Wedding registries evolve
from dishes to dolphins
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[October 25, 2016]
By Chris Taylor
YORK (Reuters) - When Ryan Frailich and Stephanie Hinton were getting
married last year, the last thing in the world they wanted were gifts of
butter dishes or cutlery sets.
So the New Orleans couple asked guests instead to sponsor elements of
their dream honeymoon trip to New Zealand. Invitees could buy things
such as bike rentals for cruising around the country's picturesque south
island, or dinner for two by the stunning Milford Sound.
When they took their trip last November, they took pictures at each
location to send personalized thank you notes when they returned. "It
gave us a chance to remember our loved ones," says Frailich, a
31-year-old human resources consultant.
The number of couples setting up honeymoon registries like Frailich and
Hinton's in 2015 was up to 22 percent - double that of five years ago -
according to wedding site The Knot's most recent Bridal Registry Study.
The site Traveler's Joy (travelersjoy.com) has hosted more than 328,000
couples since 2004 and provides a flurry of destination guides and
sample registries to get you started. Another popular site, Honeyfund (honeyfund.com),
boasts that its couples have collectively received a total of $415
million toward honeymoon costs.
"Couples are getting married later in life these days, and so they
usually already have all the typical household stuff," says Lauren Kay,
senior style editor at The Knot (theknot.com). "So we are seeing an
uptick in couples, particularly millennials, registering for
Modern understanding of happiness is also feeding into it: Many studies
demonstrate that experiences bring people more enduring happiness than
things, according to the research of Cornell University psychology
professor Thomas Gilovich.
Riding this trend are so-called "universal" registries, which allow
couples to add a wide variety of gifts from around the Web to their wish
list instead of just gifts from a single retailer. Twenty-two percent of
marrying couples now set up universal registries - a number that has
more than quadrupled since 2010. MyRegistry (MyRegistry.com) has racked
up more than 145 million gifts for its couples, and faces competition
from sites including Zola (Zola.com) and the ubiquitous Amazon (Amazon.com).
For those guests used to more traditional registries, the trend can be a
hard thing to wrap their minds around. Some tips to get everyone on
* Frame it as a positive
Avoid presenting the experience option in negative terms, which can seem
spoiled or ungrateful - "we don't want household items because we
already have everything."
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Instead, lay out the plea in a positive light. "Say something like, 'This is
what we are really excited about, and we would love it if you could support
us,'" suggests Frailich. "That tends to get people excited, because after all,
they want to do something that makes you happy."
Offer a traditional option too
Some older guests might find an experiential registry unfamiliar and odd, and
that is perfectly OK. So make sure to offer a more traditional registry
concurrently; it does not have to be exclusively one or the other. "I always say
couples should have one or two traditional registries as well," says The Knot's
* Think beyond honeymoons
While honeymoons are a popular type of experiential registry, couples have to
come back to daily life eventually. So think about registering for experiences
in your hometown as well, advises Kay.
Museum memberships, or wine tastings, or romantic dinners, all will help add a
dose of spice to the first years of marriage.
advantage of the moment
Experiential registries are still a relatively new phenomenon, so at first it
might seem greedy or grasping to ask for over-the-top dream experiences. But
bride-to-be Kayla Muller has some advice for you: "Get over it."
"This is the one time in life where you can ask for any gift, and people are
happy to spend money on you," says Muller, a New York City resident who is
getting married next April, and whose honeymoon registry at Jamaica's Sandals
resort includes experiences such as horseback riding on the beach, couples
massages and swimming with dolphins.
"These days you are not stuck with boring things on your registry - so don't be
afraid to ask for something fun and non-traditional," she adds.
(The writer is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are his own)
(Editing by Beth Pinsker and Steve Orlofsky)
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