Honeymoon Registry Money Is Less Helpful If It's Sent To Your House In Indiana

Sara’s sister got married in the Bahamas a few weeks ago. They had their honeymoon vacation before their wedding ceremony because of the waiting period there, and had set up a registry of stuff to do on their vacation rather than household goods. Honeymoon registries are a growing industry, and Sara’s sister chose a small company we won’t name. Sarah bought an activity for the couple and also paid a $10 handling fee. In return for that $10, the registry company sent a check to the sister’s home in Indiana rather than getting the money to her during her trip when she could actually use it. What was the $10 handling fee for, then, exactly?

On August 25th, my younger sister and her then fiancé flew to the Bahamas to begin their wedding/honeymoon celebration. Because Bahamas law requires a couple be in the country for three days before the ceremony, they opted to have the honeymoon first. The rest of the family would join them Labor Day weekend for the ceremony itself. My sister had set up a wedding registry with [redacted] that would allow them to create a wish list of activities they wanted to do while on their honeymoon. Since my husband and I would not be joining the couple for a week, we wanted them to be able to enjoy our gift while they were there, and we put $100 towards one of their activities. We were also charged $10 as a handling fee.

I didn’t learn until two weeks after the wedding that my sister never received those funds while she was in the Bahamas. Instead, they had sent the money as a check to her home in Indiana. What use is that? I could have easily handed her $100 when we arrived the day before the wedding or any time after that, instead of paying a $10 handling fee for money they were never able to use while on their honeymoon.

I called [redacted] to complain and was informed that since my sister had agreed to let gifts be made after a specific date, she had agreed to have those gifts sent to her home as a check. There are two things that frustrate me about that.

The date was August 25th. So basically any gifts made to them while they were in the Bahamas were never going to be made available to them to use. They were all going to be sent to her house in Indiana. The CSR told me that the date is chosen by the date the couple enters as the beginning of the honeymoon, so any couple registering with [redacted] will be unable to receive gifts to their register after their honeymoon begins.

This information is not given to the person buying the gift. If, when I went to the web site, it had said “All gifts made after August 25th will be sent as checks to the couple’s address of record and not deposited into their [redacted] account,” I wouldn’t have bought the gift online.
The CSR told me that in the FAQ section it states:

“The funds are deposited and held in a client trust account. Credit card fees are sent to merchant services, while the service fee is deposited into our general account. Gift funds are then distributed to the travel supplier or directly to your couple according to their account set up.”

Apparently, I should have read the FAQ and should have known that my sister’s account set up would mean that they wouldn’t get the gift.

The CSR did agree to refund $7 of the $10 fee I paid ($3 is a credit card handling fee she cannot refund), so I appreciate that.

Hopefully, this can warn people to be careful when making these sorts of registry purchases.


Edit Your Comment

  1. CanadianDominic says:

    You forgot to REDACT the company’s name in the third, fourth, and fifth paragraphs.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      LOL … SuperClubs.
      The story is even more face-palm-able when you realize that the registry is specifically set up for the resort and honeymoon. It’s not a generic registry.

  2. jeepguy57 says:

    Why would you pay $10 to be able to send someone money via [redacted]? Yes, you should have just given your sister the cash. Or a check, instead of going through Super Clubs (oops, did I just do that, too?). In the end, it all the same. I could see if you were actually paying for the trips they wanted to take, but you’re just giving cash anyway.

    • STXJK says:

      Or just deposit money in your sister’s account, or transfer funds – most banks have online fund transfers now (between banks even) that can process in a day or less.

  3. STXJK says:

    I’m not entirely sure how she thought that her sister COULD get the money in the Bahamas though. Was it implied that they would have some sort of pre-loaded charge card that would get funds added to it? I mean, they’re in the Bahamas, how else could they get the money – mail a check to their hotel?

    I do agree that the website should be more clear about how they handle funds deposited after the cut-off date though. There should be a pop-up that explains – other registry websites do that, and inform you that your purchased gift will be sent to the Bride or Groom’s address on file.

    • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

      redacted company is the actual resort. It s an “all inclusive” with options for upgraded activities. ie a windsurfer for an hour may be in the all inclusive, but jet skis are an upgrade optional activity.

      These people gave the money to redacted to prepay so her sister could do the upgrade activity.

  4. Geekybiker says:

    There are free to use versions of these honeymoon registries. I did one for our wedding and it directed all payments through my paypal account. No fees other than the usual paypal cut. Plus nobody else holds onto your money.

    • spartan says:

      Why don’t you just invoice your friends?

      • Geekybiker says:

        This allowed you to setup things like “night at hotel by lake”, airfare one way to islands, romantic dinner at the estate, etc” Then people go in and buy them like a regular registry. Yes invoicing friends would accomplish the transfer of money, but it wouldn’t have the friendly interface. Plus there are a lot of people who consider giving money impersonal. Putting a front on it like this makes it more palatable for those relatives.

  5. PietroCrazy says:

    Ugh, a honeymoon registry? How tacky.

    • STXJK says:

      There are registries for everything these days. There are even home mortgage registries.

    • axhandler1 says:

      It doesn’t have to be. My sister combined her wedding registry with a honeymoon registry by just putting a lot of honeymoon activites on the wedding registry. Instead of a Panini maker she was never gonna use, you could buy her, say, a kayaking outing or a dinner at a nice restuarant at the resort they were going to for the honeymoon. Lots of people opted to do that instead of giving gifts of dishes and stuff. She had a great time on her honeymoon.

    • VintageLydia says:

      It sounds like she did the honeymoon registry INSTEAD of a regular wedding registry, which sounds fine to me. Doing both is overkill. Besides, most couples I know getting married have all the household things that are on a typical registry. Unless they want some odd ball gadgets or fancy china (and most of my friends don’t care about either of those things) then doing a honeymoon registry is a good alternative.

    • Geekybiker says:

      So you’d rather give them a waffle maker they don’t want? You’d think a gift should be about what the receiver wants, not what the giver wants to give them. However there are always those folk who think they know better and go off registry.

  6. keep the blinders on says:

    Dear Consumerist,

    I waited until the last minute to get my sister a honeymoon gift, so she didn’t get it until it was over. Waaah.

  7. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’m baffled. Why would you use a gift registry to give someone money?

    • nodaybuttoday says:

      Because for some reason people think that giving money is “unthoughtful”. That’s not the case AT ALL in Italian weddings, my entire family gave us money. Only gifts we received were from friends and husband’s family (or nothing at all, that’s always nice).

  8. Jacquilynne says:

    Money is fungible. It’s not like they needed your $100 while on vacation unless they literally did not have any additional money. And if they are actually so tapped out that they needed every last cent in cash in order to pay for their honeymoon/destination wedding, well, they probably should have investigated cheaper options for marrying and vacationing.

    • K-Bo says:

      True, but even when I have more than enough money for something, I’m more likely to spend money on a treat for myself when I know someone gave me that money with that intention. The sister may not have even known that the $100 was waiting at home, and may have skipped something they would have otherwise done.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      But that’s assuming they knew the money was coming.

      So, say, the bride’s sister paid $100 on the registry for Item #425 “Spa massage and pedicure for the happy couple”. What she thought would happen was that the bride and groom would get a message saying “X has bought you a spa massage for your honeymoon”.

      What happened was that the money was waiting for the couple when they got home.

      So if they’d known the massage was purchased, and they’d had the funds in their account, yes they could have gone ahead and bought the massage. It’s not clear to me from the article that they were notified, so if that’s the case, I doubt they were going to just do all the activities they wanted, in the hopes that all of the cash to cover them would be waiting at home.

      I don’t think it’s a matter of not having enough for the honeymoon. They paid for the honeymoon. It was the idea that friends and family could “sponsor” extra fun activities for the pair above and beyond the honeymoon.

      • keep the blinders on says:

        On the bright side, nothing helps you get over the exhaustion of your honeymoon than finding a surprise free spa massage and pedicure upon returning home.

  9. SeeReeves says:

    I wanted to clarify some questions about the post.

    1. The registry was for specific “upgraded” activities that were not included in the all-inclusive element of the resort. I put $100 towards massages for my sister and her fiance.

    2. I specifically chose to purchase the item on the registry the first day of their honeymoon/vacation because the web site told me that the money would be deposited into their [redacted] account at the resort and they would receive a card from me in their room. I wanted them to get that on the first day of their honeymoon.

    3. My sister did receive the notice that the money had been gifted to them, but when she went to access her account at the resort, she was told that the funds were not available. Eventually, she learned they were mailed to her house in Indiana.

    4. In response to the CSR’s claim that my sister set her account up this way, my sister said: “I swear what I agreed to was that if we received money after our trip ended or if there was money left over that we hadn’t used it could be sent to us as a check! I think they need to clarify the website!”


  10. NorthAlabama says:

    so this is one advantage of gays not being able to marry in most states, right?

  11. reybo says:

    “Sara’s sister chose a small company we won’t name.”

    One wonders how much Consumerist was paid to protect the guilty.