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3 Alternatives to a Traditional Wedding Registry

Isuru, Co-Founder of Hitchd
Isuru from Hitchd
Jan 16, 20215 min read

If you're like most couples today, then there may be one aspect of wedding planning that's weighing unnecessarily heavy on you — and you have no idea why. It's not choosing a venue or caterer. It's actually deciding what to put on a wedding registry.

We know your pain. Lots of engaged couples today feel the traditional wedding registry is somewhat outdated or too narrow for what they really need as gifts. After all, how many sets of towels do you really need? If your apartment has limited cabinet space, why do you need fine china or even place settings for more than eight people?

Plenty of couples out there would rather receive cash so they can take the honeymoon of their dreams or start seriously saving to buy a home. If this sounds like you and your partner, then it's good to know that you have alternatives to the traditional honeymoon registry.

Here's why some couples are ditching (or keeping) the traditional wedding registry and three modern alternatives that are serving engaged couples better.

Is a wedding registry right for you?

If you're having an uneasy feeling about creating a wedding registry, it's a good idea to stop and think about those feelings. Remember, there's no law of weddings that insists you must have a wedding registry for your guests, but even if you're not sure you want to need a registry, it's a good idea to stop and take stock of the life you and your partner share.

Whether a wedding registry is right for you is solely up to you and your partner. Here are a few things to consider when deciding to create one.

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When to make a wedding registry

Traditional wedding registries are most beneficial to couples who don't already live together. These couples may be still living with family or they may not have been able to merge households just yet. Whatever the reason, these couples are going to need just about all the home basics in order to live comfortably together.

Some couples buy their first homes together before the wedding, and they too rely on wedding registries to help fill their homes. Since the home is already purchased, they have a better idea of how they want to decorate and can choose items that fit their decor.

We've also seen couples create wedding registries to replace or upgrade their home goods. These couples have been living together, but their sheets, towels and kitchen appliances were either carryovers from their uni days or second-hand finds at thrift stores or their parents' attics. Now that they're getting married, these couples want to replace some of those older home goods with newer ones of better quality. A wedding registry fits this couple's needs perfectly.

How to know when to skip the wedding registry

If you read the above section and couldn't find yourself fitting into any of those scenarios, you're not alone. We've seen a lot of couples forgo traditional wedding registries for myriad reasons, such as:

  • They're still renting a small apartment:
    Sure, you and your partner might want new kitchen appliances and pillows — but where are you going to store it all? If you're still renting and saving to buy a bigger home, then it doesn't make sense to register for items that you don't have room to store.
  • They already have what they need:
    Couples who get married later in life have already replaced their pots and pans from uni, and they don't need any more upgrades. Maybe this is you and your partner. If so, a wedding registry probably won't help much.
  • They want to be considerate of the environment:
    Wedding registries create a ton of waste, from plastic and cardboard packaging to carbon emissions from shipping. Environmentally-minded couples who are concerned for the planet skip the wedding registry in favor of other eco-friendly options.
  • They would rather receive cash as a gift:
    We know a lot of couples these days pay for both their weddings and their honeymoons, and the wedding tends to suck up a larger part of the budget. Others want to prioritize buying a house or starting a family. Regardless of the reason, these couples would rather their guests just give cash as a gift.

If any of these reasons speak to you and your partner, then it may be time to ditch the traditional wedding registry and opt for something more modern.

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Best alternatives to a wedding registry

Even if you don't want to have a wedding registry, you and your partner should still have some sort of registry or fund for guests to contribute. Without any instructions, couples can expect a slew of messages from guests, asking where the couple is registered and then plenty of follow-up questions when they learn there isn't a registry at all.

You might think that leaving a wedding registry off an invitation sends a subtle enough message that you and your partner just want cash as a gift, but that's not always a success. While some guests will give cash, others will give gift cards — and some will give nothing at all. Remember, older generations often considered it rude to ask for cash — be it subtle or overt — as a wedding gift. If guests feel forced to give cash, they may opt to give nothing at all.

Luckily, you have other options other than having a wedding registry or nothing at all. Here are some of our favorite wedding registry alternatives.

Honeymoon registry

Honeymoon registries like Hitchd have grown in popularity over the years as couples began paying for their weddings in full and having a little budget for the honeymoon.

These registries function like a traditional wedding registry, but instead of registering for towels or pillows, couples register for airfare, accommodations and activities for their honeymoon. Guests can treat the happy couple to dinner or send them scuba diving for an afternoon. Couples can also take large expenses like airfare and break them down into smaller gifts so that multiple guests can contribute to the same large gift.

Most wedding registry gifts will last a few years (hopefully), but honeymoon memories stay with couples a lifetime.

Cash fund

Cash funds are essentially one collective pot that guests can contribute money to help the happy couple fund whatever it is they want. Some couples keep the cash fund generic while others tailor their funds to be house funds or baby funds.

No matter the reason, these funds let guests contribute whatever amount they feel comfortable with, so there's no pressure to give an expensive gift.

We've even seen some couples incorporate a cash fund into their honeymoon registries by making it a gift. Cash funds are great catch-alls for honeymoon registries, especially as the big day approaches and other gifts are already funded.

Charity fund

A lot of couples today are using their weddings as an opportunity to give back to others. Some want to honor a family member who may have struggled or died from a specific illness while others want to help those in need around their communities.

Whatever the reason, couples can ask wedding guests to donate to a charity of their choice in lieu of giving gifts. This is a sweet alternative to a traditional wedding registry that most guests are only too happy to do — but not everyone will follow the couple's wishes. There's always one or two guests who make a small donation and then give a gift card to the couple.

As you near your big day, you shouldn't feel forced to create a traditional wedding registry, no matter what anyone says. Today's couples have plenty of options. If you don't need new items for your home, don't register for them. Instead, you can create something that suits both you and your partner.

Couples using Hitchd have found tons of ways to make their honeymoon dreams come true while still showing respect and appreciation for their wedding guests. So long as you and your partner make gift giving easy and thank your guests with a card after the wedding, then everyone should feel good about giving to a honeymoon registry, charity fund or whatever you decide.

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