Wedding season is in full swing, so chances are you'll be scouring a registry or two in search of the perfect gift over the course of the next few months. While most couples register for the fairly mundane "starting a home together" items like linens, dishes, and flatware, these certainly aren't the only options available for brides and grooms. Many couples who have been living on their own for a while are pretty well stocked for housewares by the time the big day rolls around, so instead of hitting Bed Bath & Beyond with a scanning gun, they take a more offbeat approach to their gift requests. Here are a few options you might not have seen before:
Perhaps the most extreme version of "Please, don't give me another spatula!" involves eschewing gifts altogether in favor of charitable donations. After all, if people are already prepared to open their wallets and fork out some dough in honor of your nuptials, why not put the cash where it can do some good? A number of groups, like the I Do Foundation and JustGive.org, allow couples to register for easy charitable donations through their websites. Wedding guests just have to provide their credit card number and the amount of their donation. Best of all for the givers, the donations are tax deductible; let's see a china place setting that can do that.
If you need to bag some merchandise from your wedding but still want to be charitable, there's a solution for that, too. A number of stores will take a percentage from each purchase made off of your registry and donate it to the charity of your choice.
There's no sense in registering for a bunch of stuff to fill your house when you can't afford a place to live. Since a wedding can cost as much as the down payment on nice new digs, why not just register for the house itself? Lots of couples are doing just that; they request donations to a house-down-payment fund in lieu of more traditional gifts. Sites like mydreamhomeregistry.com ("Because You Don't Need Another Blender!") allow friends and family to give gifts of money earmarked for a house down payment. When the couple finds a house they want to buy, the site transfers the cash from a savings account over to the home purchase.
What if you've already got a house you'd like to spruce up? The registries have thought of that, too. The same site lets people register for renovations and remodeling; couples can put up a plan of what they want to change in the house, then receive gifts to help cover the costs of paint, carpentry, etc.
This option's been around for a few years now, but it still seems like a terrific idea. After you've sunk all of your funds into a blowout wedding, it can be tough to scrape together enough cash to take a nice honeymoon. Luckily, the registry industry thought of this potential snag and now allows for well-wishers to contribute to part of couples' honeymoons. Want to go snorkeling on your getaway? Terrific, your great aunt can foot the bill if she wants. There are dozens of websites devoted to honeymoon registries, so if you've got a hankering to do something special on your first trip as a married couple, you can probably find a way to get it financed. [Wedding cake topper image courtesy of Flickr user pauline@weddingtreasures.]
What about you, dear readers? What offbeat wedding gifts did you receive (or give)?