Greening your wedding registry

Today’s post is from Finley’s dear family friend, Ryan Dunn, with some great insights as to greening your wedding registry!


I have a recurring dream, really more of a nightmare. I’m being chased down the aisle at my wedding by a cresting wave of cardboard boxes, tissue paper and packing peanuts. I’m torn; I want to escape, but Lauren is standing at the end of the aisle, waiting surrounded by a crowd of expectant guests. Now I’ll admit; this is more of a narrative device than an actual nightmare of mine, but it rings true when I think back on the aftermath of my wedding last year. After an absolutely incredible wedding and honeymoon, my new wife and I returned to our home to find a mountain of boxed wedding gifts waiting for us.

Now the point of this is not to make a thinly veiled humble-brag about how many wedding gifts we received. Like many good millennials we found an online wedding registry, and added a host of kitchenware and household goods to help us start a new life together. It was filled with practical, low-cost items like spatulas and pots and pans, all of which seemed absolutely necessary. But what we had not counted on was the impact, and waste, associated with an online registry.

Efficient packaging was not their area of expertise; everything, regardless of it’s size, seemed to come in the same giant cardboard boxes, filled to the brim with packing peanuts. We’d open a box and dig around, elbow deep in styrofoam for a few minutes, finally pulling out a rubber spatula. On recycling day we’d be embarrassed, worried the recycling pickup would decline to cart off yet another mountain of flattened cardboard. “Are there limits to how much you can give them?” I’d ask my wife, “do they hate us?”. We kind of hated us; the gifts were given with love from friends and family, but the method of receiving them just seemed so wasteful and excessive.

So what would we do if we could start over? Well, definitely get married, that part was awesome. But we’d pare down our registry list considerably, fighting back against that feeling that, yes, we might need a backup colander. We’d go old school, asking for gift cards at stores, and picking things up ourselves instead of having them shipped.

We’d also ask for more gifts in the form of donations to help fund a trip together, and towards a few causes that are important to us. Luckily there are a few great websites out there that can help with that, including The Good Beginning, and Blueprint Registry. And if you do end up with too many things, find a local charity that accepts donations of new and gently used cookware and home goods. Weddings can be remarkably stressful, but the aftermath shouldn’t be!