It's funny because wedding guests seem to have very strong feelings one way or another about a gift registry. They never buy from the registry or they always do. I have to say I'm in the usually camp. :) I'm ok with going off-registry, but only for the right reasons. A major warning signal is when I hear comments like, "I looked on their registry and didn't like anything on it, so I'm buying them something better." Um...if your tastes don't match up, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN PICK SOMETHING OUT THEY WILL LIKE??? I digress...
But what about when you don't have a choice? By the time you get around to buying a gift, there are two items left: a $1,500 couch or a single oven mitt. Or, as is the case with some couples, they just don't have a registry. Hmm...
Here are a few of my "go to" ideas for when a gift registry just isn't an option (and brides-to-be take note, too, some good ideas for alternative registries follow!).
Art Museum Gift Shop
The Art Institute of Chicago gift shop has some of the most beautiful home decor and serving pieces I've ever come across, and I've included a few samples here. Warning: only go this route if you feel confident you understand the couple's style well enough to pick out something they would like!
|Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shop|
Everyone wants to have the honeymoon of their dreams, but sometimes pocketbooks don't allow it! A great surprise for a couple would be to arrive at their hotel greeted by a bonus massage or delicious dinner on your tab. There are honeymoon registries that couples can sign up for which allow them to actually write out the wish-list for honeymoon activities. Then, guests can just sign up for a specific item to purchase for you. (Brides and grooms, honeymoon gifts are the easiest thank you notes to write!). The two I've had experience with are honeyfund.com and honeyluna.com.
A wonderful way to honor the couple who has everything is via a donation to their favorite charity. Through the I Do Foundation or JustGive.org, the couple can actually register for the charities they want their guests to give to! If they haven't done the work for you, you can do a little reconnaissance to figure out what their favorite charity is and make a donation in the couple's honor. Another great option is a new non-profit called Wish Upon a Wedding which provides weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances.
Of course, these are only a few options of ideas for going off of the registry...what is your favorite "go to" wedding gift?