Thinking Outside the Gift Box
Forget the china patterns. Register for things that complement your lifestyle.
Knack Registry (knackregistry.com)
A wedding gift registry that’s exclusively Williams-Sonoma or Crate & Barrel sounds pretty limited to us. You, too? At Knack, you can create a central wish list incorporating just about any retailer your heart desires, whether those stores are represented in Knack’s catalog—take your pick of kitchen goods, home decor, bed-and-bath and outdoor fixtures—or offer their own online services. (One advantage to choosing from the catalog is that once your guests start to purchase gifts, you decide when those gifts are shipped to you.) There’s also a honeymoon-fund option—but more on that elsewhere.
Hatch My House (hatchmyhouse.com)
Couples who have all the china, silver, crystal and other accessories they’ll ever need may hanker for the next step: an abode in which to “house” those items. Whether you want to make a down payment on a new construction, renovate the house you already own or feather the nest with new furnishings, Hatch My House is the place to forge your ideal wish list, from roof, windows and siding to kitchen lighting and dining room chairs. Choose one of six different house styles (including cottage, Victorian and Craftsman) in a range of desired colors and locations; a site-generated diagram will be marked with all your registry choices, and guests contribute whatever detail they wish by depositing cash into your Hatch My House PayPal account. (The site charges a 5.9 percent fee per transaction.)
Okay, say you’ve already got the perfectly equipped home and could really use the money to give yourselves the fabbest honeymoon possible. At Honeyfund, you can break your online registry down into all the elements you desire: airfare miles, nights at a resort, romantic dinners, special excursions, spa treatments. And the site doesn’t manage any money or collect fees—you can direct your guests to send money directly to you via check or personal PayPal account. However, if you want a premium account with a specially designed registry page, slide show and no advertisements, it’ll cost you $39.
For the bride and groom who really do have everything, especially if they’re obsessive oenophiles, here’s a chance to participate in the first national wine registry. Whether your tastes run to rarities like Domaine Dujac, Chambertin, a 2007 French Pinot (at $595 a bottle) or the more accessible Los Vascos, 2011, Sauvignon Blanc ($9.95)—or all of the above—put your choices on record and let your wedding guests fill up that wine cellar. While you’re waiting for your chosen vintages, take advantage of Bottlenotes social features: Share notes on wines with other site users, and subscribe to The Daily Sip.
Changing the Present (changingthepresent.org)
You say you don’t want your wedding plans to be all about just the two of you? Well, here’s a way to share your good fortune with others. At Changing the Present, your wedding gifts are actually donations to causes near and dear to your hearts—from disaster relief and animal welfare to global warming and mental health. Choices on your registry may reflect a full range of price points: Plant a tree in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest under the auspices of The Nature Conservancy ($1); provide one month of care for a rescued pig at the Farm Sanctuary of Watkins Glen, N.Y. ($35); offer a microloan to a woman trying to start her own business in Guatemala or Mexico through the Namaste Foundation ($250); and bring clean water to a village in Zambia on behalf of the Water Project Inc. ($500). Personalize the countless gift options on the site with your own preferred 501(c)(3) nonprofit beneficiaries. All contributions are tax-deductible and there are no service fees.
Upon Our Star (uponourstar.com)
This Connecticut-based website bills itself as “a wedding registry for wishes, not stuff” but, once again, it’s a cash-donation site, so those wishes need to be somewhat tangible (unless you’re sure you know the dollar value of world peace). Otherwise, the star’s the limit, whether prosaic or poetic. Funds toward a master’s degree for the groom? Of course! An African safari? Don’t forget your camera. A new wing on your house? Go for broke.