Not Your Parents' Wedding Registry

NEW YORK (MainStreet) —You can’t put a chihuahua on a Crate & Barrel wedding gift registry, nor can you put lunch at the Eifel Tower on a Pottery Barn one. One of the long-held traditions of wedding preparation has been the gift registry – picking out items like china and cookware for your future household. The wedding registry gift market for 2011 reached $10 billion, according to XO Group Inc., with 1.5 million U.S. couples registering at an average of three stores. However, for reasons both personal and financial, some couples are now turning to one of the many non-traditional registry options available today.

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Alternative wedding registries such as and use an entirely new model and let couples register for items and experiences that reflect exactly who they are and where they are at in their life. On these sites, couples can register for almost anything, be it honeymoon excursions, museum tickets, mortgage down payment funds, rescue pets or home restoration – nothing is out of reach. Once they register for something, the couple allocates a price for it - there’s even an option to allow more than one person to contribute to a large gift. For example, the couple may allow 10 people to contribute $100 each toward the honeymoon plane tickets. Every time a guest “purchases” a gift, the money goes into an account for that couple, allowing the two lovebirds to purchase the item themselves directly.

Dana Ostomel, CEO of, says nowadays many couples don’t want to register – but they don’t want to ask for cash gifts either. Sites like offer a middle ground. “A lot of people don’t want to go to the traditional route, but they’re told they need to give guests guidance on the gifting aspect,” says Ostomel. “While I think most people would prefer monetary gifts, they are just too polite to ask. And most people don’t want to give money because it feels cold and transactional. Sites like ours offer a happy medium, because guests can contribute to something that the couple will remember them fondly for.”