Last time, I revealed our amazing honeymoon destination, and I can’t wait to share those recaps with you all, but before I do, I want to take a moment to discuss our honeymoon registry.
It’s no secret that honeymoon registries are a controversial topic. While some consider honeymoon registries to be extremely le tacky, others swear by them. You can easily guess what camp I’m in since I’m writing about it. Like so many modern couples, Mr. Waterfall and I moved in together before getting married. Over the last two years, we have furnished our home with most of the household items we need. And while there are some items that we would love to add (KitchenAid Stand Mixer, I’m looking at you), we just don’t have the room in our tiny, one-bedroom apartment. Since we won’t be able to purchase our home right away, we didn’t love the idea of accumulating a bunch of extra stuff that we would then be forced to pack up and move in a year. Enter: the honeymoon registry.
Our first encounter with honeymoon registries was a few years ago at our friends’ wedding. The couple was honeymooning in Bali and had registered for yoga classes, room upgrades, even breakfast in bed! We instantly loved that we could help our friends have the honeymoon of their dreams instead of just buying them a blender or handing them a cheque. I guess it all comes down to personal preference, but seeing pictures of our friends’ honeymoon gave us a sense of satisfaction that we hadn’t felt with traditional registries or cash gifts.
If you’re not familiar with honeymoon registries, the way it works is: you build a wish list of items—dinners, excursions, plane tickets, you name it! You can then split up each item into smaller or bigger chunks. For example: one spa day could be split up into one chunk of $200, two chunks of $100, or 10 chunks of $20—it always helps to have a variety of price points available for guests of different budgets. After your guests pick a gift, they can choose to bring a cheque or cash to the wedding (free of charge), or deposit the money directly into your PayPal account through their credit card or bank account. There is a small PayPal fee associated with this option—it varies, but I believe it’s somewhere around 3%. You can choose to have the fee deducted from the gift, or have your guests pay it. (We chose to have it deducted because, as a guest, it would irk me to have to pay extra to give a gift.)
After much research, we settled on Honeyfund.com. The site itself is free (aside from the PayPal transaction fees), and you can pay for an upgrade, which removes ads and allows you to post pictures of yourselves, as well as the items you’re registering for. I happily paid for the upgrade, as it gave the site a much more polished look; since you’re expecting your guests to transfer you money online, you want your website to look legit!
Image via Tumblr
After reading some of the comments on fellow bees’ posts, I was afraid of getting a negative reaction from some of our more traditional guests, which is why we also had a smaller traditional registry at Linen Chest. This gave us the chance to upgrade a few items like china, steak knives, towels, bamboo sheets (seriously the best sheets ever—look into them!), and my dream Nespresso coffee maker.
I’m happy to report that people really LOVED our honeymoon registry and, as far as we know, nobody was offended by it. Most guests hadn’t necessarily heard of a honeymoon registry before, so we did have to field a lot of questions, but once people understood the concept they were totally on board with it! A lot of people said that they wanted to give us something that we really wanted, to which we replied that what we wanted most of all was the trip of a lifetime! We had three categories of gift on our registry: the necessities (hotels, transportation, airfare, and meals), the must-dos (excursions we knew we would be doing regardless of whether somebody actually bought them for us), and the VIP perks (things we would love to do but didn’t have the budget for, like upgrades and fancy massages).
I would like to note that we did not expect our guests to finance an extravagant honeymoon—we had already paid in full for all of our accommodations, flights, and meals months in advance. However, having a honeymoon registry allowed us to take our trip to the next level, and thanks to our guests’ generosity, we were able to do every single activity on our list, which we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. The really unique excursions (like the underwater safari and the private beach picnic) and romantic massages were the first to get bought up because people want to feel like they’re buying a unique experience. Another thing we noticed was that items with less “chunks” had more success. For instance, the dolphin swim was one of the pricier items on the list, so we split it up into six chunks, but only one actually got purchased. I guess people don’t want to feel like they’re giving you only a small part of a bigger present—they want to give you the whole thing! The least popular item on the registry was airfare. From the necessities list, romantic meals were a huge hit with our foodie set of guests. Another surprisingly popular item was nights in our private overwater bungalow! It goes to show: people want to buy you something different and special (and an overwater bungalow screams Bora Bora).
Screenshot of our honeymoon registry / Image via Honeyfund.com
I know some naysayers claim that a honeymoon registry is basically a glorified way of asking for cash. I guess that’s true in a sense, but it’s more personal than cash since you get to bid on a specific item. We also promised ourselves that we would only use the money for what it had been intended and earmarked each gift for the activity our guest had purchased. We would have felt dishonest taking the money and doing something else with it. For this reason, plan your trip ahead of time and don’t over-register! It can be tempting to put everything you want on the registry, but keep in mind how long each activity takes and prioritize the ones you would really love to do. It would be terribly disappointing for your guests to buy you something and find out later that you used the money for something else. This is the reason why we included things that were already paid for, like the hotel rooms, in our registry. This way, guests who wanted to contribute to the honeymoon could still do so even after the more unique excursions had gotten bought up. You can also heavily hint as to what activities you’re really looking forward to doing if you want to make sure those get bought first.
At Mrs. Blue Whale’s suggestion, we also took a list of the gifts with us on our honeymoon and took the time to think about each person and mentally thank them as we were enjoying their gift. We also made sure to take lots of pictures and will include a printed picture of us enjoying the activity in our thank you cards. We hope our guests will love seeing us actually enjoying their presents!
After all was said and done, cash gifts were still the most popular option with our guests. Out of 150 guests, 45 gifted us cash, 36 bought something on the honeymoon registry, 10 bought something from the Linen Chest registry, eight people gave us random other presents that we hadn’t registered for, and a few people dropped off a box of fresh Wyoming air. I hate to admit that, as lovely as they were, we’re still struggling to find room for some of these registry items in our tiny downtown apartment two months after our wedding! Also, a fun fact: The award for most unique present goes to Brother GM, who bought us stock.
Next up: We go to Bora Bora, so get your towels ready—it’s about to go down!
Did you use a honeymoon registry? Why or why not?