Zola: a wedding registry for building a mindful life together

Today's post is a bit more of a personal philosophy note, so bear with me here. As an observer of modern weddings, I can't help but let me inner anthropologist out a bit! Many of us enjoy a world of plenty- and weddings are perhaps the pinnacle of celebrating all the good that we have in our lives- the love of family members, the ease and happiness of being around friends who really get you and accept you for exactly who you are- not who you try to be or pretend to be. Weddings are maybe the only time in your life that you will be surrounded by such a diverse group of people in your life who share one thing- they all love you and wish you the very best. 

People love to send a new couple off into their new life together by giving them a gift, and each gift is so much more than a mere token- it's a wish for a brighter, happier, better future. We all want to give a gift that the recipient will enjoy and that will show them that we know them well enough to give them something that will make them smile and feel good.

I'm so happy how these days more and more people are realizing the value of experiencing life and being present in the moment instead of seeing life as a big race to accumulate the most stuff. The mantra- give experiences, not things is popping up all over in my group of friends- from parents who decide to take their kids camping in the mountains in lieu of Christmas gifts, to people who are choosing to travel instead of buy a new car. 

As trendy as it seems, I dig it. I have never regretted the things I've missed out on buying because I spent the money traveling instead. 

So I want to pass on an idea to any of you readers who are planning your own wedding, or know a couple who would get more excited about being gifted a beautiful experience they can share instead of a new blender, you might want to look into Zola. 

Here's a sample Zola registry, with a mix of home goods, experiences and custom cash funds that your guests can contribute what they wish to.

Here's a sample Zola registry, with a mix of home goods, experiences and custom cash funds that your guests can contribute what they wish to.

Couples can create their own registry of items to build their new life together, from goods for their home, to fun foodie subscriptions like monthly wine boxes or culinary treats, but best of all they can also add custom cash funds and experiences. My cousin Amanda & her new husband Ryan set up a bunch of fun experiences their guests could treat them to during their honeymoon travels through Thailand- like a tea ceremony, or a tour through the floating markets. My other dear friends Colin + Mariel created funds for their roadtrip honeymoon across America. I feel like it's a really neat way for couples to let their guests treat them to creating the experiences and memories they will truly cherish. Of course, foodies who love to cook together can still add blenders, and cool kitchen gadgets to help them cook together. But I love how personal, and well thought this is. It also doesn't hurt that everything on the site is incredibly well curated and stylish! 

Another thing I thought of as a wedding photographer who sees couples on a budget have to pass up the wedding album they really wanted, or a canvas of their favorite photo together. So I thought it would be a neat idea if they knew they create a custom cash fund for this that their guests can contribute to. I find a lot of couples want these pieces, and I see how much they are valued when a couple can enjoy their wedding photos as a part of their new home for the years to come, and I think it's a neat idea if their loved ones & friends can bless them with that. I was on the fence about writing this, since I know obviously this also helps support my business. But I enjoy seeing how much joy photos of special moments bring, how incredibly important it is to record these moments- especially after you've lost someone special who shared them with you. I put a lot of work- and heart- into my photography and at the end of the day, I want the very best for each of my sweet couples.

If you're interested in making your wedding registry reflect more of your personality, dreams and experiences you'd love to share as newlyweds, you're welcome to use my ZOLA referral code and get $50 dollars automatically added to your first registry. Full disclosure- that's an affiliate link, which I'll be saving for later if the day comes for me. :)

ZOLA referral code: Adds $50 to your Wedding Registry