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4 Alternatives to a Traditional Wedding Registry

Aren't sure what to register for or have everything you need? Here are the best alternative registry ideas if you don’t want to go the traditional route.

By Deanna deBara

couple on honeymoon
Photo by Zola

A traditional wedding registry (with essential registry items like serveware, silverware, and plenty of high-end crystal) works for a lot of couples. But not every couple wants to go the traditional route—and lucky for them, there are plenty of alternatives to satisfy just about every soon-to-be-wedded couple. Here are four alternatives to consider if you don’t want to create a traditional wedding registry.

1. Register for experiences.

Traditionally, wedding registries have been focused on stuff—material items you and your SO might need to start your life together. But a lot of couples don’t need any more stuff, particularly if they’ve already been living together (and have all the sheets, kitchenware, and other home goods they could ever need).

And for those couples, there’s registering for experiences.

When you register for experiences, you give your guests the opportunity to gift an experience you and your partner want to have. Typically, these experiences are in some way tied to the honeymoon (for example, scuba diving on your beach honeymoon) or your marriage (like a newlywed cooking class)—but they certainly don’t have to be.

It’s your wedding and your registry so if you want to register for tickets to see your favorite band or an adrenaline-inducing skydiving adventure with your bride or groom-to-be, knock yourself out.

INLINE Unsplash 1080x720 (2) Photo Credit // Unsplash

2. Register for a down payment fund.

Traditional wedding registries are typically full of home goods. But some couples would prefer to actually on getting a home before they work on getting any things for the home.

That’s where a down payment fund comes in. With this alternative registry idea, your wedding guests can all contribute to a fund. Once everyone’s contributed, you can cash out that fund and use it to finance part of (or, if you have a particularly generous wedding guest list, all of) your down payment.

Think of it like crowdsourcing—except the crowd is your wedding guests and what they’re sourcing is your new home.

3. Register for gift cards.

There’s a lot to do during the wedding planning process. And for some couples, the idea of spending time choosing every single item they want to add to their registry doesn’t sound fun—it sounds completely overwhelming.

If that’s the case for you, save the decision-making for a less busy time. Register for gift cards instead. Gift cards are a great alternative to registering for specific gifts or items. Now, you have the flexibility to shop when you’re ready. If you don’t have the time, energy, or desire to build out your registry before the wedding, it’s not a problem. Guests can send a gift card and you can push off shopping until after all the wedding planning craziness is over.

Pro Tip: Gift cards can also be a better option for more traditional guests who might not feel comfortable donating to a cash fund.

4. Register for charitable donations.

Some people feel like they already have everything they want and need before the wedding and don’t want any gifts from their guests. That’s wonderful, but it’s also customary for wedding guests to extend something to the newly wedded couple. (Guests will likely give you gifts anyway so if you really don’t want any gifts for yourself, use your registry to do good for a cause you care about.)

Registering for charity donations is makes for a win-win situation. Your guests get the opportunity to give you a wedding gift, you don’t have to worry about gifts you don’t want or need, and the charity of your choice gets a hefty donation in your name—a donation they can use to do some serious good in the world. Beautiful!

So, if you don’t particularly want or need any gifts for your wedding? Consider going the alternative route and have your guests donate their gifts to charity.

INLINE Unsplash 1080x720 (17) Photo Credit // Unsplash

Bonus: Register for all of the above with Zola.

At Zola, we know that no two couples—and no two wedding registries—are alike. That’s why, when you register with Zola, you can create the registry (whether it’s a traditional or alternative registry idea) that feels uniquely and completely you.

Want to go the traditional route? At Zola, you can shop over 100,000 items from 1000+ retailers—or, you can easily add your wish list items from any third-party retailer you’d like. Want to build a more alternative registry? No worries! With gift cards, cash funds, experiences, and charity options, Zola has everything you need to create the best registry for you, your partner, and your wedding.

Build Your Zola Registry Today (It’s free!)

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