By Sioux Watson

The modern couple comes in all shapes and sizes in 2016. From first-time-round couples in their 40s, to couples who have multiple marriages behind them, to same-sex couples, to two people who have children first and THEN decide to get hitched; all are the new normal. Traditional registries were designed to help newlyweds who came to marriage straight from the original family home without a pot or pan to their united name.

Today’s modern couple still in their twenties has more than likely already been cohabitating and has accumulated enough rudimentary household items to host a dinner party, let alone dinner for two, and betrothed big city dwellers don’t need more stuff to fill their tiny one-bedroom walk-ups; thus couples are adding new twists to the traditional wedding registries in unique ways that offer wedding guests more options than ever to give meaningful and useful wedding gifts.
Melissa and Wade, both in their 40s, met just after Melissa had applied to adopt a child on her own. A year later, when they were married, the only thing found on the registry on the couple’s wedding blog was a “baby fund”. The wording went something along these lines: “Truly the only thing we ask is your presence at our Big Day. If you insist on giving us a gift, it would be great if you wanted to help us with the expense of bringing a baby to our marriage, whether it be through adoption or an expensive medical procedure.”

While it has always been acceptable to give a cash gift to the newlyweds, couples can now spell out the components of a honeymoon they would love to have help paying for via an assortment of “honeyfund” websites. Raleighites Brittany and Jason planned their honeymoon at an all-inclusive hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico, but wanted to add on some day trips and extra experiences outside of the resort. They used to let friends and relatives opt to pay for a side trip to Mayan ruins and a snorkeling/diving trip to see tropical fish and sea turtles.

A review on weddingwire about says, “very easy to set up, and no problems with receiving the money. We posted it on our wedding page and in our registry announcement with the invitations. We received about $500 (we requested $3,000) on the site. However, we received over $2,500 from checks and cash at the wedding. It's a neat idea, but it seems only younger couples are using it and the older family members and friends stick to what they know. “

Raleigh couple Greg and Heather decided to use their registry to help raise money for a specific cause they were passionate about, and raised funds for the Human Rights Campaign.

Some websites are geared to couples that wish to raise donations for charity in lieu of gifts. One popular site is the I Do Foundation, where couples can create a registry, chose charitable favors, and purchase charity gift cards to hand to attendants as gifts. The site is “the nation’s first wedding-focused nonprofit”, and has raised over $6.5 million from more than 75,000 couples in the past 10 years.

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