Welcome back to #WeddingWednesday, our semi-weekly column where we bring you wedding tips, tricks, crafts, interviews, and interesting Chicago wedding happenings.   Today we’re exploring the possibilities of the mysterious wedding registry!

Blender? Bed sheets? Blah blah blah. Yes, if you need those things, by all means, put them on your wedding registry! But, ladies (AND gents!), let’s think outside the box for a minute, and make sure you are getting the most out of your wedding registry. Some couples find it a little awkward to ask their guests for gifts so directly, but c’mon, it is a tradition that helps everyone. Also, if you don’t register, you might wind up with ten toaster ovens or a pet iguana, so you might as well be thoughtful and get what you really want and need! There are so many creative gifts that are appropriate for a new couple and a ton of resources to streamline the process of registering for your wedding online to make life simple for you and your guests!

Everything!

Some registry websites allow you to register for just about anything you can think of! One great choice is Simple Registry. Since you can select gifts from almost any retailer, including Ebay and Etsy, with Simple Registry, you can give your guests plenty of different ideas all in one place. You aren’t limited to choosing kitchenware and linens, but you can add anything from to bicycles to office supplies to experiential gifts like guitar lessons or backpacking adventures! This site, like many of its kind, also gives you the option to split up the cost of more expensive items into smaller chunks, so folks can contribute $50 or $100 toward a dining room furniture set, rather than buying the whole thing!
Check out some of the cool couples who are registered! One of my favorite registry items is for a couple from Detroit, Josh and April. They are asking their friends and families to donate to send the kids in their neighborhood to camp next summer.

april & josh

Philanthropic

Speaking of philanthropic registry items, this is a hot trend that I hope sticks around forever! You can ask your friends and families to support an organization or cause that you really believe in rather than buying you a crazy kitchen gizmo. The I Do Foundation is an amazing resource.  You can utilize the Charity Registry to solicit donations for your favorite causes, and there are tips on eco-conscious and charitable vendors and great DIY ideas. Seriously, check it out!

Eco-Conscious

Another great way to pay it forward is to ask for a membership or subscription with a local farm. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy fresh food directly from a local farmer. When you purchase “shares” in the farm (through a membership or subscription fee), you receive or pick up boxes of locally grown seasonal fruits, veggies, and herbs every week or two throughout the farming season.  The gift of not having to go to the grocery store?  YUM!

Experiential

Another gift that travels easily to a wedding is an experience, such as a vacation or classes. This adorable adventurer couple, Maggie and Travis, are asking their wedding guests to help support their travel plans by pitching in on a Pacific Crest Trail Expedition. An awesome six month hiking journey, the Pacific Crest Trail is a National Scenic Trail that covers 2650 miles from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. This is a great option for guests who would rather help their friends have a life-changing experience like a hiking trip rather than a physical gift.

travis & maggie

Honeymoon

Save yourself and your guests the trouble of transporting gifts across the country, and ask friends and family pitch in on honeymoon expenses. There are variety of different sites where you can register to receive monetary donations to be spent as you see fit, kind of like crowd funding sites like Kickstarter. Or, you can get a little more detailed (and have more fun!) by asking your guests to contribute to specifics wish list items on your honeymoon itinerary, such as

• Spending money specifically for gelato! (Great idea!)
• Surfing, golf, or dance lessons
• Airline tickets, accommodations, and rental cars
• Romantic dinner for two
• Tours or admission to museums and historical attractions
• Scuba, snorkeling, and other amazing excursions

The Future

There are some very practical, big-picture expenses that many newlyweds incur. It is totally cool to ask for donations to help you build up your savings for a solid future. These are also great gifts for couples who may already have all the furnishings they need.  Also, what Father of the Bride wouldn’t dig this sensible planning for the future?  Online registries like Upon our Star can help you get started setting up:

• College Fund for Children
• First Home Fund
• Gym Memberships
• Wedding Expenses
• Child’s Nursery

by Studio Finch Photography

by Studio Finch Photography

Just like every other part of your wedding, the wedding registry should reflect the lives and personalities of the fabulous bride and groom! So, put your thinking cap on and get going! Married couples, we want your wisdom! What is the best or worst wedding gift you received? Share in the comments below!