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How weird is it not to have a wedding registry?

Ollie, Co-Founder of Hitchd
Ollie from Hitchd
Mar 12, 20229 min read

So… how weird would it be if you and your partner just skipped the whole wedding registry thing altogether?

It's a tempting thought, and if you two are in the throes of wedding planning, then taking one more item off your to-do list probably seems worth it. But ignoring this tradition may have some unintended consequences, and they might cause even more headaches for you.

If you're considering not having a wedding registry, here's how to parse out your feelings and rethink the idea in a way that meets your needs and makes you feel good about your decision.

There are perfectly good reasons why you don't want a wedding registry

Every couple is different, and if you and your partner feel strongly about not having a wedding registry, then know that you're not alone. There are a number of perfectly legitimate reasons why you don't want or need a wedding registry.

Here are just a few of them.

You already have toasters and sheets and towels

When wedding registries first became popular, engaged couples were much younger (think right out of high school) and still living with their parents. All of their household items had to be brand new because the couple would be making an entirely new home together after the wedding, and — for obvious reasons — they didn't want to spend their first few weeks of marriage sleeping on a bare mattress or letting themselves air dry after a shower.

But times have changed. Many couples wait to get engaged, so they've already started their careers and invested in some quality home goods of their own. They're also living together before getting married, so a lot of those home essentials have already been bought.

If this describes you and your partner, then you might feel like you have everything you need already. So why ask guests to buy you more stuff that you don't want?

What you really need is cash

Raise your hand if what you really want above all else as a gift is cold hard cash.

The joy of receiving money as a wedding gift comes from its pure flexibility. Want to use it towards your honeymoon? Go for it. Planning to sock it away so you two can save up for that down payment on your first home? Perfect. Think you might want to redo a room in your home or invest in some better furniture? Sounds great. Cash provides so many options so you can buy exactly what you need when you need it.

Fund memories, not things.

The modern registry where guests fund your dream honeymoon. It's simple and beautiful. Start your registry

You're too busy wedding planning to make a wedding registry

Planning a wedding, even a small one, can be time consuming, especially if you're balancing your time with a full-time job and childcare. It would be nice if you could spend a whole weekend visiting venues or going over menus, but that might not be an option for you, so every minute you do get to spend wedding planning needs to be spent on the most important aspects of the day — and that might not be your wedding registry.

Every couple has that one thing they want to be perfect about their wedding. It might be choosing the right venue that will lend itself to incredible photos or maybe it's the right menu. You want those moments to be perfect for guests, so why take time away from that by building a wedding registry?

All the things you really want are expensive

Maybe you and your partner have been living together, and you've acquired all the basics needed to stock your home — but what you really want is that beautiful KitchenAid stand mixer so you can make beautiful cakes and fabulous breads. Or maybe you've always wanted a robot vacuum, a brand-new TV or the latest gaming console.

Who wouldn't want these gifts? But can you ask your friends and family members to buy you these extravagant items? You can probably imagine that friends finishing up PhD programs or raising children might have limited budgets for gifts, and you don't want your families to think you're greedy. It probably seems cruel to ask for these gifts when you don't want or need the smaller, less expensive gifts.

Why not having a wedding registry might not get you want

Here's the kicker: All of those reasons for not wanting to build a wedding registry are valid and reasonable — but not having a wedding registry at all might not yield the results you want.

Here are a few counter examples.

Guests will buy you all the stuff you don't want

Some guests out there, usually older ones, insist on buying a physical gift for the couple. Thinking back to why registries were necessary, couples built their first homes together with the love and support of their families and friends. When they used their toasters, they thought of Aunt Ada, who bought it for them. When they pulled out their pots and pans, they remembered their grandparents and how much they loved to cook. Yes, these were just pots and pans, but they took on new meanings when given by a loved one.

This tradition of helping a newly married couple build their life together still continues, so if you don't think you'll build a wedding registry, don't expect guests to show up empty handed. Instead, they might decide for themselves what you need and give you all the gifts that you don't want — think towels in the wrong color, duplicates of pots and pans or items too big for your home.

Not having a registry won't stop the physical gifts from coming. There are better ways, such as building a honeymoon registry or a cash fund, to encourage fewer physical gifts.

Some people just won't get the hint about cash

You would think that guests would get the hint about a cash gift when they see that there's no wedding registry. But you'd be wrong.

Asking for cash as a wedding present can be a delicate balance. It's still considered rude and tacky to ask for it in lieu of physical gifts, and some guests, who know exactly what you're doing by not having a wedding registry, might decide to fake ignorance and get you a physical gift anyway. Not having a wedding registry won't guarantee that everyone will just write you a cheque, so if that's your primary reason for skipping the registry, consider a cash fund instead.

It doesn't take long to build a wedding registry

If you've never built a wedding registry before, then you could be forgiven for thinking that the only way to do it is to drive to the store, listen to a salesperson's pitch and then wander around the store scanning a bunch of items. If that's what you're imagining, then no wonder you think it will take too long to build a registry. Doing it that way would take all day, precious time you may not have to give.

The truth is that many registries nowadays can be built at home on your computer at your own convenience. If you have an hour after you put the kids to bed or time while you're rewatching a TV show you've seen a million times, then you can put together a registry in no time at all.

In fact, Hitchd makes it easier to build a honeymoon registry because our platform provides pre-written text for introductions and gifts. Choose a text you like and then customise it to fit you and your partner. Using these texts saves so much time and helps you add more gifts faster.

Guests can go in on the expensive gifts

Let's say that what you really want is that expensive KitchenAid stand mixer. At about $350, that will be a costly item for just one person to buy for you.

But what if several people chipped in and bought it for you? It's not uncommon for friends to go in on one gift when one person in the group gets married, especially since most of your friends are likely on tight budgets as they finish graduate programs or start families of their own. If you're using Hitchd, you can break down big-ticket gifts into smaller amounts so more people can contribute. Even if you don't reach the full gift amount, you'll at least have some help and hopefully be able to cover the rest.

It is also important to note that some of your relatives may be perfectly happy to buy you that expensive gift. Maybe it's your parents or your partner's old family friend who used to babysit him or her and isn't even invited to the wedding. It's hard to predict who will give what gift, so don't limit yourself in keeping those expensive items off your registry.

How to rethink a wedding registry that fits your needs

While all of these reasons not to have a wedding registry are valid, it's also true that having a traditional wedding registry might not give you what you really need either. If you're still not convinced that a wedding registry would be a good fit, then it's time to broaden your thinking about what a wedding registry could be and how today's modern platforms make it easier than ever to build a registry that fits your needs.

Here are a few ways to design a wedding registry for the modern couple.

Ask for honeymoon-related gifts, not physical ones, with a honeymoon registry

Okay, so you don't need a new toaster — but you could probably use a nice vacation with your partner, right?

Instead of building a traditional registry, create a honeymoon registry instead. All of the gifts on the honeymoon registry are related to the trip, so guests can pay for that ziplining tour, a nice romantic dinner for two or even a night at your hotel.

But what about scheduling tours and flights and dinners and such? Do you want guests to do all that work? Probably not because you want the flexibility to choose the hotel or tour company and the days that work for you. With Hitchd, the person buying the gift sends you just the money. Once you have it, then you can make the reservations. Now instead of remembering Aunt Ada whenever you use your toaster, you'll remember her when your zipping through the jungle.

Add a cash fund to encourage money as a gift

A cash fund, often thought of as the crowd-funding wedding registry, functions as an online pool where anyone, be they invited to the wedding or not, can contribute any amount of money they would like. There's no minimum or maximum, so no guest feels sheepish when they cannot chip in more than $25 or $50, and other well wishers not invited to the wedding, such as coworkers or old family friends, can throw in money if they wish.

Cash funds offer an alternative way for asking for money as a wedding gift, and they're easy to add to a Hitchd wedding registry. Just select “cash fund” as the type of gift you'd like to add. If you really want to encourage cash as gift, give the fund a purpose, such as a down payment on a house. This tells everyone that what they're really helping you buy is a whole house.

Choose a registry platform that makes it easier and faster to build a wedding registry

Here are a few key features to look for in a wedding registry platform that will make building and hosting your registry a breeze:

  • Tons of stock photos to make your introduction and gift pages pop so don't have to hunt for photos elsewhere.
  • Choices between physical, experience or cash fund gifts to diversify your registry as needed.
  • Pre-written text for introductions and gifts that just need your personal touch so you can quickly add gifts to your registry.
  • The ability to split the cost of a large gift into smaller amounts to make it easier for guests with all budget sizes.
  • Access to your gift money whenever you need it, even if your big day hasn't yet arrived.

Hitchd offers all of these features and plenty more. Our platform makes it easier for couples with all types of needs to build a wedding registry that fits their unique place in life. Whether you have six months or six weeks before the big day, Hitchd helps you build the perfect wedding registry that will wow your guests and help you ask for exactly what you want.

At the end of the day, it's not weird to not have a wedding registry — but not having one might not get you what you really want as a wedding present. Your guests will take time to celebrate your new beginning, so it's up to you to make the experience as pleasant and seamless as possible for them. Building a wedding registry that wholly represents you as a couple will be a fun part of the process.

Looking for the #1 way to fund your honeymoon?

Hitchd is a new type of honeymoon registry that helps fund your adventure of a lifetime. Think of us as your very own wishing well, Kickstarter, and travel planner, all rolled into one beautiful experience.

Fund memories, not things.

The modern registry where guests fund your dream honeymoon. It's simple and beautiful. Start your registry