If you’re headed to the altar any time soon, you and your partner have probably thought about creating a bridal registry.
Before taking to a department store to scope out items you don’t really want or need, consider your options. Times have changed since the modern bridal registry was created in the 1920s — you’re no longer limited to china patterns or silver goblets. Now, you can encourage your guests to give toward a practical gift you’ll use for years to come — a new home.
Consider Your Options
Wedding gifts have existed for millennia, but times are changing. Home goods are no longer as popular (or as practical) as they once were because many couples are living together before marriage. According to the Council of Contemporary Families, about two-thirds of new marriages take place between couples who have already lived together for an average of 31 months.
Think about it: 31 months of cohabitation likely means you’ve already merged your household supplies and managed to acquire any other absolute necessities. You may not own a fine china pattern, but you’ve likely got a blender you like or a duvet cover that matches your décor. And while traditional bridal registries are a great way to upgrade some of your household items, consider your options.
Crowdfunding services such as HatchMyHouse, Feather the Nest and HoneyFund all give newlyweds the ability to register for gifts toward a honeymoon, home renovations or even a down payment. Each has their own rules and regulations, but all are customizable to fit the couple’s needs.
Building a Future Together
Some homebuilders themselves recognize that a brand-new home is a dream for many newlywed couples and are encouraging couples to register with the source.
Keystone Custom Homes, a builder based in central Pennsylvania, created their own new home bridal registry to help make homeownership a reality for newlyweds.
“We began marketing the program about five years ago. New homebuyers are delighted with the program, as they never imagine receiving money to buy a brand-new home as a wedding gift,” says Janette Hawkins, CMP and vice president of marketing for Keystone.
Couples simply create a registry through the program, personalize to their tastes and then invite wedding guests to participate as they see fit.
“Once people hear of the program, the whole family is excited, including the parents of the bride and groom – it’s a very practical gift,” says Hawkins.
Choosing “The One”
One of the convenient things about bridal registries is customizing your choices to match your style and needs. Down payment registries are no different.
“Newlyweds can choose to build a home in any of our 44 communities or on a homesite they own,” says Hawkins. The program isn’t specific to certain communities, so potential homeowners have some flexibility.
“There is no obligation to purchase a home from us, but most people who are interested in the program do purchase a Keystone home,” says Hawkins.
And the feedback is positive: “Homeowners who have used the program are thrilled they got assistance with the biggest investment of their lives,” she says.
What Would Miss Manners Do?
Many down payment registries actively acknowledge the elephant in the room: the idea that cash wedding gifts are tacky. Though some forum users on the wedding website TheKnot.com appear dismayed at the thought of a down payment registry, etiquette master Emily Post herself once stated that when deciding what to get the happy couple, “Cash presents are perfectly acceptable.”
Of course, some wedding guests may think that giving cash is impersonal. Christy Ross, VP of national marketing for Richmond American Homes, and her Trend Watch team have some ideas: “Engrave a personal message on a keychain, ornament, birdhouse, piggy bank or some other small home-oriented gift to commemorate their union or express your wishes for their future happiness. Include it with your check, cash or copy of your online gift confirmation.”
If the idea of saying “I do” to a new home appeals to you, consider a down payment registry.
Seve Kale is an award-winning freelancer writer and former content intern for NewHomeSource. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in December 2013 with a degree in Government, Humanities and Spanish.
Prior to working with NewHomeSource, she interned in the Press Section at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires and traveled extensively throughout South America