I’ve been planning both gay and straight weddings on Vieques Island for years, but a set of lesbian clients stumped me recently. When I asked where they were registering for gifts, they said they were having some problems with that. I assumed it meant Williams Sonoma versus Crate & Barrel, or something along those lines. But that’s not what they meant. In fact, it’s the most unusual wedding registry request I’ve ever heard. My brides want to register to have a baby together, and they’d like to ask their guests to contribute as a wedding gift. Wow.
Never daunted by the unusual request (hey, I tracked down that elephant… I just decided it wasn’t going to work transporting it on the ferry), I started my research. Based on what I found via Google, and from asking my other clients who were registered there, I recommended the ladies investigate Wedding Republic. With the slogan “A Wedding Registry for the Important Things in Life: From your honeymoon to your house down payment – nothing is off limits,” I figured this was probably the best place for my clients to register to fund the conception of their child. Why not? If you think about it, it’s a pretty slick idea. There are other websites like this but this one was recommended by somebody I knew so I went with it.
Let’s face it – the traditional wedding registry isn’t getting nearly enough love anymore. And you can tell the big department stores are feeling a bit of the pinch because they have MUCH more lenient return policies than they did back when I got married. I remember them being pretty awful. Never mind the fact that the rules of etiquette give you a year to receive gifts, the department stores want you to have everything sorted out, exchanged, returned and whatever else within 90 days or so. Some of them are nicer about it, but it all depends – and God forbid the gift giver bought it on sale… well, they’re going to tell you exactly how much your friend saved when they let you swap it for something half its original value. Classy, huh? Don’t play. That’s exactly how it works at the very top end places to register. I’ve seen a real change in the way stores are recruiting new clients for gift registries now. They seem more “enthusiastic” about attracting brides. I’m hearing from clients that there’s a little less standing around in the bridal department at the big name stores wishing that somebody had time to help you and instead, there’s a zapper gun for everyone when you wander loose in the housewares department – no more having to share with your fiancé. You can both shoot at the same time and put twice as much stuff on your list.Ten years ago you couldn’t register for the very nicest crystal and china at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and now you can. And let’s face it, the saleswomen in that store are far less pretentious and intimidating than the women who run the bridal registries at Bloomies, Tiffany’s, Lord & Taylor, or even Macy’s. Less than 10 years ago, online honeymoon registries were still considered a massive faux pas and my parents were still trying to decide whether they approved of our generation’s gift card phenomenon. Whatever happened to giving beautifully wrapped packages containing future family heirlooms? Honestly, I did it. I am the proud owner of 16 full place settings of Wedgewood China and 16 sets of three Waterford goblets (white wine, red wine, and water, of course… Pallas pattern, if you were wondering). Bill and I left all of that stuff back in DC when we moved to the islands to plan weddings – and now I seriously question the amount of money invested in the stuff sitting in my cabinets. So I’m intrigued by my clients’ desire to register for getting pregnant for their wedding gift registry. This could really apply to any couple, or people could even start thinking further ahead and set up college funds for their progeny or even savings accounts for buying their own beach house.
In this particular case, these women are making a statement with their registry in addition to truly asking the people who love them most to help with something that is really important to them. It touches me a little to think that we’ve played a small role in something that will end up being so big in the grander scheme of their lives. I wonder what their guests will say when they check out the registry? Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!
Sandy Malone is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a full-service destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island, seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. She and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 400 weddings in the Spanish Virgin Islands. Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events. She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004. Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas. She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada. Sandy is also the owner of Weddings in Culebra (wedding planning on Vieques’ little sister island) and Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm). Sandy has a regular column on the Huffington Post and has been rated “Five Rainbows” by her happy gay clients!