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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Wedding do or don’t: Restaurant registry

Alex and I went out to dinner the other night, and we ended up chatting with a couple who had created a restaurant registry, instead of a traditional registry...

"All we love to do is go out to eat," says Lesley. "Plus, we got married later in life and had everything, so we didn't want to say, 'Hey, buy me a nice bowl.' We've always liked the idea of giving experiential gifts to friends, as opposed to stuff. It's really special. So we created an online registry with descriptions of dinners ranging anywhere from $25 to $350—from Rockaway Taco to Alinea in Chicago. We went to all the dinners the first year of married life—we would write to the people who gave us each one and tell them, 'It was amazing! We had the veal!' "
Thoughts? Would you do this? You'd have the most delicious first year of marriage!

P.S. More dos and don'ts—including a house registry and honeymoon registry.

(Photo by Ed Lefkowicz for The New York Times)

119 comments:

Micaila Wow! said...

I love this idea! Fun and romantic!

jm said...

I think this is a great idea, especially when followed up with the personalized thank-you about their restaurant expereriece.

Alexa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eljohnny said...

This is brilliant! I will definitely have to remember this if I ever get married.

Dorothy DeMaria said...

I love this idea. It's so original and great for older people or people who have lived together and have all the stuff they need

Alexa said...

i had no idea that this is a thing and i love it! i am totally on board with experiential gifts, especially living in nyc, where people have so little space for more stuff. thumbs up to gifting (and receiving!) memories over objects.

melissa grant said...

My friends recently got married and used a site where their family and friends could buy them part of their honeymoon i.e. small gift - tickets to a museum in their honeymoon city, medium gift - dinner or a tour, large gift - a night stay at the hotel, camp site, etc.! I thought it was a great idea. I'm planning on doing it and that way thank yous can be so much more personal!

Laurel Hammond said...

Great idea! This would be great for a new mom instead of baby shower gifts! All pitch in for dinners out!

Kelley said...

Awesome idea! My husband and I just got married this summer and we did a honeymoon registry, which was perfect for us, but now that we live in NYC, I bet we would've totally loved a restaurant registry.

The City and Us

jenbern said...

my husband and I had a tiny wedding (only witnesses) and didn't do a registry / gifts / etc. but I wish, wish we could have done a restaurant registry. A++ idea

little t said...

I LOVE this idea... why have I never heard of it before? It's so clever, especially if the couple have been together a while and have a house, these this pair!

Or anyway! I would have this anyway!

rosewatersaffron said...

This is awesome!!! I will do this! Thank you for this hint.

Rebekkah said...

This is an excellent idea! I would totally do this. I also have everything I need and would feel like registering for more things would be excessive. I could totally see myself doing this...or something similar like, "Fund a date night" to include the trapeze swinging lessons or other off-beat fun ideas.

Samantha Fletcher said...

What a brilliant idea!

Lauren Hildreth said...

This is so tacky! The idea of asking people for gifts via a registry is tacky in itself, but the fact that you'd say, "Oh, we're too old to need things, but we'd love for you to pay for our dinners!" is even more revolting. Moreover, gift-giving is always the prerogative of the gift-giver and should be left up to him or her. If you are fortunate to be well established and not need any things when you get married, you should be thankful for that and not choose a substitute set of gifts for your friends to purchase.

Virginia Roberts said...

Interesting! Once upon a time I'd totally do this, and one or two wedding guests did give us gifts of restaurant certificates which we very much enjoyed.

But now that I'm an old married lady (33, ha!), I'm actually kind of becoming anti-registry in a way I wasn't before. It just feels a bit bossy and constricting and improper, as Miss Manners would say. So my happy medium is to be OK with "basic" registries for big events like weddings, but to not try to pivot them into things like funding the honeymoon or a bunch of dinners out.

That said, society is shifting. I bet in ten years this is no big deal, or most of the people who strongly object are too elderly to travel to weddings, heh. Or tweet complaints, or what have you.

All this said, one of my best friends is marrying and doing the honeymoon registry thing, and I'm perfectly happy to chip in $100 towards a trip for them. So I guess my concern is more about not offending the old-fashioned, ya know?

Katie said...

I'll be the outlier in the comments section and say I am lukewarm on the idea. I can see why it is nice to give the bride and groom fun experiences to share in their first year of marriage but also feel like it's a little self indulgent and wasteful. I like that this couple offered guests a range of types of restaurants to choose from--from low priced to high priced.

Jacob Phelps said...

as a foodie, I think it's a great idea!

Gabriella said...

Cute! I don't think I would do this just for restaurants (I just don't have that kind of intense devotion to dining out!) but I like the idea of your friends and family contributing to experiences rather than household objects that you're likely to already have as a more established couple.

sage said...

I think this is great. We also had a honeymoon registry since we had been living together for several years when we got married. We would have never been able to take such a great trip.

simone antoniazzi said...

Well, I can see that it would be wonderful gift to receive....BUT I have to agree with those above who think it's a little tacky. Buy a wedding gift yes, give money yes, but ask for a specific gift such as this, I just think it's not good manners & yes, does seem a little self-indulgent.

If you have enough already or don't need things for your home, then don't ask for gifts at all.

JULIA said...

This idea is beyond tacky. The point of wedding gifts is to help the new couple establish themselves - be it through household items or cash (I'm Italian and cash is given as wedding gifts. And from what I've experienced, more and more weddings are going the cash route.)

Even if a couple is getting married later in life, there's still room to improve their economic situation. If guests were to give cash (which tends to be the case when there's a lack of a registry at all) that money can go toward the mortgage, debt, etc. It is not to go toward dinners out - which is a luxury to most people.

The thank you card after visiting the restaurant is a nice touch though. But had I been invited to that wedding, I'd probably have bought a set of pots so these people could do their cooking at home.

Erika said...

This is a great idea! I have given restaurant gift certificates for weddings before… and once it was for the place the couple was honeymooning in. This registry idea is brilliant! I bet we will see it become more and more popular in the future.

fancyalterego said...

I think this is a great, nontraditional idea for a couple who probably doesn't need a new toaster or set of wine glasses. :-)

deargraham.com said...

I would have been in heaven, if we did this! Unfortunately... we got married earlier than plans. Sometimes babies come first, so we needed the bowls... not even the nice ones :)

Sarah O. said...

On one hand its a cute idea but my gut says its tacky. I think going with tradition is the best way re wedding gifts, if you don't need anything, then do no gifts......

lauren said...

ha, i saw your headline and was going to comment that my friends lesley and cody had a restaurant registry - but you know that, as you were talking about them! i would note that they also emphasized many times that they didn't need gifts at all; when pressed, hard, they mentioned the restaurants.

Melanie Price said...

I would say at this time in their lives (older) that this is a wonderful idea. And what lovely experiences to share together during the first year of marriage. Cheers to 'going against the grain' on this one!

SolanaMia said...

While I wouldn't say it's horrifying, I certainly would not opt for a restaurant registry. Thankfully most of my friends have the good taste not to list registry info in an invitation. I always enjoy either calling the couple or a relative to ask about what they would really like and then it is a pleasure to give a gift. For those who only give me the option of a registry and direct me to websites, well they are likely to miss out on the $75 bottle of red and restaurant gift certificate I often add to more mundane gifts like towels.

Meadow said...

Etiquette snobs would say this sort of thing is tacky, but I think this is a cute idea. Way classier than the 'let's put a cutesy poem on a jar to ask for money' type thingies you see on Pinterest all the time! I suppose some non-traditional registries do rub me the wrong way... like the house fund. It makes me think 'why would you spend $$$ on a wedding if you can't afford a down payment on a house?'.

Danielle E. Alvarez said...

What an interesting idea! I'm tempted to file this away with other unique ideas for my someday wedding :)

molly said...

We actually always give the gift of a really nice restaurant gift card to our closest friends. If they're moving to a new city together after marriage, we do a ton of research around some of the best restaurants and give a nice giftcard that they can enjoy. My husband's brother/sister did that for us almost 5 years ago and it was so memorable, that we do that for all of our closest friends. I just can't bring myself to buy our very closest couple friends towels or something (at least not for the wedding, that's fine for the shower). I don't know if I'd feel comfortable registering for it but we LOVE to give this!

Alicia Marie said...

I agree with Virginia and Katie. I am not a fan really. I would love to gift friends with that...but I hate the idea of being TOLD to do it. I didn't really like registering myself. It felt presumptuous...I would not register for super expensive stuff, because I didn't want my family or friends paying for it. I just wanted them to be at my wedding, to join with us in our celebration and to be apart. I didn't care what they brought.

wildfirekisses said...

As poor newly wedded students we loved the restaurant gift cards most of all. They gave us an excuse to go out to eat when that was not at all in the budget. So now that is what we give. Hopefully people agree, or maybe they think or gift was lame, who knows.

Lendy Salazar said...

I love this idea!! In my fam it's a great idea in concept, but as a first generation Mexican-American they would not get it!! We tried a traditional registry and most guests basically got us whatever they wanted...We were still very appreciative of the random pots & pans! Haha! I will totally recommend this type of registry though! It's fantastic!

marlene said...

How many pounds would you gain!?! Seriously!!! haha

Martha said...

This is basically just asking for money - so why do it at all? Let your guests choose what they give you, and if they give you money, then by all means, use it on fancy dinners.

Also, using these sites has a service fee, so a portion of what your guests give you will go to the service fee for the site anyway. If you don't register, and your guests choose to give you money, more of their gift is going to you rather than your middle man registry site.

Unknown said...

As an older couple, when folks as what we want for special days, I like to say - dinner! This is a great idea.

MrsVlcek said...

Sounds like the perfect idea!

Erica G said...

I don't get why some people are fine with a "traditional" registry, but detest this type of idea. It's all the same concept, isn't it? Whether a couple is in their early 20s and just starting out, or in their 40s and have everything they could need, they're still giving their guests guidance on what to buy in the event they would prefer to get them something the couple wants and would enjoy. Personally I'd rather get the couple something I know they would use, and if I can't afford anything on their registry I give cash in an amount that fits my budget.

keikomermaid said...

For the true foodie I think this is a great idea. The couple's friends probably knew they like eating out and didn't need things like "a nice bowl" so how perfect for them! One thing I notice about young couples is that they usually pick overly priced things that they don't even need. In Japan everyone gives money, which I like because we can then pick what we want or save it.

Razmataz said...

I think if you invite only people who really know you well to your wedding (as it should be IMO) they know you well enough to pick something for you without being told what to buy.

Frankly in this world of Twitter and Instagram and all the mundane details of life being Social-media'd, I wouldn't be too enthusiastic about getting a note telling me what they ate for dinner.

That said, I think a restaurant gift card is a lovely gift if it's your idea and know know the couple will love it. A simple thank you card is enough.

stateandoccupation.com said...

I love this! Such a great idea, I LOVE restaurant eating but its so pricy... its totally modern too that they got married later and had already lived together (no need for a blender haha) Great post! :)

Dakota
http://stateandoccupation.com/

Amber said...

I think alternative registries are a great idea! A lot of people will say that it's tacky to ask for money/honeymoon funds/restaurant gift cards/etc, but many of those same people will also complain if you don't create a traditional registry to give them ideas of what gifts to buy (or, even if you do create one or say no-gifts, they'll buy you a set of pots you didn't register for and don't need). I think of registries in general less as a "demand to get us these specific gifts" and more of "if you want to get us gifts, here's guidance so we don't end up with 150 toasters."

shawn said...

Love this idea! My husband and I lived together for 7 years before getting married and live in a 500 sq. ft. apartment. We don't need stuff! We decided on a honeymoon registry and honestly feel like that's the most special gift our friends and family could have purchased for us.

Carrie said...

Brilliant! Love it!

shawn said...

I think this idea is awesome. My husband and I went with a honeymoon registry rather than a traditional registry. We don't need more stuff and value a memorable trip over losing space in our tiny apartment. Some friends/relatives griped about our idea, but at the end of the day it was tailored to us.

If this couple would prefer memorable date nights and meals vs. a bunch of housewares, who cares?

Tanusree Khandai said...

wow ! this sounds amazing. I love it !

Miriam Alv said...

I like the idea as I'm always encouraging of people buying less stuff! But personally, if I ever get married, I would prefer people to donate their gift to charity. I'm single, a poor student and in my twenties, but I already feel I don't need much stuff around me.

Carrie said...

I think it is a fabulous idea!

Maryli said...

I totally expected people to say that this was tacky, but wasteful? More so than a bunch of stuff the couple doesn't need?

I think it's very cute and a good excuse to keep up with date nights post-wedding.

Rachel Geringer-Dunn said...

Personally, I have always thought that asking for cash money is super-tacky, but per Julia's example, it is customary in some cultures and I respect that, too. With a traditional registry, you're not forcing anyone to buy you anything but rather sharing some items you'd like as guidance. I love buying wedding gifts this way because I know I'm getting a couple something they actually want or need whether it's a roasting pan, a favorite restaurant gift card, or a camping trip - can't go wrong!

Jennifer Holland said...

Without knowing the couple I think this is great. Those who do know them most likely understand where they are in life and what that particular activity would mean to them.

I have every intention of setting up an online wishing well for donations towards honeymoon adventures to ease the pressure on people who insist on gifting something. Those who will be invited know they're not expected to join in on it, but also understand it's more useful to us than a crystal decanter and safer than an open wishing well that could easily get left behind on the night or dropped. But we're getting negative backlash from strangers about it because it's 'rude'.

Each to their own, and the people who care will support your decisions.

Kiri Cragin Folwell said...

i love giving/receiving gifts that are experiences rather than things. and who doesn't love a fabulous dinner? i think this is a fab idea!

Lindsay Stewart said...

I think it is a genius idea - however - no easier way to add the "newlywed 15" right?!?!?

natasha {schue love} said...

Such a clever idea! Love that they went in their first year too!

Madeleine Burke said...

Love love love this idea! We love to go out and eat too! We actually bought a gift voucher for our favourite Melbourne restaurant for friends who were married last year as they live in a tiny apartment and the last thing they needed was a fourth kettle.

The Wh0le Story said...

This is brilliant! Also it's the only way I would get married ;)

Stefanie OConnell said...

What a FANTASTIC idea! I'm all about the experiences too, give me travel or FOOD (or wine) ;)

kidsuserguide.com said...

I love the idea. We moved to Park City a week after our wedding. A couple of friends bought us gift certificates for restaurants on Main St. These were our favorite gifts! We were able to explore our new town and thought of our friends a large part of the evening.

Liliana said...

Take a chill pill people! I think this is a great idea. Any gift registry is there to help the people that WANT to buy you a gift choose one, not force you into gift giving. I can't even figure out what to get my mother for Mothers Day, let alone a gift for a friend on their wedding day.

That said, we had a tiny wedding, only immediate family, and didn't have a registry. The handful of gifts we received were appreciated, even the twin size aerobed (which we thought was an odd gift at the time) has really come in handy :)

Sarah D said...

ick. no, tacky. If you are older and established, then just DON'T register and don't expect gifts! Sure, it'd be fun to receive, but it's tacky to request it.

A. Sparkle said...

I'm getting married in the near future and I think it's a wonderful idea. Especially since future Mr. Sparkle and I love going out for food adventures! Something to consider indeed.

Bridge said...

I like this idea it's kind of like the honeymoon registry I wish my husband and I would have made. But please, PLEASE don't have the veal.

Here's an article from yesterday's Monitor about the industry
:
My Turn: Eating veal supports inhumane treatment of animals

By BARBARA BONSIGNORE
For the Monitor
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

We humans love our babies. Cows love their calves just as much, but in the dairy industry they are not allowed to keep their male calves.

As soon as they are born, they are torn from their mothers’ care. Cows cry for their calves for extended periods and have been known to search for their missing babies great distances if they escape from the barn. At livestock auctions, there are many newborn calves with their umbilical cords still attached.

Male calves are unwanted products of the dairy industry, in which cows are impregnated to produce milk. They are shipped to crated veal farms where these playful, needy babies are tied for the few shorts weeks they are allowed to live in a barren metal or wooden crate with little or no light, no soft bedding, and no exercise or company of other calves.

In fact, lacking all muscle tone, veal calves have a hard time walking the ramp from the transport truck into the slaughterhouse. They are often shocked to keep them moving. They are deliberately fed an iron-deficient liquid diet, making them anemic to produce the pale “milk-fed” flesh so prized by gourmands. Such a deficient diet causes the calves to lick desperately at the crate slats to obtain much-needed iron.

Many succumb to severe diarrhea. But with so many calves on the farm, what’s a few dead ones? A temporary profit loss to the mega-company.


To keep these sick baby animals alive to reach slaughter age, the veal industry routinely administers therapeutic doses of antibiotics and sulfa drugs, a significant human health hazard causing antibiotic-resistant diseases. A few years ago, there was a scandal involving a banned drug, clembuterol, which was being illegally added to veal calf feed.

If you truly want to help stop the suffering of veal calves, stop eating veal and delete dairy products from your diet. Crated veal farms could not thrive without the existence of dairy farms. Be an advocate for veal calves – educate everyone you know on crated cruelty and urge restaurants to remove veal from their menus.

Veal consumption has dropped tremendously since the 1980s because of the inhumane treatment of the calves. Veal calves have no choice and no voice – but we humans have both and with them we can make a difference for these young animals.


Pamela said...

Gross. And double gross that so many people are on board with this. You don't need gifts? Great, don't have a registry. Ppl are really really pressing you for something? How about a charity you support? A pet cause that's dear to you? Something that isn't so tacky and self-indulgent. Ugh.

grace said...

I LOVE THIS! a year of delicious dates to celebrate your continuing love. and from loved ones! this is so fun!

Christina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

Bridge, thank you for sharing the article. It's so sad that cows and calves are treated so terribly (and I don't think the writer is exaggerating or tugging at our heartstrings with the specifics). I've only had some first hand experience working in the farm industry but I can say that I've seen terrible cruelty and inhumane treatment of animals.

I hope you continue to share these articles to bring issues to light. Most people don't think about it and it's rarely covered but I bet a lot of people are willing to change their eating habits if they only knew how much pain the animal suffered.

And besides (not to make light of the situation but to appeal to anyone's vanity for the sake of stopping so much animal cruelty) a vegetarian diet does wonders for the skin.

Claire said...

That is such a brilliant idea, I wish we did this! Instead of a honeymoon we actually did a foodiemoon in Seattle and chose 5 top rated restaurants we had been dying to try. I suppose that's the same idea, but a restaurant registry is a great idea.

Renae said...

I think this is a very sweet idea. I know when you invite people to your wedding they are going to bring something, so why not something they know you will like, as you picked it out yourself? For the people saying it is tacky - just wondering - what did you do for your own weddings (if married?) No registries at all? Tell guests through word of mouth no gifts? My husband and I tend to give cash (the personal gift comes at the shower).

Renae said...

Wow - just read the bride's background on the link - very impressive:

After attending high school in Paris, France, she completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard University before pursuing graduate studies in Christchurch, New Zealand. She followed her humanitarian interests to Kenya, where she set up an AIDS education program for high school students and, eventually, established a non-profit foundation to secure educational funding for orphans of parents with AIDS (which she continues to oversee). She went on to assume the dean of faculty position for a non-profit educational organization in Hong Kong before eventually returning to New York City, where she worked in the development office for another non-profit, again focusing on secondary education reform.

Clare M said...

What an awesome idea! I really love this!

Clare x

Birgit said...

I love the idea!
My husband and I got married three months ago. We both love to read. So instead of a traditional registry we asked our guest to give us books that they enjoyed reading.
And our guests were great. We could really fill our library. We got everything from novels to childrens' books an illustrated books.

The Collector said...

Ugh, not a fan. I would really resent it as a guest. It seems like you're saying, we're already rich, so just spend your money on something we don't really need ... If someone really wants to give you a gift, let it be from the heart, not something you ask for. The whole idea is just really entitled, unless it's to get a young broke couple started out in life.

em said...

I am getting married in June and I have to say that since my engagement I have been completely perplexed about the entire "do's and don'ts" of wedding culture. I am from the US, my fiance is from South America and we live abroad. Trying to blend US wedding expectations with wedding norms abroad has been a tricky task and in the end, my fiance and I have mostly abandoned the US way of doing things (perhaps at the shock of my family) for a more simple wedding full of love and not full of commercial obligations.

I hereby encourage all brides to really think about what is really important. And for me that is not- a registry, or any gift from any guest besides their attendance at my big day, or a big diamond ring (yay for Bario Neal simple bands!), or a five star honeymoon (we are going on a friendsmoon vacation after the wedding with all of our friends who made it to the wedding), or umpteen-million bridal showers, engagement parties, or other events requiring people to buy yet another gift.

In my opinion, yes, the modern wedding scene has lost the point of what its all about- love between you, your other half, and all of your family and friends.

Katherine Lawson said...

I find the range of comments and opinions really interesting. Some people are really offended by the idea!

When I got married my husband already had a fully furnished home and I had lots of bits and pieces, and I really didn't like the impersonal nature of a registry. So, we said 'no need for any gifts, thanks.'

And people got really stressed out! I mean, people were emailing and phoning (particularly the older generation, saying, 'we really want to give you a gift'. So we ended up making up a list. And now we have three casserole dishes.

I wish we'd done something more like this! At least people's money would have gone towards something we enjoyed and wanted.

Gina said...

Wow! I'd totally do this!! What a great idea!!

Rachael King said...

Wow I am surprised at how many negative responses there are to this idea. My go to gift for a wedding is a restaurant voucher because it's a treat people often don't make time for in their budget. Also usually when you are attending a wedding it is for a friend or a relative -don't you want to get them something they love/want/can use/cherish? Who on earth is resentful over the couples wishes? You know them, you know they are good people of course you'll shout them a meal out if they have been together ten years and live in a furnished apartment. We had a wishing well at our wedding as we moved to the other side of the world 10 days later so traditional presents were just not an option. It was completely optional and people gave if they wanted, some people gave with a card, others anonymously.

Carla said...

I'm going to weigh in with the ones who love the idea. In my family, there is no such thing as "no gifts"--people bring them, anyway, even when "no gifts, please" is printed on the invite. A lot of people actually want to give their loved ones a gift, and since when is a registry a mandate? It's a guideline, but guests have never been required to purchase from it. And also, from where does this idea come that to not need anything means you're wealthy? Maybe this couple feels they have just what they need and don't need more. And to tell guests to give to a charity is a much more directed dictate than a registry.

Ilse den Besten said...

I think this is awesome! You should be able to ask for what you'd like the most; that's the most fun to give too!

Ana Simões said...

The book idea is awesome. The restaurant idea is also great! Someone mentioned city experiences - what a lovely idea. Here in Portugal, giving money is the regular procedure and THAT surely is the tackiest thing I can think of - even if it is culturally accepted.

Eliza Jane said...

Oh wow, I would totally do this. What a fantastic idea! It would be a delicious first year of marriage, and a fat second year lol.

Mark Brown said...

Great piece of writing, I really liked the way you highlighted some really important and significant points. Thanks so much, I appreciate your work. Restaurants in delhi


Lauren E. said...

I love this idea. To the people who think it's tacky, I'll say this: when you don't register you receive gifts such as a FAKE FIREPLACE and not, as you might hope for, cash. That is not a made up story...

People like to give gifts and if you give them no inkling whatsoever as to what to buy, they'll buy you something that you're now stuck with. I think the idea behind a registry is, "You don't have to get us anything, but if you do, here are things we'd like." I'm almost 30 and have lived in an apartment with my boyfriend for 2+ years. We don't need sheets, towels, pots, and pans now, let alone when we finally get married down the road. So in lieu of fake fireplaces, I'll take dinners, thanks.

Samantha Sault said...

Sorry, unless you're early 20s and having a shotgun wedding and REALLY need items to start a home, registries are tacky. Period. And if you "don't need gifts," a registry is just crass. I don't care if you end up with a "bad" gift or something you didn't need/want - it shouldn't about the gifts. Donate them to charity. I am always perplexed by my friends in their 20s and 30s who register for every item they can find at the Crate and Barrel...like, you obviously weren't eating with paper plates and plastic forks all these years in your shared home, right?

Jean said...

I've never thought of a registry as a "you have to buy me something" list , but an "IF you want to give a gift, here are things we can use so you're spending money you would have spent anyway on something we will really use."

Love the restaurant registry idea. It's a type of gift that's not about the food, but about the experience.

Philline Dilao said...

brilliant idea! I would love to do this...I just wonder if it's allowed in Japan too?

dc said...

I think it's tacky! It also takes the fun out of choosing or making a gift for your friends.

We invited friends and family to celebrate the wedding day with us not as a source for gifts. My husband and I got married at a friends house out in the country beside a trout stream. One of our friends had a pyrotechnic license and his gift was a huge box of class 3 fireworks which he gave to us the morning of the wedding. We fired half off that night and the other half on our one year anniversary. Other gifts included a hand pieced quilt, an embroidered matting with our framed wedding announcement, hand painted trivets and several other handmade gifts. Had we done a registry we wouldn't have gotten these unexpected gifts especially chosen for us.

caitlin said...

Total do!!

Shannon said...

Wish I had thought of this! We were living in Oklahoma at the time, so it wouldn't have been as appealing, but now we're in San Francisco and all I want to do is eat at every single one of the amazing restaurants.

michellejoelle said...

I think it's cute - people get to give you an experience! I'd make the caveat of making sure that the majority of the gift cards were in the $25 range though - let people add up a bunch if they want to give a larger gift, but don't make it seem like an extravagant gift is the only option.

Shelley Musleh said...

that is AWESOME. and it would create such beautiful thank you cards to everyone. and such an exciting first year of marriage!

I don't think it'd be good for my waistline though haha

Christine H. S. said...

We didn't have a registry at all and here's what happened:

1) People bought us thoughtful gifts, like a hand-carved wooden salad bowl, sangria pitcher, a glass teapot or custom artwork. Some decided on their own what to buy and some asked my close relatives for opinions.

2) People gave us beautiful cards, home-baked treats, booze and other inexpensive but awesome congratulatory tokens.

3) People gave us money, gift cards or gift certificates to restaurants! They chose places that they loved to eat, which was so much more special than telling them where we wanted to go.

We didn't miss not having a registry. Gifts should be gifts, not a financial transaction! I barely remember what gifts I've gotten friends when I've ordered off of a registry- was it a coffee maker, set of towels?

Kim O. said...

This makes complete sense to me!

Making it Anywhere said...

Freakin Brilliant! For so many reasons! Most people spend a lot of money on their wedding and don't have a lot of money to spend on going out after. It facilitates making time to spend together... an essential part of the early parts of a marriage, my husband and I use these date nights as a chance to relax and talk about the "state of our union"... catch and up discuss things. It alleviates the issue of trying to make time to write all of those thank you notes, right after the wedding when you are trying to get back to work and get back to your normal routine. And it creates the opportunity to write a truly personalized thank you card, one worth sending. I would so much rather get a "Thank you so much, the evening was wonderful we had the veal, it was fantastic blah blah blah" than "thank you for the blender" any day.

Caitlyn said...

I tend to be very traditional about such things (even though I am anything but traditional most of the time) so I was on the fence. But when she said that they used them all the first year of marriage and immediately sent a note telling the giver about their night, I was sold.

If I had given them the gift and received a sweet little note about how great their night was and what they ate, I would enjoy it so much more than a standard "thanks for the french press that I asked for. It was just wanted... since I asked for it."

Also, it just seems so cool to imagine the couple with a list of restaurants to look forward to going to all year long. Kind of like a first year of marriage bucket list. I really love the idea!

K said...

BRILLIANT! I always amazed at how ingenious people can get.

Ashley Nodar said...

Have you heard of the site Zola? It's pretty new, but started with the same idea that nowadays people getting married are older and/or have been living together and do not need traditional wedding registry things.

It's a beautifully designed site, too— some of the creatives behind Gilt.com started it!


https://www.zola.com/

Gail Aguiar said...

I love this idea! I'm not a conventional person and I railed against the idea of a wedding registry for many reasons, but I had relatives who wouldn't take "no gifts" as an answer.

In 2005 when I was engaged and before my husband-to-be got sick, I decided to set up my own registry with the Vancouver Art Gallery shop at the Canadian reception (we got married in PA, so it was the second location). It was an idea I was forced to abandon after his cancer diagnosis, but I never regretted foregoing the traditional wedding registry.

I was a wedding photographer in Toronto for five years after my American husband passed away, and something I learned through observation is that weddings (followed by child-rearing) is an area of guaranteed criticism and expectation. It's hard for couples not to give in to the social pressure, but in the end guests should understand the wedding is about the couple, and they're in attendance because they're near-and-dear.

It's clear that this couple love to eat out, and buying them pots and pans for a kitchen they barely use and is fully stocked already just doesn't make sense. Not to mention, if guests go to dinner with these folks -- which I'm assuming they will at some point -- they already have a big list of suggested places to go TOGETHER, making it even more personal and experiential.

This idea works well in big cities like Chicago or New York where people eat out often, and there are lots of restaurants. It obviously wouldn't work in a small town where people tend to eat more at home, and there are fewer restaurants. It wouldn't work here in Portugal, either, because culturally it is a country of home cooking.

Guests who prefer to give money will give money, anyways, so why not have an option that is customized to the couple? Besides, one advantage to this sort of registry is that duplicate certificates for a restaurant is no big deal, where a registry of stuff has some potential for mix-ups and order errors.

If you're a foodie or know foodies, I think this is a fabulous idea. The gifted immersion blender may never get used, but everyone has to eat every day.

(A small footnote to my story: after being widowed for 8 years, I got married in the Azores, packed up my life in Toronto and moved to Portugal. And I was even less traditional this time: no wedding registry, no witnesses, and no rings!)

jenn @ beyond the stoop said...

I LOVE the idea, but I would be afraid that i'd end up with endless gift cards to applebee's, olive garden, and all of those awful chain restaurants that sell giftcards at the Kroger check out line instead of the one-of-a-kind places we frequent in NYC :(

Camille Millecam Whiting said...

We give dates and restaurant cards as presents, and always are told it was the best gift! I would have loved this- we were in the same place and everyone gave us giftcards knowing we probably already owned everything.

The Slow Pace said...

Awesome! I would have done the same, if we would have had it here. It seems the perfect wedding gift for foodies.

P.

http://theslowpace.com

Carolyn said...

I love the idea, and I am totally on board. That being said - I am pretty sure I would have mentioned it to my parents and had my mom tell me "absolutely not" in two seconds flat. While she is modern, she recognized that not all the poeple attending the wedding are. And we all know that weddings are really about "them" - does this make sense? Sometimes we have to bite the bullet and respect our "elders" - even though it's LAME.

But depending on your wedding, lifestyle, family - this is great and could totally work. Just not my family of old stiffs! haha

Bryna Faye Shields said...

I think this is a cool idea - I'm a big fan of experiential gifts, and I might even take this idea a step further and make a registry that wasn't limited to restaurants, but other experiences too (like rock climbing lessons, a fun boat tour, etc) It'd be a great way to further deepen the bond between newlyweds, I think.

thisisteresat said...

I love this idea--not everyone wants or needs kitchen stuff and towels. And, while I understand that some people think all registries are tacky and seem demanding, the bottom line is that people love you and really, truly want to give you gifts to celebrate your marriage. Some people never buy gifts from the registry (my mom's best friend never does--she crocheted my husband and I a beautiful blanket that I love), some appreciate the ease. I like to choose things from registries that I know I use all the time, so it still feels thoughtful. But, I know that not everyone cooks, so I think this restaurant idea is great. I also saw this: http://www.bettereverafter.com/ and wished that it had been around 2 years ago when I got married!

Aslı said...

When my boyfriend was done with his internship in Paris, the company gave him a gift voucher of €400 that he can either use for travelling or at some restaurants.

Rather than spending everything for one trip we had lots of wonderful date nights and sometimes we got lucky because restaurants just accepted the vouchers even if it wasn't specified in payment methords.

I can't imagine being so lucky! I really appreciated his company for this. I wish I could do the same for our wedding but in our part of world we don't have the "wedding registry" custom even though we both are from different countries. But I would definetely go for it since we both are planning to go for an expatriate life for few years after getting married. We can't basically carry bowls and kitchen mixers with us :)

Xx
Aslı

www.zeparisienne.com

Caitlin Jennings said...

Oh hey, it's Thomas Carter from Estela in the picture!

Laura said...

I would love to see their registry to get ideas and see samples. Do they have a copy you cost post a snip bit of?

Genevieve said...

As a wedding planner, I freaking LOVE this idea. So many of my clients have been together a long time aleady, have their own stuff, that the challenge for me and with them is finding a twist on the registry. I really like this outside-the-box thinking!

Katie Newton said...

On the fence with this one. It would be fun, but it's a bit like "Woooo look at us, having all this fun without you, but thanks for picking up the tab!".

eKim said...

I love this idea! I set up a honeymoon registry before my wedding a few years ago. My then fiancé and I already lived together and we were already set on cutlery, dishes, towels and appliances. I'm sure I had some eye rolls from our guests about the new-ish registry back then but I was glad I did it. If we had gone with the traditional registry where was I going to store the gifts in our small place?!

Anyway I wish it had this idea before my wedding. My husband and I love dining out and this is something we would have loved.

Jennifer Tammy said...

Um, can I pick a man based on this requirement? Love the idea, I always plan my vacations based on restaurants so this would be a fun twist.

Amanda said...

Yuck. So tacky. If you don't need anything, then say no gifts, or suggest organizations for donations. I don't have a problem with even giving money toward a down payment or something, but I'm not going to fund someone's entertainment budget.

Brittini Schreiber said...

Interesting idea. In my opinion, nothing is a "don't". Do what makes you happy. From my experience, some guests have no problem ignoring a registry anyway, lol.

Sincerely,
Buffalo Britty
http://buffalobritty.blogspot.com

Faizan Mohammad said...

Nice one. A unique thinking, attractive style and also I like your selection of pictures for posts.

Samantha Fletcher said...

What a Fabulous idea! X

Caroline, No. said...

I probably wouldn't buy someone a present who asked for this, in all honestly. It's not what a wedding present is supposed to be in my eyes.

That said, I would happily buy a meal off my own back for a foodie couple of good friends, especially if they didn't have much money.

Restaurants are an indulgent treat. It just doesn't seem right to ask for that as a wedding gift.

Love the peeps answers who said they asked for nothing and got lovely gifts. Better that people are generous from their own heart.

Kate said...

THE most AMAZING idea! i love this even if you're not getting married "later in life"... who wants a fancy bowl anyways?!! :)

CMX said...

I just got married on the 18th and we used Zola. It was perfect, I'd highly recommend it!

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