This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
Originally designed as a simple way for marrying couples to track their gifts at department stores or gift shops, the wedding registry has taken more of an unconventional approach in modern times. Today we can find a wedding registry just about anywhere, from home-and-garden stores to art galleries, from camping and recreational sports chains to home improvement stores.
No doubt the biggest change we’ve seen in this category, however, has been wedding registries populated without products, and with experiences. These new registries offer guests the ability to fund services or charities, bringing more meaning to the experience of gifting. For couples who don’t want (or need) more stuff, these registries have been a game-changer!
Eco-conscious consumers aren’t the only ones that see the value of having a “less-is-more” lifestyle. For those of you who are looking for something non-traditional, or who just want to up-level your sustainable habits, here are my tips for creating a more meaningful and conscious gift registry.
Guiding Principles for Green Gifting With An Environmentally-Friendly Wedding Registry
Choose wisely – A wedding registry allows you to narrow the selection of gifts your guests might purchase to only the ones you request. Decide what you truly want. If your lifestyle is more casual, do you really need a fancy crystal punch bowl? Though some might find traditional wedding gifts over the top, there’s nothing wrong with planning for the day when you might appreciate such an item.
Support the green (and local) economy – It may take a little digging, but you can probably find just about every new product you want in an organic or local version. From organic cotton sheets to recycled glass wine tumblers, to natural rubber yoga mats, and artisan pottery on your local main street, there are plenty of eco‐fabulous product offers for you to choose from today. Those that will support what you care about instead of just giving money to the big box retailers!
Seek out experiences over stuff – If more stuff doesn’t float your boat, let your loved ones fund an experience that does. Have you always wanted to learn to surf in the warm waters of Hawaii? How about a honeymoon to trek an ancient Inca Trail and experience local Peruvian Mountain culture up close? You get my drift. From fancy dinners to adventures abroad, the sky’s the limit. Experiences fill your heart, and nourish the soul, and being gifted that experience by those you love most will make it more fulfilling than that dish towel set and matching corn cob holders.
Green Gift Registry Musts
Organic sheet set — From relaxed linen in the summer to flannel in the winter, natural organic material is the perfect way to get cozy and keep your sensitive skin away from harmful pesticides and dyes.
Natural rubber mattress — We spend a lot of our life sleeping, and since that is when most of our body’s regeneration happens, wouldn’t it be nice if we slept on a healthy product? Natural rubber comes from trees, not oil, and is extremely durable, flexible, and resilient. These mattresses can almost last a lifetime!
Home recycling center — Make your home recycling a snap with a standalone system designed for compacting your recyclables to minimize your trips to the garage. While you’re at it, throw in an automatic composter — easy to use, odor-free, providing you with an endless supply of compost, for you and your neighbors!
Water purifier — Support your healthy, clean, and green lifestyle by getting off bottled water. Have your friends and family support you with the purchase of a state-of-the-art water purification system for your faucet.
A year’s supply of organic produce from your local farm – This is a great way to nourish yourself with fresh, seasonal, and organic eating habits, and your favorite family farmer at the same time. Create a fund through for your year’s subscriptions for your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) produce box. Enroll in a program that has a produce box delivered to you weekly.
Energy-efficient appliances – Upgrade your washer, dryer, dishwasher, and fridge (if you need it) with a new energy-efficient, and water-efficient appliance. These are called “smart” products, because of their ingenious ability to use resources well.
Family heirloom — It doesn’t have to be a new product to be meaningful. Ask your family to gift you something that has been a part of your family for generations and is part of your heritage. As you start your new family, it will be a beautiful gesture and a valuable memory to be gifted
Set‐up a funding registry — If you’ve been living together awhile, you might have all the household items you could need at the moment—give or take a new bathrobe or two. So in lieu of new stuff, consider asking guests to contribute to a fund of your making. Be it honeymoon funding you need, or a down payment on a new house, you will be amazed at how much money you can raise this way!
TIP: Reduce the amount of packaging your gifts come in by asking guests to skip the wrapping paper. You can tell them nicely on your wedding website, or suggest that if they must wrap it, to use newspaper or other creative and conscious wraps.
For an environmentally-friendly wedding registry consider a Honeyfund online wedding registry.
Bio: By Corina Beczner
Corina Beczner is Creative Director and Owner of Vibrant Events, a wedding and special event planning company in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a green event expert, who specializes in producing extraordinary events that weave “green touches” throughout, in an elegant and thoughtful way.