A traditional bride and groom are most likely to register for china, crystal and linens, but these days engaged couples are just as likely to have already established a home together. Creative wedding registries are now available for couples looking for something a little less conventional. If you love to camp, want to buy a home, support a particular charity or would love some financial help for a fabulous honeymoon, you can find a wedding registry or create your own.
While many of these registries request a donation, etiquette experts suggest that setting up a website for donations with an explanation of how the funds will be used is more polite than a blatant request for cash.
If your household is completely furnished, you may prefer to escape on a memorable honeymoon. You can use sites such as weddingchannel.com, 1800Registry.com or travelersjoy.com to allow your guests to donate cash towards your airfare or hotel bill or to purchase a gift certificate for a spa day, a celebratory dinner, museum admissions or a special excursion. On the site, you can describe your dream trip and add photos so friends and family feel a part of the excitement.
Buy or Build a Home
If you and your spouse-to-be hope to buy a home in the next year or so, you can describe your dream home online or show photos or renderings of a to-be-built property. Your wedding guests can pay for specific items such as windows and plumbing fixtures or simply donate cash to the cause. If you wait three months after receiving the money in your registry to apply for a loan, you'll be able to use it without restrictions. If you need to move faster, you'll need to show a lender where the money came from to prove it is a gift. Try mydreamhomeregistry.com, hatchmyhouse.com, DepositaGift.com or 1800Registry.com. You can also ask your own bank or credit union if it has the option of opening a down payment registry for you.
Support Your Favorite Charity
If you feel you have everything you need and know your guests would like to honor you with a gift, you have several options. You can choose a specific charity and request that your guests donate to the cause at justgive.org or at idofoundation.com, or you can choose several charitable organizations to give your guests options. Whether you want to help children in your country or overseas, support cancer research or save the manatees you can offer your wedding guests the chance to participate in a favorite cause. Etiquette experts suggest avoiding controversial or political non-profit groups unless you are 100% certain that every guest agrees with your opinions. You can also choose to have both gifts and a charitable contribution on idofoundation.com, which allows you to donate up to 8% of the value of your wedding gifts that your guests purchase from the partner companies on idofoundation.com.
Personalize Your Registry
If you're part of a couple that loves to camp or entertain at backyard barbecues, set up a registry at your favorite store for camping supplies such as REI. For a new grill, outdoor fire pit or hammocks set up at stores such as Home Depot, Lowe's or Walmart. If you both love golf, tennis or mountain biking you can register at a sporting goods store such as Sports Authority or a specialty store such as a Golf Galaxy. If you both love to read, registering at Amazon.com might be the perfect choice.
Maximize Your Options
If you have lots of interests or simply want to give your guests more choices, you can use MyRegistry.com to sync your existing registries from several stores and create a registry with items sold from a variety of online stores.
If you and your spouse-to-be love wine or gourmet food, you can register with a wine-of-the-month club or for a wine collection at places like Williams-Sonoma or online at wineenthusiast.com. Fresh steaks, fruit baskets and seafood can be delivered monthly from a variety of online sources and will keep you well-feed and reminded of your wedding guests all year.
A nice treat before or after the wedding and throughout the year can be spa treatments for both spouses. Many local spas allow you to set up a registry including lists of what treatments you and your spouse might enjoy so your guests will know what they are buying for you.
The Bottom Line
The key to creating the perfect wedding registry is to think carefully about what is most meaningful for you and your spouse as well as what your guests will enjoy giving.