Breaking the Registry Mold

 In Feature, Style

Today’s couples are customizing the registry process and asking for exactly what they want.


Bring up the topic of bridal registry around soon-to-be brides and grooms, and images of pristine china dishes, formal silverware and clear-cut crystal glasses traditionally come to mind. Yet, a growing number of engaged couples are opting for individualized gifts—from practical to fun and everything in between. We talked to four pros: Nancy Bischoff, owner of Byron Cade; Bill Mackin, vice president of gift galleries at Neiman Marcus; Megan Glynn, wedding and gift registry manager at Macy’s; and Diane Fogerty, owner of Savvy Surrounding Style, who shared their insights on breaking out of the registry mold in the name of bridal gifts that couples actually want—not what they think they should get.

Follow the “couple-that-plays-together-stays-together” mantra and ask for some fun gadgets that encourage you to spend quality time with each other once the wedding madness has subsided. For the foodie types, fun kitchen appliances that encourage do-it-yourself thinking, including cookie presses, popover pans and ice cream makers make for unique registry picks. If you prefer electronic gadgets over kitchen toys, LCD screens, GPS trackers and cameras might be a better fit. For the right couple, even air hockey tables, iPod stations and video games are great out-of-the-box registry requests.

If there’s ever a time to ask for something that’s elaborate, eye-catching or artistic, it’s before a wedding. Don’t be afraid to register for higher-priced items, such as paintings, sculptures and other home décor, as long as you also include a number of practical, more reasonably priced items on your list. By creating one or two themes throughout your registry, friends and family can not only get a feel for what types of items you’re hoping to receive, but also the overall look and feel you’re trying to achieve within your home. If you’re looking for fewer statement pieces and more functional items, register for accessories to finish off a room. Cozy fur blankets or hand-painted picture frames provide style and comfort, while contemporary office items or silver flatware make for useful gifts that can still contribute to the aesthetic of a space. Requesting monogrammed engravings is also a great way to make your gifts personal and even more attractive to the eye.

Even though couples are branching out and deciding to register for more offbeat gifts, you might still want a few traditional pieces to replace outdated items, entertain future guests or fill up space in a new home. A good way to spice up some of these everyday items is to register for a few accent pieces that will shake up the whole look of a table or room and give it a more modern spin. For example, if you register for blue and white porcelain dishes, ask for bright orange vases or an eclectic serving tray to liven up the collection and complement the classic saucers, plates and cups you’ll receive. If you already own said sets—or you’ve inherited them—there’s always room to brighten up or update old pieces with those that are new and unique.

If the last thing you want is more “stuff,” and you’re ready to really shake things up, go completely registry-rogue and invest in something even larger. Honeymoon funds have been catching on since the ’90s, but many couples still don’t know how to organize and register for a trip that others can help them pay for. Websites such as and specialize in helping soon-to-be newlyweds set up and plan the honeymoons of their dreams. If you prefer to work directly with a travel agent, these sites can check into the various agencies in your area. Many of them not only offer an option to set up a honeymoon fund, but also provide additional bonuses or trip counseling just for using their services.



Breaking the registry mold.


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