Sometime in the past few years, wedding registries evolved to include not just bed linens and place settings but tool sets and flat-screen TVs.
“The world has changed. Couples have changed. The way we register for gifts has changed,” said Nancy Lee, president of MyRegistry.com, a universal registry site that makes it possible to add any item from any online store to your wedding (or other) registry.
“I’m calling 2015 ‘the year of the groom,’” Lee said.
Traditionally, bridal showers were held for the bride, and if the groom-to-be showed up at all, it was to lug the gifts home after. No longer.
“The time of the groom has been building up. Over the past five or seven years, the media and bloggers have started paying more attention to the groom,” said Chris Easter, co-founder of TheManRegistry.com.
The site was founded in 2008 when Easter and two friends discovered a sad trend. Their pals were starting to become engaged and get married, but when they looked at the bridal registries, “we saw that they didn’t reflect what the couple was all about.”
Instead of finding “cool guy toys” like Kegerators and other fun items that both bride and groom would enjoy, they saw only typical, traditional household gifts. Practical items like mixing bowls and bath mats are needed, but so are weed whackers and ratchet sets.
When it comes to numbers, half of the guests at a wedding are the groom’s friends, family and co-workers.
“They deserve to be able to shop for something for him, for something that he has picked out,” Lee said. “Items like flat-screen televisions are for both bride and groom, and the cost has really come down. Now you have the choice to buy a flat-screen or a Lenox place setting.”
This gender-neutral approach makes registering for gifts just more fun.
“Years ago, the couple would walk around stores like Crate & Barrel, and maybe it wasn’t his favorite day. It was just part of the process. Sometimes, he had to be dragged along,” Lee said.
Now, online registries allow couples to cozy up on the couch to register for gifts that will allow them to start their lives together, Lee said. Stores like Sears, Home Depot and Best Buy all have wedding registries available, and that makes registering “more of a team effort,” Easter said.
Guests on average plan to spend $106 on a wedding gift, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. While the most common gift is cash, that’s followed closely by gifts off a couple’s registry. The most popular groom-centric gifts include bar items, grills and grilling tools, patio and lawn furniture, home improvement products and electronics, Easter said.