To Have and to Register

Sometimes, one's enthusiasm for price guns leads to a towering display case of chinaware crashing down in the middle of a Macy's champagne wedding registry event.

And sometimes, that means traditional registries aren't for you. At least, that's the message I took away from the wreckage.

As I scurried back to my car—mourning a lost opportunity for free appetizers and wondering if I was, in fact, not as classy as previously thought—I opted for an unconventional approach…

As of 2017, the average age of American woman getting married for the first time is 27.4. (For men, it's 29.5 years.) According to a recent Women's Health article, that's up from an average age of 24 in 1990, 22 in 1980, and 20 in 1950.

A 20-year-old in 1950 most likely still lived with their parents. Maybe they had a Dean Martin record to call their own, but they sure didn't have a toaster oven – or money to buy one. At that time, traditional registries were a necessity to get newlyweds on their feet.

Millennial women focus more on career and self-fulfillment than hearth and home. That means that by the time they say, "I do," chances are they already have their own apartment, a kitchen full of appliances, and at least one set of bedsheets.

If you don't need all that "stuff," there are other outside the box ways your guests can help you celebrate.

1.    Honeymoon Registry

Though Macy's fell through for me, Wanderable did not. My husband and I registered for various excursions on our 12-night cruise around the Western Caribbean. Thanks to our guests, we got to play with monkeys, swim with sting rays, and fly in a skydiving simulator. (We're not as brave as James Corden.)


We sent folks who contributed to our trip pictures of the adventures they gifted us. And everyone found it far more personal and interactive than a Bed Bath & Beyond or Amazon registry.

A honeymoon is your one chance to go BIG. Would you rather someone buy you a crystal punch bowl that you'll use… never? Or an all-day cooking class in Tuscany?

Some "experience" sites like this also allow you to register for a down payment fund on a home. (You know, for when the wedding is finally paid off.)

2. REI

If your sense of adventure is more spontaneous, registering for nature gear at REI is a fun option. They say the biggest adventure of your life is getting married. Well, keep the adventure going after the nuptials with a camping box fully prepped and ready for hiking the PCT together, or just pitching a tent in the backyard (C'mon, you know you want to!) While not for everyone, this is fun place for an adventurous couple to register.

3. Food or Wine Subscription

I don't know about you, but I rarely spend money on subscription services, even if they're something I'd really love to try. But they're perfect for a unique registry. Starting off married life with weekly deliveries from Blue Apron or a local farm-share program takes the pressure off of busy newlyweds and provides easy opportunities for date night at home!

No date night is complete without a bit of the bubbly. So couple that meal prep kit with a wine or liquor subscription. There are plenty of online options, like Winc or Tasting Room. Many vineyards also offer wine clubs with discounts on your favorite labels. (Make sure to add this to your "experience" registry!)

4. A Personal Art Gallery

While you may have all the utensils you need before you walk down the aisle, many newlyweds never invested in art. Saying goodbye to your Bob Marley poster could be a lot less painful with UGallery, which allows you to register for unique pieces from artists around the world.  

All this said, there's nothing wrong with a traditional registry. Even if you already have plenty of table linens and cookware, this can be the perfect time to upgrade.

But if you already have everything you need or you just aren't comfortable asking for physical items, these alternative routes are great ways to let friends and family send you off on a new life with your soulmate… and leave you both with memories to cherish forever.

Writer Fawn believes in the power of a well-crafted story, the promise of an adventurous future, and the perfection of a Nutella-covered strawberry.

Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash