When it came time for my daughter to register for her wedding, I thought about my mother’s wedding china that she had given to me. China that is currently packed in a plastic tote stored in the corner of my hall closet. Thinking about my neglected set of china got me thinking about wedding registries in general, traditions, and what the modern couple really wants for a wedding gift.

According to Brides Magazine, 65% of men and women cohabitate before marriage.  As you can imagine (or know first-hand) establishing a household brings together existing items and creates the need to purchase more. Cohabitating couples already have a lot of the basic household necessities. Now they may not be the best of the best, but maybe you really don’t want more things for your home. So what is the alternative? This is when I started looking into Honeymoon Registries.

I looked at four popular websites to see how they worked, and most importantly, how you redeem your gifts for your honeymoon.  Honeymoon Wishes, Traveler’s Joy and Wanderable hold gifts in a secure account for you. When you want to cash out, they will send you your funds either by direct deposit or check. Honeymoon Wishes and Wanderable are the only two companies who offered an option to pay the hotel or service provider directly. I thought Honeyfund was a simple crowed funding site. The guest looks up your registry, selects which part of the trip they want to help fund, and then they give you the money as cash or check in person. If they want to pay by credit card, the money is deposited in your We-Pay or PayPal account.

As you would expect, there are fees for these services. Honeyfund has the least fees of any site since people give you the money themselves. If they pay by credit card, you will incur a transaction fee of 2.8% + $0.30 and an additional PayPal transaction fee of the same amount. If you use WePay the fees are 2.8% + $0.30.  Your guest never pays fees. Also, your registry on Honeyfund is free, but you will have ads unless you upgrade for $39.99.  Honeymoon Wishes charges a 7% shipping and handling fee that you can add to the guest’s transaction or have it deducted from your gift. There are also credit card fees with this site, but your registry page is free. Wanderable also offers a free registry page and has credit card fees for the giver, and you only pay a 2.5% transaction fee to withdraw your money. Traveler’s Joy is free to use, but the 2.95% credit card fee is deducted from the gift and the giver is also charged 2.95% plus $0.99 for using a credit card. If you are feeling particularly nice, you can have all the fees deducted from your gift or if you are feeling not so generous, you can have the gift giver pay.

In my opinion, Honeymoon Wishes and Wanderable had the easiest sites to navigate, had comprehensive information about their services and pricing, and the sample registries were beautiful. Honeyfund is probably the way to go if you are just looking for an alternative way to get that cash gift. Either way, I think that these are a fantastic alternative or addition to the traditional registry and it is certainly not as tacky as asking for cash. Even Anna Post of Emily Post Etiquette agreed in this 2013 ABC news article that asking for an experience can be tasteful, if it is done right. Friends and family will be happy knowing that their gift will always be treasured and not stuck in a plastic tub in your closet.