One of the most exciting parts of wedding planning for many newly engaged couples has to be curating a registry chock full of gifts they’ve been dreaming of since young adulthood.
Because so many couples are now living together before getting hitched, essential kitchen and home goods are often covered. My fiancée and I happen to be one of these aforementioned couples, and we really aren’t keen on the idea of asking our friends and family to supply us with kitchen accessories and fine china that we simply don’t need.
What options do couples like us have for creating a list of presents that our friends and family can easily shop from? Luckily, there are tons of alternatives to the traditional Crate and Barrel list, from honeymoon sites to universal registries and everything in between!
I’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular and innovative alternatives that are sure to fulfill the needs of every modern, co-habitating couple out there.
Unique Wedding Registry Ideas: Where to Start?
Now, before we begin, I’d like to offer a few suggestions to help you choose the right kind of gifts to build your nest egg!
1. Most importantly, think of your lifestyle and choose pieces you can envision yourself using. Do you and your fiancé dine out most of the time? Maybe you don’t want to focus on kitchenware so much. Register for things that you will cherish and appreciate; don’t include something on your list just because you think you’re supposed to have it.
2. Try to include options at varying price points. Some of your grad school friends will be thrilled to buy you a gift, but may not be able to afford a pricey Le Creuset baking dish.
3. Throwing a destination big day? Some couples choose to make gifts optional for guests traveling for the big day, since most people will be spending beaucoup bucks just to attend your ceremony.
4. When shopping for gifts, be sure to include your partner in the process and register for products you both like! If you have vastly different tastes or priorities, try compromising by each registering for whatever 5 things you each love and then come to a consensus on the rest. This way, your top priorities are each met and everything else can be a group decision.
5. If something you choose is an investment piece (ie. china, cookware) it’s always smart to stick with a timeless design. Steer clear of crazy prints that may be out of style a few years down the line.
6. While we all love getting cash money, it’s generally viewed as a wedding etiquette faux pas to outright request cash. There are definitely ways to get around this though, and some of the registries I’ve included in this list allow for receiving cash in a tasteful way.
7. Another etiquette tip: some people see it as rude to include any gift information on your formal wedding invitation. Save these details for the wedding website, or include a supplemental sheet if you’d prefer that all of the information is received at once. Many people hold onto invitations as keepsakes, and requesting presents on the invite itself is a bit forward.
8. Look for registries that offer flexible return policies, as you could easily end up with duplicates of the same gift (or just change your mind later!)
Now, on to the fun part!
16 Modern Wedding Registries:
Fund the honeymoon.
I love the idea of utilizing a site that allows guests to contribute cash to make your honeymoon go off without a hitch (or financial worry!) This online registry allows couples book their honeymoon online and then lets friends and family give portions of their trip… essentially making this a honeymoon crowdfunding operation.
This is a newer honeymoon site that essentially offers everything that Honeyfund does, however I personally find Wanderable’s webpage designs much cleaner and more modern, offering users easy web templates to choose from to build their personal site. Wanderable also allows clients to choose how they receive their money, whether that is through gift cards, direct deposit, or a mailed check.
Make your house a home.
3. Home Depot
If you and your sweetheart have already bought a home together and have some amazing renovation plans in mind, look into Home Depot! This would let your guests contribute to any large projects you have been dreaming up, such as building your perfect kitchen or master bathroom!
This fundraising website helps groups, companies, or couples create fundraising pages which direct funds to a large number of charitable organizations. Crowdrise features a registry option on their site, allowing you to easily create a personalized page directing funds to your charity of choice. Include your unique URL on your wedding page to easily direct your guests to your donation site.
If you’ve built your wedding website on The Knot, you’ll definitely want to look their charity partnership program, which automatically donates to a charity of your choice anytime a guest purchases a present off of your registry. Receiving gifts AND donating to charity at no extra cost? Yes, please!
Universal registries (AKA the bread and butter of modern registries).
I am personally smitten with Zola and its offerings, because it really allows brides to curate a completely personalized gift list by letting users add household goods, honeymoon excursions, or personal funds to build a little nest egg.
The interface is beautiful and the perks are seriously endless. This miracle of a wedding website has changed my life for the better – I am able to add items from any store, I can control when purchased items get shipped, and I can even exchange gifts before I’ve received them! Not only that, but I’m able to list a super expensive item on my registry and let people donate small amounts towards the total price. Want to crowdfund your dream Italian espresso machine? No problem! Zola’s got your back. (Can you tell it’s my favorite?)
Another great universal option is Newlywish. This site is easy to navigate and includes many of the awesome features found in Zola. The standout benefit is their curated collections, which highlight present ideas based on personal taste, trends, or most popular items. The layout of their curated collections mimics Pinterest boards, making it an easy format to shop from.
This is a fantastic choice for couples who want to add products from literally anywhere on the internet. SimpleRegistry also allows for group gifting, so don’t be shy about adding some pricey items to your list! This site also offers a “thank you tracker”, which helps you keep tabs on what each guest bought for you, and allows you to make checklists of who you still need to thank (complete with contact info!)
Using MyRegistry is considered the “#1 Universal Wedding Registry” and incorporates features very similar to SimpleRegistry. Add items for anywhere on the internet, and sync store registries you have already created for one streamlined, curated list. Smartphone-savvy couples will appreciate the feature of scanning barcodes of items in stores, which will automatically add the product to your list.
Amazon claims to offer the world’s largest selection of items, which very well may be true. Even if you can’t find something you love on their site, you can add items from other websites, making this yet another good universal option. Amazon also throws in a one-time 10% completion coupon after you’ve celebrated your big day. Extended returns of 180 days also makes this a desirable option.
Other unique and modern ideas:
If you are looking for handmade, unique gifts, there is no better online store to register with than Etsy! Support independent businesses and receive one-of-a-kind gifts that you and your fiancé are sure to cherish for years to come.
For any couples with a penchant for contemporary art and home goods, the Museum of Modern Art actually offers a registry option! Signing up for this service will expose you to incredibly unique keepsakes, and you may even find yourself adding some beautiful barware or kitchen gadgets to your list after all!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be over the moon to know Anthropologie offers wedding services for their seriously stunning housewares, hardware, furniture, lingerie, and even clothes! A word of warning: your dude may not be thrilled to see you’ve filled your present list with pretty tea-length dresses, but stick to their lovely home goods for pieces you can both benefit from! These are the special items that will make your heart race.
Do you and your darling have a passion for the great outdoors? If so, you’ll be thrilled to know REI offers a registry! Create your list online, over the phone, or in a store. You can manage your lists and shipping preferences online at anytime, making the process a breeze.
15. CSA Box
If you and your beau are hoping to incorporate fresh, organic produce into your pantry, you should think of adding a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Box on your universal registry. This service links consumers directly with local farms and delivers fresh produce and groceries weekly. Start out your marriage with organic, wholesome food, and learn to cook fun new recipes together!
16. Card Avenue
Stock up on handy gift cards by registering with Card Avenue. This service offers cards from more than 250 stores, and lets guests contribute towards a total amount on a desired gift card. This is a great avenue to go down if you’re hoping to invest in furniture or other big-ticket purchases, and this option isn’t quite as presumptuous as asking for cash.
Are there any other unique or interesting registries you may have heard of? Let us know below in the comments!