Friday, September 5, 2008

...Hands Off My Stack

I really want an espresso machine. My trip to Portugal a couple of years ago instilled a love of espresso, but I never realized how much of a desire I had for it in the morning and after-dinner until this whole wedding planning process began.

In recent years, the custom has become for the engaged couple to create a registry of home and kitchen supplies at one or more stores. I believe this came into being primarily to avoid receiving 13 blenders on your wedding day, which is considered bad luck, unlike having freezing rain ruin your one-time-only white dress, or having gooey bird excrement land in your perfectly coiffed 'do. Anyway, I have always considered this tradition to be the perfect expression of the greed, self-importance, and consumerism that dictates our American lives. However, friends and family have made it clear that they prefer to give us a tangible item instead of checks made out to "CASH". As far as I'm concerned, shelling out what it will cost for the obscenely over-priced on-site hotel rooms and gas to get there is gift enough for me, but a wedding registry they shall receive.

Creating a registry can be great fun. The standard procedure is to attend some type of in-store meeting, complete with instructions on what items should be chosen. This should involve both the bride and the groom, even though the bride will probably end up choosing 99% of the list. Not willing to waste time being told what I (we) need and want by some clerk who has never met me (us) before or seen my (our) living arrangements, I chose to create my (our) registry completely online.

Dave and I have been living together for more than three and a half years. Just before
moving in, I purchased for myself a complete dinner set, including twelve 5-piece place settings of formal dishes and twelve sets of wine glasses. Over the years, we've amassed furniture, glassware, pots and pans, wooden spoons, every kitchen gadget in existence (or so I thought), decorative items, linens, etc., etc., etc. This didn't leave much for a registry, so I had to get a little bit creative. An espresso machine would be wonderful; an airbed would really come in handy; our entire apartment is tile, but a vacuum would make cleaning up cobwebs so much easier.

Suddenly, I came to a realization that would seem obvious to anyone else: we're allowed to have stuff that's new! We don't have to use only second-hand castoffs from family and friends and garage sales and dark corners of basements! Not to say we didn't purchase anything of our own, but imagine the cooking we could do with pots that actually matched, that hadn't been scorched or scratched by metal spoons! We could pick out glasses that we actually liked, and maybe even have full, matching place settings of flatware, instead of having to mix if there were more than three people eating! I feverishly added products, anything that caught my eye. Then came the process of paring down the list, removing the completely frivolous nonsense, with an eye on prices the whole time. In the end, there are were a few rather expensive items on the list, but the majority were affordable prices that I would easily purchase for someone else's wedding gift.

Now came the fun part: monitoring the list on an almost-daily basis, seeing what people had purchased, without actually knowing who the purchaser was. Did they buy it online and tell them to drop-ship it to us? Will I get this at the bridal shower, or even at the wedding itself? The anticipation was nearly too much, and the guilt created by this greed was even worse. Problems I hadn't thought of emerged: as months passed, items went out of season and were discontinued. Someone had purchased a beautiful set of blue glasses that I loved, but the matching pitcher was no longer available! Visions of perfect summer evenings on the deck with the white serving tray holding our new glassware were shattered. Someone has purchased espresso cups, but what if I don't get the machine? Can I really afford to complete these sets, or buy that expensive kitchen equipment that isn't absolutely necessary?

This gift registry has forced (a
llowed?) me to reveal the most spoiled side of myself, and I'm beginning to think this will create more debt for me than the actual wedding.


  1. Money, it's a hit!

    I felt the same as you about registries--family and friends coming all the way out to Middleofnowhereville for our wedding was special enough. People still told us we should've made a registry. So we did when I was pregnant...and I was chided for not putting enough STUFF on it.

    Ever go to It's a good stressbuster...I get a sadistic glee out of reading how unbelievably tacky people (who are not us!) can be about weddings! ;)

  2. haha... loved this one. registries ARE self important! but im like you, i LOVED getting NEW stuff to replace the old crappy stuff we'd collected in our "already lived in" house. (what SINNERS we are!!!) mmmm.. fluffy new towels, shiny new dishes, mini kitchen appliances, wedding frames/ablums, serving dishes (ive used the white dipping set you gave me at, count 'em, THREE house parties already!).. and the ultimate: two crystal wine glasses and a sterling silver cake server that we've used, count it, ONCE.. at the wedding itself.