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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“I’ve been using Apple products for years. Although Samsung technology is probably better, I am so used to Apple that I would probably not switch.”—Female, 18, PA

Major financial institutions are still trying to figure Millennials out, so Prudential conducted a survey to gather some much-needed intel. The Great Recession-era adults are pessimistic about their financial futures: 79% don’t believe that “comfortable retirement” will be a possibility when they’re in their 80s and 70% think “it’s impossible” to save the recommended annual amount to make it possible. Ypulse found that saving for retirement falls behind other, more imminent financial priorities. (MediaPost)

Teens are rallying around the issue of gun control in increasing numbers. A recent survey from Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords (conducted by Ypulse) found that gun violence prevention is the top issue young people expect the candidate they vote for in 2018 to take a stance on. Six in ten 15-18-year-olds said they’re “’passionate’ about reducing gun violence” and 72% of 15-30-year-olds agreed that politicians who don’t do more to combat gun violence shouldn’t be re-elected. (Mic)

Need proof that the future of STEM is female? Just take a look at children’s drawings. From 1966-1977, researchers asked 5,000 students to draw a scientist, and about 99% of them drew men. Fast forward the same study to 1985-2016, and one-third of children drew a female scientist. But we still have a long way to go to break gender stereotypes: 14-15-year-olds “drew more male than female scientists by an average ratio of 4-to1." (CNN)

Digital consignment store ThredUp wants to open 100 IRL stores. They’re expanding their physical footprint from two to ten stores this year, with more planned for the future. Why are online-only brands increasingly building bricks-and-mortar? (Think: Glossier, Everlane, even ThredUp competitors like The RealReal). Creating experiences with guests from a common check-out up to an in-store event builds “trust” and “awareness.” (Glossy)

Are Instagram and dating apps “crippling” relationships? Psychotherapist Esther Perel thinks so. Ypulse data shows 27% of 18-35-year-olds have used a dating app, 12% use them weekly, and nearly eight in ten use other social media apps weekly or more often. All that time scrolling past potential partners creates a new kind of loneliness: Instead of feeling “socially isolated,” they’re “experiencing a loss of trust and a loss of capital while you are next to the person with whom you’re not supposed to be lonely.” (Recode)

“We should be nice and good to others because we would want the same in return, being rude to someone doesn't make the situation any better.”—Female, 21, MI

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