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Do You Need a Wedding Registry?

Along with “something old, something new,” bouquet tosses, groom’s cakes and other typical wedding traditions, many couples usually include a wedding registry for their happy event. Depending on your circumstances, you may find that it’s either a wonderful way to help establish your new household together or a bigger pain than it’s worth. Even if you and your sweetie have already built a life and home, you still have options you can provide to your gifting guests.

A Creation by American Retailers

Prior to the modern era, women in Western nations collected essential household items like bed and table linens, cookware, food preparation tools, dishes and cutlery and stored them away in “hope chests” for use after they married. This concept has earlier origins in the dowry or “bride price,” paid to the young woman’s family and was usually composed of land, animals, precious metals or other tangible forms of wealth. Prior to the early 20th century, only close family would contribute items to a young woman’s hope chest. However, Racked writer Erika Adams reports that the trend of gift registries began when Macy’s offered the first ones in the 1920s. Initially, they allowed wedding guests to purchase crystal, silver, and china items from a list of preferred products specified by each couple.

Starting a New Home Together?

Getting married means that you and your beloved will be starting a household together. While there are symbolic meanings related to love, commitment and partnership that shouldn’t be ignored, there are also some logistical aspects to forming your new family. Besides the usual big questions such as where the two of you will live, how you will handle your finances or whether either of you will legally change your name, you’ll need to decide how to set up and furnish your new home.

It’s important to remember that gift registries were customarily intended for younger people who had previously lived at home. Because they’d never lived in apartments or houses of their own, they would not have the appliances, linens or other goods needed to set up their new homes. In contrast, The Knot points out that many people in same-gender love relationships have been committed to each other for years prior to getting hitched. In many instances, they’ve already lived together and established solid homes and families.

Gift Registry Options for Same-Gender Couples

Now that you know the history behind wedding gift registries, keep in mind that you and your spouse-to-be can still set one up. This is true regardless of how long you’ve been together or whether you’ve already established a household. If you decide to open a registry, Queer¢ents suggests taking a non-traditional approach. Many online retailers, such as Amazon, do not limit theirs to strictly household goods and allow couples to add anything that’s physically shippable. Alternatively, you can opt for a registry designed for charitable giving. A March 2017 New York Times article reported on this trend, noting the wide range of possibilities available.

Finally, the soon-to-be-married can set up registries to fund their honeymoon travels at sites such as Honeyfund, Wanderable or Traveler’s Joy. Be mindful that some of your guests may side-eye this practice, considering it crass or not aligned with proper etiquette. Of course, they have other options if they still want to bestow a more traditional gift, as Time contributor Martha C. White explained in a June 2016 article.

Many who are tying the knot, including same-sex couples, decide to modify classic wedding traditions or abandon them altogether. If you and your intended already have built a home, you still have viable options to provide for your gift-giving guests. Inclusive online gift registries, charitable giving and honeymoon travel funds are just a few possibilities at your disposal.

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