Many of us know that a wedding registry holds the key to easy gift-giving for a newlywed couple, but where did this tradition come from? And exactly what is a wedding registry?
Back in ye’ old days, many families arranged marriages in order to merge family fortunes. Wealthy groom’s families would offer a piece of land, money or a portion of a profitable business in exchange for the bride’s hand in marriage.
The bride’s family would then give the groom a bridal dowry which would essentially turn out to contain what we refer to as traditional wedding gifts. It would include things such as china, linens, towels and other items in order for the couple to establish a household.
Fast forward a few hundred years…
Moving into more modern times, the answer to the question “what is a wedding registry” changed. The concept of an actual wedding registry came about in 1924, when Marshal Field’s decided they wanted to create a system in order to help wedding guests select gifts. Originally a hand-written list, that once again, usually listed items such as crystal, linens (100 count thread only, please!), silverware, and china, the process took it’s time to mature to a more “convenient” style.
Enter Target, who by all accounts revolutionized the bridal registry process. In 1995 they established the first scanner-friendly wedding gift registry with an electronic database. This created a solution to keeping track of registry purchases, thus trying (and still somehow failing) to eliminate double or triple gifting.
Almost every big-box store followed suit with elaborate bridal registry departments sporting a host of housewares from floral china, to bed linens to toasters. Since the scanners big debut, many non-traditional wedding registries have popped up for those, “non-traditional” (but the coolest) couples!
In fact, we’re on the verge of a major change. The answer to the question “what is a wedding registry?” is no longer associated with toasters and tea towels. Now, couples have several online and mobile options available that are more in line with what they really want.
Making use of an online wedding registry allows you to create something that is uniquely you. A wedding registry that reflects what you really want and need to start your life together. Register for your honeymoon, a down payment on a house, even set up a donation registry in support of your favourite charity. Not only does this benefit the couples, but with collaborative gift giving, guests can contribute quickly and easily towards a big ticket gift.
It is estimated that approximately 70 per cent of couples live together prior to getting hitched, thus eliminating the need to register for the common items (unless, you need an upgrade from your mismatched towel set from your college dorm days).
Though registries are not mandatory, they are still considered an essential part of your wedding planning.
Evaluate your situation. Sure, your mom might want you to register at Macy’s or The Bay because that’s what she did, but do you really need the department store items? Or would they just lie buried in your closet until your first yard sale? Maybe you really want to move out of that apartment, and into your dream home?
Make sure you do your research and find a registry that will best suit the needs of you and your partner.