Ask Bridezilla: Can I Shop Off the Registry?


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bridezilla wedding gifts.pngBeing bridezilla, the certified (and maybe certifiable) wedding expert, I get a lot of letters pleading for advice. My inbox is full of inquiries on everything from what to do with a pregnant bridesmaid to where to find plus-sized wedding gowns.
I decided to post them so readers can learn from other bridezillas. Today’s question comes from a young (and apparently broke) man in Seattle, WA.
Got a wedding question for bridezilla? Send it in to [email protected] and you might be featured in an upcoming issue of Ask Bridezilla.

Q: Does the Thought Really Count?

I have some longtime friends getting married soon, and I’m on the scramble for the big wedding gift. After looking over their registry last night, I noticed one of the only gifts that’s left is the request for the All-Clad Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set for $639.99. I love these two … but six hundred bucks is a little steep for any young recent college grad.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the scenario – a group of people are supposed to go halfsies on the gift, or there is some hope that a wealthy family member to step up and be a hero. There is a good possibility that this cookware set just happened to be the most expensive set in Macys that day.
Since bridezillas are gorgeous, young women who know what they want, it’s a great guess that they’re going to want the best. Hell, I’m a dude, and I have no reason to turn down a top of the line kitchen set.

After doing some research, I came across an article on called A No-Frills Kitchen Still Cooks. The article fully defends the notion that you can supply an entire kitchen for less than $300, and rejects any claim that the expensive set from the big box store is at all justified.
In fact, the only time you see the high-end cookware is on TV. Otherwise, most pros in the fanciest of kitchens don’t use the $600 sets because even they feel it’s not worth it.

The crossroads of wedding gift giving is that it’s so easy to keep score on how much people love you by how much they’re willing to spend. Hey, it’s not like I’m being cheap. My gift would still be from the heart, and I can do a cost/benefit analysis that will blow your socks off. Is it a good move to gather some decent cookware from a restaurant supply house, or am I just being an ass for not footing the bill for gift they actually asked for?

Do you think I’ll have a fire-breathing bridezilla on my hands?

Registry Novice
Seattle, WA

Bridezilla’s A: Shop off the Registry, but Beware

Registry Novice,
A gift is a gift. While shopping off the registry leaves you susceptible to giving a gift the couple will get from someone else, it’s a wedding gift. If a bridezilla doesn’t like your taste in cookware, she’ll just return it for sweet, sweet cash. I don’t think you’re “being an ass” for shopping off the registry and not adhering to the couple’s every wedding whim.
However, off-registry gifts should be bought with caution. Only shop off the registry if you are 100% sure the gift is going to be a hit. If they registered for $600 cookware, don’t get the couple WalMart pans and hope for the best.
There’s a chance that some wealthy relative will waltz in and buy the luxe set for them and your cheap cookware will be promptly returned. I think splitting the gift expense between a few friends (no more than five) is your best option. No fire-breathing bridezilla; no saving the receipt. It’s money well spent!
When in doubt, give cash. Or a cappuccino machine.
Ps. Bridezillas, feel free to comment with your own advice!

5 thoughts on “Ask Bridezilla: Can I Shop Off the Registry?”

  1. Speaking from personal experience, restaurant supply stores can be a godsend when seeking quality cookware on a budget – my Vitamix blender was notably cheaper there than it would have been anywhere else.
    Perhaps RN should also check and see if any outlet malls in his area have a kitchenware store – many do. I have a very nice collection of gorgeous Le Creuset cookware, all from outlet stores. (A word to the wise: when buying kitchenware at outlets, buy overstock, not factory seconds, if possible. Seconds have minor imperfections – still usable, but sharp-eyed Bridezillas will notice!)

  2. Like the previous comment, a gift is a gift. You know your income. Why not get a gift card? That usually do it. I hope the bridezilla is not like Kari, the bridezalla getting married on next week’s episode. I think she is the nasty bride I have ever seen yet. She is rude,crude
    and obnoxious. It appears she has no home training. It seems like they are getting nastier and nastier. I wonder if they tel them they have to be real nasty in order to win the jamiaca trip.

  3. I’ve been in the same position a couple of times, and I’ve found that a thoughtful card along with a cash bonus is an acceptable alternative to shopping on the registry. No complaints yet!

  4. To be honest, a gift is supposed to be just that = a gift from the heart. You can bet that noone is going to beggar themself to give you a set of pots/pans. The gift certificate is a good idea as is the beginnings of that set she is interested in. You can usually purchase portions of the set. You could purchase some of the pans that she is interested in and let her build on that. This provides her what they truly are interested in or need and allows the set to be built over time as purchases from others or her hubby, parents, etc.

  5. I would say go with another alternative. If she wants those pots and pans but doesn’t get them at the wedding, chances are she will use some of the cash gifts/gift cards or even personal funds to purchase the item anyway.
    As a bride to be, I will say that I would be more likely to notice a cheaper version of a gift I registered for than a small cash gift.
    For example, at my shower, one of my soon to be inlaws got me 2 sets of towels. After I opened the gift, she asked what color my bathroom was. Needless to say, the towels clash miserably with both of the bathrooms in our house…which is why I REGISTERED for towels…so that they would match and because I love them. To make matters worse, she did not include a gift receipt.
    Now, I am a little disappointed but I realize it is the thought that counts. The biggest problem I have with this is that she just paid “X” amount of dollars to give me something to take to goodwill. I just have no use for them. I cannot understand why someone would buy a gift like that without even bothering to find out what color a person’s bathroom is. Makes no sense to me. When I give a gift, I spend the money and effort in order to give something that will be cherished and enjoyed…not thrown in a trash can.
    All in all, go off the registry or give cash. Even a small amount of cash is preferable to an unwanted gift. Or, like the article says, make sure you are 100% sure the gift will be a hit.


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