When I look back on my wedding, I think about all the things I did right, and maybe a few things I would do differently today. One of the things I encourage my engaged friends (and anyone considering marriage) to consider a different way is their wedding registry. I remember looking back at all the things we received that we rarely (or never) used. It made me think about the money that could have been used better. There’s so much to think about when you ponder all the blessings cherished friends and family could give to support your new life. Here are a few non-traditional thoughts that may guide your ideas for wedding gifts in a more sincere way.

Cut the China

When our parents got married, one of the more elegant requests was a nice set of fine china. The rationale made sense: everyone needed “good china” for entertaining or special occasions. And, they most likely kept it displayed in a nice display cabinet or hutch. China is a traditionally prized family possession that has been known to be passed down from generation to generation. It’s no wonder why couples have it on their wedding registry. If you ask around, though, you will find that people rarely use the “good china” for entertaining. It’s almost as if people see it as too fancy nowadays.

Aside from an occasional Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday, entertaining isn’t seen as a formal activity. So while it may be nice to have a set of fine china to say you have it, the reality is it may do nothing more than take up space in your new home. Chances are, if you don’t have any now, you won’t miss it. Plus, fine china can be rather expensive per setting. After counting up the cost of a full set of good china, consider what other things you could get that you would use much more regularly for that price. Is it nice to have? Of course. Do you need it? Not at all.

Request Sets

Just because fine china may not be something you need in no way means you shouldn’t consider having full sets of dinnerware. Of course you should! As one-half of a new relationship duo, single habits won’t serve you anymore. Definitely exchange the mismatched plastic cups and random silverware pieces you’ve collected for full sets of tableware.

You WILL want to entertain as a couple. So, your wedding registry should have glassware and cutlery requests in sets of eight. This will provide enough to use for a dinner party, for a nice meal with the in-laws, or for a quiet meal with just the two of you. Be sure to include a nice set of wine glasses, as well. They’re a classy staple that every new couple should have when guests come over. When choosing universal cutlery, don’t forget to add a set of serving utensils. They will aid in better food or meal presentations when you have guests.

Try Online Wedding Registry Services

Dish sets aside, I would recommend any to-be-married couple to consider one of the many options available to use online wedding registry services. These companies allow couples to make an all-in-one spot where wedding guests can support the newlyweds with gift ideas for the home. Yes, you will still have some more traditional guests who buy gifts (that you probably didn’t ask for), but an online wedding registry will point your family and friends in the direction of items you truly desire.

Sites like Honeyfund and Zola allow couples to put together hybrid lists of traditional and innovative wedding gifts. Guests can opt to purchase typical gifts like bedding or kitchen items. Or, they can financially support the honeymoon or another experience the couple wants to have as newlyweds. Another great option is to set up a cash fund so that the couple can use the money for things they may want or need, but don’t feel comfortable asking for.

My fiancé and I really needed a couch for our new space, but we didn’t want to put that on our registry. (And we didn’t think anyone would get it.) Using one of these wedding registry sites would have allowed us to send a link to a cash fund where guests could contribute. You may want new wallpaper, or you may not even want guests to know what your needs are. Online services will provide privacy, options and the peace of mind that you’ll actually get things you need—and want.

Other Ideas?

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. However, it should offer a different, more useful mindset when it comes to your wedding registry. What are your thoughts? Do you have any leftover wedding gifts that you never used? If you’ve tried any online wedding registry services, how was your experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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