Antiquated registry rules leave most couples with little-used china and quickly forgotten crystal vases. Think outside the pre-gift-wrapped box with these nontraditional wish list items.
1. High Culture Pots and pans are practical, but a bold painting can overhaul a whole room. Many galleries, such as the Copley Society of Art and the Pepper Gallery, allow couples to register for art. Close By by Ellen Granter, $350, Copley Society of Art, 158 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-5049, copleysociety.org.
2. Active Endeavors What’s more exciting than stemware and more useful than a crêpe griddle? A canoe. Seriously. Charles River Canoe & Kayak and REI now offer registries. Not sure Aunt Irene will spring for a sleeping bag? Sign up for quasi-traditional camping cookware instead. Necky Kayaks “Manitou 13,” $799, Charles River Canoe & Kayak, 2401 Commonwealth Ave., Newton, 617-965-5110, ski-paddle.com.
3. Sweet Sips Wine-inclined couples can swap Williams-Sonoma cutlery for Westport Rivers bubbly by registering at local spots like Beacon Hill Wine & Spirits in Boston and Fifth Ave Liquors in Framingham. Westport Rivers sparkling wine, $30, Beacon Hill Wine & Spirits, 63 Charles St., Boston, 617-742-8571, beaconhillwine.com.
4. Solid Investment Sooner or later, that whisk will wear out. A piece of carefully crafted furniture, however, lasts a lifetime. Several upscale home décor stores, including Thos. Moser and Lekker, have opened registries. Eastward bench, $2,050, Thos. Moser, 19 Arlington St., Boston, 617-224-1245, thosmoser.com.
5. Human Interests Marriage is all about keeping passion alive. Ahem, we mean passion for hobbies that make you happy. Green-thumbed couples can ask for trees, plants, and tools from local nurseries. Lavender and rosemary herb plants, $70–$100, Churchill’s Gardens, 12 Hampton Rd., Exeter, NH, 603-772-2685, churchillsgardens.com.