Stepping Outside the Registry Box
Stepping Outside the Registry Box
It used to be that one of the things couples looked most forward to about planning their wedding was putting together their registry. They would visit the top department stores and wander the aisles, picking out all the necessities to start their lives together. China patterns and cooking gadgets. Bed linens and matching towels. The registry was all about allowing your guests to help you to furnish your new lives together – often with items it otherwise might have taken you decades to accumulate.
For a lot of couples, though, the appeal of the registry isn’t what it once was. For one thing, far more couples are getting married later in life these days, often after having lived with their soon to be spouse for years before walking down the aisle. Their homes are already furnished and their lives are already filled with all of their needs, and most of their wants. Obviously, this isn’t true of everyone – some couples are still getting married while young and not fully established. But for a growing number of people, the registry has become obsolete. Which leaves many a soon to be wedded pair wondering what to do.
Do they tell their guests not to bring any gifts at all? Do they register for items they don’t really need, planning on packing their homes with more clutter? Or do they leave it all up to chance, knowing that plenty of their guests will bring gifts that won’t actually have a ton of functionality in their lives?
While those may seem like grim options, they aren’t the only ones available to couples without a need for a traditional registry. If China patterns and new bed linens aren’t exactly on your list of needs anymore, you might want to consider taking a more unique registry path.
First of all, let’s get the most important thing out of the way: obviously, getting married isn’t about the gifts. And you don’t invite your guests because you want more stuff. You invite them because they belong on the list of people you want to celebrate with. You know that the gifts are just an added bonus, and aren’t a requirement by any means. But you want to make sure you communicate that to your guests effectively – especially if you are veering away from tradition with your registry.
Most of those guests will still want to get you something that you will use and enjoy. So they’ll appreciate it if, instead of registering at a traditional home décor’ shop, you register at a store that is unique to your passions – a sporting goods store for the couple who loves to get outside, for instance, or even Amazon.
Even beyond that, though, more and more couples are registering nowadays for help with their honeymoon. Most travel agents can tell you how to do this, and a lot of resorts will offer up lists of amenities (think couples massages, or a day long scuba trip) that your guests can order for you. Some weddings nowadays even include a donation jar – in lieu of gifts, the couple instead requests cash donations to their honeymoon, or for something else big, like to be put towards a down payment on a new home.
Obviously, this is where things can get tricky – and where how you communicate your requests can be more important than just about anything else on your invite. Because again, you don’t want your guests to think you are just inviting them to this wedding for handouts.
So first and foremost, if you are opting for a non-traditional registry, you may want to consider adding a line to your invites that says something like:
Your presence is the only present we really want, but if you would like to contribute something more to our new life together, we are opting for a nontraditional registry in the form of…”
The key is to make it clear that gifts are not obligatory. This is especially true if you intend on accepting cash gifts at your wedding.
The good news is, more couples are taking this non-traditional path than ever before, so guests won’t be totally surprised if your invite doesn’t include a department store link. And so long as you make a point of communicating in a way that doesn’t sound demanding, you should be good.
And your guests will be happy for insight into how to give you a gift you will truly enjoy.