Wedding Registry Etiquette for Couples Who Choose to Elope

[Eloping isn’t what it used to be](http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/fashion/weddings/Eloping-Does-Not-Mean- What-It-Once-Did.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) – love-struck teens sneaking out at night and heading to Las Vegas. Nowadays, many couples plan their spectacular elopement well in advance, and have almost everything a standard wedding would have….except guests. This trend is common among those who have a tight budget, those who are perhaps a bit older or getting married for a second time, or those don’t want to lose sight of the reason for marriage by getting caught up in the stress associated with planning a wedding with hundreds of guests. That said, many couples who opt to elope are faced with the same question: is it appropriate to create a wedding registry? It’s uncomfortable to ask friends and family for gifts, when they weren’t invited as guests to attend the nuptials. At the same time, many loved-ones will _want_ to provide a gift, understanding that the couple’s choice to elope was not a slight against anyone, but a personal preference. To address this common question, Nancy Lee, President of [MyRegistry.com](http://www.myregistry.com/), shared a few tips with me…

## If You’re Still Hosting a Reception at a Later Date

> Couples that decide to have a reception after their elopement should not hesitate to not only set up a traditional registry, they can and should include it on their wedding page, feel free to send out announcements and be quite open about it. While some naysayers may equate a reception with a ploy for gifts, frankly anyone who goes to a party should not come empty handed, and a post elopement reception is no different. Be a bit more conservative what you place on that registry and make sure that you have items that would be considered a “hostess gift” size, for those who feel that bringing something small to a party is the appropriate way to go.

## If You’re NOT Hosting a Reception but ARE Sending Out Announcements

> If you are not planning any reception at all but are sending out wedding announcements after the fact, do NOT include your registry information on your wedding announcement, but by all means register. Real friends and family members are going to want to get you a gift, and while the registry may be for you, it is also helpful for them not to toil over what to purchase. Keep gifts in all price ranges, as family members will still want to get you something important, but also be sure to put plenty of reasonably priced items for the friends that may just want to send you a token gift, but will be offended if your registry is filled with expensive items after you decided to elope. If you are asked if you registered, tell people. It is also OK for a close family member to mention it to other family members. But do not use a friend to contact all of your other friends to let them know. That will only lead to controversy and a huge unflattering discussion of why you decided to elope.

## If You’re Not Even Sending Announcements

> For those of you who really wanted to keep it on the quiet side, and do not even plan to send out wedding announcements, registering is still an option, but we suggest something more like a “wish list”. Let your closest family members know about it, but do not mention it to others if they do not ask you. Even when they do, speak of it lightly, just as if it is something that the two of you put together on a whim of things that you will need going forward. Do not publish, tweet or announce your wish list, but by all means create it. People that want to get something for you will find it and will be so relieved that they can chose a gift off of a list, rather than try to come up with something themselves.

## Registry Advice for ALL Brides

> Finally, people may judge you for deciding to elope, but do not judge your family and friends back for deciding for or against buying you a wedding gift. Regardless of whether you walk down the aisle in front of hundreds of people, or get married in city hall with only one witness, getting married is one of the happiest moments of your life, and do not spoil it with pettiness. People have their own notions of what is appropriate, just as you do, and if they chose not to purchase a wedding gift because they did not go to a wedding, that needs to be OK too.

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