Updated: Jul 22
Bridal showers are a bit sexist and obsolete; however, the average female’s unwavering love for mimosas and gift giving allows us to look the other way. A quick google search explains that, In ye olden times, bridal showers were an alternative to the dowry system. In more recent olden times, they served as an integral stepping stone from girl to wife. Less than 100 years ago, a woman was more likely to choose the role of childbearing housewife. Therefore, soon-to-be brides needed all the trappings of a good homemaker: nice china for hosting, towels for her husband’s evening bath, pots and pans to prepare nightly four-course meals. Back then, that was the norm. Nowadays, this tradition can cause some unease and discomfort for brides. This is where alternative registries, such as honeyfund, come into play.
In 2020, there’s a strong possibility you have not only lived outside the home, but have lived with your partner before marriage. I am personally part of a generation of men and women who couldn't fathom getting married before living together. So, when it comes to the bridal shower, all this unease across generations really comes down to this - you’ve been living with your partner for five years, and even if your grandmother refuses to acknowledge that arrangement, your place is barely big enough for a collapsible table. Some couples might prefer to take the money spent on traditional shower gifts and go on a trip, put it towards a house, or take a cooking class! However, those desires might be a tough sell for some guests. Based on tradition alone, older generations are more comfortable buying one-hundred dollars worth of new bath towels than pitching in the same amount for a honeymoon excursion. Some younger guests may not feel comfortable buying a couples massage simply because they aren’t used to giving that type of gift. So, now what? Do you have a traditional registry, or say “F it” and ask for whatever you want? Below is a helpful list of benefits for both traditional and non-traditional registries that can set you up for both a traditional and non-traditional life.
Benefits of a traditional registry
Get an upgrade. Futons and plastic plates are out, West Elm is in. If West Elm is a little much for you, you can at least advance to the more mature brands at Target. Yes, enhance your bedding from Room Essentials to Threshold. Traditional registries are filled with items you will be using throughout your adult lives together. Think kitchenware, sheets without characters on them, and new towels that actually match. You could even get nice knives that actually cut things. You are a grown up now, after all.
It’s a free upgrade. Have you ever gotten to a hotel, been offered a room upgrade, but then turned it down? No. That would be crazy. Just because you wouldn’t spend your own money on a penthouse suite, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t enjoy the experience. You can load your registry with towels, dishware, kitchen electronics, bedding, and decor that you would never ever want to buy for yourself. And if you only use those Crate & Barrel cake pans twice a year? It doesn’t matter, you didn’t buy them.
Gift ideas. When you have a registry, you get the stuff you want. Plain and simple. Sure, some people may still go rogue, even after you literally asked them to buy you specific items, but no one will have to guess. It also helps limit the amount of duplicated gifts and returns you need to make. A registry helps guests decide what to give you at your wedding as well. Though most people will give you a gift at the shower and money at the wedding, this isn’t always the case. It isn’t taboo to receive a gift or money at either event.
Benefits of a non-traditional registry
Honeymoon. If you are planning a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon beyond your budget, you can use sites like Honeyfund as an alternative to gifts. Basically, in lieu of gifts, guests can (partly) pay for airfare, dinner, accommodations, excursions, etc. The only drawback would be the need for a solid honeymoon plan before you might be ready.
Experiences. Young people of today place a higher value on experiences than material possessions. If you want to attend a paint night, learn to boat, or even go ice luging, you can request that experience with a non-traditional registry. You can’t, however, request money/gift cards to do those things alone, it’s frowned upon. You have to be willing to go with your soon-to-be-spouse.
Low waste. You may be a minimalist, or you may be the eco-friendly type who cares more about the environment than shiny objects. In either case, an alternative registry will help you choose gifts that won’t add clutter to your home or to the world. Say goodbye to boxes, wrapping paper, unnecessary plastic, throwing out the old to make room for the new, etc.
Space saver. You might not want a ton of gifts to sit in storage until you move to a bigger place. Whenever that may be.
Wanderlust. If you have wanderlust, a non-traditional registry can work twofold. First, guests can help fund your adventurous habits. Second, moving and/or traveling a lot equals a desire for less stuff to lug around or put in storage.
Other helpful registry guidelines
Use a third-party registry website. By using a website such as Zola, guests can choose between gifts, gift cards, honeyfunds, or excursions. You also won’t need multiple, separate registries at individual retailers.
Have options. Having options ensures your more sensitive and/or traditional family members can make a purchase they are comfortable with. As long as you have some typical gift options on your registry, no one can be offended by your choices. Best case scenario, you have massages for life; worst case, you have a shit ton of new forks. Different price point options are also ideal. Don’t allow your registry to demand a lot of money from your guests. Keep in mind who will be invited - your bridal party, who has already spent a lot of dough, your younger cousins, your less well-off family members, etc. Throw people a bone and have some nice “$20 and under” must-haves on your list. You know you want a new spatula anyway.
Check “yes” for gift cards. With some registries, such as Target, there is a place to choose if you want gift cards or not. Make sure you click “yes” if you are hoping to get some.
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