Alternative Wedding Registry Ideas

By Meg Favreau on 11 May 2012 4 comments
Photo: rkramer62

I don't want to buy my friends a $80+ stainless steel trashcan. And I certainly do not expect them to buy one for me. Or a soap dispenser, or ice tongs, or many of the other trappings that traditionally make up a wedding registry.

Sure, getting new stuff is nice, and I love the idea of helping a new couple out. But so many registries for weddings I've been to have felt impersonal, and they're often filled with lots of wants and very few needs.

As a guest, you're at the mercy of the happy couple. But if you're planning to get married soon, here are some alternative ideas for your registry. (See also: 25 Awesome, Useful Gifts)

1. Home Improvement Stores

If you want to make sure you'll get gifts from your wedding that you'll actually use, register somewhere that provides useful gifts. Check out tool-heavy stores like Sears, or create a registry using the Amazon Wish List feature or a tool like Registry Shop, which allow you to include items from sites across the internet in your list.

2. Honeymoon Fund

Want an awesome honeymoon? Have other people pay for it! There are lots of registries, such as Honey Fund, that allow guests to not only fund your trip, but choose to pay for certain experiences, such as meals out or snorkling trips.

3. Home Down-Payment Fund

Similar to the honeymoon idea, you can ask for donations for a goal such as buying a house. And yup — there are sites just for that too, such as Hatch My House.

4. Charitable Donations

If you really don't want or need anything from your wedding guests, say so. But there will almost always be the person who insists on giving something. Designate a favorite charity that your guests can donate to in your name. Using a site like Just Give makes it easy.

5. Items You Already Use

Register at a store like Target for things you already use and buy regularly, such as shampoo or cleaning products.

6. Things for the Actual Wedding

Instead of asking for post-wedding gifts, ask friends and family to donate funds, items, or services for the actual ceremony and reception. Your wedding gets paid for, and everybody gets to enjoy your presents.

7. Cash

It may not be personal, but it's always useful. Plus it allows you to think about one less thing during the busy time leading up to your wedding. When you're already under stress, do you really want to get in an argument over which plates you want to use for the next 20 years?

What are your favorite alternative wedding gifts or registries?

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Guest's picture

You should also check out Wanderable for honeymoon registries. I found them recently, and they have beautiful designs on their honeymoon registries.

Guest's picture
Tina Yates now has a wedding registry!

Meg Favreau's picture

That's great! I love Etsy.

Guest's picture

All great ideas. I personally like the idea of honeymoon funds, charitable donations, or cash, and for my upcoming wedding it was a toss between these three options. We finally decided on having a cash registry and set up one on Envelope Registry. We love that we can add items to our list, so the fact that we're asking for cash is not so in your face.

Guest's picture

Great article about alternative registries, Meg. A cash registry sounds good to me. @simone, thanks for sharing about envelope registry. Will definitely check that out.