Fine china, 500-thread-count sheets, and fancy stand mixers—with a bevy of attachments, of course!—are the staples of any traditional wedding registry. But what about couples who crave something a little different? "These days, many couples live together for years before they get married, and they may not need new—or as many—items for their home," explains wedding planner Alia Wilson of Firefly Events in New York City. Enter alternative wedding registries: Online and in-store options that allow guests to contribute to couples' honeymoons, future homes, favorite charities and more. Here, we got the scoop on 10 top alternative options from premier wedding planners across the country.
A honeymoon registry that helps you discover off-the-beaten-path destinations and lets you pick how guests give (fee-free gift cards, direct deposit, or mailed checks)? We're in. "Wanderable also has a free iPhone app that you can use to you track gifts and record thank you's," says Wilson.
An all-inclusive gift registry, Zola is different because it boasts experiences in addition to tangible gifts. "It offers a curated list of fun things to do in select cities—like a China Town tasting tour in my home city of New York—as well as fun gifts you can take advantage of anywhere in the country like a monthly coffee subscription," explains Wilson.
"For couples that are socially conscious and not in need of yet another set of pots and pans, a monthly membership to a Community Supported Agriculture box is a perfect gift," says Pearce. Find your local CSA and ask if they offer online registries—if not, consider asking your guests for donations toward it.
Couples who love the outdoors will also love the idea of registering with REI, a national store filled with gear for everything from camping to backpacking. "I actually had a wedding where a guest brought in a kayak for the couple!" says wedding planner Jennae Saltzman of Blush & Whim in Minneapolis. "Such a fun place to register for the more adventurous couple."
Deposit a Gift
The Deposit a Gift registry offers a place to crowdfund for any cause you want—revamping a local animal shelter, paying a loved one's medical bills, or financing a future family reunion—and lets you use social media to spread the word. "This is definitely a trend with couples who are a bit older or have a lot of money," says Saltzman.
Design your dream home with this registry, which creates a "Blueprint" of your house and its furnishing, home décor, and houseware needs based on your personal style. You can add your selections to layouts just to make sure they fit—or see if you have room for more!