Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Registries

I wanted to touch on alternative registry ideas because my cousin's fiance mentioned charity registries in passing over the weekend and I thought I would post about it, because there is a lot of information out there about alternative registries - both charity registries and honeymoon registries. Honeymoon registries are a great idea until people call you a selfish jerk who is just asking for money. (Yet nobody who registers for the KitchenAid Stand Mixer gets called that.)
I'm gonna be outright and say that we plan to register. We both cook, and cooking is a huge part of our relationship. Plus, most of our pots have gotten warped, some of our appliances are showing wear, and most of our bakeware, flatware and dishware is hand-me-downs because we are in our early twenties. (I am. Mark's old.) When we do register, it will probably be through the I Do foundation - http://www.idofoundation.org/ - which means that by registering at certain stores, up to 10% of the profits will be given to the charity of your choice. Cooking.com gives 10% - and I like their website, because they have reviews, plus a broad spectrum, and often have flat rate or free shipping - plus, hopefully, we can force guests to ship the gifts directly to us, instead of bringing them to the wedding by going through an online-only store.
Thus, this is a good option for people like us that hope to purchase a house around the same time they get married, and are currently getting by with what they have. As selfish as this sounds, I'm also not particularly compelled to have a charity registry because my entire life is a charity (I work in women's interests non-profits, such as domestic violence organizations), and also because we will probably choose to donate some percentage of any financial gifts we receive to charity.
For the people that don't need stuff, you can also register directly to give to a charity.
Charity registries are tough, because you have to pick a charity that people won't mind giving to. I would love to ask people to give to Planned Parenthood, but I know I can't ask my guests to give to a charity they might be morally opposed to. There are a few other options though, for those looking for a direct charity registry or alternative registry:
I like the Alternative Gift Registry because you can just put links on there - so you can put on links for items you want, as well as charities you would like to support. This seems like the best way to register for fancy electronics, furniture, and items from Ikea or Costco. (Either from Costco.com or just enter a description and possibly product number of an item from the local Costco that you like.) Or if there is a store that has a few items that you like, but not enough, and you don't want a ton of things from there. For example, I would love this plate set from uncommongoods.com but I'm not sure whether I want enough other items from there to really make registering there worth it. (Although this and this and this....) I think the Alternative Gift Registry also allows you to describe an item that you would like, instead of picking a specific one - so you can say, "we would really love a set of flatware for 16 people" or "cheese grater" or "stand mixer" and they can pick one they think you would like. I would like to do this, because we know a lot of fun, creative people who are more than capable of picking out stuff. Plus sometimes people feel boxed in by registries - once, I wanted to buy a friend the teal version of the colander they had registered for, but they registered for the black one, and I didn't know if they liked the black one or if it was because
You can also ask people for favors - you could register for a friend to come over and weed your yard. You could even ask people to volunteer for a charity as their wedding gift to you. Or you can ask people to come help set up the centerpieces or do your makeup or play ceremony music or SPEND THE RECEPTION FIGHTING YOUR MOTHER FOR HER VIDEO CAMERA.
What are some other alternative registries out there?

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