Guide to an Alternative Wedding Registry

Ah, the wedding registry. One of the parts of wedding planning that sounds so good in theory, and actually feels pretty challenging in practice. 

A traditional registry can be a great option for many couples, but for many others, it’s not. Maybe you’ve lived together for a while and have all the big stuff covered, or maybe you’re planning to move in the near future and don’t want extra possessions. Whatever your reasons, it’s totally possible to build an alternative wedding registry that still allows your community to shower you with gifts (they want to!) without more physical stuff. We’ll show you how.

How to Ask for No Gifts 

First, you need to explicitly say no physical gifts (sometimes referred to as “boxed gifts”) and explain why. For example, “Tricia and Brian are getting ready to move to a new city! As such, they kindly request no gifts they’ll need to pack up.” This information should be on your wedding website and provided to anyone who is hosting a bridal shower, engagement party, etc.

Why Register for Services & Other Non-Boxed Gifts 

The thing is, people still want to get you something. So, it’s helpful to have a plan for what you want people to get you in lieu of boxed gifts. These options give the gift giver an opportunity to feel like they’re getting you something tangible, and will benefit you and your partner!

bride opening gift on wedding morning
Kelsey Regan Photography

Alternative Wedding Registry Ideas

Register for a honeymoon fund 

This is common these days; many couples even include it as a line item on a traditional registry! 

Here’s how to tactfully ask for money toward your honeymoon: “Your presence is the best gift of all – we can’t wait to celebrate with you! We truly have everything we need at the moment for our home, and kindly request no boxed gifts. However, for friends & family who have inquired, we have set up a fund to help us make the most of our honeymoon to [destination] together!”

You could do this as a cash fund (many sites like Zola make this really easy) or register for experiences via a site like Airbnb

Subscriptions to Add to Your Alternative Wedding Registry

What do you and your partner love to do together? Register for more of that! Or, think about what would make your lives easier and add that to your list. Some ideas include…

  1. Wine or beer of the month club (local friends: Salt & Bubbles Coup Club is great!)
  2. Floral bouquet subscription (Farmhouse Flowers and A Clover and One Bee both provide this for Vermonters!)
  3. Meal kits or food subscriptions like Blue Apron or Butcher Box 
  4. A CSA membership to a local farm would be a great gift
  5. You can also register for subscriptions that make your life easier like a year of Amazon Prime or Instacart

Date Night Registry Essentials

This could be such a fun option and provide you with a year – or more – of fun date night ideas! For example:

  1. Movie tickets to the local theater 
  2. Passes to a local museum or attraction
  3. Gift cards to local restaurants (provide examples)
  4. A gift card to a local spa 
  5. Entertainment subscriptions like Spotify, Netflix, Disney+ etc. 

Couple kissing at bottom of ski slope after their Vermont winter elopement
Juniper Studios
A white couple pops champagne after getting married at Sterling Ridge Resort, VT
Jenna Brisson

An Adventure Lovers Alternative Wedding Registry

If you and your partner are adventurous, fuel your passion for the outdoors with a registry that helps you to get out and explore more. Consider:

  1. Passes to your local state park (or a National Parks Pass)
  2. Ski passes 
  3. Mountain bike passes 
  4. Gift cards to a gear shop you love so you can pick out something together

Register for Charitable Donations

In lieu of a registry, you could ask for donations to a charitable organization that holds a close meaning to you both. (This is also an excellent option in lieu of favors!)

Final thoughts on the Alternative Wedding Registry

I can pretty much guarantee that no matter how many times you say no gifts, someone is going to hand you a big white bag with a bow on top and a gift inside at some point. When that happens, be gracious. Say thank you (here’s a guide to writing the best thank you notes) and know that person is just trying to honor your marriage the way they know best!

Have You Seen the Vermont Weddings Gift Guide?

Even if you’re skipping a traditional registry, we highly suggest browsing our Gift Guide – it’s unlike any other! We’re confident you’ll find something to give your partner, anyone who helped celebrate your wedding in a meaningful way…and lots of other ideas!

Your Next Read:

Looking for more wedding advice? Check out our post on how to have the best wedding morning

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Three Rehearsal Dinner Themes (And Coordinating Invitation Templates)

While rehearsal dinner themes aren’t necessary, they can be helpful to guide your planning by focussing your choices on a particular color palette or style. It may be related to your wedding theme, but it doesn’t have to be. If you had your heart set on a theme that didn’t quite make the cut for your wedding – this is the opportunity to do it. 

Your rehearsal dinner is the pre-party of your wedding weekend. It’s a chance to celebrate with your closest family and friends in an intimate setting and get excited for what’s ahead.  

Kaylen, the incredible wedding planner behind Sarah Judith Events, shares three rehearsal dinner themes that could work at a variety of venues.  

Bonus: We created three templates you can customize for invitations to your rehearsal dinner for each of these themes! Scroll to the bottom of the article to get yours.

Something Blue

Blue is the color of love, purity, faithfulness, and modesty. Tradition says “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” will bring luck on your wedding day…why not make your something blue your rehearsal dinner?

Check out the ways Kaylen incorporates shades of pastel blues and in a watercolor-like palette that’s sweet, romantic and fresh. This theme could play equally well at a lakeside setting (and lean more nautical) or a mountain affair (and lean more garden party). 

Blue hydrangeas are in season in Vermont in the summer, which is an excellent floral choice.  Ask you florist for more recommendations on bringing the blues to your floral arrangements.

Black & Gold Rehearsal

Looking for a classy and elegant rehearsal dinner theme? You can’t go wrong with black and gold! 

Surprise and treat your guests with special details, like a champagne wall, balloon arch, gold silverware, and hand lettered gold place cards.

With fewer people attending your rehearsal dinner than your wedding it can be an opportunity to go a little “all-out!” Don’t forget about the themed gold rimmed cake as well! (These bakers are sure to create a stunning, glittering creation.)

Positano Vibes

If you have been lucky enough to visit Positano, a village in Italy off the Amalfi coast, you know how gorgeous it is! Even if you haven’t been (or are planning to go for your honeymoon), you can bring a little bit of  this cliffside village to Vermont as your rehearsal dinner theme. 

This colorful theme is whimsical, fun and joyful. Blue and white plates pop against yellow details – including an adorable lemon place card! 

A seating chart written on old wine jugs and a serve yourself sangria bar are excellent choices to bring this vibe to life. Check out Salt and Bubbles Wine Bar & Market for some wine suggestions (they also offer mobile bar catering) to bring a true taste of the region to your party. Your guests will enjoy feeling transported to a different country with a delicious italian dinner and wine. Salute! 

Rehearsal Dinner Invitation Templates

Like one of the themes above? You’re luck because we have three invitation templates per theme you can customize for free for your rehearsal dinner using Canva (you can use the free version).

You can print these and mail them to your wedding party and close friends/family, or you could email them the invitation (that’s what I’d do). It’s an extra little touch to make those who are closest to you feel special! 

Check out the designs below and get your templates to customize your favorite

Wedding Planner: Sarah Judith Events

Your Next Read:

Looking for more amazing wedding design? Check out the Best of 2021 Wedding Details & Design.

Want to binge read some inspiration posts? Check out any of these.

7 Productivity Hacks I use Daily as a Mompreneaur

As a busy solo entrepreneur and mom, I wear a lot of hats on any given day. Just as I’m writing this, my inbox is full, I just started another load of laundry, and I’m half-heartedly thinking about what we’ll have for dinner. (To be clear, I don’t say any of this to complain – it’s a gift to have a full life!)

Personally, I was attracted to entrepreneurship for the ability to have a more integrated work/life approach and I know many of my colleagues and clients are too! 

That said, in order to take advantage of the benefits of entrepreneurship, I’ve had to learn some productivity hacks along the way. Here are some of my best habits that may help you too.

#1: Don’t Put Off Tasks That Take Less Than 2 minutes.

Ignored, small tasks can pile up quickly. It’s easy to procrastinate responding to an email, scanning a document, or filing something away, but I always feel worse when I do. Putting off the task ultimately adds redundant work to my plate (ever re-read the same email 3 times before responding? Yeah, me too.) and adds to my mental clutter. 

My rule is, that if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, just get it done right then and there. If I’m having a particularly busy week, I set aside 10 minutes a day to clear my to-do list of these small items. 

#2: Experiment with Time Blocking as a Productivity Hack

If there’s a major project I need to tackle (like writing this blog post) I’ll block out time on my calendar like I would for a client meeting. I usually choose a time block between 30 – 90 minutes. During that time I try to remove as many distractions as possible: email away, phone down (and turned over and/or silenced). 

When I worked in an office, I’d set my status as “busy” on Slack. Research shows focusing on one thing at a time will help you get it done better and efficiently. 

As a fun bonus, I also LOVE to use my productivity playlist for this time to hack my brain into focus mode! 

#3: Regularly Invest in Education 

Here’s the thing: I can either spend time (sometimes lots of it) learning how to do something myself – or I can shortcut that and learn from someone who’s already mastered it. Investing in coaches and personal development has been one of the BEST commitments I’ve made in the business. It has been scary to make some of those investments when the upfront costs are high, but it’s always paid off. Ultimately, paying for education tells my brain “this is important!” and helps me stay committed to taking action on my goals.

Self-development isn’t usually thought of as a productivity hack, but I really believe these investments have helped me hone in on what’s most important, learn some key skills from experts, and commit to an action – ultimately getting where I want to go quicker! 

Looking for help? I offer a select number of 1-on-1 coaching spots each season to help entrepreneurs with their business goals! Content development, website copy, social media planning, and setting up systems are all things I’ve helped clients with in the past. Please DM me if you’re curious to learn more about current openings.) 

#4: Clean Up Digital Spaces Monthly 

I realized pretty quickly that wasting time searching for “that photo of a cute dog with a floral collar that looks springy” amongst dozens of unorganized folders on my desktop wasn’t the best use of my time. (That dog photo is here by the way.) Having a well-organized digital space (desktop, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) is hugely helpful to my productivity. I’m still refining my systems, but here are a few tips I’ve implemented that have helped so far: 

1. Creating a Dropbox folder specifically for images I may want to use again on my website or in blog posts and including notes about who the photographer is and if I had a specific plan for the image (ex. a picture of a bride in tights for a story on winter wedding inspiration).

2. Using the “save” feature on Instagram to file posts I may want to reshare or draw inspiration from. I create separate folders for topics like audio, reel ideas, and photos to repost. 

3. Planning time each month to clean up my desktop, downloads folder (it can be a hot mess), and inbox. 

#5: Set Time Limits on Social Media

It may sound odd coming from someone whose job is largely built on Instagram, but I really value taking time away from my phone to recharge and ensure I’m focusing on other to-do’s. I set a daily limit on my phone (under Settings) to limit my daily time on Instagram, and really try my hardest to not “ignore the time limit” and stick to it.

I’ve only been doing this for a couple of months, but I already see the difference in how I interact with the app professionally and personally! For work, it’s forced me to give up some perfectionistic tendencies and just hit “post”. That means I’m actually able to create more content than I would have if I agonized over the same 20-second reel over and over and over. Personally, it’s been enlightening to see which accounts I value the most in this season, and it’s becoming easier to stop the mindless scrolling when I know the timer will run out! (And go do something else that’s ultimately more important.)

#6: Invest in Tools & Services

One of the life lessons I keep learning time and time again is that while I may be able to do anything (ex. write blog posts, handle client inquiries, clean my house, raise a child, etc.) it doesn’t mean I have to – or can – do everything at once. While I have invested in some virtual assistant support in my business, I’m primarily still a solopreneur. That means I touch pretty much everything in the business at one point or another. To ease this load a bit, I’ve invested in a few key tools:

  1. Honeybook: I use Honeybook daily to keep my business running smoothly. From handling inquiries to sending contacts and managing payments, this system is at the core of my client-facing business operations. It’s almost like an assistant, and I don’t know what I’d do without it! (You can save 50% off your first year with my link – Visit Site)
  2. Asana: I use the free version of this online project management tool and have for years! It’s primarily my to-do list and my editorial calendar, although I also use it for projects as well.
  3. Instacart: Ok, this isn’t specifically a business tool, but hear me out! When life gets really busy (hello, wedding planning/working wedding season/early parenthood/etc.) normal weekly routines can feel overwhelming. Those weeks, having groceries delivered straight to my door is praise-hands-emoji-level bliss and frees up mental space for other priorities at hand. (Get $10 off your first order – Visit Site)

#7: Celebrate Your Accomplishments Often

I always think I’ll remember all the projects I’ve worked on, but I don’t. When I worked for someone else, taking a few minutes each month to write down that month’s wins made my annual reviews so much easier. Now that I work for myself, this practice gives me a sense of accomplishment and gratitude, fueling me to do more! This practice is also a good reminder to myself of the work I’ve already done that could be repurposed or reshared. It’s easy to get caught in creation mode, but sometimes promoting what’s already out there (perhaps with a tweak or two) is even more effective – and more efficient!


What do you think? Do any of these productivity hacks inspire you to try something new? Do you have a great hack I missed? I’d love to learn about it!