Let’s be honest. Unless you’re getting married fresh out of college, the traditional wedding registry is probably a little outdated for your needs. You’ve either lived on your own long enough to accumulate the basics, or you’ve been cohabitating with your partner. Between your stuff and theirs, you’re not exactly wanting for kitchen appliances.
But when you decide to get married, people will want to give you gifts. Before you start asking for your second or third set of dishes, we recommend taking a more practical approach to the wedding registry. Although household items are handy, they don’t sustain a marriage. Think long-term when asking for gifts and be honest with yourself and your partner about what you really need as you enter this new stage in your life together. Here are five alternatives to traditional registry lists:
1. Financial Planning Sessions
It may seem unsexy, but meetings with a financial advisor will prove invaluable for you and your spouse. Unless you’re both experts at managing money, professional finance advice can help you establish solid footing for your life as a couple. From saving to investing to building a diverse portfolio, you really want to meet with someone who can assess your situation and devise a plan for financial success. These meetings can be costly, so use your registry to help lessen the burden.
2. Investment money
Even a modest sum of money wisely invested can be an incredible help to you and your spouse down the line. Many couples struggle financially when they first get married, and investing is a step toward breaking out of that cycle in the future. Guests will often give money at the actual wedding and a more tangible gift at the shower. Tastefully explain that you’d prefer a financial investment instead of appliances or bedding you don’t really need.
3. Big-ticket goods
Before making your registry, think long and hard about what you already have and what you actually need. Apartment Therapy recommends asking for tool boxes or gardening equipment if you’re already stocked on kitchen supplies and aren’t in need of upgrades. If there are big-ticket items you couldn’t afford previously, now is the time to ask for them, according to Bridal Guide. Lawn furniture, camping supplies, and luxury kitchen items can all go on the registry. You’ll save money by not having to buy them out of your own bank account, and the gift will be more meaningful than a duplicate of something you already own.
4. Continuing Education
The traditional workplace is changing fast, and you need to keep your skills sharp in order to stay competitive. Many people are using online trainings in coding, design, and marketing to bolster or change their careers, not to mention negotiate salary increases. As you settle into married life and start your family, there won’t always be money for extra trainings, whether they’re geared toward professional development or personal interest. Invite guests to invest in your growth as a couple by paying for courses that help you provide for your family’s future. A subscription to sites such as The Great Courses is another worthwhile gift that allows you and your partner to explore new interests together throughout your marriage.
If you and your partner are among the many millennials eschewing material goods in favor of travel or life-enhancing experiences, don’t be afraid to let your registry reflect that. Which restaurants or wine bars have you walked past and said you’d like to try someday? Are you both interested in learning to surf? Ask for gift certificates or pre-paid passes to wine tastings, food expos, or other interesting events that will bring you closer together and indulge your shared taste for the finer and more fulfilling things. You’ll have lots to look forward to as newlyweds, and you’ll make memories that last a lifetime.
The wedding registry is a way for your friends and family to support you by buying you things you need. Be honest with them when you make your wish list. They want to give you something meaningful, and you want to receive gifts that will get your marriage off to the right start.