Yes, china and towels are nice, but when Chicago residents Jennifer and Ben Reid got married in 2008, they wanted something a little less practical: dinner on the town. The couple asked their friends and family for gift certificates to their favorite restaurants, and were rewarded with "free dinner date nights" for months after the ceremony.
Inspired, the Reids launched FoodieRegistry.com, a website that allows gift-givers to choose from a list of more than 30 Chicago-area restaurants. The engaged couple creates a list of restaurants where they'd like to dine, and wedding guests choose the place and the amount they want to spend (there is a $25 minimum). The site doesn't charge any fees, so if you spend say, $100, the couple gets the full amount in food and drink. (The site makes money from a profit-sharing agreement with the restaurants.) And like a traditional registry, when you make a purchase, other gift-givers see what's already been snapped up.
Foodie Registry launched two months ago, and Ben Reid says they've hosted about 80 couples so far. The current list of choices is fairly limited -- local big guns like Alinea, Charlie Trotters, and Tru are nowhere to be found -- but the concept is solid, and the Reids plan to expand. In addition to adding more Chicago restaurants and possibly moving into other cities, Reid says they're looking into partnering with hunger-related causes in the coming months. "It would be nice if people could donate to a cause in the couple's name along with a restaurant gift certificate to sort of balance out these lavish meals," he says.
But why use the site when you could simply call up the restaurant directly? Reid says it all comes down to organization and simplicity. "People use a registry to communicate to their guests the things that they would be honored to receive," he says. "We keep things simple for the bride and groom." Better yet? It eliminates endless hours standing in return lines after the ceremony.