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 JANA OF TANGLEWOOD FLORAL PRESERVATION

Does the idea of letting your beautiful wedding florals wilt away after your wedding make you want to wilt a little yourself? What if you could preserve their beauty – and the memories of your wedding day – for a lifetime? Tanglewood Floral Preservation creates unique, custom keepsakes with your wedding florals that you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Read on to learn more about Jana, the artist behind these amazing creations!

How did you get into floral preservation? 

My whole life I have always been drawn to flowers and nature. I have been working with resin since 2017, but I never felt like I had found my specific ‘niche’ until one day on Instagram I encountered a large resin block of preserved flowers and instantly fell in love! With the full support of my partner Joe, we took the dive into the world of floral preservation! We are now also beginning to offer handmade wooden stands and frames from locally-sourced Vermont wood and larger pieces like end tables, clocks and other functional art. 

How would you describe your style? 

I tend to be a very “intuitive” artist. I think my style is more ethereal/whimsical, however I really try to work with my clients specific vision and I am able to adapt to their wishes/style too. 

What inspires your work? 

Getting to be a part of helping people preserve not only their flowers but their most beautiful memories lights me up inside and I feel so blessed to be doing it!

Any special tips for couples thinking about floral preservation? 

I think it’s important for couples to choose an artist with whom they feel a connection to and share an artistic vision, and also someone that has a good amount of experience working with resin as a medium, because like anything worthwhile, it takes lots of practice! 

I think it’s important for couples to understand that floral preservation can be thought of as a long term investment, preserving not only your beautiful flowers, but the irreplaceable memories that accompany them.

Also, we suggest that couples who are considering floral preservation talk to their florist about using a combination of larger and smaller flowers along with a variety greenery and various textures so that we can have a greater variety to work with for the different pieces we create. 

What’s your favorite moment during a wedding? 

When the couple is just about to start their vows. They are both nervous but excited, and then a calmness takes over. It’s as if in that moment, everyone else disappears and you can feel the love in they way they look at each other. Gets me every time!

What’s your favorite thing to do in VT? 

I love hiking and exploring all of the scenic trails Vermont has to offer and enjoying the beaches of lake Champlain. Art’s Riot, The Burlington Waterfront and Foam Brewery are some of our favorite local spots for music and pretty views.

If you weren’t doing floral preservation what would you do? 

Probably making resin jewelry and other kinds of art…woodworking…hanging out with my kids, our two dogs and my horse. 

What’s a fun fact about yourself? 

My dad taught me how to ski when I was only 2 years old. 

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

The new Elton John Dua Lipa remix of “Cold heart” is my latest favorite to dance to.

Thank you, Jana! Learn more about Tanglewood Floral Preservation 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!