Thinking of creating a honeymoon registry for your wedding?
I started planning my wedding like other brides – before I was engaged. I didn’t look at venues or put down a deposit, but once you’ve been a guest at enough weddings, you figure out what you want for your own big day.
I didn’t want a big dress; I didn’t want to toss the bouquet and I didn’t want to smash cake into my new husband’s face. But one thing I really didn’t want was a traditional registry.
It’s not that I’m against gifts or shopping. I love getting presents for my birthday. I’m the first one awake on Christmas Day. But I hate traditional registries.
A traditional registry (and for that matter, a bridal shower) made sense 50 years ago when couples moved out of their parents’ house and didn’t own a single fork. Nowadays, most of us have too much stuff. So why add to the clutter?
Why is it that we pretend that once we get married, we’ll be hosting dinner parties every night? Most married couples I know don’t live that differently than my single friends, so why do we register for Kate Spade china sets and ceramic teapots?
Ditching the traditional wedding registry
A friend of mine got married and opted to use a honeymoon registry instead. I was struck by the idea. This way, people could still feel like they’re contributing to your life, but you don’t have to deal with a deluge of boxes from Macy’s.
Luckily my fiance was into the idea. We already had enough kitchen supplies and we had been living together for more than a year when we got engaged. Yes, I didn’t own the Fiestaware plates that I so desperately loved. Most of our appliances were items my parents had found at yard sales throughout the years. But we wanted a great trip more than a new set of steak knives.
Plus, we love to travel. Before we got married, we’d already gone overseas twice together, and we wanted to take an awesome honeymoon. Studies show that experiences, like travel, make us much happier than gifts. They’re especially beneficial for couples who travel together. Why register for a vase or glass pitcher when I’d rather drink cocktails at a London bar?
Our guests loved the idea. Several couples told me after that they regretted setting up their own registries. One friend told me, “I have a gravy boat. It’s never been used. Why? Because we always host Thanksgiving at someone else’s house.”
Another friend who had both types of registries told me she wished she’d only had a honeymoon one. After we had got married, I noticed another couple who set up a honeymoon registry on the same site we used. Out of all the wedding gifts we got, about half came through the site. To thank our friends and family who used our honeymoon registry, we sent them postcards from the places we visited, commenting on what they’d purchased for us. We wanted them to feel like they had given us an experience, not just another check.
Deciding if a honeymoon registry is right for you
If you’re considering a honeymoon registry, feel out your guest list first. We still set up a small registry at Target that had less than ten items. For any guest who wanted to buy us a physical gift, I wanted to give them a suggestion instead of getting a toaster we didn’t need. Before the wedding, we told people about our unique registry and why we were choosing it.
Some people base their honeymoon registry on whatever looks easiest for their guests. If you want to create a custom site, paying for an upgraded version might be more important to you. Whichever registry you choose, I recommend taking out the boilerplate gifts and adding in your own.
Make sure to personalize your registry. Most sites offer a standard list of choices. I specifically chose items based on what we were planning to do on our honeymoon, so people wouldn’t think we were lazy. I customized our site before the big day and noted who gave us what.
When you set up a honeymoon registry instead of a traditional one, you’re telling your guests your preferences. It doesn’t mean someone won’t show up with a blender they found at Target. But you’re more likely to get a gift that will bring a lifetime of memories.
Choosing the right site for your honeymoon registry
With the popularity of honeymoon registries, it can be difficult to choose which one to use. Below are five of the most popular sites with a list of their fees, payment options and other factors. All of these include a service fee when your guests make a purchase.
Even though it seems silly to pay a fee for what is essentially a cash gift, it’s around the amount of sales tax and it’s easier than bringing a gift to the wedding. When you’re ready to go on your trip, go ahead and transfer the gifts to your bank account.
Check out the options below and choose the one that’s right for you!
- Free or paid: You can choose between a free or paid account. Paid accounts allow for a customizable account including more photos.
- Fees: 2.8% + $0.30 for both WePay and PayPal.
- Who pays: Guests. Although you can choose to accept offline payments as well.
- Customize gifts: With a paid account.
- Payment options: WePay or PayPal.
- Free or paid: Free.
- Fees: 9.65%
- Who pays: There’s no way to avoid either party from paying a fee. If you choose to pay the bulk of the fee, the guest will still have a 2.65% fee to pay. If you choose to have the guests pay the fee, they can save themselves 2.65% off by choosing to mail a check.
- Customize gifts: Yes.
- Payment options: Checks and credit cards.
- Free or paid: Free.
- Fees: 2.5%.
- Who pays: You can choose pay yourself or have the guest pay.
- Customize gifts: Yes.
- Payment options: Credit card, PayPal or pay offline.
- Free or paid: Free. Design is limited.
- Fees: 2.95% + $0.99, if the guest uses a credit card.
- Who pays: You choose! Some couples to choose to pay all the fees, while others split it between them and their guests.
- Customize: You can change the amounts and items you register for.
- Payment options: Bank account information or credit card.
I loved my honeymoon registry. My husband and I preferred having any wedding gifts go toward our honeymoon, and it made so much sense having our guests contribute to that instead of buying us a new blender.
I created a budget for our honeymoon so I used that information to determine how many gifts we needed for our registry. For example, our hotel in London cost about $300 total, so I created six gifts of $50 each. I wanted people to know that our registry was genuine, not a gift grab or a tacky way to ask for cash. Make sure you have your registry finalized before you send out invites. You’ll want people to see it when it’s complete, not in stages.
I hope this info is helpful to you in choosing your honeymoon registry.
Editor’s note: During this time of quarantine and social distancing, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Learn more here.