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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 lump sum to use as they might need.


The Fine Diners: Food is a huge part of Millennial culture, so why wouldn’t they make one of their number one interests a part of their big day takeaways? Foodie Registry lets couples in major cities (currently Chicago, New York, Denver, and San Francisco) to register for dream dinners at hundreds of upscale restaurants. The service is completely fee free so all of the gifters’ contributions go fully to the giftees. Users simple pick a list of restaurants they want to dine at and an amount they would like to ask for at each one. For those foodies who are also looking to do good, Foodies Feed allows registrants to include donations to food and hunger related non-rofits in their registry lists. Registering for and giving food and wine subscriptions is also a new option that makes Millennials’ delicious wedding gifts last for months, and asking for the gift of couples cooking classes is a way Millennials are combining their love of food culture and their cravings for experiences.  


The Dream Funders: For Millennial brides and grooms with bigger plans they want to fund, registries like Upon Our Star, Deposit a Gift, and Merci Registry allow users to register for contributions to just about any dream. In a way, these registries are a way to ask for cash without actually making the request for envelopes only. Upon Our Star lets couples register for “wishes,” which can be anything from a vacation to buying a house, and tout their service as being a tasteful way for modern couples to gracefully receive cash gifts and “invest in their future.” All three of the registries let users register for anything they could imagine, opening wedding registries up to be whatever Millennials can dream up.