I always thought that registering was a bit, well, gauche. Greedy. As in, “Hey, we’re getting married, so to celebrate, why don’t you read this long list of stuff we want and buy us some of it?” That didn’t stop me from doing it, by the way. We had a ball running around REI making a wish list of every cool tent and camp stove we coveted. And after a great deal of persuasion from my grandmother, we even registered for dinnerware.
Twelve years of marriage and two kids later, I was loading those very same plates into the dishwasher yesterday, and I realized that we have used these colorful plates, handmade by a wonderful artist in California, almost every day of our marriage. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have a few chips in them now, but they still work just fine, and they’re still quite beautiful.
I never would have bought these plates for myself. They were expensive, in other words. But thanks to the registry and friends of my parents, who knew a thing or two about long marriages, we received a full set for our wedding, alongside the tent and a really nice camp stove. And all of them are still working just fine.
In an age when we are encouraged to think of our possessions as short-term fashion accessories, and to hunt for lowest possibly price in acquiring them, I am thinking again about the value of a wedding registry. In one sense, it is a chance for a community to come together to invest in items that are meant to last a lifetime for a couple, and even to be handed down to the next generation.
Now, a wedding registry filled with plastic items from Bed, Bath & Beyond is not what I’m talking about here. But a set of china or stoneware that will be used for a generation or two is worth writing down, so that everyone can get on the same page and give the couple something useful. Perhaps if we called it a “crowd-sourced sustainability investment,” it would get more play with the hipster set? In any case, I’m tipping my hat to my grandma, who had it right all along.