Friday, December 2nd, 2011 by Faye

Not Another Toaster! Creative Wedding Registry Alternatives

Traditions have a strong place in the world of weddings and we at OneWed believe they should be approached with respect but not followed to a T. If picking out a china pattern or unwrapping a bread maker is not your idea of fun, consider the alternatives to the traditional Wedding Registry.

Couples are increasingly personalizing all aspects of their big day and the registry will not be left behind! As the average age of marriage increases so does the likelihood that couples have lived together and collected traditional housewarming gifts like pots, pans and linens. Nearlyweds today are also faced with the difficulty of starting a new life in a recession. For many, asking loved ones to help them begin their happily ever after with a cash gift makes more sense. Although most etiquette experts still say that this is a major Don’t.

Luckily, gift-giving options are only limited by a couple’s imagination and desires! To help you get started, think outside the traditional wedding registry box with a few fabulous alternative registry ideas:

The honeymoon
Websites like Traveler’s Joy allow couples to register for all aspects of a honeymoon. Guests will help you enjoy the honeymoon by buying a bottle of champagne or a night at the hotel!  Psst…you can enter to win a 5-star honeymoon to Hawaii now until December 30, 2011!

Cash donations
Opening up a bank or paypal account designated for a specific expense (like a new car, down payment on a house, or electronics) is a polite way to have guests help with major married-life costs.

A favorite charity
For couples who are more settled, asking guests to contribute to a favorite charity can be meaningful and altruistic. Just make sure your charity is not polarizing or you could risk offending your wedding guests.

Go green!
Eco-friendly wedding registries focused on environmentally safe products are a feel good and do good option for green-friendly couples.

Step into the art world
Love art, but can’t afford the sort of collection you desire? Register at a gallery or with an artist directly. This is a great way to start your family heirloom collection or support artists you love.

Be a fan
Too much time with a sports team can kill a relationship, but if both you and your soon-to-be are avid (insert favorite sport here) fans, register for season tickets or individual games. The same idea can be applied towards season’s tickets to your favorite ski resort or other outdoor activities.

Shop all over the place
A local artist in Portland makes your favorite china and the most comfortable linens in the world come from a small alpaca farm in Maine. What’s a couple to do? Use universal registries like My Registry, Amazon, or Wishpot, to craft your unique wedding wish list!

Keep wining and dining
Have guests help keep the romance alive by enrolling you in a wine of the month club. Love to cook? Ask guests to support local farmers and your kitchen habit with a subscription to a Community Support Agriculture food delivery service.

As with all aspects of a wedding a great deal of etiquette is involved in alternative registry gifts. Many of your guests will not know what to do without traditions to fall back on, and a few guests will want to give you a personal gift as a reminder of their place in your lives.  The best way to avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings is to be mindful of your guests’ personalities and makes sure there is something for everyone.

Here are a few hints and tips…

Your wedding is not a fundraiser!
Avoid at all costs turning your registry into a fundraiser; remember it’s about love not the love of money. Make sure your registry has a blend of physical items and cash gift options.

Don’t be a beggar!
When asking for cash donations you have to be a bit subtler. Avoid mentioning a cash registry on printed announcements and invitations, instead use your wedding website as the place to suggest alternatives.

Charity is a personal matter
Donating to charity is a wonderful alternative to giving gifts, but keep in mind the organizations near and dear to your heart may be offensive or off-putting to others. Try to keep charitable organizations as neutral as possible, or have a variety for guests to choose from.

You can’t have it all
Limit the big-ticket items. While you may want help with the down payment for the house, car, and honeymoon, pick one and you won’t look greedy.