The evolution of wedding gift registries

It wasn’t too long ago that when you received a wedding invitation in the mail, it would include a phrase such as:

“the couple is registered at Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Kohls”

On one hand, it was nice to have a few options for stores because you might not have all of them locally, and you were bound to be able to find something in your price range at one of them. But things have changed a lot in the past 10 years. Amazon and other online retailers have become go-to stores for buying items of all types, including wedding gifts.

But unfortunately, changes have been slow in the wedding world, where it’s still common to choose 3-5 stores at which to have registries, even as more and more people are buying online. ¬†Keeping track of all those registries is a burden on the engaged couple, and the fatigue of feeling obligated to populate your registry with gifts that aren’t really what you’re excited about gets to be a drag.

The first wave of online gift registries were a step in the right direction, in that they allowed wedding guests to select gifts from more than 3 stores. ¬†But they were still littered with ads or affiliate links, featured amateurish design, and didn’t offer a pleasant experience for the engaged couple or the wedding guests purchasing gifts. Gradually, some of the registries changed to improve the registry experience, but the gift buying experience still left a lot to be desired.

The modern online gift registry that we offer from the Umbrella Registry is an attempt to right the wrongs of those that came before us. As we continue to improve the product, you’ll no doubt see what makes our registries a pleasure to use.

How to spice up your registry with non-traditional gift ideas

One of the biggest benefits of a registry with Umbrella Registry is that you can include gifts that may not be available in stores. So, rather than having to choose gifts that can be purchased at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond or even Amazon, you now have the ability to select gifts that may come from the small country store in your hometown, or from a favorite artist or craftsman. ¬†And the individual or retailer from which your gift can be purchased doesn’t even need to have a website. ¬†Here are a few fictitious samples of the types of non-traditional gifts that could be included on your registry:

  • Handmade pottery – work with the potter to put together a complete set, and then list on your registry by the piece, or as a complete set
  • A piece of art – You could either list this as a “no limit” gift to which people could contribute cash towards a commission, or select a specific work and list that on your registry
  • Handmade quilt – Select a pattern and color scheme, and someone can either purchase a quilt or have one made for you
  • A date night package – Post this as an open-ended option — the giver can include a restaurant gift card of their choice along with funds towards an after-dinner show or activity that you can do together as a couple
  • One of a kind personal tour – maybe a behind-the-scenes tour at a winery, organic farm, or craftsperson’s workshop
  • Weekend getaway – maybe a night or two at a B&B close to a tourist attraction
  • Handcrafted wood furniture – maybe a nice armoire or chest of drawers or dining room table with chairs. Work with a furniture maker to select a piece of furniture and give direction style and wood selection ahead of time.

Let your imagination be your guide as you think about what gifts to include on your registry. No more limitations!

A managing role – Registry Managers explained

One feature of all Umbrella Registries is the ability to designate a Registry Manager. A Registry Manager acts as a buffer between you and your wedding guests. It’s an important role, and can help you in several ways.

Part of the fun of getting wedding gifts are the surprises that inevitably happen when you and your spouse open gifts after your wedding. You might receive gifts that weren’t on your registry, or you may have forgotten that you registered for a certain item. If you or your partner are fielding questions from wedding guests “Do you think they’d like ‘X’?” or “Do you have any ideas for a more expensive gift that may not be on their registry?”, you miss out on those surprises. As the person getting married, you could respond to those questions, but gift givers often like gifts to be a surprise, so having someone to answer those questions for you is helpful.

The other benefit is that you’ll save time by delegating this responsibility to someone you trust.

As you think about selecting a Registry Manager, select someone that will be a good fit for the role. Some people trust one of their parents, and others prefer to have a sibling or trusted friend handle the role. Choose someone that knows you and your tastes well, and that knows when to approach you with a question, “How wide is their kitchen countertop?” and when to answer a question without bothering you. Choose someone that checks their email more than once a month, and that you trust to answer those questions for you.

If you are reluctant to delegate these responsibilities to someone else, you can also simply fill in your contact information for the Registry Manager, and you will receive any questions that your guests have regarding your registry.

How a “No limit” gift opens up possibilities for your registry

With most wedding gift registries, you include gifts that are available on the shelf in a store (or online). The Umbrella Registry allows you to include those types of gifts on your registry, but gives you a bit more flexibility with “No limit” gifts.

“No limit” gifts can be used to accept cash contributions towards your honeymoon, to encourage folks to donate to your favorite charity, or to contribute money towards a larger, custom gift, like a complete set of dishes from your favorite ceramics artist.

Have other ideas for “No limit” gifts? Feel free to leave us a comment below.

4 Quick-start tips for your registry

You’ve signed up for your very own Umbrella Registry, and you’re ready to load it up with gifts. How do you get the most out of it as you’re getting started? We have some helpful tips! Read more…

Why is it worth paying for an online wedding gift registry?

If you’re considering spending money for an online wedding registry, you may have doubts about whether or not it’s worth the expense. That’s a good question to ask, especially when you’ve already spent a lot of money on other parts of your wedding celebration. There are plenty of free wedding gift registry options available, so you may be reluctant to pay for one.

To help with your decision, we’ll look at several specific benefits of the Umbrella wedding gift registry, and why we’re better than the other free options. Read more…

Release – v1.0

Initial public release