As more couples are living together before marriage, they are more likely to say, "We already have everything we need. Can't we just ask for cash instead of registering for wedding presents
?" If you're in this camp, it might be time to rethink this. There are some pretty good reasons for registering – being thoughtful to your guests chief amongst them. And while you might have everything you need right now
, this is an incredible opportunity to invest in things that will strengthen your home and relationship for years to come. Here are my favorite non-traditional wedding gifts
Sometimes couples register only for one room of the house – the kitchen. They fill their lists with kitchen gadgets and small appliances, forgetting that they'll be doing more as a married couple than just cooking. And in today's Mp3-centered culture, we're increasingly listening to music on personal audio devices like iPods, which work well for commutes, but don't encourage domestic bliss. Try a whole-home audio system
which will make watching movies and listening to music much more fun. Or upgrade your mp3 player with a great speaker system. I highly recommend the portable Bluetooth Bose Soundlink II speaker
it's ultra-portable, sounds great both quiet and loud, and coordinates with your iPods, mp3 players, and computers.
If you already have beloved sound system, it might be time to add some musical instruments to the mix. Playing together is a great way to add creativity and spark to your marriage.
The days of registering for a full set of formal china and crystal are pretty much over. Most couples have realized that even if enough guests pony up for these expensive items, they'll just turn into little-used dust catchers. But that doesn't mean that you won't want some nicer things for entertaining. A pretty platter is one of those things that you probably won't buy for yourself, but once you have it, you'll use it frequently and happily. You'll find that even every-day meals become more special when you have a way to present them easily.
Choose a mid-size platter – large enough to hold a birthday cake, but not so big that a side dish for four looks tiny on it. Try this timeless and classic Limoges round platter, a sophisticated and colorful platter or a uniquely yours personalized wedding party platter.
While kitchen items remain a very popular wedding gift, few couples ask for good knives. They may already have a few blades that work well enough, or they put a cheap set on the list. Yet, when someone tells me that they don't really like to cook, I take particular pleasure in giving them a truly sharp knife. It takes so much work out of cooking, makes the cook feel more empowered, and is far safer than chopping with a dull knife. Note that I didn't say a knife set – they are usually not very high quality, and include blades you'll never use. Instead ask for the three essential knives – an 8" chef's knife
, a paring knife
, and a serrated bread knife
. For a bonus, get a pair of quality kitchen shears.
Already have good knives? Ask for a precision angle knife sharpener
, or a heavy cutting board.
Both will make chopping far more fun.
If you're just setting up a household, you should absolutely have a basic tool kit
to make home repairs, such as a hammer, set of screwdrivers, wrench, pliers, and a small saw. They're relatively inexpensive items that will last you forever and be invaluable. But if you already have the basics, you should consider those tools that will take your projects to the next level, such as a router, orbital sander, circular saw, miter saw, or a jig. These investment pieces will allow you to make your own furniture, do basic renovations, and other projects that will both save you money and make your home happier.
A registry is intended to help you set up your household for the future. Though a camera is not a traditional wedding present, it certainly fits all of the criteria. A high-quality DSLR camera
makes a great option for several guests to go in on together, or choose a less-expensive compact one like the Canon Powershot
. You'll use this non-traditional wedding gift from the first day of marriage on your honeymoon and for many years into the future.
Many romantic nights at home start by opening a quality bottle of wine, making this non-traditional wedding gift an invaluable one. Use the universal registry at Amazon.com to ask for specific bottles, or ask for membership to a wine club
. A great feature of Wine.com is their list of wines rated 90 points for under $20.
Wedding guests could also pick out a case of their favorite bottles, or give you a gift certificate to help you build your cellar
. Every time you open a gifted bottle, you'll remember the romance of your wedding day.
Some of my favorite marriage advice is that every couple should have both an indoor game and an outdoor game that they play together. A sense of play and a little competition is healthy for any relationship, and is much more interactive than simply flipping on the old boob tube. Some of my favorite two-player games are Othello
, Jambo, and the Rivals of Catan. Check out our Board Games site for great two-player games
. You could even tie it together with the previously recommended wine gift by giving the Winerd wine trivia game
. For outdoors, consider new sporting equipment like matching golf clubs
, or even new apparel like tennis outfits
The biggest mistake many couples make when registering
is not having a big enough range of prices. Yet some guests may be looking to give you a substantial gift, while others will want to give a larger group gift. The best big-ticket item is a piece of furniture. Young couples often fill their houses with disposable furniture because that's all they can afford, only to replace it a few years later. Instead, use your wedding registry to start acquiring investment pieces. This could be a loveseat, which will have special meaning
, or a chest of drawers
that becomes a literal hope chest.
I Do Foundation
Registering for wedding gifts can feel like a festival of selfishness – hardly the thing that good marriages are built upon. If you already have an established home, gently suggest that your guests give to your favorite non-profit organizations. It's one of the easiest and nicest ways to give back and do good with your wedding
You can even set up a charity registry through the I Do Foundation.