A History: Wedding Gift Registry

May 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

“Thank you so much for the candlesticks! They’ll look lovely with the other 6 sets we’ve received for our wedding….” Sound familiar? If so, you may not have had a wedding gift registry. A wedding gift registry allows couples to select the gifts they want to receive – and make it simple for guests to give gifts they know will be cherished.

1924: An evolution in gift-giving begins

Marshall Field’s was a department store in Chicago, Illinois, that came up with the idea to set up a wedding gift registry in 1924. They were the first to create such a system designed to help wedding guests select gifts. Back then, the registry was organized through handwritten lists focusing on fine china, silverware, linens and crystal.

1995: Target launches Club Wedd

Target was one of the first retailers to bring technology to the world of the wedding gift registry. Couples were given scanners to select their gifts, which brought privacy and self-service to the act of registering. Electronic registries also made the lists easier for the company to update as gifts were purchased. 125,000 couples were registered with Club Wedd within the first year of its formation .

The technology behind Club Wedd was invented by William J. Veeneman, and soon thereafter purchased by many other companies to enhance wedding gift registry equipment.

2010: Couples go beyond toasters and flatware

It is estimated about 25% of unmarried women age 25 to 39 are living with a partner and an additional 25% have lived with a partner in the past.  By the time many of these women are engaged, they already own household basics and may want to register for other types of gifts instead of using a traditional wedding gift registry. Charitable contributions, a honeymoon or funds to help purchase a home are some of the gifts people can register for today.  For example, Hatch My House is an interactive gift registry that allows couples to register for home renovations, furniture or a down payment on a home. Hatch My House has become a leader among home down payment and “nontraditional” wedding gift registries as it is a way for guests to make meaningful contributions toward the couple’s residence.

Even etiquette expert Peggy Post gives these new types of wedding gift registries her blessing, telling WeddingChannel.com, “It is perfectly okay to register for nontraditional gifts. These days, couples often own the items they would receive in a registry, and they may want to save for a honeymoon or give to a charity. ”

In 2008, wedding guests spent $6.9 billion on wedding gifts, according to the Wedding Report, and undoubtedly many of those gifts were purchased through a registry.  So, when you are ready to create your own wish list, there are a few leaders in the development of the wedding gift registry you can thank for allowing you to get the gifts you’ll love for a lifetime.

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