March 24, 2004 - The latest item gaining popularity on bridal registries is the honeymoon. Instead of asking your loved ones to buy toasters, punchbowls and mitten warmers (which sounded like a good idea at the time before you found out you had to store the stuff) you can set up a spot on the web where they can go to contribute money towards your post-nuptial trip.
The routine is roughly the same for all general registries. You sign up, they put you on their website with a separate account, you let your family and friends know about it, and the latter go to the site to contribute to your honeymoon through a secure server -- by credit card, of course. On some sites, you can even specify exactly what you want to give like champagne, limo service, spa treatments, tours, excursions or entertainment options, for example.
The site, of course, wants you to plan your trip through them, and they might be able to get you better deals than you would on your own. As travel agents, also, they have their own ways of getting commissions for the honeymoon they book, or they may just charge you a percentage on top of the costs (see below).
There are plenty of sites tied to honeymoon-friendly destinations (Maui and Napa Valley come to mind), but we like the registries that allow for any kind of travel to almost any place. For starters, consider Los Angeles-bassed All-Travel.com, which arranges trips of every kind to Hawaii, Mexico, Caribbean and the South Pacific. Contact them at www.all-travel.com and click on "Honeymoon Specials & Registry" or phone 800/300-4567.
The Big Day says "three times as many couples register" with them "as compared to all other online honeymoon registries combined." Among the reasons, they cite no signup fee, saying many other registries charge $100 or more, and "the lowest service charge," only 3.5% if you book your honeymoon with them or 9% if you book your honeymoon elsewhere. (It's not likely you'll want to register on one site but book your honeymoon through another, we might add.) They say their package includes a free wedding web page, free e-mail, ability to post images on your registry and web page, a thank-you notes list, e-postcards you can send, and more. The company was founded by four guys in 2001, and claims favorable reviews in Modern Bride magazine, among other places. Contact them at www.thebigday.com or phone 800/304-1141.
The Bridal Travel Registry works generally in the same manner as most other sites, but says it can work with you under any of three circumstances -- (1) when you have already made arrangements for a destination and have processed your transportion and hotels, (2) when you have a destination in mind but have not yet made arrangements, or (3) when you have no idea where to go and need assistance with destinations. BTR is owned by Mila Tours, an Illinois-based tour operator which has specialized in travel to 20 Latin American countries since 1981. Contact them at www.bridaltravelregistry.com or phone 800/367-7378.
But a new entry is from the field of adventure travel. Adventure Life, which specializes also in travel to South and Central America, has gotten into the act with its own registry (you can see a sample at www.adventure-life.com/gift/trondle). Note the button at the top of the page for "Give a Gift" and the note about how much has yet to be raised, $5,680 "trip balance due" when I looked. Adventure Life goes in for really rugged and exciting trips of the Indiana Jones variety. Check them out at www.adventure-life.com. The phone for this Montana-based outfit is 800/344-6118.
What do you think of this travel trend? Did you register your honeymoon as a gift idea? Who did you go through? Let it out on our Honeymoon Message Boards today.