Ultimate Guide to Alternative Wedding Registries

Image Gallery: Beautiful Beaches Instead of dishes, register for your honeymoon and have a memorable trip. See more pictures of beaches.
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Every bride has a personal style, and the wedding registries you choose should reflect your tastes as well as your future plans and wishes. There are registries for almost anything you can buy. Times are changing, so it's more acceptable to opt for unusual or specialized gifts, and most items are fair game. For anything not covered by a registry, you can usually make arrangements for a gift certificate instead.

The advent of multiple registries for many different types of gifts makes it possible for a bride to tailor her choices to meet very specific needs, too. If you aren't inspired by the prospect of receiving a set of sheets or a coffeemaker (you may already have most of the basic household stuff), a honeymoon travel registry that helps defray the cost of your dream trip might be just what it takes to get you excited about wedding gifts.


Make it Personal

Even though you can register for just about anything, you might want to consider the sensibilities of the person giving you the gift. Your uncle Joe may want you to have whatever makes you happy but feel more comfortable about presenting you with a gift that has some staying power. A set of silver candlesticks may be around in a decade to remind you of his generosity and good wishes, while a pair of designer sunglasses could be contributing to your local landfill in a year or two.

What Do You Need?

From plush plumbing fixtures to plants for the landscape, there's a lot of flexibility in the gifts you can register for, which could make it difficult to settle on what's really important. The one caveat here is a caution to organize your plan of attack carefully. You may want to focus on at least a couple of higher ticket items to which multiple people can contribute. It's a good way to use the occasion to parlay many smaller gifts into one or two larger ones you might not be able to afford any other way.

Beyond a honeymoon, a few of these options may not have occurred to you:

  • Electronics, like computers, flat screen TVs or DVRs
  • Cars and real estate
  • An art investment that will decorate your home while it appreciates in value
  • Tickets to entertainment venues or sporting events
  • Gift certificates for services like spa treatments
  • Cash -- For a fee of around 6 percent, you can register for cold, hard cash. Careful, though. Etiquette experts would probably frown on an all-cash registry.

Spread the Wealth

If you're so inclined, you can take a green or socially conscious approach and register at organizations like for charitable donations to a favorite project. Animal rights groups, disaster relief, child welfare organizations and others are represented, and it's an option that can be as satisfying for the giver as it is for you, especially if you share a cause or philosophy about how to make the world a better place.

If you're not sure what you want, you can always register with a large department store that will allow you to apply a credit to whatever items you choose. That way you can decide on what you really want after the wedding stress has subsided and you're ready to get down to the business of outfitting a new residence or planning for a family.

Related Articles


  • Blum, Marcy and Laura fisher Kaiser. "Weddings for Dummies." Hungry Minds, Inc. 1997
  • Just Give. "Wedding Center." Undated. 4/25/10.
  • Larocca, Amy. "Unusual Registries." New York Weddings Guide. 2002. 4/27/10.
  • Passero, Kathy. "The Bridesmaid's Handbook. Barnes and Noble Publishing, Inc. 2005
  • Upon Our Star. "Frequently Asked Questions." Undated. 4/27/10.