As any couple planning a wedding knows, many of the choices made in planning the nuptials revolve around guests. Where the wedding is held often depends on where the couple's families live and how easy it is for them to travel. If the couple wants to have an afternoon wedding and an evening reception, then they need to plan on where to send guests in between the two events.
The last thing any couple wants is for guests to feel unwelcome or unappreciated. Weddings come with their own etiquette landmines, and they often vary depending on the age of the guest. Older guests are usually more traditional. They like to give physical gifts to the couple, and they treasure receiving thank-you cards. Younger guests want to feel appreciated as well, but they're less hung up on thank-yous and physical gifts.
When it comes to the wedding registry etiquette, many of today's couples feel torn. They don't feel the need to register for many physical gifts, such as fine china, and they'd rather plan a big honeymoon rather than receive gifts for their home. But is it tacky to forgo the traditional wedding registry altogether and choose a honeymoon registry instead?
With more and more couples creating their dream honeymoon registries, it's much more common these days to attend a wedding without a traditional wedding registry. Chances are many guests have already been to a wedding with a honeymoon registry, so the concept shouldn't be new to most guests.
That being said, there are some etiquette tips that all couples should know when launching their honeymoon registries. Here's what to know about honeymoon registry etiquette and the complete checklist for building a thoughtful honeymoon registry.
How honeymoon registry etiquette differs from wedding registry etiquette for guests
No matter where a couple registers, most wedding registries at department and big-box stores look the same. They usually include a mix of high-priced items, such as vacuums and stand mixers, and some lower-priced items so guests can mix and match what they'd like to give. This ensures that guests don't feel forced to pay a certain amount, maybe more than they're comfortable with, and can choose how much they want to spend.
The bottom line: Couples need to make their wedding guests feel appreciated for whatever gift they choose.
Honeymoon registries follow similar etiquette, but they do require more tact and thoughtfulness from the couple. After all, a honeymoon registry asks for money, not a physical gift. Some guests, usually more traditional ones, balk at the idea of being asked to give money or to give a gift they cannot see.
But that doesn't mean couples should forgo the honeymoon registry. It just means that they need to make their honeymoon registry gifts feel real and tactile so guests feel like they're giving physical gifts.
It also means that couples need to take extra care when sending thank-you cards. Guests should receive personalized thank-yous no matter what type of registry the couple chooses, but with honeymoon registries, thank-yous should be detailed, explaining exactly how the couple enjoyed the experience.
The main difference in etiquette between honeymoon and wedding registries is personalization. Wedding registry etiquette doesn't need quite as much personalization. Honeymoon registries need lots of details to make guests feel as if they're part of the experience, and they require a little more memory and thoughtfulness on the part of the couple.
What to know about honeymoon registry etiquette
Honeymoon registry etiquette requires more thoughtfulness from the couple, but that shouldn't deter couples from creating a honeymoon registry. Registries like Hitchd make it easy for couples to build their dream honeymoon and allow for plenty of personalization. Once completed, couples will feel confident that they've built something meaningful that all guests will feel welcome contributing to as the big day draws nearer.
For couples wanting to create the most inclusive honeymoon registry, here's a complete checklist that follows honeymoon registry etiquette and ensures a successful registry.
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Start with a polite introduction
The introduction will be the first thing guests see when they look up the couple's honeymoon registry, so it's important that couples write out a nice hello to everyone that visits their registry.
While sites like Hitchd include pre-written messages, couples should feel free to write their own as well. These introductions usually include:
- A welcome to all guests and visitors to the honeymoon registry
- An advanced thank-you to all those who choose to contribute something
- A polite reminder that being a guest of the wedding is a present in and of itself and all other honeymoon registry contributions are appreciated but not necessary in order to attend.
Not all of your wedding guests will give the couple a gift. Some just include a nice card, or they give a gift at the wedding shower and not the ceremony. That's okay. As far as honeymoon registry etiquette goes, couples should make it clear that guests are welcome no matter what, if anything, they contribute.
Add at least six gifts
Research from Hitchd has shown that the most successful honeymoon registries include at least six gifts. In fact, honeymoon registries with six or more gifts receive an average of USD 130 per contribution, compared to $93 per contribution for honeymoon funds with fewer gifts.
There are a few reasons why more gifts equal larger contributions, and it has to do with honeymoon registry etiquette. A variety of gifts means that there will be a variety of price points. As mentioned earlier, traditional wedding registries are successful because guests have plenty of options when it comes to price, so no one feels like they must pay a minimum in order to come to the wedding. A good honeymoon registry replicates this function by including at least six gifts with various price points.
Here are a few popular gifts and their price-point ranges:
- A round of drinks ($20-$40)
- Dinner for two ($50-$75)
- An activity or tour ($50-$75)
- Spa day for two ($75-$100)
- Airfare and accommodations ($100)
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Expensive gifts, such as accommodations, can be broken down into multiple gifts, so more than one guest can contribute. Couples can also include one large cash fund in which guests can contribute however much they'd like. This allows for any guest — a grandparent or a friend working through grad school — to feel welcome in contributing what they'd like.
Write detailed descriptions for each gift
What makes a honeymoon registry stand out for guests is the excitement written into each description. It's not enough for couples to simply list the gifts they want. To follow proper honeymoon registry etiquette, they need to tell guests what each gift really means and how the money will be spent.
This means including detailed descriptions about the tour, spa, activity or restaurant that the couple plans to visit. Couples should tell guests why they want to take specific tours or why they chose certain restaurants and include links to relevant websites or photos from social media or the website.
This gives guests a sense of what it is that they're paying for, and it feels more real and concrete than just money. Guests need to be shown that they're not just giving cash; they're giving an experience. Experiences can be just as memorable as any physical gift. Couples just need to show guests that they're serious about these honeymoon experiences and how much more appreciated they'll be that a new sheet or towel set.
Send thank-yous with photos when the honeymoon's over
Perhaps the most important part of any honeymoon registry etiquette is the thank-you card. With honeymoon registries, it's very important for couples to keep track of who gave to which gift and to include details of that gift in the thank-you card. Registries like Hitchd make this easy because they keep track of that for couples. When it comes time to write the cards, all the couple needs to do is reference Hitchd's records.
Each card should include:
- Personal thank-yous for the gift given
- Details of how the couple spent and enjoyed the gift
- Photos if available.
The details of the experience should be the most important part of the thank-you card. Couples should tell guests specifically about their gift. If the guest contributed to the accommodations fund, then the couple should describe their hotel or Airbnb and mention what they loved about it the most. If the gift was a tour, then the couple should talk about how much fun they had and what they learned on the tour.
Doing this shows guests that their monetary contribution actually went towards the experience they paid for and not just into the couple's account. This is one of the most important aspects of honeymoon registry etiquette: to make sure guests know that their gift was actually experienced.
Luckily for couples, thank-you cards for honeymoon registries tend to be more personal anyway than traditional wedding registries. A physical item will only last for so long, but the memory of a romantic dinner for two or a kayaking adventure on a honeymoon will last forever.
When it comes to honeymoon fund etiquette, what couples need to focus on most of all is putting the guest first. From the introduction to the thank-you cards, the wedding guests should always feel welcome and appreciated when contributing to a honeymoon fund.
Honeymoon registries like Hitchd make this easy to welcome guests, so long as couples are willing to put in the time to personalize them. If couples make a good effort to keep their guests' feelings at the center of the honeymoon fund, then they'll never have to worry about offending their wedding guests and they can focus on having a dream wedding and honeymoon.
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