White china bowls. Spatulas. A nice apron. These are the staples of pretty much every bridal shower I have ever been to. While they’re great gifts, chances are they don’t elicit the squeals of, say, a one week vacation in paradise. A growing number of newlyweds are forgoing the classic Macy’s/Crate and Barrel/The Bay registries, and turning to honeymoon registries instead to fund their dream getaways. Not only does it help cut down on the clutter (another toaster? Erm, thanks Aunt Margaret!) but it puts all those gifts to good use.
There are now dozens of companies set up to help couples, including the one I used called Honeyfund. The way it works is you sign up (for free! Or upgrade to the premium package, which looks prettier) and can completely customize your wish list. Sign up for a tour of the cellars in Champagne, your flight to Barbados, a stay in an over-water villa in the Maldives…whatever! You then set the dollar amount, and guests can either cut you a cheque or pay via credit card or Pay Pal. (And if you have really generous guests then maybe you can go on the world’s longest honeymoon like my friends Mike and Anne!)
The website also tracks who gives you what, making it super-easy for all those thank-you notes you’ll be sending out.
A number of travel agencies including Flight Centre have also jumped on board, and create registries for couples who book honeymoons through them. This is another great option—especially if you’re letting your travel agent handle all the nitty-gritty booking details—and again, your guests can give the money right to you. What I don’t love about this option is that it’s straight up cash, so your guests can only gift you ‘dollar amounts’ instead of an experience. Another thing to keep in mind is you may be required to pay a large deposit for the honeymoon up front, so if you don’t have the cash you won’t be able to book until you get your gifts—aka after the wedding.
One thing to watch out for with some companies is the transaction fees.
I chose Honeyfund as there are no costs involved unless you upgrade to the Premium account, or get a gift through Pay Pal or credit cards (where you can be hit with transaction fees). Some honeymoon registries charge couples to set up the account, such as Traveler’s Joy which charges 7.5 per cent in service fees. Do the math on $10,000 worth of gifts, and…well, you get the idea. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather use that money towards wedding expenses or a bottle of champagne in Vegas!
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In my opinion, the best option is to go with a free, reputable site which allows you to do exactly what you want with the money. That way, you’re not tied down to any itinerary—and you get to keep any money you don’t spend!