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 to Preserve Your Wedding Memories

Savor the feeling from your wedding for years to come with a thoughtful gift! 

  1. Floral Preservation – preserve your wedding bouquet in a one-of-a-kind piece of art with Tanglewood Floral Preservation. We love that this idea is sentimental, functional, and gorgeous! You can register for a gift card and work with their team to create a item that you’ll treasure for years.
  2. Wedding album –  a heirloom album can add up, so consider registering for a gift card (or fund) to create yours!
  3. Picture frames to create a gallery wall (affiliate link)

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

Want more relatable advice? Check out any of these.

MEET JASMINE, VERMONT WEDDING FLORIST OF A CLOVER AND ONE BEE

Jasmine’s interview reminds me a bit like her florals: vibrant, lovely, and with some surprises thrown in for good measure! This Vermont wedding florist, the guru behind the brand A Clover & One Bee, sat down with Vermont Weddings to share her take on floral design, and a bit about life outside the shop. Read on to learn more! 

How did you get into wedding florals?

It was the creative genius of my flower friend, Nina Towne, who owns Proud Flower in Waterbury (VT).  I helped her with a mutual friend’s wedding.  We had a blast flowering that special event, and when I solved a day-of bridesmaid dress issue with scissors, a stapler, and a broach, she exclaimed – ‘That’s it! We’re going into business together!’.  

A year later, I said goodbye to my previous career, and partnered with Nina. It wasn’t the first time the idea had crossed my mind, but I needed Nina’s enthusiasm, persistence, and wisdom to give me the guts to do it.  Everyone who is close to me says it made perfect sense: I’ve always needed plants and flowers around me, have a penchant for design, am project-oriented with a particular eye for detail, and love celebrating with people!  Seriously, pop the cork on those bubbles!   (Sidebar: while we’re no longer business partners, Nina and I are forever flower sisters, and I am grateful beyond words to her for shining the light for me.)

How would you describe your style?

Fluid, animate, textural.  There is a quote from an Ani DiFranco song. “Evolve,” that goes: I have the kind of beauty that moves. I feel that way about floral design.  It should look alive and have movement.

What inspires your work?

People.

Any special tips for couples?

Make sure you jive with the floral designer and their natural style, and then don’t stress!  Because this is what they do, and they’ve got you.  Your wedding is going to be amazing.  Your wedding flowers are going to be beautiful.

What’s your favorite moment during a wedding?

The moment the officiant announces that you’re married.  That moment is the reason this whole amazing party is happening. The look on the faces of the couple when they realize that they have really just done what they came to do is always a winner.  (Here’s a photo of my husband and I at that moment on our wedding day!)

Jasmine’s interview reminds me a bit like her florals: vibrant, lovely, and with some surprises thrown in for good measure! This Vermont wedding florist, the guru behind the brand A Clover & One Bee, sat down with Vermont Weddings to share her take on floral design, and a bit about life outside the shop. Read on to learn more! 

How did you get into wedding florals?

It was the creative genius of my flower friend, Nina Towne, who owns Proud Flower in Waterbury (VT).  I helped her with a mutual friend’s wedding.  We had a blast flowering that special event, and when I solved a day-of bridesmaid dress issue with scissors, a stapler, and a broach, she exclaimed – ‘That’s it! We’re going into business together!’.  

A year later, I said goodbye to my previous career, and partnered with Nina. It wasn’t the first time the idea had crossed my mind, but I needed Nina’s enthusiasm, persistence, and wisdom to give me the guts to do it.  Everyone who is close to me says it made perfect sense: I’ve always needed plants and flowers around me, have a penchant for design, am project-oriented with a particular eye for detail, and love celebrating with people!  Seriously, pop the cork on those bubbles!   (Sidebar: while we’re no longer business partners, Nina and I are forever flower sisters, and I am grateful beyond words to her for shining the light for me.)

How would you describe your style?

Fluid, animate, textural.  There is a quote from an Ani DiFranco song. “Evolve,” that goes: I have the kind of beauty that moves. I feel that way about floral design.  It should look alive and have movement.

What inspires your work?

People.

Any special tips for couples?

Make sure you jive with the floral designer and their natural style, and then don’t stress!  Because this is what they do, and they’ve got you.  Your wedding is going to be amazing.  Your wedding flowers are going to be beautiful.

What’s your favorite moment during a wedding?

The moment the officiant announces that you’re married.  That moment is the reason this whole amazing party is happening. The look on the faces of the couple when they realize that they have really just done what they came to do is always a winner.  (Here’s a photo of my husband and I at that moment on our wedding day!)

What’s your favorite thing to do in VT? / Local spot to visit? Etc.

My favorite thing to do in Vermont is to be outside.  Three years ago I would have said: mountain biking and skiing.  Now, it’s watching my 2 year old daughter explore and discover.  A few years from now, I hope it will be mountain biking and skiing with my daughter and my husband!

If you weren’t a wedding florist what would you do?

Write novels. Hey, dream big.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? 

When I was a teenager I won a fashion design contest judged by Oscar de la Renta.  And, yes, I would looooooove to do a fresh floral wedding dress for a bride, so hit me up if you’d looooooove to wear one.

What’s a song that always gets you on the dance floor?

“Let’s Dance” by David Bowie. Ha!  Some things are just that simple.

Thank you, Jasmine! Learn more about A Clover & One Bee in the vendor guide.

The 2022 Vermont Weddings Gift Guide

It’s here: the ultimate collection of Vermont-made gifts perfect for any Vermont wedding occasion or Vermont lover. We’ve curated over 100 gift ideas for everyone on your list. And, every single gift supports a local VT business. 

On a more personal note, this guide has been a huge labor of love. We logged countless hours compiling this list, and we’re so happy that launch day is finally here! It’s been such a fun experience to connect with well known brands and discover new businesses. One thing is clear: Vermont is full of talent. We’ve already gifted things from the guide (and bought a few for ourselves…) and we’re confident the guide will help you do the same. 

We’re also really proud this resource supports the Vermont Foodbank (keep reading for details on that – and how you can help). The 2022 Vermont Weddings Gift Guide gives back to our local community in more ways than one, and we’re so excited for you to check it out.

What’s included in the Vermont Weddings Gift Guide?

Over 100 gift ideas – all from local, Vermont businesses. The guide is organized by business, with a little background info and our curated picks for recipients, such as couples, bridesmaids/groomsmen, parents, favors, etc. Many of the featured businesses identify with at least one of the following: women-owned; minority owned; eco-conscious; certified-organic; family-owned. 

Plus, we included a few yummy cocktail recipes and tips for creating Vermont welcome baskets and writing the perfect thank you note.

What makes the Vermont Weddings Gift Guide unique?

We’ve never seen another gift guide quite like this one! 

For one: everyone featured is a Vermont business, so it’s truly a celebration of our state. 

We also handpicked gifts for any wedding gift-giving coming your way. You’ll find suggestions for couples getting married, bridesmaid gift ideas, groomsmen gift ideas, gift ideas for parents of the couple, and unique wedding favor ideas. Of course, you can mix and match these ideas to best fit your crew, but these selections will help get you started. 

There are a variety of styles and price points represented. 

The Gift Guides that give back to the Vermont Foodbank

In keeping with the theme of supporting our local community, we donated part of each featured artist’s registration fee to the Vermont Foodbank. We raised $1,300, which translates to 2,165 meals for neighbors in need.

Here’s my ask of you: The 2022 Wedding Gift Guide below is free, but we created two amazing supplemental gift guides that you can download for a small cost to take your gifting to the next level (read more about them below). 

If you enjoy The 2022 Vermont Weddings Gift Guide and are about to make a financial donation, please consider buying the supplemental gift guide bundle! I’m sure you will find even more great ideas AND you’ll be helping us donate even more meals to neighbors in need (part of each Bundle purchase goes to the Foodbank).

How to shop the Vermont Weddings Gift Guide

Click the open bracket button in the bottom right corner of the preview below and the Gift Guide will appear as a full-screen, interactive guide. To get the full viewing experience, I recommend viewing this on a desktop rather than a phone. Then, you can flip through the pages like a catalog. Everything is interactive, so just click on a gift to shop. (Please note that Vermont Weddings cannot guarantee inventory or availability; contact each maker directly if you have questions.) 

If you’re using this guide to build your own Vermont registry, we recommend using a site like Zola, so you can add gifts from any local business. 

Don’t forget to download the free gift tracker to keep track of all those sweet gifts!

Why does shopping local matter?

Have you seen the meme about when you buy from a small business owner, an actual person does a happy dance? That’s actually true! When you buy from a local business, your neighbors (the people behind that business) benefit! Small businesses make up a large, important part of the Vermont economy and choosing to buy from them is a tangible way you can help our community.

Isn’t shopping local or buying from small businesses more expensive?

This is a common misconception and one we’re excited to tackle. Yes, some of the gifts included in the gift guide are splurge-worthy gifts, because they are handcrafted or one-of-a-kind. But buying local isn’t always more expensive, especially when you consider the quality. And – there’s the double bonus of the real impact supporting a small business. We included a range of price points in the guide to fit most budgets.

Want Event More Gift Ideas?!

We’ve got you covered! We created two supplemental gift guides that build upon the Vermont Weddings Gift Guide (with some new wedding gift ideas and pricing information included!). 

The Gift Guide Pairing Menu

This is perfect if you liked the gifts from the guide, want want help putting it all together. We’re giving you several bundle ideas and our best tips for creating your own unique gift bundles that will delight your friends and family. Click here to buy.

Gift Ideas for the First Five Years

Consider us your gifting fairy godmother! We’re giving you three traditional anniversary gift ideas for years 1 – 5, and ideas for other events such as baby showers and housewarmings. Basically, we got your first five years of marriage covered – no stressing about gift ideas here! Click here to buy.

Bundle the Pairing Menu and Gift Ideas for the First Five Years together and save 20%. Plus $2 of every bundle goes directly to the Vermont Foodbank. (You can create a bundle from either link above.)

Love for the 2022 Vermont Weddings Gift Guides 

We gave early access to some Instagram followers and asked for their feedback. Here’s what they had to say:

“This truly is a gift masterpiece – WOW! I honestly wish I had this while planning my wedding, but I’m stoked to have it for future events. As a fellow Vermonter, it’s amazing to see all the talent from our state.” – Brooke, Vermont bride

“This introduced me to so many Vermont makers that I didn’t know I needed in my life.”  – Jill, Vermont bride

“Not only did I learn about some new brands, but it also reminded me of some really great Vermont brands that I’ve seen in passing…now I know of some people I could gift them to, based on your suggestions.” – Liz, Vermont Bride and Wedding Professional 

“I already have three things in my shopping cart – this makes it so easy to shop small and help out small businesses who deserve it!” – Crystal, Vermont bride

bride opening gift on wedding morning

Vermont Businesses Listed in Our Gift Guide

Here’s an alphabetical index of who you’ll find featured inside the guide:

802 Dinner Party – 33
A Clover and One Bee – 42
AO Glass – 37
As Little Cooking As Possible – 13
Belle Savon Vermont – 40
Blake Hill Preserves – 35
Botanical Tribe Apothecary – 9
Caledonia Spirits – 25
Catinko Creations – 19
Cards by Cato -12
Carrier Roasting Coffee -32
Ceci Leibovitz Jewelry – 6
Cedar Creek Crafts – 15
Cheese & Wine Traders – 32
Courtney Reckord – 4
Crazy Cotton Candy Lady – 41
Daily Chocolate – 30
Earth & Salt Shop – 7
Elmore Mountain Therapeutics – 7
Erin Elyse Designs – 18
Farmer’s Body – 8
Farmhouse Flowers – 42
Fire.Fire. – 41
Found & Feral – 4
Yes Miss Bridal Jewelry by Gosia Meyer – 5
Hope Sharp – 21
JK Adams – 38
Kestrel Coffee Company – 35
Lake Champlain Chocolates – 31
Lawson’s Finest Liquids – 28
Linds Loves Ink – 14
Mad River Distillers – 25
Maquam Winery – 28
MarMadeThat – 17
Mint Print Studios – 14
Morado Designs – 23
Nomadic Kitchen – 30
PajamaGram Company – 23
Runamok Maple – 34
Salt & Bubbles – 29
Sam Macy Designs – 21
Shelburne Gift Company – 10
SILO Distillery – 24
Snug Bug Shop – 20
Special Occasions by Sarah – 16
Stonecutter Spirits – 24
Tanglewood Floral Preservation – 43
Tiny Girl Gang Cards – 18
Vermont Bowl Company – 39
Vermont Maker’s Market – 19
Vermont Rocks – 22
Vermont’s Own Gift Shop – 39
VT Charcuterie – 36
Willough Designs – 12

We hope you enjoy the 2022 Wedding Gift Guide! It was such a fun project, and we’re confident it will help you with your gifting needs.

Did you enjoy the guide or buy something from it? Tag us on Instagram so we can see and celebrate! 

BEST OF 2021: FLOWERS

Wedding florals – whether a bouquet, centerpiece, or installation – add a huge amount of style to your day. Here are a few of our favorite designs from 2021. Learn more about these incredible florists in the vendor guide!

Love these looks? We’re sharing our “semi finalist” picks on Instagram. Go check it out for even more inspiration!

A Pop of Personality

This bright, colorful arrangement by A Clover and One Bee is absolutely stunning and makes us happy just to see it – we can only imagine how the bride felt carrying it! (Photo: Margaret Michael Photography)

Crisp & Classic

This bouquet of bright whites and soft pastels by Blossoming Bough Flowers was the perfect accent for this couple’s romantic, intimate wedding at the Inn at Weathersfield. (Photo: Kelsey Regan Photography)

Wild Wonder

Tipsy Tulip Designs created this knockout bouquet that’s unique and bold, but still feminine and oh so pretty. (Photo: Jenna Brisson Photography)

Bold & Beautiful

Bold colors and textures throughout the bouquets and arrangements created by Flower Power VT add to this wedding’s gorgeous boho design. (Photo: Kelsey Converse Photography)

Grand Greenery

A grand tent at Topnotch Resort calls for a special touch, so A Schoolhouse Garden created these stunning greenery-forward table runners and installations. Together with the ratan lanterns, the entire vibe is casual elegance at its finest. (Photo: Andy Madea)

Thank you to everyone who submitted for the Best of 2021 series! Don’t forget to check out our “semi finalists” on Instagram, and sign up for our newsletter to get each Best of post emailed to you weekly this month!

***

Quick recap: what is Vermont Weddings Best of 2021 Series?

A little backstory if you’re unfamiliar: we started the Best of series last year (2020) to highlight some of the amazing work by the talented teams in the Vermont wedding industry. It’s an opportunity to both celebrate a year’s worth of weddings and inspire couples who are planning a future Vermont wedding. (A quick note on the word “best”: the intention isn’t to make this a competition between weddings, but to share a small, but representative, sample of the weddings in Vermont this year.  To that end, please know that we love each and every wedding that was submitted, and the final picks are carefully chosen based on a variety of factors to create a compelling series.)

Here’s what you can expect:

All December, we’ll be rolling out inspiring stories in various categories:

  • Read Now: Best of Engagements 
  • Read Now: Best of Style 
  • Best of Florals
  • Best of Party Animals
  • Best of Design & Details
  • Best of Elopements
  • Best of Location
  • Best of Community

Plus, because the submissions were just THAT good, we’re sharing our “semi finalist” picks for each category on Instagram. That means you’ll want to follow us to see even more highlights, and come back to the blog each week to see the “best” picks in each category.

We recommend signing up for our newsletter – we’ll send you an email each week with the highlights so you won’t miss a thing. (Going forward we only send 1 – 2 emails a month.)

BEST OF 2020: BRIDAL BOUQUETS

A bride’s bouquet is her ultimate accessory. Whether her style is traditional or funky, a well-designed bouquet enhances her look. Here are a few of our favorite bouquets from 2020. Enjoy the inspiration and learn more about these incredible florists in the vendor guide.

All White Classic

This all-white bouquet is as timeless as it is elegant.

Tipsy Tulip Designs | Ellen Sargent Photography

Blushing Beauty

Dusty pink roses and blush ribbons make a wow statement against the dark greenery.

A Schoolhouse Garden | The Light and the Color

Wildflower Wonder

Bright colors and cascading florals make this a dramatic, fun bouquet.

Flower Power VT | Ben Hudson Photography

Bride and groom kissing in the field of Vermont during elopement

Dark Magic

Deep purples and a cascading fern whisper winter romance.

A Clover and One Bee | Amelia Marie Photography