The Registry

By Sharon Naylor

December 18, 2009 6 min read

According to a recent report by the wedding authority Web site BrideTide, more than 70 percent of today's brides and grooms set up gift registries at Bed Bath & Beyond, Target or Macy's. However, because many brides and grooms are marrying at older ages than in decades past, they may be fully stocked with their kitchen appliances and serveware. Couples who have lived together before marriage report that they already have their juice glasses, coffee mugs and bathroom towel sets. Still, most couples do like to register for upgrade items, such as coffee makers and martini sets, to bring a gourmet flair to their new household.

With these smaller traditional housewares wish lists, couples like to create second or even third registries in more personalized categories. Here are some of the top new trends in fun and fresh registry types:

*Electronics

We live in a techno-society, and brides and grooms want the latest gadgets and top-name equipment, such as digital cameras that cost less than bakeware sets but allow them to take amazing photos on their honeymoons. Or digital photo frames, such as those by top-rated brand Pandigital, allowing them to display their wedding photos in the future. GPS devices for their cars or for outdoor sports are also on many couples' wish lists. The good news for wedding guests looking at price tags of more than $400 for some top-of-the-line techno-gifts is that it's now an etiquette "do" for groups of relatives, friends and colleagues to share the costs of big-ticket presents in order to fulfill couples' wish lists.

*Outdoor Sports

REI has burst onto the registry scene for those active-lifestyle and adventure-seeking couples who share a love of all things outdoorsy -- camping, biking, hiking, etc. At the white-hot http://www.rei.com, couples can sign on for new mountain bikes, kayaks, tents and even upscale backpacks. One of the top registry choices for couples who already have their bikes and boats is bike and boat racks that attach to their cars, allowing them to load those bikes or kayaks for weekend getaways. Car bike racks range from $199 to $269; kayak racks range from $69 to $89; and backpacks range from $95 to the $200-plus realm, again allowing guests the option of giving solo or giving a group gift. The couple who plays together stays together, and a gift of this sort grants the couple better odds of a long and healthy life together in the future.

*The Wine List

Couples who have all of their basic home goods but wish for home wine cellars are thrilled to discover Bottlenotes. At http://www.bottlenotes.com, they can start their wine collections by signing on for bottles or cases of award-winning vintages, as well as the makings of wine cellars, wine refrigerators and the traditional wine glasses and crystal decanters that add a flair of elegance to their future wine-tasting parties.

*Honeymoon Adventures

Honeymoon registries have been around for more than a decade, but the new class of honeymoon registry allows the couple to sign on for shares of their airfare and hotel suite, romantic dinners, scuba and snorkeling adventures, swimming with dolphins, cultural tours and many other options, as seen at http://www.TravelersJoy.com.

*Charitable Registries

Again, the couple who have everything and don't want a blender may choose to "give a little back" by establishing a charitable registry. At http://www.IDoFoundation.org, the bride and groom can sign on for their favorite charities, adding personalized notes on what they love about each cause, their personal connection to it, and their thanks to guests who opt to make donations as their wedding gifts to the couple. This site reports that its most popular charity categories are those related to health, children's causes, the environment, international hunger and animals. Speaking of animals, a hot new trend is setting up a gift registry at http://www.heifer.org, where the couple pick out affordable gifts of chickens, goats, honeybees and other donations all the way up to a water buffalo, which are donated to families and communities, allowing the recipients the gift of self-sufficiency and survival. Also in the giving-to-others realm is the registry at http://www.TenThousandVillages.com, where you'll find decor items, such as textiles from India, tabletop items fashioned from Nepalese silver, and more, all made by fair trade artisans.

Give the Gift of ... Flight?

Skydiving, anyone? The adventurous and fearless couple can sign on for any of the 1,500 experiences starting at $75 from http://www.Cloud9Living.com, which offers the gift options of skydiving, driving a race car, going hot air ballooning and other unforgettable adventures to share.

In this economy, it's important to register for gifts in the less than $50 range, a collection in the $100 to $150 range and a collection in the group gift-friendly $150-plus price mark. Many couples say that as much as they loved that expensive cappuccino maker, they love their $8 glass cutting boards. All of this, plus a mountain bike and a Nintendo Wii system, makes for a happy newlywed home.

Sharon Naylor is the author of more than 35 wedding books.

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