It is officially wedding season. But what some couples don't realize is that they don't have to stick with tradition and register for gifts of bedding and china. Thanks to the Internet, brides and grooms can tactfully request money for items they really want, including a down payment for a home, cash for a romantic honeymoon or even a donation to their favorite cause.
1. Home Savings Registry
As we all know, it's not easy to get a mortgage these days. That means many couples may struggle coming up with a down payment for their first home. Enter Hatch My House, a website that helps couples raise funds specifically for a piece of real estate. Once the bride and groom set up a registry, all the guests have to do is click and "buy" a feature, such as a window or a new stove, and money is deposited into a PayPal account.
Best Feature: The happy couple can write a descriptive and emotional note about the home they hope to buy.
2. The Honeymoon Fund Registry
What couple doesn't dream of a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon. But after all the wedding expenses, there often isn't much cash left over for that trip to Fiji. The Honeyfund can help. Spread the word that you prefer the gift of travel over lush bath towels and Aunt Maggie is sure to make a donation.
Best Feature: You can provide details of your trip and the associated expenses -- think airfare or hotel rooms -- and your guests will feel more involved in the gift giving process.
3. The Gift Card Registry
Need some kitchen gadgets or power tools but afraid no one wants to buy you such practical gifts? Don't bother putting them on the registry. Ask for gift cards to retailers like Home Depot and Crate & Barrel instead. And to make life easier for your guests, you can point folks to one website, such as Card Avenue, which will combine all of your store card requests.
Best Feature: The site directs guests to discounted gift cards from resellers like Plastic Jungle and Cardpool. This allows your friends to stretch their dollars and give you gifts that are worth more than they spent. (The typical discount is up to 10% off the face value of a gift card.)
4. The Charity Registry
Finally, this is a gift registry that you can feel good about. Register with the I Do Foundation and up to 10% of your guests' purchases (from partner retailers) will go toward your selected charity. Participating stores include wedding favorites like Crate & Barrel, Tiffany & Co. and Williams-Sonoma.
Best Feature: If you prefer to skip the place settings, you can simply request a donation to your favorite charity.
What's your favorite wedding registry site?
Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal Financial Guidebook for New Parents.
Wedding Cake image courtesy of Flickr, CC 2.0.
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