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A lot of couples don't want to do a traditional wedding registry — they've already got their homes, and they've outfitted them with the things they want. They don't feel the need to stock up on Waterford crystal and their grandmother's sterling pattern, much less have to find a place to store 16 place settings of china that can't go in the microwave or dishwasher.
That's okay. You don't have to do a traditional wedding registry anymore. It's not just about registering for china and linens at a well-known department store — you can register for home improvements, trips (and not just your honeymoon), and even major lifestyle items such as in vitro fertilization or a down payment on your first home. Here are some of my favorite nontraditional registry options.
Register for Everything All in One Place
Websites like MyRegistry.com allow you to register with pretty much any retailer, all on one easily-accessible list for your guests.
Create Your Dream Home
Feather the Nest asks your guests to help with the down payment for your house, or remodeling the kitchen. One of my clients used this with the goal of building a deck with a hot tub.
Fly or Sail Away
There are numerous honeymoon registries to help you save up enough for the honeymoon of your dreams, or just another special trip. Honeyfund is probably the best known, but some of the major resort and travel chains also offer wedding registry options — and because you're using their services specifically, those may cost you less.
Give to a Good Cause
Charity registries have become more and more popular — I'd say almost one-third of my clients asked guests to give donations instead of wedding gifts last year for their weddings. It's super popular to choose a local charity, wherever you're getting married, as a way to give something back to the place where you've started your married life, like the local humane society. But it's also common for brides and grooms to choose a specific person or cause to help — such as asking wedding guests to contribute to a GoFundMe for a friend who is ill — instead of giving to a larger organization.
Register for the Unexpected
There are several sites that let you create your own categories, but Zola is pretty spectacular. You can register for some traditional stuff to make your parents happy, but you can also translate the gifts into "experiences" like fancy fresh food deliveries from Blue Apron, or monthly wine or beer subscriptions. They have a "fund" section where you can literally create any category you like, so that your wedding guests can help you pay for the things you dream about. My professional opinion? You might have to be a bit careful how you promote this sort of registry so you don't appear to be doing a cash-grab, but for your friends in-the-know, this is a great way for them to help you learn to skydive or start a family.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.