8 Unique Wedding Registries

1. $.99 cents Store Bridal Registry–Sign of the Times

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I was reading the Los Angeles Times yesterday and I noticed the big $.99 Store advertisement.   With the usual inexpensive items there were more fresh food products.  Amazing stuff if you know how to shop wisely.  I could buy 2 pounds of bananas for $1.00, very fresh broccoli for $1.00, celery, various bags of fresh fruit all for $1.00.  In the upper right-hand corner of the ad was the Bridal Registry.  That’s correct.  Along with registering for your wedding at Bloomingdale’s, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, you can now register at the $.99 Store.

What a sign of our times!  The store is very smart in picking up the need for wedding guests, who may be unemployed or underemployed, to be able to give gifts to the bride-to-be.  You can buy 10 plates for $1.00, or how about 2 bowls for a dollar.  Hey, you can even give the bride and grooms “food”.  There are lots of cans and packages of food and bathroom supplies.

The recession continues.  Yes, there is a very, very slow recovery beginning but, so far, except for a few key areas in the United States (like Silicon Valley in California) people remain out of work and underemployed.  As I stated in a recent post, 70% of America’s employed are in in service type jobs–retail clerks, lab technicians etc.  These are hardly the jobs that will help people buy houses and new cars.  The contraction continues across America.    It is a time to shop the $.99 Store for your wedding gifts.   How about some candles–just in case the electricity is turned off.

2. Give the gift of art to the newlyweds who have everything

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For the couple who already has everything, art is the best choice for shower and wedding gifts. The gift registry at Candita Clayton Gallery is a perfect way to help newlyweds get started on their personal art collections, while at the same time supporting talented artists.

When a couple registers, a list of their chosen artworks is created. Rather than asking guests to buy a certain piece of art (or part of one), the registry accepts monetary gifts in any amount. When the registry is closed, the couple can then apply the total of all gifts received toward their favorite pieces of art.

3. Gyft Launches Online Gift Card Registry for Weddings

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Gyft CEO Vinny Lingham knows what it feels like to give a bad gift. Lingham was scheduled to attend the wedding of a close friend, but after checking the online registry only a few days before the ceremony, he found just one item left unpurchased. "I gave one of my best friends a trash can for his wedding," says Lingham, who now laughs at the memory.

Lingham, hoping that bad registry purchases will soon become a thing of the past, announced Gyft's Gift Card Registry Wednesday afternoon. Users who log into their Gyft account from the company's website can register for up to eight gift cards they'd like to receive from more than 150 companies, then share those selections with friends and family either on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter or through email. Others can then purchase and send the cards through Gyft's website, or through the company's mobile app.

More than 60% of holiday shoppers said that they wanted gift cards in 2012, and Lingham is hoping that mindset rings true for newlyweds, too. From venue costs to tuxedo rentals, nearly every aspect of the traditional wedding increased in price last year, according to a study by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com. The 2011 version of the study found that guests spent more than $10 billion on registry gifts, not including cash gifts or presents purchased without using the registry.

A growing number of couples are choosing to share their registries online through personalized websites or social media channels, a trend that plays well into Gyft's strategy, and Lingham thinks biology could help point users toward a gift card registry, too. As the average age of the bride and groom continues to rise (brides are 29, grooms 31, on average, according to the study mentioned above), there is less need for small, household items and a greater desire for general travel or dining-related gifts, he says.

4. Charity Wedding Registry

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Charity Wedding Registry Ideas. A charity wedding registry is just like a regular wedding registry, but instead of asking for traditional gifts, the couple getting married asks their loved ones to give to a charity or cause instead. It’s becoming more of a trend every day - and we see amazing examples of people using CrowdRise for their charity wedding registry all the time. Like Mike and Michael, who used a charity wedding registry to raise money for Alzheimers research. And Eric and India, who used their wedding to fund travel and lifesaving surgery for a toddler in Honduras. Check out more of the cool and inspiring charity wedding registries below and start building this into your dream wedding.

What makes a great Charity Wedding Registry? Charity wedding registries are great because not only can a couple use their special day to support a cause (or causes) that they care deeply about, but guests often find it way more rewarding than giving a normal wedding gift. We all have plenty of crystal swans. So, want to make your wedding charitable? All you need to do is 1) select your cause(s), 2) use CrowdRise to explain why it matters so much to you, 3) share your registry with guests, and 4) watch the donations roll in. Oh, and then 5) get married.

5. Domino's starts a wedding registry

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Dinnerware service for eight. A gourmet coffee press. A set of thick towels.

Now, add pizza to your list of desired wedding gifts.

Domino’s Pizza has announced that it’s launching a wedding registry.

“Our registry aims to bring couples together over their shared love of pizza," spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre said in a statement. “We hear often from customers that Domino’s was a part of their big day, from proposals to after-hours meals at their wedding. We wanted to make it easier for people to ask for and receive something that they’ll really use.”

The chain, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., is offering e-gift cards of various denominations, so friends and family can treat the couple to everything from food for a bachelorette party to a post-nuptials date night. Examples of packages include “Bust Out the Fine China” and “The Wedding Night.”

Pizza may not be an upper "crust" gift, and the traditional registry stalwarts like William Sonoma, Macy's or Bed Bath and Beyond have been joined with the more downmarket Target and Sears. But weddings are, after all, a $58 billion-plus industry, according to market research firm IBISWorld.

Pizza gift cards range from $20 to $100, according to the registry Web site. The recipients may order whatever combination of food they want.

Laura Krahel, 24, of Canton, Mich., signed up online for the Domino's Pizza registry on Tuesday, though for traditional housewares. She and fiance Curtis Crosier, 25, are registered at zola.com.

"I just thought it was really fun. We order pizza all the time and we make pizza at home. We have a regular registry and I know a lot of groomsmen who’d want to give Curtis this gift instead of maybe buying something for the kitchen," said the advertising executive, who's getting married in June.

Krahel plans to have her mother include a mention of Domino's on her bridal shower invitations.

"I posted it to Facebook yesterday and got 70 likes on it and I thought, 'We might get a lot of pizza, but that might be awesome. We can share with all out guests or our bridal party or we could donate it.'"

But wedding planner Nicola Wilson in Milford, Mich., isn't convinced. Se thinks it's just a fad.

"I can't really imagine my clients doing that. Maybe it's a novelty for a year," she said. "Maybe it’s the same as giving a gift certificate to nice restaurant, but it's not the same.... Maybe it's more for the budget market."

6. Are Honeymoon Registries Tacky?

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Planning a wedding brings up numerous etiquette questions: How should you word the invitation? Who hosts the bridal shower? Do you have to feed the band?

But perhaps no one issue is so hotly debated as the registry. With millennial couples increasingly cohabitating before marriage and prioritizing travel over possessions (thanks in no small part to Instagram), it's unsurprising that so-called "honeymoon registries" or wish lists of experiences are gaining in popularity.

"More and more couples are living together; they already have what they need...and more and more people are aware of how many amazing experiences are out there waiting for them in the world," explained Sara Margulis, chief executive officer and co-founder of Honeyfund, a leading digital honeymoon registry site.

"That wanderlust is deeper in this generation than previous generations, and overall there's a trend toward experiences over things. I think people getting married now are a little bit OD'ed on consumerism," she told T&C.

But are they proper? Guests give couples items on their registry (think plane fare or a massage at the hotel spa) and then the newlyweds receive the money to pay for the experience. It's the cash part that gives some people pause, especially considering couples can add pretty much anything to their Honeyfund registry from a cruise to a home improvement project to fertility treatments.

But according to Margulis, "The etiquette question has been asked and answered by the Emily Post Institute. They came out and said a honeymoon registry is no different from any other registry."

"It's simply a wish list expressed by the couple to guide wedding guests toward a gift that they know they'll enjoy," Margulis continued. "As always, registries are just suggestions and a gift should always come from the part and it should always be met with gratitude. We really take care at Honeyfund to make sure that the giving experience is good."

Indeed, on the Institute's website there is an entire section devoted to registry etiquette, affirming that honeymoon registries are perfectly acceptable. "[It's] okay to set up honeymoon registry (as one of your "up to three" registries), reads the site.

"Where possible, describe how different contributions will be used: "$80: rental car for a day of Rob driving us through the hills of Tuscany. Donation registries are also fine, but draw the line at anything controversial. A local food bank, yes; a political candidate, no."

Etiquette expert Myka Meier, founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette agrees. "Traditionally, the idea behind a wedding registry was for those who were invited to the wedding to purchase items a couple would need to help fill the first marital home, as decades ago it was considered inappropriate to move in together before getting married," she told T&C. "In modern times however, many couples already live together and therefore have all of the home goods they need. It is nowadays absolutely appropriate and socially acceptable for couples to set up a honeymoon registry."

However, the key, she says, is to choose a registry that identifies specifically where the money is going, for example, dinner at a local restaurant, or a scuba diving excursion. "It's more tactful than just listing an amount of [cash] and makes the person gifting feel as though they have given you an experience and not just handed over a lump sum of money."

She also suggested that the wedding couple pay any and all fees associated with the registry and that if you're choosing to have a honeymoon registry, it's a good idea to have a traditional one as a second option for those guests who would prefer to give a physical gift.

Registries of any kind should never be included on the official invitation. "Instead, it's now quite common to have a wedding website, which would be a perfectly appropriate place to include the links to where you were registered," said Meier. And all guests, whether they sent you a toaster or on a safari, deserve a prompt thank you note.

"Thank you notes for honeymoon registries should be handled the exact same as if you were to receive a tangible gift," said Meier. "As your registry would have listed the experience that someone contributed toward, it is easy to write in your thank you note (without ever mentioning the dollar amount!) something along the lines of 'Thank you for the most incredible wedding gift! We absolutely can't wait for the scuba dive experience you gifted us on our honeymoon- it's been a dream of ours to do for years!'"

And finally, a word on that so-called one-year deadline: "Thank you notes should be sent out within 3 months of receiving the gift; however, whenever possible, the sooner the better."

7. Feather the Nest: A Novel Approach to Gift Registries Takes Flight

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The evolution of the traditional gift registry is here. Feather the Nest is a unique online platform that allows friends and family to contribute to real estate-related and home improvement undertakings with monetary gifts. Feather the Nest contributions are gifts that can add real financial value to a home or assist a loved one embark on the path to home ownership. The launch of the website also creates a new way for people to share their gift registry with their connections.

The website, which is now live, provides anyone with an impending celebration, such as a baby shower, wedding, or major life event that calls for a change in housing needs, an alternate and innovative way to bring their dream projects to life. Additionally, it makes gifting easy and hassle free. Feather the Nest users can register their dream nest by filling out a form detailing their wish, adding pictures or videos telling their story, and then sharing their financial goal needed to accomplish their project. They can then share their Feather the Nest registry with their family and friends through email and social media. Conceived by digital marketing expert and mother of two Lindsay Oparowski, Feather the Nest allows friends and family to help their loved ones build something that they are sure to love.

"Feather the Nest ensures that the gifts you receive add real value and functionality to your home," said Lindsay Oparowski, CEO of Feather the Nest. "Regardless of what your home improvement aspiration may be, Feather the Nest gives your loved ones the satisfaction of gifting you with something that they you know will not just sit in a corner collecting dust."

Whether building a nursery or helping one become a first-time homebuyer, "feathering" a nest is simple. Feathers are converted into dollars which are immediately sent to the nest creator's account. Anyone who sets up a nest will receive every "feather" collected by the end of their self-assigned time frame regardless of whether the goal amount is achieved. Feather the Nest brings the gift registry process into the 21st century with an original and enjoyable approach.

8. Beer Club Bridal Registry | Beer of the Month Club

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Still thinking about what to add to your bridal registry? Check out  Beer Club Bridal Registry | Beer of the Month Club.

Your guests can sign up and choose what type of alcohol ( wine, cheese and of course beer) you get! Not to mention your guest get to choose when you get each gift! Maybe they’ll send you something special just in time for your birthday! The Beer Club Bridal Registry is a great idea!

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