No One Wants a Gravy Boat: Millennials and the New Wedding Gift Norms

It only makes sense that with a generation that not only move in with one another but often even buy a house together before getting married, registering for products to fill their newlywed home doesn’t really make much sense. In just the last few years, new trends in non-traditional wedding registries that have nothing to do with gravy boats and toasters have become the new norm for many Millennials heading down the aisle. As with so many things, their rethinking of tradition involves doing away with unnecessary goods and embracing experiences as valued currency instead. The most popular wedding registry gift categories for 2013 were all about getting out and making big dreams come true. With Millennials aging up and millions getting married each year, new and innovative registries are a big opportunity for whole new categories of brands and businesses. Here are some of the new norms for wedding gift giving:

 

The Honeymooners: With many Millennials getting married at older ages, there are also more newlyweds who have helped foot the bill for their nuptials, and 50% of couples expect that they’ll be paying for the wedding themselves. Between the expense of the wedding itself and the many other bills that Millennials are dealing with, a honeymoon can start to seem like a pipe dream. To solve the problem, registries like Traveler’s Joy and Honey Fund let young couples ask their guests to help them see the world. Traveler’s Joy lets users create customized gifts to fund pieces of their honeymoon like plane tickets, hotel costs, and fun activities, allowing the gift givers to feel like they have contributed something specific to the experience. Generally, honeymoon registries take a small piece of the amounts given, and then allow the couple to withdraw all the funds contributed in a…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “When I hear the phrase ‘The American Dream' I think…A loaded term that is meaningless these days. At this point, I'd be happy if I can manage to live a mostly comfortable, independent life. Is that The American Dream? I don't know.” –Male, 25, PA

When it comes to kids using tablets and smartphones, most of the attention is given to the dangers of it all: what will it do to their attention spans, their minds, or their health? But there are potential positives to their mobile use as well. One (Millennial) mom’s reasons for continuing to give her kids handheld devices include the importance of encouraging their technology and problem solving skills, expectations that they will know how to use them in school, and a hope that her girls will be involved in tech in their futures. (Hip Mombrarian)

This might be the year that vending machines became a full blown marketing trend, and Nike has put their own athletic spin on the tactic. Their recent “secret” vending machine in NYC, the Nike+ FuelBox, dispensed products like hats, shirts, and socks that visitors could only pay for with daily points from their Nike+ FuelBands, encouraging exercise in exchange for goods. (Engadget)

We’ve seen FoMo, the rise and fall of YOLO, and now social media has given us MoMo, the “Mystery of Missing Out.” Unlike FoMo, Fear of Missing Out when you see your friends posting a ton of fun pictures on social media, MoMo is the anxiety that results when friends stop posting. In the words of one Millennial, “’what can be so good that they aren't posting?’” It might seem silly to some, but for a generation used to being connected with friends nearly all the time, the feeling of exclusion that results from being left out and unaware of what’s happening is real. (Jezebel)

The value of higher education is already being questioned by Millennials, and evidence is continuing to mount that college systems and hierarchies need to be rethought. One former Yale professor is making headlines by telling parents not to send their kids to Ivy League schools, and that those who attend are not the “winners in the race we have made of childhood” but that instead elite education produces “anxious, timid, and lost” young people. (New Republic)

Oh, Barbie. She's had a rough year, and Mattel recently released an Entrepreneur Barbie in an attempt to tap into girl power marketing, and revive flagging sales. But is the reality that Barbie is just too perfect for today’s kids? The brand’s offbeat, weirdo Monster High dolls do far better than pristine, “clean cut” blond icon. Tapping into new trends in toy tech and giving Barbie a renewed sense of “imaginative play” might help, but at the same time post-Millennials, like the generation before them, could be turned off by anything that doesn’t show some flaws. (The StarPhoenix)

Quote of the Day: “When I hear the phrase ‘The American Dream’ I think of 1950s cliches, the economic downturn of 2008, and how college debt has pretty much made it impossible.” –Female, 17, RI

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