The Wedding Registry: The Importance of Asking for What You Want

Dear Thriving Bride,

I will walk down the aisle in 10 days, and one common truth about being engaged is that it brings up the issue of money.  I will talk more about money in other upcoming posts, but  today I want to talk about money  and wedding registries.  I recently spoke to a few friends about this, and it comes down to this: some people have a hard time giving money as a gift and they need to be able to give you something they can go into a store and buy.  We’re just weird about money in Western culture sometimes, and some people feel uncomfortable about it.  That’s just what it is.  The truth is, I am not sure why this is the case, but it just is.

So, I am talking to you about money, but I am really talking to you about the importance of asking for what you want and need.  I believe that when it comes to giving and receiving, the following is always true:  You have the right to ask for what you want and need, and the person you are asking has they right to say yes, no or maybe.  Both people have the right to step up and respond in the way that they feel capable of doing.  But, remember this:  When you ask for something, there is always the possibility of someone saying no.  But guess what, no is not the worst thing that can happen to you.

Losing a loved one is really difficult.  Living with a disease that may or may not kill you is really challenging.  Dealing with uncompromising family members during your wedding planning can also be a pretty miserable experience.  Having someone say no to a request you make might be disappointing, but it is not the end of the world.

So, you are engaged and planning for your wedding and you want a modern wedding registry.  Who doesn’t. Our generation travels mostly by planes instead of cars, moves around constantly, gets transferred to different countries four our jobs and learns several languages to work and live in our society. This is a great thing and we are a more culturally diverse world because of it, but it also means that we have more destination weddings and more practical wedding registries.

PJ and I decided to register for the things we actually wanted.  We wanted money to help us on our honeymoon, so we focused mostly on that.  For inspiration, there are many great sites that help you ask for what your really want, but we chose to use Wedding Republic, where engaged couples ask for everything from a roof to add to their new home to a down payment on a car.  It may not be your thing, but if it is, speak up and ask for what you want.  It is important to remember that some people will be hesitant, and some may not feel like contributing actual cash towards a gift.  Let those people contribute in the ways that they can.  But, if you don’t create the registry for the things you want and you end up with 100 fondue pots, that one’s on you.

Asking for what you want is a huge bridal journey lesson and a life lesson as well.  Do you want your mother to host your bridal shower?  Ask her to.  Now, you may assume that every mother should just know that she should do this but this is not the case.  Let me tell you something that I have constantly experienced:  When there is a big event in my life (graduation, major birthday, wedding) many people have assumed that someone else was helping me.  It was natural because I had many friends and everyone thinks that one way or another I’ve got it covered.

People need you to ask them because they need you to let them know what you need.  If you don’t ask, you’ll end up cranky and pissed that no one knew to do this and that for you on your special day.  Well honey, it benefits the giver and receiver when you speak up.  You give people an opportunity to see if they have the capacity to support you in the way that you want and need, and your give yourself and opportunity to discover and articulate what it is you want.

This is especially crucial for brides like myself who grew up in homes where you were not allowed to speak about how you felt or ask for what you wanted. For me, what I wanted was supposed to be what my Dad wanted, which was never the same thing.  And guess what?  I’m not in that situation anymore and I get to say what I want, how I feel, what I hope for and how I’d like people to support me.

And like I said, the worst that can happen is for someone to say no.  But guess what?  One big fat no is not the end of the world.  It might be the beginning of a good thing.  It might give you the opportunity to reach deeper into your family and see who can be there in the way that you need.  And when that support shows up, it might just surprise you and create a wonderful bond.