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7 Wedding Registry Gift Trends for Engaged Couples in 2021

the 7 most popular trends in luxury wedding gift registry lists post COVID-19, where the best gifts are now based on experiences

Wedding season 2021 is approaching! Yay! With many nuptials postponed throughout 2020, and even some who held a micro-wedding now planning a bigger celebration, it’s also the season of the wedding registry. And like nearly everything else, the top luxury wedding gifts showing up on the registry for engaged couples in 2021 is different than in the Before Times. One key word, dear reader: experiential. Our correspondent Julie Chang Murphy has curated a list of the 7 most popular trends in 2021 luxury wedding gift registry lists post COVID-19, where the best gifts are now based on experiences and not products.

What are the top wedding gift registry trends for couples in 2021, post COVID-19?

The pandemic has reframed and shifted not only the our day-to-day rhythms but life’s biggest milestones too. Last year, 62% of engaged couples said “I don’t” and chose to postpone their weddings until a later date. Guests lists have been reduced, venues moved outside, and honeymoons in Bali have been replaced by staycations. Like other Americans, they have dealt with job loss, salary cuts, mental health struggles and the loss of loved ones due to Covid-19.

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Even in the face of so much uncertainty, Shan-Lyn Ma, the CEO of Zola, one of the wedding industry’s premier registry sites, surveyed 2,223 couples to conclude that 92% who have postponed their weddings have already booked a new date.

She says, “What we know for sure is that weddings are still happening, and love and marriage are still very much present.”

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As we cautiously enter peak wedding season, here’s a look at this year’s top registry trends according to nuptial experts and real life couples. Though the start of a new life together might have been objectively inauspicious, things can only get better from here.

The rise of experiences as the most popular luxury wedding gift registry item makes sense given broader post COVID-19 trends. The desire for fresh air, human connection, shared journeys and the return to international travel are shared by lots of us, not just engaged couples.

Here’s how to rethink the registry, and gift one of the most popular wedding gifts of 2021.

What are the 7 top wedding registry trends for 2021?

If one thing is crystal-clear, it’s that luxury wedding gift registry lists post COVID-19 are all about experiences and not products per se (unless, of course, the product enables a marvelous experience).

1. wedding registry trends 2021: Outdoor gear

The second most searched for item on Zola, just after flatware is…’Yeti Cooler.’ Across the board, there has also been a spike in outdoor items like fire pits, beach towels, and hammocks. Clearly, couples are expanding their ideas of home and feathering their nests outside of their four walls.

most popular luxury wedding gift trends post COVID-19 2021

The YETI Tundra® 105 Hard Cooler. Courtesy Photo.

BUY NOW: $479.99.

Although experiential gifts have been popular for a few years — prompting Zola to partner with Backcountry, the online retailer of outdoor gear and apparel in 2017, the pandemic has accelerated the trend to couples who might not have identified as nature lovers.

2. wedding registry trends 2021: Barware

Luxury retailer, GEARYS Beverly Hills, has seen more and more couples trying to recreate their own bar experience at home. CEO Thomas J. Blumenthal says, “People are no longer saving their luxury barware for special occasions and are opting for a more casual drinking experience.

 

most popular luxury wedding gift trends post COVID-19 2021

Jonathan Adler Torino Bar Cart. Courtesy Photo.

BUY NOW: $1,295.

That coincides with the spike in internet searches for “cocktail recipes” throughout the last year. Research conducted by Nielsen CGA at the end of 2020 showed that 40 percent of U.S. consumers were actively looking for cocktail kits.

CABANA Lisa Painted White Wine Glass. Courtesy Photo.

BUY NOW: $225 each.

Ready-to-drink beverages, such as canned cocktails grew 131 percent in the U.S. market over the past year. Couples carving out a bar in their homes will be registering for bar carts, decanters, luxury barware accessories, and stemware.

3. wedding registry trends 2021: Decorative accents for the home

Over half of married couples are cohabitating before marriage. Which means they are prone to the same urgent desire to redecorate key areas of their home as everyone else is right now.

I spoke with my neighbor, Gabriella, who has lived with her boyfriend for two years before getting engaged this past November. “We already have our everyday white plates, white sheets, white towels. What’s missing is the novelty and the special decorations that make a home really beautiful.”

Tom Dixon Abstract Grey Cushion. Courtesy Photo.

BUY NOW: $200.

The Knot, the nation’s leading wedding marketplace, is seeing couples registering for colorful and stylish appliances from brands like Smeg, instead of the standard stainless steel variety. And also registering for home décor finishing touches, like accent pillows and art.

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4. wedding registry trends 2021: Diversity matters

As much as weddings are about love, it’s also big business — a projected $73 billion dollar business, in fact. With issues of diversity and inclusion permeating the political sphere, supporting hard hit minority own businesses like photographers, caterers, florists are an important way for couples to live their values.

most popular luxury wedding gift trends post COVID-19 2021

The “Crown Her” Hairpiece from Brooklyn Blooms. Courtesy Photo.

BUY NOW: $75.

The Knot, for example, now allows couples to find vendors with new diversity filters: Asian-owned, Black-owned, Hispanic or LatinX-owned, LGBTQ+-owned, Native American-owned, veteran-owned and women-owned. Among the most popular wedding gifts – or suppliers for luxury weddings – is a purchase that funds a diverse entrepreneur’s business. We also expect couples to register for household items designed and owned by minority businesses as another form of allyship.

5. wedding registry trends 2021: Home Office items

Desks and ergonomic chairs seem incongruous with romance and weddings. But thanks to the pandemic, WFH furniture and supplies have made their way on to registry lists.

Marie Kondo x The Container Store Shoji Bamboo Collator. Courtesy Photo.

BUY NOW: $39.99.

Registry expert Emily Forrest Skurnik told Brides Magazine that “everything is on the table” as long as the gift wishes on the registry are balanced between partners. She recommends couples consider home office essentials like desk accessories, task lamps, and even computer monitors.

6. wedding registry trends 2021: Tools for a Staycation

Before the pandemic, Italy was the top honeymoon destination for newlyweds. Now, the logistics of international travel are a major headache and require around-the-clock monitoring as new regulations pop up everyday.

Travelers Joy is a honeymoon wedding registry that specializes in offering unforgettable travel experiences. In 2019, 24,000 used to site to fund their honeymoons. In 2020 that number was only 9,000. With 6,000 of those trips being local destinations. Only 3,000 ventured out of state.

most popular luxury wedding gift trends post COVID-19 2021

The Ascari King Bullit Bespoke Bicycle. Courtesy Photo.

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As such, in 2021 wedding gift registry trends include items that foster fun experiences, and help couples enjoy their time together at home or locally. Think lawn games, bicycles, car rentals, monthly subscription services, and virtual classes.

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7. wedding registry trends 2021: Charity

The pandemic has evolved preconceived notions of what weddings should entail. And one of those things might even be boxed gifts. As couples continue to get married later in life after already living together, “having it all” (including a bread maker and Roomba) is a real possibility. The good news is that this has given rise to one of the most popular wedding gifts of 2021: the charitable contribution in the couple’s name.

This past year has brought into sharp relief a feeling of gratitude — treasuring the things that matter like health, family, and friends. There is an impulse to give back with charitable registries and donation campaigns. Emily Forrest, a director of communications at Zola, has even seen couples giving back to local businesses, creating cash funds for a beloved neighborhood restaurant, not just more well-known non-profits.

What are the 7 top wedding registry trends for 2021?

That’s our take on the big trend of 2021 in wedding gifts: the rise of experiences. Plus, the 7 top luxury wedding gift registry trends for post COVID-19 2021 ceremonies. If you’re a “corona couple,” we hope you can finally celebrate with a freshly mixed cocktail from your bar cart next to your new fire pit!

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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier Newsletter hereAnd see luxury in a new light.

This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, and fitness. Julie lives in New York where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing. And spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.

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