The Thoughtful Bride: Registries
Registries are great because they let your guests know exactly what you’d like. You might still get that crystal bowl with a carved lobster on it they you’ll never be able to return let alone use, but registries can help minimize those rogue gifts that you’d rather not get. A wedding registry is also a wonderful way to reflect your values and to teach your guests about sustainability and fair trade.
When I got married a few years ago, my husband and I struggled with our registry. Because we had both been living on our own for years we already had most of the household items that all of the blogs and wedding books recommend. In fact, we had something like 3 sets of measuring cups and 6 mismatched towels! Also we didn’t really need much because we lived in a small apartment. After dragging our feet a little and a good deal of head scratching, we decided to create a registry that reflected our values. We looked for items that were a combination of beautiful and practical as well as eco-friendly and ethically sourced. I recommend that you choose at least three registries for your guests to choose from so that they have some good options.
If you need the basics for setting up a house, many of the major department stores like Target and Macy’s are starting to carry more eco friendly alternatives like organic cotton sheets and bamboo fiber towels. If you need to get kitchen tools or electronics make sure you do some research. Look for products that are Energy Star (meaning they use less electricity), those that get good customer reviews for durability, and be sure to pick practical items that you will actually use (why waste space on that expensive juicer that you’ll use once?). Choosing green items through these big stores may also be a good option especially if you have guests who want to go to a physical store to pick out your gift.
Fair trade companies Green Heart Shop , Seven Hopes United and SERRV all offer user friendly online registries and some wonderful items for your home. You can find an array of home goods from carved stone lamps and exquisite hand printed linens to recycled drinking glasses and beautiful ceramic dishware. They also offer smaller décor items like picture frames, cutting boards, coasters, wall hooks and candle votives, which are perfect for making a house or apartment feel like a home! Each store offers a unique collection of products so be sure to check them all out.
Another great option for home goods and décor is Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages is one of the founders of fair trade, and has an online registry as well as a growing number of stores all over the US and Canada, which can be convenient for couples setting up their registries as well as guests who like the experience of shopping. Green Heart Shop also has a brick and mortar store in Chicago, and SERRV has two stores in Wisconsin and one in Maryland.
For couples looking to support local artists and artisans the handmade and vintage marketplace, Etsy, now offers wedding registries that allow you to select products from shops from all over. If you live in New Hampshire you can also keep it local by registering with small businesses and mom-and-pop stores through Nearby Registries which is also looking to expand more nationally over the next few years.
A great green registry alternative is Gaiam. Although mainly known for their yoga and fitness products, Gaiam also carries a great line of eco friendly home goods. They offer fair trade towels, organic cotton bedding and composters that can be added to an online registry.
Lastly, if you are like my husband and me, and you don’t need a ton of stuff to equip your new home, you might also want to consider an alternative to a gift registry. A great option is to ask that your guests give to a charity in your honor! My husband has a love of pandas so we chose to create a fundraising registry through World Wildlife Federation’s Panda Pages. You can also create a charity registry through the I Do Foundation and Just Give, and have guests donate to multiple organizations like Amnesty International and Children’s Defense Fund.
find more ethical wedding inspiration from Tegan on her blog In Tandem Fair Trade Weddings