wedding couple

Photo: David Schwartz Photography

Like many facets of wedding planning, creating a registry can seem like a pretty gendered task. Combing through wedding registry ideas for guys and registry gifts for guys can be a fruitless task, what with all the kitchenwares and household items on (a typical registry checklist) — but as writer and recent bride Lauren Rodrigue soon realized in creating her own registry, engaged couples nowadays need to approach the entire registry process much, much differently.

Back when I was engaged, if I had a buck for every time someone asked me if I was adding gifts to our wedding registry for my then-fiancé Joe, I’d have enough money to buy the Kitchenaid mixer I regret not requesting. Whenever the topic of our wedding registry came up, it was always the same battery of questions:

“Does Joe have any say in this, ha ha?”

“Are you just asking for shoes and handbags, ha ha?”

“Are there any wedding registry gifts for men out there in wedding-land, ha ha?”

As with so many facets of the wedding industry, the registry and all things surrounding it can be… pretty one-sided. As in, brides usually rule the registry — for grooms, registries end up becoming foreign planets visited only by the occasional six-pack of whiskey stones.

So, you really think you need wedding registry ideas for guys? OK, read on.

First of all, let’s think about what a wedding registry should be.

Chances are, you and your partner are living together already, or at the very least living in your own apartments with roommates. Which means between the two of you, you’ve probably already got the “home essentials” that wedding registries were meant for—but maybe your collection is mismatched, cobbled together from over the years, or half-broken. Or maybe you’ve been dying for a KitchenAid Stand Mixer all along. Or maybe you’ve been sleeping on subpar sheets from college and you’re over them. Whatever the deal with your existing “home essentials,” your wedding registry (that is, all the things that should be on the bride registry checklist…. and the groom registry checklist) is your opportunity to upgrade everything that you want to upgrade and turn that single-life stuff into a Adult-Life Homemaking Collection. Here’s where the groom comes in: Does your groom eat food? Does your groom use plates? Does your groom sleep in a bed? Does your groom make smoothies? Congratulations: You have your list of wedding registry items for guys.

groom and groomsmen

Photo: Minerva Photography

That’s the big secret: Groom registry ideas are bride registry ideas are couple registry ideas.

If you’re a couple getting married in 2017, whether you’re a groom and a bride or two grooms or two brides, you’re probably going to divide the domestic chores evenly (please). So planning the registry—and picking out all the domestic stuff you’ll be sharing for years to come—should be done together. If one person (let’s say the bride) does most of it and tosses a few stock “registry gifts for guys” on there for good measure? She’s setting herself up for a whole lot of cooking, cleaning and general homekeeping while her spouse will be spending his time brewing beer or organizing his ties or whatever people thought he should be doing as the “man” in the couple. Not in the mood to embark on a midcentury-style division of labor? Yeah, neither was I.

A better approach is to think less in terms of “wedding registry for men” and more “wedding registry for the life we’re building together.”

Do you both love cooking? Scour upscale cookery sites for gadgets and cookware that’ll take your homemade dinners in to the next level. Do you both hate cooking? (Guilty!) Register for better basics and all the tools you’ll need to make the task easier and more fun—plus some cookbooks! Moving into a new house after the wedding? Set the tone for the whole place by selecting your linens, towels, even wall art together—an arduous task when done piecemeal but far more fun when done all at once, with lots of stores at your disposal (thanks to WeddingWire Registry) and on someone else’s dime! (Thanks, fam!) Love working out, or are you guys setting a goal to get fitter together post-nups? You can register for home gym goodies together! The big idea here is your registry should be an extension of you as a couple—your combined tastes, hobbies and passions.

groom and groomsmen

Photo: Tina Sargeant Photography

Think your groom won’t be interested in selecting gifts with you unless there’s a separate “wedding registry for the groom?”

Maybe it’s time to have a chat—remind him that 1) wedding guests are going to buy you gifts regardless (they literally love buying gifts) so you might as well pick out things you genuinely want, 2) the gifts on your wedding registry are symbolic of a new chapter in your lives together and you want them to be representative of the both of you, not just your half, and 3) it doesn’t all have to be towels and cutting boards—although if your groom will be using those things, he’d better have an opinion on them! This conversation may crop up a couple times during your wedding planning journey and can definitely be frustrating—the key is to stay focused on why these things are important, not the the things themselves. Marriage is about teamwork and compromise—and that starts with planning the wedding. All parts of planning.

And if neither one of you are particularly interested in new dinnerware or chenille throws?

(Weird life choice, but hey, different strokes!) You can decide together to go forth with an alternative registry. Honeymoon crowd-funding is all the rage and can help cover the costs of travel and lodging for your big escape—guests can even gift excursions and adventures which can otherwise be pricey (and studies show experiences provide more happiness than things)! Or if you’re both really angling for cold, hard cash (like for the house down payment you forwent in exchange for all those delicious avocados during your bachelor days), now guests can safely and securely give cash over the web (without you having to awkwardly write “Cash only, please!” on your invitation). And if you both truly want nothing (again with those unique life choices!), spend an afternoon selecting causes you care about that you’d like to have guests donate to in lieu of gifting you, then list their websites on your wedding website. Good karma belongs on a wedding registry for a groom, for a bride, for anyone!

Doesn’t all of this sound a heck of a lot better than a box of GD whiskey stones? Can you tell I hate whiskey stones? What the hell is it about whiskey stones that scream “WEDDING REGISTRY IDEAS FOR GUYS!” There’s a way to fill out a kick-ass wedding registry, packed with stuff you and your groom want and need, and keep your home a whiskey stone-free zone. It, like planning a wedding and… a life together… starts with one easy trick: Working together.

Of course, if your groom really wants whiskey stones, do add it to your registry. Just make sure you’ll use them too—and if you won’t, add a KitchenAid for yourself. Even stevens.