Mock-up poster, baby blue gift box with white bow on light blue background, 3D Render, 3D Illustration

More and more couples are straying from traditional gift requests.

That’s not surprising, with the average age of first-time brides and grooms pushing 30 and second marriages on the rise.

“A couple who is getting married in 2020 probably has lived together for awhile and already has two toasters. They don’t need a third,” says Dana Osbourne of Dana Osbourne Designs. Her observation in helping couples with their invitations and enclosures: “They really just want cash.”

Experiential gifts, such as a gym membership or a gourmet coffee subscription, are becoming more and more common. Ditto for gift cards for airline tickets, hotels, restaurants, etc., for date nights and getaway weekends.

Thanks to the prevalence of online registries, few gifts are even brought to the actual event any more.

Couples should register six to eight months before the wedding, giving guests plenty of options for that perfect gift.

Trending for 2020:


Cash is always popular, especially if a couple is looking for some extra spending money for their honeymoon or trying to save for a house.

Some wedding registry options fill that need, allowing couples to register for anything from adventurous experiences to a down payment.

How do you word that on your details card or wedding website?

“It can be a touchy thing,” Osbourne says. “Make it warm and fuzzy.”

Say something like, “We’re saving for the vacation of our dreams” or “We’re building the home of our dreams.”

Charity instead

Some established couples would rather see money for a wedding gift go where it might be needed more.

Osbourne’s brother and sister-in-law got married at Christmas and asked guests to join them in making a contribution to a local food bank. The gesture, she says, captured the spirit of the season.

In another situation, a bride’s younger brother had died from brain cancer, so the newlyweds asked guests to donate to a nonprofit organization that had helped the family through a difficult time.

“Every couple seems to have an organization that’s really close to their heart,” Osbourne says.

If you have a special fund for receiving cash gifts, include the website on your details card.

Where to next?

Millennials place a high value on experiences.

Things that allow couples to spend more time together, doing activities that brought them together at the start of their relationship, is a great idea for a gift. Things like camping and hiking gear or luggage.

At Enchanted Honeymoons Travel, couples are registering for fun honeymoon excursions such as deep-sea fishing and zip-lining. Even spa treatments, says Enchanted Honeymoons’ Andy Baker.

“Especially for people living together, they don’t need things for the house,” he says. “It’s a way to have those extra experiences on your honeymoon.”

Place settings, barware

Gone are the days of registries filled with gravy boats, asparagus plates and butter knives. Couples are much more eclectic and selective about their at-home experience, says Jodi Farley, a gift sales manager for Borsheims.

Barware — a favorite with grooms — is extremely hot right now, she says. Must-haves include a fine crystal decanter and double old-fashioned glasses.

For everyday use, couples are gravitating toward white ceramic dinnerware, classic stainless steel flatware, wooden salad bowls and metallic martini trays that can double as serving or display pieces, Farley says.

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