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baby showers: to go off registry or not?

This weekend I celebrated the upcoming arrival of one my favorite couple’s baby. After assisting with the invitations, it was so wonderful to see the party come together. They chose to do more of a barbeque of sorts – thus including men – so everyone was able to enjoy themselves and show their excitement and support for the couple in a very casual and relaxing setting.

I have talked before about accepting your specific narrative and pace in life – which you can read again here but one aspect I did not mention is that you have an opportunity to learn a number of tips and tricks from waiting a little longer than your friends and family to hit these major milestones. Observing those close to you go through these experiences can give you a number of lessons to put in your back pocket until it’s your turn. Not to mention, you quickly become a bit of an expert at how to be the perfect guest at showers and weddings.

One question in particular that I have been asked a number of times by others is whether or not it is appropriate or appreciated by a couple when a guest goes off registry. Through my own experience, I always make sure to consider five steps before making the final decision. I hope that sharing this insight, the next time you receive an invitation to any type of shower this post can help you confidently make the decision too!

Before deciding to go off registry:

  1. Determine an appropriate & comfortable amount you are willing to spend
    Budgeting is so important. As you will more likely than not find out, these types of events come in waves and you may find yourself dedicated to four baby showers, a bachelorette party, and two weddings in just one summer. Before you even look at the registry, determine how much money you want to spend. This will help you focus and stop the potential overwhelming feeling brought on by so many choices.
  2. Take a glance at every registry for an idea of what the couple is in need of
    This may seem obvious, but it is important to glance at every single registry before making any final decisions on what to purchase. If the host is registered at a number of places (i.e. Target, BuyBuy Baby, and Amazon), you may find out that the perfect gift that not only falls into your budget, but is substantial enough to reflect your relationship to the couple is on the last list you review.
  3. Compare what essentials have already been purchased and what is left
    Before deciding to go off registry, consider what other guests have already bought. If you notice that a lot of toys have been purchased, but no one has picked up a car seat or bath tub, consider choosing purchasing these items first. This does not mean you need to break the bank. If your budget does not fall in-line with bigger items, try purchasing plain white onsies, bottles, diapers, and safety items – which yes, are not the most glamorous of gifts, but are essential items that the couple will definitely need and appreciate more than something they didn’t include.
  4. If a big item is still waiting to be purchased, consider going in with a group
    After comparing what is waiting to be purchased, if you notice no one has decided to buy – for instance – a stroller, consider contacting a few mutual friends to see if you can comfortably afford to take on the bigger item. Remember, it is not about how much you spend, but making a couple feel more prepared.
  5. Play it Safe – Include a Receipt and a Small Registry Item
    After considering all the information you have gathered, if you still believe that you have an amazing gift that the couple will want, go off registry! Make sure to play it safe by including a receipt and consider purchasing a small item or two that were on the registry to go with it. One of my favorite items that I have purchased off registry for friends and family is a portable high-chair. It is basically a folding camping chair  in high-chair form. I have bought if for my outdoor loving friends, as well as those who travel frequently.

Going off someone’s registry can seem like risky business, but considering the five steps above can hopefully give you some confidence in making the best decision for your upcoming shower or event.

Baby Shower Invitations – Downloadable Personalized PDF


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