Sisterhood Blog

Ivanka and Jared's Wedding Registry: What Would Register as Real Class

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

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Is it just me, or are wedding registries tacky? I find it strange to be telling people what you want for gifts – especially when both the blushing bride and handsome groom are scions of two of America’s highest-profile, wealthy real estate families.

A story in today’s New York Times, here, details what Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are requesting on their wedding registries at Tiffany & Co., Crate & Barrel and Williams- Sonoma.

In July Ivanka converted to Judaism, and the couple is to be married October 25th at Donald Trump’s golf resort in Bedminster, N.J.

Fortunately for the soon-to-be-married couple, most of the items on their registry at Tiffany’s have already been snapped up. There’s still time to get them that Elsa Peretti sterling silver serving fork for just $325, though.

Am I being especially snarky about this? Perhaps.

I’ve never felt comfortable with the idea of wedding registries, even when it was time for my own wedding, 19 years ago this month. My mother had to press me to register at Bloomies and the late, lamented Fortunoff’s, for the benefit of out-of-town relatives who didn’t know us well enough to know what to give.

Sure, I got many pieces of the flatware set I liked at the time, but something about it also felt wrong. And goodness knows that M and I actually needed assistance to feather our nest. Nonetheless, it felt kind of tacky.

I find it even more tacky for the super-wealthy to be asking for gifts, whether it’s a $10 Williams-Sonoma spatula or something more glam.

Surely Ivanka and Jared, who are both leaders in the business world in their own rights — Ivanka in her father’s real estate concern and in her own jewelry company, and Jared not just in his family’s real estate business but also as publisher of The New York Observer — already have well-stocked kitchens of their own and can afford to buy anything else they may need.

To many today this couple apparently epitomizes what class looks like, but to me the far classier thing to do would have been to state, on their wedding invitations, “no gifts, please,” and then include a little card which could suggest two or three charities that the couple (hopefully) supports.

I’d have loved to see one of those not-for-profits aid American veterans, and another be a Jewish organization which supports the hungry, like the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, based right here in the couple’s home city.

I can’t even begin to imagine what the families are spending on the wedding, which will reportedly have about 500 guests.

But if the couple were to comport themselves in a relatively modest way — particularly at this time when so many face economic duress — and ask for help for the less fortunate? Now that would have been real class.

Ivanka and Jared, I offer you this unsolicited wedding wish: Mazal tov. May you be blessed with many years together of love, joy and the true wealth — children, and the ability to use the resources with which you have been blessed to do good in the world.

Sharonsj Sun. Oct 4, 2009

It's not the wedding registry, it's the conspicuous consumption in the face of a depression for the rest of us. Remember that CEO who spent $10,000 on a shower curtain? He could have spent a thousand (still an outrageous amount) and given the other $9 thousand to a food bank. But he didn't, and that's why this country is seething with rage.

Michael Shapiro Sun. Oct 4, 2009

Ms. Nussbaum Cohen, I agree. I have always found the idea of wedding registries tacky, strange and obnoxious. I felt that the piece was well written, and I am always interested by your posts! Keep them coming!

Ruth Book Sun. Oct 4, 2009

I agree completely that wedding registries are tacky. Totally. Problem is EVERYONE is "doing it." Used to be the registry was for the pattern--silver or china. Meaning: someone had to communicate the pattern chosen by the bride and groom for their silver and their china. And someone had to keep track of how many forks,knives, spoons...plates, cups, etc. were bought.

But now---hello? Looks like the bride goes to the store and picks out all her gifts, which, in most cases, are everything in the store!!

Horrendous. I don't see how people are cooperating with this practice.

Ivanka is a phony Sun. Oct 4, 2009

It's true that Ivanka's tacky but it's false that she converted legitimately to Judaism. It's well-known that Ivanka's "conversion" was a total sham. What kind of Orthodox conversion is done in 8 months and solely for the reason of marriage? What a joke!

Ivanka and Jared should get married in a church or courtroom because their relationship has nothing to do with Judaism. If Jared wanted a Jewish wife and children he should marry a real Jewish woman!

Jill Hamburg Coplan Mon. Oct 5, 2009

Another great post, Debra. There's an example of real estate wealth, combined with relatively modest living and at least two generations of massive tzedaka that these horrid people should consider: The Reichmans (brothers, of Canada, England, Israel)--who built Canary Wharf and the World Financial Center. In the '40s they (a Reichman wife, and her daughters) ran a rescue operation that saved many Orthodox families in Eastern Europe, via their base in Morocco. Maybe as a wedding gift someone should give these tasteless, classless people Anthony Bianco's excellent biography (The Reichmans: Faith, Family, Fortune and the Empire of Olympia & York). It's just $7 new from Amazon!

sd Mon. Oct 12, 2009

Umm...I wonder if anti-conversion animosity is fueling this piece. Why the feigned outrage over THIS particular extravagant wedding/registry? Well over half of the Jewish weddings I'm personally acquainted with have involved couples whose earnings range from the high six to deep into seven figure numbers. And they also post up equally extravagant registries.

How come you haven't been up in arms about this not-so-covert social habit prevalent in sectors of Jewish society (including Orthodox...ever been to LA)? Where's your post lambasting unethical levels of spending and giving for bar and bat mitzvahs? Your focused rant on THIS particular wedding just reeks of anti conversion bias regarding Ivanka Trump.

Stacy Wed. Oct 14, 2009

Part of the excitment of getting married is getting gifts, that isn't different if you are Donald Trump's daughter. They are young, this is their first doesn't matter that they come from wealth and/or have good incomes. Give them a break, this is a happy time. The items range in price just like they do on all registries. A little pricier, maybe, but I suspect that many of the guests invited can afford more and I suspect Donald and his wife have bought expensive gifts for some of their children. Some people are such kill-joys.

mc Thu. Oct 15, 2009

Give me a break! Registries make it easy for people to buy gifts for the bride and groom. I appreciate not having to get creative for the many weddings I go to each year, and I especially appreciate not having to do the tackiest thing of all - writing a check or giving cash to the bride and groom (yuck!). I'm sure most brides don't expect to receive everything, or even a majority of things, on their registry, and I see them registering for things at all different price points to be helpful, including gifts for $10-$15 (which seems to be something most guests can afford even in hard times, especially ones attending weddings where meals can cost $500 a head an up). Brides and grooms are not "asking" for these gifts, but rather they are helping out those gracious guests who adhere to the tradition of giving gifts in celebration. This is how you do it if you want to do the right thing. If you are invited to a wedding, and you don't send a token (whether handmade, purchased from a registry, or found on your own) - that's tacky!

My wedding was a wonderful collection of experiences, and to be honest part of the fun was getting to register and receiving gifts - this is a once in a lifetime type of thing, and considering that our wedding was more like $600 a head for dinner, I don't think that a $15 ice cream scoop (don't hate me, but even a $325 silver serving piece) in return is too much to hope for, and I registered so that guests could point and click and not have to worry.

Kelsey Tue. Oct 20, 2009

I read about Ivanka's registry on,,20278123_20310138_20685122,00.html

I honestly don't know why everyone is so upset over her registry (as long as she did not mail registry announcements with her invites because then that just comes off as commonplace).

However, I do think that it's interesting that you mention donating to charities and that InStyle mentioned We currently have a wedding registry with but there are no gifts on it --just cash gift funds for St. Jude Children's hospital and our guests have been so so so generous so far! :)

I agree with you and wonder why Ivanka didn't opt for this?

Briz in Brooklyn Fri. Oct 23, 2009

Stacy/mc - I agree wholeheartedly. Perhaps one feels a registry is tacky if a person has a lot of money, but I don't have a problem with registries, especially if it's for much needed items. And whether one wants to register or not is for the couple to decide, so get over it!

If you keep a kosher home, then you know the expense it takes to get one going. We have a mini one now, but with a few things on our registry (which is moderately priced and only for much needed items), we'll have a lovely home that I hope to open up to friends and family for years to come.

I'm curious for all of you that commented above; did you spend ridiculous amounts of money on your son or daughter's bar/bat mitzvah? I've seen some of those affairs that would put marriages of my friends to shame. And the money that's expected to be given as gifts - what a croc! You want to talk about excess?! So before you continue with class arguments and such, be sure to look in the mirror first.

I agree; perhaps this is being discussed because of the parties involved. I'm no fan of the Trumps, far from it; whatever she and her soon-to-be wants to do is their business. And if her family wants to throw her a lavish wedding, well, they can. It's not everyday (presumably) that a child gets married. And while I don't think I'd spend so much, if I were rich, that doesn't mean I am going to deny someone else the right. Grow up folks. Debra, I usually like your pieces but you are wayyyy off base on this one (and frankly, you sound a bit jealous).

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