This is a delicate issue, so bear with us while we explain it.
Almost as soon as we announced our engagement, friends started asking us where we'd established our gift registry. We appreciated the generosity and good will from our loved ones, and we told everyone that once we figured out how we were handling our wedding, we'd get back to them. Since then, Eric and I have had some time to talk about it, and here are our thoughts.
Eric had an apartment full of stuff in Istanbul when we met. So do I. I have a storage unit somewhere in rural Maryland (thanks, State Department!) full of everything I own that's not in Turkey. Additionally, Eric has a storage unit full of furniture somewhere in Dallas, waiting for him to use it. In short, we have more than enough stuff. The point of wedding registries is to start your life off together well, to equip your home with the help of your loved ones... but we already have a lot of the everyday accoutrements of married life.
There are plenty of other people who aren't as lucky as we are, though. Eric and I have decided, instead of the American-style wedding gift registry, to select a few charities that are personally meaningful and ask that whatever you would give to us in honor of our wedding, please give it instead to one of these charities or to a deserving institution of your choice. I've selected St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Heifer International. Eric has selected the Lafayette Education Foundation and Partners in Health. And for our friends here in Turkey, we've selected ICMC for refugees and Mor Çatı, which combats domestic violence and runs a women's shelter. If you would like, please give as much or as little as you want to any of these organizations. Please be sure to indicate that these donations are in honor of us (use our email address, email@example.com, so that the charities can notify us of your donation). In future blog posts, we'll talk about why these charities mean so much to us.
We would love to get something meaningful from you, something that can last a lifetime - would you consider sharing a family recipe or two? You can email it to us or send us a hand-written copy (we'd prefer hand-written, but we know that's not always feasible!). Tell us about why you love it, where you got it from, and when you usually serve it (such as holidays, rainy days, or weekend brunches). We'll compile a wedding cookbook and tell you about it when we first cook your recipe. (Warning - it may be a while, since we won't have a kitchen in Tripoli!)
To reiterate: we want to share our wedding with you as a public commitment to our new life together. If you want to give us a gift, we thank you for your kindness and ask that you consider charity. We'd also love for you to help us build a welcoming home together, and a cookbook with memories from our loved ones and friends is the best thing we can think of. Many thanks!