Thursday, October 1, 2015

Wedding Registries & The Modern Bride

Hello there, lovely readers! My name is Aimee and I’m the Social Media Coordinator for I’m also a bride-to-be! So, who better to talk about this topic than someone who’s planning a wedding?

One of the first snags that my fiancé and I hit during wedding planning was figuring out our registry situation. We’re not particularly conventional people, our wedding will be anything but traditional, and we also already live together. So the idea of registering for tableware or stemware or coffee makers or bedding seemed a little pointless to us. We already have those things.

The reality is that most women cohabit with their significant others before marriage, which means that there’s plenty of time to “feather the nest” before being engaged or married. When I moved in with my boyfriend, we crammed all of our stuff into his one bedroom apartment and if we happened to be missing some necessity between the two of us, we purchased it. With that said, the last thing we need is more stuff. While wedding registries are a great opportunity to upgrade your belongings, the tradition is a little outdated, to say the least. We have a toaster and a high speed blender. We’re not exactly fine china kind of people, and we’re practically drowning in bedding. My fiancé and I have the added concern of possibly needing to move out of state once he is accepted to a PhD program. When we move, we plan on donating most of our furniture to reduce the cost of moving and only once we’ve settled in our new place do we plan to upgrade our things.

As you can see, from a practicality standpoint, registering for physical gifts is not a good move for us. And that reality is becoming a trend with modern brides, especially as many women wait to marry until they’re older and more financially secure. If you’ve had over a decade of living on your own to realize that you need real plates, or how much of a necessity a coffee maker is to your sanity, then you likely already have those things. If upgrades are something you want, by all means, register! Of if you don’t have all those things, a registry is definitely the way to go!

A wedding registry certainly has its perks. You’re making it super easy for your guests to buy you something you actually want. Guests appreciate the ease of going online, picking something, knowing you’ll love it, and paying for it.

But what do you do if, like my fiancé and me, you’re abstaining from a traditional wedding registry?

For wedding guests, my first piece of advice is: be understanding and accepting of the couple’s choice. I’ve heard from lots of people (mostly an older generation of women) who think that it’s inappropriate to essentially ask for money as a wedding present. I’ve heard this choice called tasteless and impolite, but I have to disagree. The reality is that the wedding is about the couple. And it’s up to them to determine how guests’ offerings can be most helpful to them. How awful is it if I register for a ton of expensive gifts, knowing full well that I don’t need them or that I’ll have to get rid of them at some point? Additionally, planning a wedding is hard, and it’s likely that there are already going to be some hard feelings about plenty of things. Don’t add to the stress. You don’t have to agree with it, but if you love the couple, suck it up, shell out whatever you would have spent on a toaster and move on. Consider it a good deed!

As a bride, there are plenty of nontraditional options to look at! Honeymoon registries, housing funds, charitable causes, etc. Honeymoon registries are particularly popular now, as it becomes increasingly difficult to cover the costs of a wedding and a honeymoon. If a couple is looking to buy a house after the wedding and they know they’ll need some help, housing funds are a great way to ensure that every wedding guests’ generosity goes towards the very best cause for that couple.  If you don’t need any money or gifts at all, but you know that your guests will insist, you can always ask them to make donations to your favorite charities in your honor!

My fiancé and I decided to create an online “Starting Our Life Together” fund, which our guests can donate to through our wedding website. This way, our guests know that their generosity is helping us to build our life and home together the same way a traditional gift might, but just a little later! 

We chose to mention our fund on our wedding website, because our website will be a hub of information for our out-of-town wedding. If you don’t have a wedding website, you can include information about registries (or lack thereof) on your wedding invitations, although it’s not recommended because it tends to take away from the importance of the other info on there. If you’re sending save the dates, you can include it there. Or, put the information on a small insert card that you can send in the envelope with the invitation.

Modern brides may approach registry alternatives with some trepidation, because of generations of wedding traditions bearing down upon them, but the reality is that the modern bride has other priorities that take precedence over small gifts “to make a house a home”. How useful are home goods if you don’t have a home to put them, you know? So, if a conventional wedding registry isn’t right for you and your future spouse, don’t feel nervous about asking your guests to help in some other way. They love you, and that’s all that will matter!

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