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Wedding Registries: Can I give you a lion cub?

An anonymous wedding question from the world:

Registries – tell us all about them. are people expected to buy from the registry? is it okay to not buy from the registry?
it’s the part of weddings that confuses me the most. for example, let’s say you had a friend who knows you pretty well and has a sense of your taste, though not necessarily your DP/fiancee’s taste, and let’s say this person was going somewhere cool this summer, like, hypothetically, africa, and let’s say this person planned to steal a lion cub for you to raise. would that be a good wedding present? even though it’s not on the registry?

would people prefer cash? if so, how much cash is appropriate? and if there’s something you really like, but it isn’t on the registry, will they hate you for getting it? registries are useful, in that they help you find something that both people like, but what if you find something and really really want to get it but it’s not on the registry?

First of all, I am pretty sure that I would end up suddenly single if I decided a lion cub was joining our family before I have my veterinary degree.  But if it’s a small and hide-able lion cub, I totally want it.  I just can’t let Turtle see that I registered for it, which is why it’s not on my registry.

Okay, but really.  I also think registries are sort of silly.  I think that in general, it’s weird to ask for specific gifts – I think good gifts are personal and don’t come from a list of “I want this” but from a connection the giver and givee have.  That said, I think registries give you a place to say what you need, like a toaster oven or a microwave that actually works.  And some people are bad at gifts that are based on a connection, or don’t know what to give both people, so the registry is a good guide.  It’s great, too, when you can combine the two – for example, one of my friends and her husband-to-be registered for a tent, and I thought that was the coolest thing! So I bought it.  Registry + connection = quality gift giving.

As far as cash goes, I think cash is often appreciated, and for me, I would give however much cash I would have spent on a present.

I guess my answer is to think of a registry as a guideline, but feel free to buy from elsewhere, especially if you have something meaningful.  Meaning trumps stupid registries every time, in my opinion.

What do you all think? What have your gift-giving/-receiving experiences been?  I understand that we’re supposed to register for our bridal shower (and there’s supposed to be a theme? What?)… and somehow that’s different than the wedding?  Someone, please share your answer for Ms. Anonymous’s question up there, and then answer mine. kthx.

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