Breaking the Wedding Registry Tradition

When planning your wedding, chances are you will be bombarded with questions from the very beginning. Other than “Where are you getting married?” and “When?”, you will likely be asked, “Where are you registered?”. It’s a common expectation for engaged couples to have a wedding registry, which points their guests towards gifts the couple wants or needs (and avoids duplicate gifts coming in).


There are benefits to a wedding registry. But before you feel pressured to start scanning items at your local department store or decide on a wedding china pattern for dishes you’ll rarely use, stop and think about what you truly want. You are not required to have a traditional wedding registry. Honestly, you’re not required to do anything for your wedding that you don’t want to do. If a traditional registry isn’t something you want, skip it. Having a wedding registry is a tradition that is evolving with modern day couples.


A Brief History


Wedding registries have been around since the early 1900s, so it’s easy to see how the tradition has been ingrained in the minds of brides, grooms, and their families. Registries provided assurance that the new couple would start their lives together with all the essentials.


It was a reflection of the post-war era (not to mention clever marketing by department stores). Couples were waiting until after their wedding to move in together. While the bride may have collected a few key items before the wedding, newlyweds were starting from scratch when it came to furnishing their home.


Changing Times


But much like other trends in the wedding industry, many couples are now eschewing tradition for personalization. Registries no longer have to include wedding china and table linens. In fact, they don’t have to include any physical objects at all.


According to a registry study by The Knot, 2017 saw a 50% rise in the popularity of cash registries. Companies are taking notice and offering specific registries geared towards honeymoon funding, unique experiences, and the like. Couples can register for honeymoon drinks on the beach, an afternoon parasailing, or airfare. Or they can designate gifts to go towards future travel, local experiences, or a down payment on a home. For the couple that wants to compromise between traditional and cash registries, websites like Zola offer a combination of the two.

Doing What’s Right for You


It should also be noted that more than 75% of couples live together before getting married.

When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we were living in a small apartment in Seattle. We already had the necessities for our life together. Since we weren’t in our forever home (or even just a house) yet, we didn’t want to register for investment pieces that wouldn’t have a place in our apartment.


Our Zola registry allowed us to concentrate on our honeymoon, where we chose to focus on experiences over things. For the family members who preferred traditional gifts, we included a few kitchen items that would upgrade what we already had and camping supplies for future adventures. Scrolling through our registry was a sneak peek into our life together: fun adventures, cooking at home, hiking on the weekends. We were excited to share that with our families and grateful for each gift we received.


If a traditional registry doesn’t feel right for you, that’s okay! Your entire wedding is a reflection of you and your relationship. That includes your registry, so it’s important to do what is right for you; whether that’s a cash fund for your dream home, a registry for honeymoon experiences, or even no gifts at all.


Prudence & Sage is all about helping you bring your wedding day vision to life and staying true to what you and your fiancé want. Connect with our coordinators to start planning!

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