Though it is a rite of passage for most people, the experience of getting married has shifted dramatically over the past several decades. From the emergence of technology and the obsession with social media to the delay of marriage for most young adults, how couples approach planning isn’t quite the same perspective of their parents. In addition to shifting how twosome decide on the big day weekend activities, they also are straying away from traditional gift requests, as well. As wedding and event planner Emily Sullivan of Emily Sullivan Events in New Orleans, Louisiana notes, each year, wedding registry trends are becoming more and more digital—from what they add to their wish list to how they receive the items. Today, it is rare for a guest to bring a mixer to the actual event, especially with the prevalence of online registries.
What has caused this transformation of attitude? Plenty of aspects are at play, but in a general sense, Paula Ramirez of Historic Mankin Mansion Wedding Resort in Richmond, Virginia explains wedding registry trends evolve based on the makeup of the consumer, so it should come as no surprise that already-established couples aren’t in need of the standard dishes, bakeware or mixing bowls that past generations needed to develop their new address. “Now more than ever, couples have an established household and aren’t in need of the basics. What’s especially interesting to see is items that were often considered “taboo” years prior, such as experiential gifts, are now a welcome addition,” she continues.
Here, a look at the wedding registry trends to expect in 2019.
Honeymoon or travel registries
It seems like a no-brainer, but if a couple doesn’t quite crave or need home accessories, the ultimate type of ‘experience’ to gift is a honeymoon they’ll be telling their great grandchildren about. Career and travel are often intertwined for plenty of individuals or pairs, especially as freelance work encompasses an all-time high of the workforce. Same with the uptick in start-ups that don’t demand by the 9 to 5 tango. With this flexibility, newlyweds are taking longer honeymoons, making anything related to travel a welcomed gift. “Even if the couple has a honeymoon fund set up in place of a registry, vouchers and airline miles are still great additions,” explains Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services in Livermore, California. “Couples can then allocate their honeymoon fund to dining and shopping, plus transportation or museums that they may not think of designating money to.”
The average age for both men and women for their first (and hopefully, last) “I do” is teetering toward 30, a time when much of their life is already figured out. Even if they’re still working toward career goals or checking off countries on their passport bucket list, a reliable income and a sense of confidences makes kitchen accessories a secondary priority. Instead, wedding registry trends for affluent and thoughtful engaged duos include sharing good will for others through their nuptials. Sullivan predicts more and more couples taking a page from the royals (looking at you Meghan and Harry) and asking guests to donate to a charity close to their hearts, in lieu of a gift.
Millennials have impacted plenty of trends as they’ve aged to the marrying-age, and wedding registry trends are no exception. Instead of purchasing homes or items, singles and couples in this age bracket place a higher value on experiences. When they decide to upgrade their relationship to the forever-and-ever level, they want to take time to celebrate this commitment through experiences, according to Sullivan: “From monthly subscriptions of wine and cheese clubs to gift cards for airline tickets, hotels, and even movie tickets couples will look to register for items that they can create a date night or even getaway weekend with.”
Varied place settings
Consider the last time you stopped by one of your married friend’s home—did they have a formal place setting? Likely not, according to the experience of Tommy Waters of The Renaissance in Richmond, Virginia. He says gone are the days of registries filled with gravy boats, asparagus plates and beyond. Though flatware might still exist, he says couples are much more eclectic about their at-home experience: they want to mix and match, and not go inherently formal for the sake of marriage.
With everything they need at home, the honeymoon booked and paid for, couples are scratching their heads at what to ask as a “congrats” for their wedding. Waters say some are taking it as an opportunity to be honest and seek help for the practical, everyday expenses they have running a household. Consider bills like oil changes for their car, grocery gift certificates and so on.
Much like an experience type of gift, couples of this generation are more likely to appreciate any sort of present that allows them to spend more time together, doing the activities that brought them together from day one. Ramirez says these days, many think outside of the box and consider what they actually need to be happy—rather than to fill their counter space. From camping and hiking gear to luggage and other type of gear or goods, we’ll see plenty more of these wedding registry trends in 2019.