How to Create an Ethical Wedding Registry

Wedding flowers

Awhile back, I wrote a post with 11 tips to make your wedding more eco-friendly. Today, I wanted to dive in to one specific aspect of the wedding that I get asked about a lot: the registry. I recently had a client ask me about how to make your registry more ethical.

Traditional wedding registries can include a lot of waste in terms of packaging and shipping, and it can be difficult to find ethically made items to include. Scroll down for some alternative options so you can feel good about the gifts you receive to celebrate your special day!

1. Use a fair-trade registry site. Some options I like are:

  • The Little Market, a non-profit founded by women to empower women that offers free wedding registries.

  • Seven Hopes United, a fair-trade organization that gives back to disadvantaged families around the world. It also has free registries!

  • Ten Thousand Villages, a fair-trade shop that impacts the lives of 20,000 makers in 30 developing countries and offers free wedding registries.

2. Have people contribute to your honeymoon. Honeyfund is the best for this. It’s a platform that allows guests to crowdfund something big like your honeymoon (including specific parts of it: like your hotel, your surfing lesson, or a nice dinner!) or your down payment. It’s free for guests, and you’ll pay around 2% of what you receive.

Wedding flowers ethical wedding registry

Some sites let you register for a mix of honeymoon contributions and physical items, which I’ll share below.

3. Ask people to make donations in your name. You can do this on some of the sites below. I’ve also seen couples set up a donation spot at the wedding by the gift table, where you can donate to a non-profit in their name as a present.

4. Let people contribute money for something specific you want to buy. Zola has a feature called group gifting, which lets you break down more expensive items (like a new car, a nice couch, or a fancy camera) into smaller chunks so your friends and family can contribute to help you get something you really want. It’s free to join, and you can choose whether you or your guests absorb their 2.5% transaction fee.

(Zola also lets you register for items and experiences, and when people purchase items for you, you get to decide when they ship which can help save waste!).

5. Use a registry site that lets you register for anything on the internet. Two options that I like for this are Thankful Registry and Blueprint Registry.

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With Thankful, you pay a one-time fee of $30 and have a lot of flexibility: you can mix traditional gifts from anywhere on the internet with gift cards, honeymoon contributions, experience gifts (like a couple’s massage or a pottery class) and non-profit donations.

With Blueprint, you can also add gifts from anywhere on the internet plus include a honeymoon contribution or cash option. Blueprint is free to use, with a caveat: when guests choose a cash gift, they must pay a subsidized processing fee (so if they give you $100, they pay $102.50 and you receive $100).

6. Ask for some ethically made versions of items. Here are some ideas:

In general, having a cash registry like Honeyfund or asking for donations helps decrease a lot of waste because there’s no packaging or shipping involved. But as you can see, there are other ways to have an ethical wedding registry you can feel good about.

Couples: what options did you use when planning your wedding registry? Share your thoughts below.