask for in one’s wedding registry? If a couple already has everything they need for their house, do they have free rein to use their registry for whatever items they happen to be out of? Or is this just the kind of behavior I should expect from someone who registers at Walmart?
Oh, there are rules, all right. They just aren’t usually followed when it comes to the 21st century American wedding. First and foremost, a bride never communicates anything about her registry. Because asking others for presents is inherently distasteful, it is left to a close friend or relative to inform only those guests who ask. It should not be noted on the wedding invitation, just as requests for “substitute gifts,” such as donations to charities, envelopes full of cash, or contributions to any sort of down payment are spectacularly inappropriate.
The original purpose of the wedding registry (aside from department stores locking in guaranteed sales) was to set up a newly married couple with the basics they’d need for their new home, since they presumably hadn’t yet left their parents’ house or bought a single spatula. The registry ensured that the new couple would wind up with a full or at least partial set of matching dishes and cutlery, enough towels to take a few showers between loads of laundry, and, as the saying goes in my family, a pot to piss in. Bedding, bath decor and other general housewares are acceptable items; Play Stations and ATVs are not.
As to underwear, I find the inclusion of bras on one’s wedding registry not only inappropriate, but downright unsettling. I hope the groom-to-be has a chance to peruse the wish list, lest he unknowingly marry a woman who’s completely comfortable broadcasting the specifications of her undergarments to the general public. As to the couple’s choice of retailer, I can understand the desire to ease the financial burden for guests, but one really shouldn’t settle any lower than Target.