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.

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: Location

Vermont may be a small state, but we have an impressive, long list of beautiful locations to get married! From the shores of Lake Champlain to the tops of the Green Mountains … and everywhere in between… there are a variety of venues to set the stage for your romantic wedding. Here are a few of the best places couples exchanged vows in 2021.

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

Mountains Majesty

Sparkling waters and sweeping mountain views make The Equinox Resort’s pond one of the most romantic, majestic to tie the knot. (Photo: Kelsey Regan Photography)

The barn and firepit at dusk at Lareau Farm Inn in Vermont

Home Away From Home

With lodging on site, a cozy firepit, and plenty to explore, the Lareau Farm Inn makes you feel like you’re at home – if you’re home was really, really cool. (Photo: Hannah Photography)

Lakeside & Lovely

With views overlooking Lake Champlain, sparkling aquariums and more, ECHO is a unique, modern setting for a true Vermont wedding. (Photo: Madison Anne Studio)

Backyard Bliss

From getting ready at the elegant Inn at Burkyn to a lovely backyard celebration, this wedding in the mountains is a total stunner. (Video: Beyond Bliss Films)

Bride and groom walking down country road in Vermont in the fall

Falling For You

With rolling hills and colorful foliage, Sterling Ridge Resort sets the scene for a truly lovely Vermont wedding. (Photo: Cait Borgault Photography)

Garden Romance

A gorgeous barn and colorful, sprawling gardens …it’s no wonder Farmhouse Flowers is one of the best backdrops for a Vermont wedding! (Photo: Danielle Allendorf)

 

Riding High

If you fell in love with Vermont for the skiing, you are going to love Sugarbush Resort‘s mountain top ceremony location and iconic “Just Married” chair lift sign. (Photo: Jenna Brisson)

 
Bride and groom walking up a hill at sunset with dramatic clouds and mist

Edge of the World

How breathtaking is this image? It looks like the couple is in the middle of an epic, romantic movie (but really they’re at private home in Shelburne, Vermont). (Photo: Ben Hudson Photography)

Into the Woods

This couple tied the knot under a canopy of trees at The Inn at Weathersfield before celebrating dinner in the quaint, romantic Inn. (Photo: Kate Seymour Photography)

 
Bride and groom on the lawn at VT historic estate

Bridgertons in Vermont

The Hildene’s splendor and elegance is unmatched and the views are unparalleled. It’s definitely one the best! (Photo: Juniper Studios

 

Perfect Pairing

The rolling hills and vineyard at Maquam Barn and Winery are the perfect pairing for a romantic wedding. (Photo: Danielle Allendorf)

 
 

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:

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 2021: PARTY ANIMALS

For these 2021 Vermont weddings, the biggest party animals were of the four-legged variety! Vermont is a dog paradise, and when it comes to weddings, many couples choose to involve their furry family members in their special day! Scroll down to see our favorite wedding animals from 2021.

(Related reading: How to Include Your Dog at Your Wedding)

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

Bride and groom kneeling and kissing over their dog who is wearing a floral collar

Pup in Petals

This doggo is pawsatively rocking her floral collar! (Photo: Juniper Studios

 
Bride and groom smiling at their labradoodle dog on wedding day

Dandy Doodle

Spooner the labadoodle has a lovable, ruffled look, and she’s ready for the camera to capture her big smile up close! Odyssey Events (Photo: Oliver Parini Photography)

Bride and groom posing with their dog who is wearing a bandana that says Wedding Crasher

Cute Wedding Crasher

This puppy sported a “wedding crasher” bandana and was a beloved guest at this couple’s backyard wedding! (Photo: Madison Anne Studio)

Loyal Companion

This couple knew they couldn’t celebrate their Inn at Grace Farm wedding (planned by Lindsey Leichthammer Events) without their faithful companion, Truman, by their side. Friends helped the senior dog down the aisle, and he patiently and lovingly watched the whole ceremony. (Photo: Jenna Brisson

Bride and groom smiling at their golden retriever dog wearing a bow tie for wedding

The Golden Boy

This couple’s golden boy, Theo, dressed up in his own tux for their elegant wedding at the Wilburton Inn! (Photo: Kelsey Regan Photography

The Baaaad Romance

There is nothing sheepish about these adorable farm guests who came by to wish the couple well at their Farmhouse Flowers wedding! (Photo: Taylor Main Photography)

Small dog wearing a flower collar putting her paw on owners leg

Flower Girl

Luna was excited to take a walk down the aisle with her parents as the official flower girl! (Photo: MoHo Photo)

 
Bride and groom posing with two dogs, one wearing a bow tie bandana and one wearing a floral collar during Vermont wedding

A Perfect Pair

This couple celebrated their wedding at The Grafton Inn with their two best buds their side, both dressed to impress! (Photo: Loveland Creative)

 

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:

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.)

Wedding Barns We Love

Barn weddings are practically synonymous with Vermont Weddings. Whether it’s the ceremony or the reception site, rustic or elegant, barns can be the perfect place to host your Vermont wedding. Here are a few of our favorite barn venues throughout the state. 

Farmhouse Flowers

Nestled among the gardens, The Barn at Farmhouse Flowers (Moretown) offers you the beauty and warmth of a hand-crafted timber frame barn built by local master craftsmen. The Barn opens onto a hillside pasture and a walking path that crosses a small bridge and leads to the hilltop wedding site. Surrounded by wildflowers, the hilltop site overlooks the flower farm, cornfields and views of the Worcester Mountain Range.

Maquam Barn & Winery

Situated on over 500 private acres, The Maquam Barn (Milton) is a beautifully reconstructed historic Vermont barn. The Barn offers air conditioning and heat, plenty of seating, and views of the operating vineyard and mountains from the expansive patio.

The Mansfield Barn

Originally built in the 1840’s, the Mansfield Barn (Jericho) is a meticulously renovated post and beam barn. Located at the foot of Mount Mansfield, the barn provides views of the Mountain, and beautiful natural landscape in any season.

Barnard Inn & Max’s Tavern

The historic Barnard Inn & Max’s Tavern (Barnard) offers a 1796 brick chateau, a renovated reception barn, and acres of perennial gardens and paths to explore and enjoy for your ceremony and reception. The Inn’s celebrated cuisine is always freshly-prepared and seasonally-inspired, crafted by award-winning Chef Will Dodson.

The Grafton Inn

Nestled within a quintessential Vermont country village, The Grafton Inn (Grafton) merges Vermont’s pastoral heritage with its modern charms. Adjacent to the main inn is the Phelps Barn, which was once a carriage house and now serves as a beautiful reception space with ample room for dining and dancing. Lodging is available on site.

The Inn at Grace Farm

The Grace Barn at the Inn at Grace Farm (Fairfax) is a gorgeous, round timber-frame barn built from lumber from the acres it sits on! The Barn overlooks rolling hills, and sweeping mountain vistas. The Barn can be enjoyed year-round thanks to comfortable radiant floor heating. Guest suites are available at the Inn.

Old Lantern Inn & Barn

The Old Lantern Inn and Barn (Charlotte) is an all-inclusive, chef-owned wedding venue. Couples enjoy the charm of the historic barn and the ease of planning with the team’s commitment to providing superior service. The on-site Inn provides a convenient lodging option.

The Soule House & Carriage Barn

Couples who envision an intimate, rustic wedding with a touch of vintage elegance will love The Soule House & Carriage Barn (Fairfield). The historic barn provides a perfect backdrop for a reception, and the Farmhouse provides an elegant, cozy spot to spend a weekend with loved ones.

Sleepy Hollow Inn

Excited by the idea of outdoor adventure for your wedding weekend? Check out Sleepy Hollow Inn (Huntington). The bright and airy 17-sided round barn overlooks a gorgeous view of Camel’s Hump. Guests are invited to camp on the property and explore over 30 miles of trails for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing.

Common Ground Center

Couples looking to celebrate in the Vermont countryside will enjoy the Common Ground Center (Starksboro). The property provides a 1,000 square foot Hay Barn, a cathedral-like space perfect for a wedding ceremony, and a rustic reception hall for perfect for dinner and dancing the night away.

Skinner Barn

In the Mad River Valley, the Skinner Barn (Waitsfield) is a historic dairy barn originally built in 1891. Of classic post and beam construction, the upper floor (originally designed for hay storage) has been restored with loving attention to keep the historical character of the structure intact.