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Skip the blender; today's brides and grooms want house down payments

The days of giving newlyweds china and kitchen goods may be over; many brides and grooms are now asking for cash to help buy a home.
Posted at 7:26 AM, Dec 11, 2023

Remember when a wedding registry meant blenders, toasters and fine china? Those days are changing.

What’s the point of getting a new set of dishes if you don’t have anywhere to put them? That’s a question many couples are asking themselves when filling out their wedding registries these days, and they are asking for cash instead of gifts.

Zillow Home Loans and The Knot found couples registering for "home down payment funds" have increased by 55% since 2018. It's a way to offset the high costs of housing nationwide.

Jackie and Zack McCann got married in Nashville this year. When filling out their wedding registry, they skipped the kitchen goods and instead asked for cash to contribute to a down payment for their first home.

"It helps us make a dent," Jackie McCann said.

"It also prevented us from putting, like, meaningless tchotchkes on a registry," her fiancé said.

The McCanns were thrilled with the results.

"Every dollar, you know, it's almost like there's a brick right there where that person helped to build this home," Zack McCann said.

The evolution of engagements and rings as symbols of commitment
A man putting an engagement ring on a woman.

The evolution of engagements and rings as symbols of commitment

40% of engagements take place between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, according to industry experts.


Wedding planners credit older couples with different needs

Katie Meckstroth is a wedding planner with Simply Designed Events who has seen this trend developing as people are getting married later these days.

"The average age of someone getting married is between 29 and 31," she said, "as opposed to 23 to 25 in past years."

As a result, she says, many couples already have a stocked kitchen.

"All those things that are bought to create a home — a toaster, china — are all stuff they don't necessarily need," Meckstroth said. "In many cases, they have two of them."

In Seattle, 2,400 miles from where the McCanns are putting down roots, Yobel Mengistu and his fiancé face similar decisions. With wedding guests coming from Africa, China and Vietnam, they expect to receive cash.

"It will happen just because it's just kind of the custom and the culture," he said.

Mengistu hopes everyone's wedding guests embrace the evolving needs of newlyweds.

"The goal should always be how do you help them get into that next stage of their life," he said.