If you're not familiar with my "When You'd Rather Not…" series, I encourage you to read the backstory and see which other wedding resources I've covered.
"Do we have to register?" It's one of the most common questions I hear. I've already mentioned why people ask this and how we should address that problem, and as much as I'd love a world where registries go the way of the dodo, I don't think your grandma would understand.
So what's an engaged couple to do? Get crazy at Crate and Barrel or risk hurt feelings? Below are the resources that I share with couples who aren't interested in a traditional registry.
Note: If a resource is on this page, it's because I've vetted, trust, and personally like it. In some cases, it likes me too. While no one pays me to say nice things, some of the links below are affiliate links. That means I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase
I first heard of Honeyfund when a cousin got married and my parents bought him part of a BBQ, a happy hour for his honeymoon, and a portion of a home office. That's the idea behind the site: Couples pick what they want and their guests decide how much they contribute toward each goal.
Honeyfund started in 2006 as a way to crowdsource funds for a honeymoon. The 700,000-plus couples who've used it since do often ask for a trip. But more often it's for help with a down payment or a request to contribute to the wedding.
The downside: If you want the cash transferred to you digitally, you pay a 2.8 percent + 30 cent fee (Honeyfund uses the services WePay and PayPal). One way to work around this: Honeyfund waives the fees if you take your guest payments as a "Honeyfund Balance." You pull from that balance as you redeem money in the form of gift cards at various Honeyfund partners (the biggest names on the list: Amazon, Uber, and Delta).
What caught my eye about Blueprint Registry: They cover all credit card processor fees (you will, however, see a 2.5 percent processor fee, which they say is 3 to 5 percent less than what you'd see elsewhere).
Blueprint also has an interesting plug-in called the "Add to Blueprint" button that lets you add any item sold online to your registry.
Blueprint advertises as a "gift registry for all occasions," which means your guests can contribute toward such buckets as "diaper fund" and "fundraising." They also offer something called a "completion discount." The idea: If you have physical gifts listed on your registry and don't get them all, you receive 10 percent off "select items" for a year after your wedding.
The Good Beginning
I came across The Good Beginning last year in this New York Times article. Founded by an event planner, the registry site makes donations to charity the sole focus of the registry rather than an additional line item.
The Good Beginning works much like a traditional online wedding registry but instead of picking gifts, you "register" at up to five charities. Your guests than decide where and how much to donate.
Note that the gifts aren't tax-deductible (though The Good Beginning recommends "each giver speak to their accountant about eligibility for claiming this gift as a deduction") and the site uses 8 percent of the donation to cover service fees.
Still want gifts?
Go for it. Weddings are one of life's rare opportunities when people insist on giving you presents. If you and your partner have something you want, ask for it. And if that something is cash for a honeymoon, Baby's first nest egg, or donations galore, ask for it.
Have something to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org