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Photography by JASON FRANK ROTHENBERG

The modern couple has added in an additional step to the “first comes love, then comes marriage” lineup: moving in together. Individuals are combining forces, and belongings, with significant others years before a ring is purchased and a date is set. Traditional wedding registries, though, are tailored to those new roommate/fiancés who need to build a home from scratch.

So what should couples add to their wish list when they already have a blender and a full set of dishes? Asking for cold, hard cash is always an option, but there are plenty of worthy things you as a newlywed can ask for that feel more exciting and celebratory.

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Photography by HOTEL IL SAN PIETRO DI POSITANO

Honeymoon funds

For the couple that has everything: a registry for different kinds of “funds” is a life saver. Modern registry sites like Zola have introduced this option, which is such a welcome alternative to the typical registry gift (and more formal and festive than an envelope of twenties).

One of the most popular versions of this trend is a “Honeymoon Fund.” Write a short description of where you’re traveling to and what kinds of activities you hope to do while you’re there, and share it on your registry. Friends and family will be happy to contribute to your first trip as a married couple, and you’ll be able to take off on your vacation without a care in the world.

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Photography by MAX KIM-BEE

Funds for experiences

Is there a sport or class you and your future spouse have been dying to try? Consider registering for an experience fund instead, to cover activities like ski or surf lessons. But be careful not to register for things that read as overly indulgent (massages, blowout subscriptions to DryBar, etc.—all of which are listed as options on Zola.com). Guests want to enrich this new chapter of your lives, not financially support random habits.

A great question to ask yourself before adding a fund to your registry: “Would I want to share a photo of this experience with the guests that contributed?” I doubt you’d want to text a picture of your recent blowout to your fiance’s cousins, but you’d probably be excited to send them a snap of your first time standing on a surfboard. 

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Photography by Michael Wiltbank

Funds to start an art collection

Funds can also function as a way to save money for a purchase that you know you’ll want to make in the near future, but are not ready to spring for yet. Say you’ve been looking to upgrade your home’s art game. Instead of hunting for the perfect painting or photograph to add to your registry (which can feel overwhelming when you’re already knee deep in a search for all things wedding day related), ask guests to give to an art fund. Whenever you do organically stumble upon that perfect piece of art for your home, you’ll have a little portion of money set aside for the purchase.

 

Wine subscription

Subscription services are a new and welcome addition to the modern registry game—they are the gifts that, quite literally, keep on giving. They can feel extravagant when you’re the one clicking the “purchase” button, but are so enjoyable when gifted to you.

Wine subscription services like this affordable winc.com one are ideal. Every time you share a new marriage “first,” break out a bottle from your delivery box and mark the occasion.


Bonus: Your older guests who might not be familiar with these services will get a kick out of them, and be thankful they don’t have to buy yet another set of bathroom hand towels. 

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Photography by Mikkel Vang

Produce subscription

There’s nothing better than cooking with farmer’s market produce, but buying organic, farm fresh veggies and fruits isn’t always a reality. With a local produce subscription like this one from Farm to People, you and your future spouse will receive monthly boxes of beautiful, local ingredients and recipes. This kind of ongoing service gives monotonous routines like grocery shopping a makeover, and is such a positive, healthy way to kick off your first year of marriage. 

Coffee subscription

Think about the little rituals or indulgences that you and your date-4-life share, and look for a service that speaks to that similar interest. Do you both like to wake up early and share a pot of coffee before work? Opt for a coffee bean service like Misto Box. They’ll get to know your coffee profile and curate ground-to-order beans from 40 award-winning artisan coffee roasters. 

Upgrade your kitchen appliances

If registering for a tangible gift is more your speed, then this is the perfect time to ask yourself which items in your home could use an upgrade. You don’t necessarily need a shiny new set of silverware, but would you love a shiny new set of silverware? You probably have a coffee machine or an espresso maker, but is it THE coffee machine or THE espresso maker, like this goddess of a machine by Breville? There are 100+ people ready and willing to buy you a gift you’ll be giddy over. Now is the time to dream big.

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Photography by BROOKE HOLM FOR HEATHERLY DESIGNS

New bedding

There are few things more satisfying than climbing into the mountain of coziness that is your bed at the end of a long day. Take inventory of your bedding, sheets, and duvet as if you were inspecting for optimal sleep capacity, and note the areas in need of improvement.

Chances are your pillows, in particular, could use a refresh. These Company Store down (or down-alternative) pillows are where it’s at. Choose your level of softness based on your sleep style, and prepare for lots more snooze-button action in the mornings. 

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Photography by ANTHROPOLOGIE

Upgrade your furniture

While a full furniture overhaul is unlikely and unnecessary, it is fully appropriate to pick a few big ticket items that you’d love to call “do over” on. An incredible accent chair to replace the dingy leather one your boyfriend has dragged from apartment to apartment since 2006, for example. Or a brand new headboard that ties together your whole bedroom, like this gorgeous washed wood version from Anthropologie. If you’re concerned about the price, make these “group gifts,” so guests are able to split the cost with other wedding attendees.

 
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Photography by AMBER INTERIORS

Unique throw pillows

Even if your home is fully stocked, there are still opportunities for small touches that bring interest and detail to your space. These additions inject color, pattern, and polish, and can make a less expensive piece of furniture feel more luxe. A worn Ikea couch, for instance, can be elevated with a few choice throw pillows or blankets. Vintage, overdyed pillows in batik or kilim fabrics are fail-proof. These are the extra items that can feel extravagant to buy for yourself, but make for beautiful wedding gifts. 

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Photography by ABC HOME

Vases that double as art

Your kitchen table doesn’t need much else if it has a big, beautiful vase as a centerpiece. Do a little hunting for one that makes you smile. Are you drawn to bright, bold colors? Go for a neon glass vase, like these from ABC Home, that will look incredible with a bouquet of messily arranged dahlias. Do you prefer organic and sculptural? Try a mixed media vase and fill it with greenery.  

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Photography by HEATH CERAMICS

New serveware

Nothing feels more like #adulting than throwing a dinner party and presenting your home cooked meal on gorgeous serveware. Look for high quality, handcrafted ceramics like these from California-based Heath, and register for a few special dishes. You’ll be so happy to have these at your fingertips when you host your first married-couple get together.

Read more in weddings:

How To Style The Perfect Bridal Shower Brunch
4 Tips For Newlyweds from a Professional Organizer
How to Manage Your Money in the First Year of Marriage