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Honeymoon Registries and Other Wedding Gift Ideas

How to Gift Experiences to Newlyweds

We asked our Facebook fans what you'd like to receive as an experience gift in lieu of a traditional wedding registry gift, and you gave some great ideas. While the gift of "eternal happiness" may be out of reach (although nice idea, Sarah!), we can at least provide newlyweds with some momentary romantic bliss with these presents that are more about making memories than making dinner in the kitchen. With our Facebook fans' help we came up with these tips for experience wedding gifts.

  • The honeymoon — I loved these ideas from Facebook fan Rebecca: "I would LOVE to have different 'experiences' bought for us for our honeymoon like a special dinner under the stars, or a couples massage on the beach . . . the cheesy kinds of things that we could never or would never get ourselves because we're too practical." On sites like Traveler's Joy and Honey Fund, guests can not only put money toward paying for the couple's honeymoon, they can also buy honeymoon activities like snorkeling, spa days, and tours.
  • Daredevil date — You know how in every Bachelor and Bachelorette season there are a handful of adventurous dates that result in the couple bonding over the experience and learning how to trust each other? Well, you can make that happen for a newly hitched twosome! One site that specializes in these types of excursions is Cloud 9 Living, which offers everything from hot balloon rides to sky diving to race car driving.
  • Museum membership — Talk about the gift that keeps on giving. On sites like NewlyWish, you can give a couple the gift of art for a whole year with a membership to their local museum. Many museums, like our neighborhood San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, offer gift memberships on their sites.

Keep reading for more experience gift ideas.

  • A trip for two — This could be something extravagant like Reina's dream gift of a trip to St. Tropez, but it doesn't have to be. Tatanjia gets to the heart of a trip gift: "Things that emphasize 'couple time' and require unplugging from things we do all day. A cabin in the woods, a hut on a beach, zero cell bars, no plug in outlets. Build fires, snuggle under blankets, reconnect. I hated it when hubby and I lost that to our tech-saturated and busy lives." Maybe you own a time share or a Summer cabin you could offer time at to the couple. Or maybe you pool your money together with some other guests and buy them a weekend vacation for their first anniversary or for their first Valentine's Day as a married couple.
  • Foodie night out — Whether the lovebirds are foodies-in-training or nosh connoisseurs, cooking classes and wine tastings are a fun, hands-on way to practice creating meals with a new partner in the kitchen. NewlyWish has wine and cooking offerings and kitchenware stores like Sur la Table offer cooking class gift cards. If the spouses-to-be are more about enjoying the meal than making it, a new website FoodieRegistry allows couples to register for restaurant dates.

Do you have any other experience gift ideas? Please share them in the comments!

Photos by Andrea Holm via 100 Layer Cake

likethedirection likethedirection 6 years
Yep! I see the difference EvieJ and I agree with you.
EvieJ EvieJ 6 years
likethedirection: Trust me, I'm not one to tell anyone to follow the rules! I was just trying to say that saying "it's my day and that's about getting what I want" comes across kind of Bridezilla-ish, sorry if I read it incorrectly, as you don't seem that way in your 2nd post. I did see that you wanted no gifts, and I do understand where you're coming from as I already had a toaster and towels, etc. The thing is, though, that as other posters have said, asking for money for a vacation - which is all honeymoon is - is - in my opinion - kind of grabby. I know others disagree with this view, so I think we all have to agree to disagree. I do think that if someone asks what you want, then by all means say "a couples massage" or whatever on our honeymoon, my problem with these websites is when couples say "this is all we want". Then the gift-giver (the givee?) is stuck with 3 options: donating to a holiday fund for people who can't save up and budget, or giving cash, or giving a gift they have to worry the couple won't want. I usually give money, anyway, but I don't feel as if by giving it, I'm being dictated to. Ex: my brothers all chipped in together and gave us a huge money gift. It was so unexpected, and so appreciated - and we did use part of it on our honeymoon for a really nice dinner that we'll always remember, but no way would I have ever asked them outright to buy us a dinner or contribute to our honeymoon. I don't know if you see the difference - it's subtle, but I think it's important.
likethedirection likethedirection 6 years
In saying it was MY day, I was including my groom. It's just hilarious how everyone throws that statement around: "It's your day! Do whatever makes you happy!" but what they really mean is, "Do whatever makes you happy as long as you still follow all the rules." What I (and my groom) want is to have no gifts at all, which I did include in my post above. Problem is, no matter how many times you tell people you don't want gifts, they still get you something. Since I don't need anything, and since people are still going to spend money, I'd rather them spend money on something I'd use. Our wedding is going to be very small and immediate family only. Perhaps if I had friends and extended family attending, I'd feel less comfortable with the contributions to the honeymoon. I just thought it was a cute idea to be, for example, eating a fancy dinner on my honeymoon and thinking that my brother gifted it to me, or getting a couple's massage and thinking that my sister did that for us. It seemed more intimate than a toaster or some towels.
Sarabear Sarabear 6 years
Sorry, but I won't be paying for someone's honeymoon. If you want to have an extravagant trip somewhere, save your money. Have a smaller wedding, do what you need to do to make it happen. If you don't need household items let people donate money to a charity in your honor.
EvieJ EvieJ 6 years
But likethedirection, it seems you think that the point of a wedding is getting gifts - or in your case, money. It's not. And just because someone is invited to your wedding doesn't mean they have to give you something. And newsflash: it is not YOUR day and about getting what you want. Sorry, but if that's your attitude, I feel sorry for your groom. I got married at 30, and had lived on my own since university, so didn't need all the home-type stuff, but I would have NEVER asked for money for my honeymoon. Never. If you want a nice honeymoon and trips to the spa, save money for it. Don't expect your friends or your parents' friends to pay for your vacation.
snarkypants snarkypants 6 years
i don't find it tacky at all. it's more annoying to buy somebody a kitchen aid mixer you know they'll never use!
likethedirection likethedirection 6 years
I don't want gifts so I think the HoneyFund idea is great. In all honesty, I don't care if people think it's tacky or not. That's all part of it being 'my day' isn't it? Getting what I want? And what I want is a little extra cash towards the honeymoon so I can go to nice dinners or do a day at the spa or something. I think this is going to become more and more common as couples get married later in life and already have all the home-type stuff taken care of. Not everyone needs toasters and towels and china.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 6 years
One of my friends did this, and it took me aback....basically, the guests paid for the european honeymoon. You could buy tickets to events or activities for them, airfare, or just send cash. I obviously paid for something as a gift, but when I asked my other friends and my mom what they thought, they were mortified and told me they thought it was beyond tacky. To each his own I guess. If you are engaged and want to go this route, just be aware that a certain percentage of your wedding guests will think this is tacky as hell. Just an FYI.
EvieJ EvieJ 6 years
Sorry, but the idea of a honeymoon registry is tacky. If you cannot afford the honeymoon without everyone stumping up for it, do something else. My husband and I stayed close to home because we didn't have the time or money to go off somewhere exotic. It's bad enough opening a wedding invite and having a slip of paper with gift registry info falling out, but...I don't know, this just doesn't win me over.
Annie-Gabillet Annie-Gabillet 6 years
Thanks for the all the links and ideas. Very helpful.
trinachka trinachka 6 years
Joanna Goddard of the popular blog A Cup of Jo wrote a post in 2009 about how she and her fiancé, Alex, created a honeymoon registry in lieu of the more traditional one: It was the first I'd ever heard of such a thing and it sounded like an awesome idea: definitely I'd prefer experiences over gifts!
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