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Wedding Registry

Most couples know what a wedding registry is and realize it is the key to easy gift giving with the minimum of duplicates.  However, do you know where the tradition came from and exactly what a wedding registry is?

In the past, many couples were part of an arranged marriage, the purpose of which was to merge the fortunes of both families.  As a general rule the groom's family would offer something of value in exchange for the woman's hand in marriage.  On the other side of the coin, the bride's family would at that point give a dowry to the groom which generally consisted of what we would most likely consider "traditional" wedding gifts.  Most times the dowry would contain items such as linens, china, towels and other things they may use to set up their new household.  

wedding registry

Now, fast forward several hundred years.  In modern times what is considered a wedding registry has changed greatly.  The actual concept of what we consider a wedding registry was conceived by Marshal Field's in 1924 because they wanted to have a system put in place to help wedding guests select gifts.  The original wedding registries were hand written lists that, as a general rule, contained typical items such as linens, crystal, silverware and china.  This process went on for a while until it matured to a more convenient style.  

In 1995 Target revolutionized the wedding registry process.  By establishing the first scanner-friendly gift registry that included an electronic database, they changed the whole face of what we now know as wedding or bridal registries.  By using the database, Target came up with a solution for tracking purchases and hopefully keeping double gifting to a minimum.  

Very quickly after that just about every department store and big box store followed their lead by creating elaborate registry departments that included everything from housewares to sporting goods.  They even created electronic registries for birthdays, babies, bridal shower gifts and birthdays.  The the debut of scanners, many of the more non-traditional stores have incorporated wedding registries as well.  

Right now the wedding registry "industry" is on the verge of a very large change.  If you ask "what is a wedding registry?" now you will no longer get the standard answer of a list of toasters and linens.  There are many different online and mobile options for couples to choose from so they can choose items they really need or want.  

One of the newest ways to "register" for gifts is to register for a big ticket item or even a down payment on your first home.  Each guest can then contribute an amount toward that gift.  You can even create a donation registry for your favorite charity.  This is an excellent way to be able to receive a big ticket item such as your honeymoon or maybe even a car without any one person having to bear the brunt of the cost.  

While creating a wedding registry is certainly not required, you should certainly consider it an essential part of your wedding planning process. Not only will it help you guests to choose gifts you will really use, but it will offer you the chance to ask for gifts that suit your personal style as a couple.  Be creative when you are making your registry.  Also, there is no rule that says you can only have one.  This way you will most likely receive gifts you can actually use rather than stuffing them away in the closet to gather dust. 

Tags: wedding gifts, bridal shower gifts, weddings