I am admittedly a big fan of traditions. That being said, I’m also a big fan of options.
The reasons for foregoing a traditional wedding registry are vast these days. Some brides and grooms are combining two established households and will have little need for new household goods after wedding day. Others boast priorities that lie elsewhere, like having a ridiculously luxurious honeymoon. Still others simply want to give their wedding guests a unique alternative to the traditional set of plastic spoons that each one of their cousins will thoughtfully gift (or re-gift!) to them. No matter what the reason, a nontraditional wedding registry can be the answer to all your wedding registry headaches, and I’ve got my three favorite options below. Read on for some amazing nontraditional wedding registries that will help everyone celebrate the biggest day of your life!
1. Honeymoon Registry
I love, love, love these options. Not only are honeymoon registries for your wedding a fun way for guests to explore what adventures you hope to get into while on your honeymoon, but it’s also a fabulous conversation starter among guests both before and during your wedding. My husband and I actually had one via Honeyfund, and our guests sent us some of the sweetest notes along with their gifts, hoping their contributions gave us amazing memories. After all – glasses break, and towels rip, but memories last forever! (I actually used that line on our honeymoon registry. Ha!)
Want a hot tip? Ask your local travel agent if they offer a honeymoon registry program your guests can use to help you pay for your trip!
2. Future Home Registry…or a registry for another good cause!
If you’ve got all the necessities to start your life together, but you’re still renting (or you’re hoping to upgrade to a bigger, better home soon), this is another fun way to give guests the opportunity to contribute to a good cause without contributing to your plastic servingware stash. One site I’ve found specifically for using donations to help save for your future home together is called Hatch My House, and another option is Feather the Nest. Check them out! Not wanting a new home, but hoping for a new car to help get you two around safely? Check out other alternative registry sites that promote your “cause” of choice, like Our Wishing Well.
3. Charity Registry
My personal favorite registry for couples who really have no need for home goods or other requests is a charity registry. Rather than giving you gifts, your wedding guests can contribute to your favorite charity in honor of your union. Ask the charity (or charities) of your choice if they have a convenient way for guests to send contributions, or check out I Do Foundation as a great way of setting up donations. (One popular charity that has a specific wedding “registry” donation program online is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.) You’ll heighten awareness for your favorite causes while helping others to celebrate your new life together. Now that’s what I call a win-win, wouldn’t you?
Here’s another hot tip: If you don’t already have a great charity in mind, research ones that promote causes you’re passionate about, and ensure that proceeds from donations really do go to helping that cause before you choose it for your charity registry.
These amazing options aside, even if you did not plan to, you should still consider registering in a traditional storefront, like Bed Bath & Beyond. This will appease some of your older or more traditional guests. Register for a variety of items in a variety of price points, too. If what you register for and get really isn’t something you see yourself keeping, either return for store credit or arrange to donate it to someone in need.
Some brides and grooms consider asking for straight cash as a wedding gift too, but I personally have always cringed at that request. There’s something a little presumptuous about asking people to simply send money, in my humble opinion, rather than requesting that they contribute to a good cause – be that your honeymoon, your future home together, or your favorite charity!
By the way, proper etiquette states that you should never, ever include registry information on your wedding invitations or even as an enclosure with your wedding invitation. Instead, have your friends and family members spread the word about your registry or registries of choice, and post more information about it on a section of your wedding website. Giving the bride and groom a gift is simply an implied tradition, so guests will know to ask around or snoop through your wedding website to learn where and what to give!
Images courtesy of Knoxville wedding photographers Dan and Natalie Watson of Watson-Studios.