Snapshot of a gift registry

Still deciding on your wedding registry style? We spoke to a couple of experts, each with different takes.

  • Story by Words Philippa Prentice

Still deciding on your wedding registry style? We spoke to a couple of experts, each with different takes.

A traditional gift registry provides a valuable guide for guests as to what you and your beau need or desire, but in these enlightened times, it’s not the only option. If you’re a couple who has everything, you might like to consider donating to charity instead. It’s a feel-good proposition and a gift-registry alternative Kylie Cooper of Weddings by Cooper coordinates for her brides and grooms to be. If you’d rather go it alone, she advises planning the ins and outs of your donation well in advance of your big day.

“It’s a lovely thing to do, however I often see the shine lost when couples aren’t prepared to manage the process and it becomes a chore. Make sure you talk with the charity first, as some don’t accept one-off donations. Other important information you need includes: what percentage of donations actually go to the charity; how will the funds be used; can everyone donate separately or does the charity require one donation only; will the charity advise you as to how much each person has donated and how much has been raised so you can inform your guests; does the charity have a note or card you can send out with your invitations, or do you need to make one yourselves at an additional cost?”

Be aware that not everyone will want to make a donation to your chosen charity. “One bride I know got upset because her mother gave her a gift instead,” recalls Kylie, “but some people are traditionalists and it can't be avoided, so make donating to your chosen charity an option, not a necessity.”

Sound a bit daunting? You might prefer the middle ground. “Sometimes a nice alternative is to set up a ‘wishing well’ on the day so people can give you money in a wedding card," says Kylie. "You can then do a one-off payment to your given charity and update everyone as to how much was raised in your thank-you cards.”

The proliferation of alternative approaches to wedding presents is not to say a more traditional gift registry can’t be an absolute blast! Mildred & Co is a treasure trove for budgets big and small. It offers more than 4000 gifts to choose from, but also modernises the classic registry concept with a Wish List option that allows guests to contribute an amount of their choosing towards a more expensive item – perhaps a new sofa, artwork, or a dream honeymoon.

Director Milly Nolan says this is becoming a growing trend. “We’ve found that our Wish List option is becoming more and more popular. We've had one couple request help towards their home renovations and another towards their mortgage. Because so many couples live together before getting married these days, there isn't the need for practical household items, so instead they’d rather be given something that they wouldn't necessarily purchase themselves. For example, having your guests contribute money towards a piece of art is a perfect way to adorn your walls with something special and lasting.”

Aim to have loads of fun when compiling your gift registry, but above all, be considerate of your guests. Says Milly: “In terms of registry etiquette, if a couple chooses to have a Wish List, they should also select a handful of tangible items to put on their registry, as some guests don’t like to give money, and instead would prefer to give a gift that the couple will have and cherish forever.”

For more gift registry tips, see our Spring 2015 issue, on sale now.

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