Weddings

Etiquette Debate: Is It Tacky To Set Up A Honeymoon Fund On Your Registry?

Here are both sides of the story.
03/16/2018 11:37am ET

We’ve gone to approximately 4 million weddings in the last few years, and probably half of them included honeymoon registries in addition to the usual Crate & Barrel deal. While we’ve personally never thought twice about it, it’s come to our attention that this is a hot wedding etiquette topic with two fierce takes: Some say it’s totally OK to ask for scuba lessons in Bali… and others think it’s completely tasteless. Here, both sides of the story and our ultimate conclusion.

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I WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR HOME TOGETHER, NOT YOUR WANDERLUST

Weddings are steeped in long-held tradition — if we wanted to shake it up, why are we still seeing so many white dresses coming down the aisle? And while a registry at Bloomingdale’s seems like a far cry from a dowry made up of a flock of sheep and three gold coins, it’s kinda the modern-day equivalent of the centuries-old idea: The family and community are setting up the newlyweds with the foundation for their home. In days of yore, that meant transferring ownership of livestock (and gold if you were ballin’). Today, that means a KitchenAid. (C’mon, that thing is basically a workhorse and will last you forever.)

So when your Great Aunt Linda sees that your registry includes a $300 couples’ underwater salsa dancing class with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa, she’s probably like, what happened to flatware?! While bone china might be as useless to your 21st-century lifestyle as a flock of sheep, a honeymoon fund requesting cash for extravagant luxuries makes some traditional-leaning guests scratch their heads — especially those who think to themselves: Why am I paying for your luxury vacation?

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IT’S NO DIFFERENT THAN ASKING FOR A VITAMIX

On the flip side, more and more couples (89 percent of them) are living together before they make it official. So chances are, most engaged pairs have been playing house long before you get an invite to their vows, which means they probably already have a lot of stuff. And let’s face it: Even if they requested “no gifts, please,” everyone would roll their eyes even harder than they would at a honeymoon registry. And seriously, what’s the difference between an overnight zip-line excursion in the Costa Rican jungle and that Le Creuset Dutch oven? They’re both things the couple probably wouldn’t normally splurge on (and they’re both really expensive).

But the most important point here is that it’s not like you’re forcing anyone to chip in on your Thailand trip. The power still remains on the side of the gifter, not the recipient. If someone wants to get you a lifetime supply of Crisco, and not something on your registry, all power to them. (But fingers crossed they stick to the registry.)

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THE VERDICT

After carefully examining the facts, we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s totally OK, and officially not tacky, to set up a honeymoon registry. Even The Emily Post Institute agrees: “It’s also OK to set up a honeymoon registry (as one of your “up to three” registries). Where possible, describe how different contributions will be used: “$80: rental car for a day of Rob driving us through the hills of Tuscany.” So, as Ms. Post suggests, itemize what you’ll be spending the money on since asking for straight up cash will inevitably rub some of your guests the wrong way. (And if you can find an $80 rental car deal, please let us know about it.) Case closed; suitcases packed.

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