Better Ever After: Experience Gift Registries In NYC And Toronto


Because closet space is sacred and storage is expensive

by Maddie Eisenhart, Managing Editor

Better Ever After: Experience Gift Registries In NYC And Toronto | A Practical Wedding

Having lived in a tiny apartment while planning a wedding, I know that a traditional registry is a blessing and curse. On the one hand, giving your guests (who will inevitably want to buy you nice things) direction about what to purchase is a win-win situation (no weird pottery for you, friend). On the other hand, it’s not really all that helpful if ninety percent of your gifts are going to be put in storage at your mom’s house until… forever. And still, I’ve always been slightly dubious about alternative registries. Until Better Ever After. Better Ever After is an experience gift registry in New York City (expanding to Toronto and possibly your city next!). And while on the surface they might look like other alternative registries, they are actually the most APW alternative registry I’ve ever come in contact with. For starters:

Better Ever After: Experience Gift Registries In NYC And Toronto | A Practical Wedding

Mawwiage Is What Bwings You Togeva

Better Ever After is one of the only alternative registries that is focused on what comes after the wedding. And no, I don’t mean the honeymoon. I’m talking about your marriage. Olivia, Better Ever After‘s founder, explained, “So much of the wedding is focused on just that one day. It’s easy to forget that the wedding is just the first day of your marriage! We hope that people use our gifts to continue to have fun with their partners and create those awesome memories and stories that you tell your friends and your kids. After all, you didn’t get married to collect more stuff.” The way it works is that your guests can purchase specific (and rad) experiences for you and your partner to enjoy, like brewing your own beer, painting a masterpiece, or getting an interior design lesson, and you end up with something fun to do during that weird transition time when you’re coming down off the wedding high and going back to regular life.

Better Ever After: Experience Gift Registries In NYC And Toronto | A Practical WeddingBetter Ever After: Experience Gift Registries In NYC And Toronto | A Practical Wedding

The Price Is Right

Better Ever After is not just awesome for couples; it’s also the alternative gift registry that considers your guests too. Yes, even your most traditional, most annoying auntie. Better Ever After specifically tailors their experiences so that they are affordable for everyone, from the folks who are flying solo (like the $55 homebrewing course) to the groups who want to pitch in on something together (like the $300 private at-home cooking class that I would like for myself pleaseandthankyou). Though most of their gifts fall conveniently in the $100 range. As an added bonus, and really the selling point for me, Better Ever After promises that what you’re buying for the couple is exactly what they end up getting. Trust me when I say it’s a blessing to be locked into an experience that you asked for; nothing is a bigger buzzkill than when you buy groceries with your wedding presents. Plus most of the gift certificates never expire, so you can keep having fun two, three, or even five years into your marriage. (What I wouldn’t give to take the guesswork out of date night right now.)

Better Ever After: Experience Gift Registries In NYC And Toronto | A Practical WeddingBetter Ever After: Experience Gift Registries In NYC And Toronto | A Practical Wedding

They’re Coming For You

Right now Better Ever After is only available in New York, but they’re expanding to Toronto this spring. To get an exclusive preview of their Toronto expansion, head over here and sign up for one of their limited preview slots. Not in Toronto or New York, but still think Better Ever After sounds pretty rad? Well, they want YOU to tell them where to go next! Go nominate your city over here. (Pretty please can we bring them to San Francisco next? I want to put some of these experiences on my Christmas wish list.)

Better Ever After: Experience Gift Registries In NYC And Toronto | A Practical WeddingBetter Ever After: Experience Gift Registries In NYC And Toronto | A Practical Wedding

Better Ever After has worked really hard to curate a collection of experiences that you would actually want to put on your registry. They are the kind of experiences that enrich your relationship, but don’t take up precious closet space. Plus you a) get the full value of the gift, unlike honeymoon registries; b) can use them whenever you want, which is great when you’re stuck in a date-night rut; and c) don’t take up extra room in your kitchen. (Winning!) As for your guests, you know what’s way more fun to give than weird pottery? A gift certificate for a class to learn how to make your own weird pottery. I can practically hear all the APW aunties exhaling a sigh of relief as we speak.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

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  • Laura C

    I was excited to see some of our friends registered for Better Ever After.

  • Lauren from NH

    Have there been any posts about alternative registries? I would find it super interesting. I have heard of financing the honeymoon or a down payment for a first home through the registry and now this is very cool. I have no idea if this is considered terrible form, kind of like asking for money, eek! But I am and try to be less of a stuff person, and I like to reuse and limit waste, so it makes a lot of sense to me have guest contribute to something fun or a goal like a home rather than a matching set of dishes. No judgment, just where I am at.

    • Kayjayoh

      Word. I realize *this* is a sponsor post, but I’d totally dig on a round-up of alt-registries at some point. I love mine.

      Also, the Pie of the Month Club photo is making me so hungry. I want that pie! (In my imagination, it’s raspberry.)

      • Maddie Eisenhart

        I always feel bad when I’m writing these posts, because I *know* I should be excited about the Kayaking or the graffiti tours, but I really just want someone to buy me a pie of the month club. That and cheesemaking. Because, cheese.

        • KC

          You should totally make “microwave mozzarella” at home. It is actually not hard, and is not terribly expensive either (rennet, milk, salt, and maybe an acid of some kind?)(the name is slightly deceptive, since you start it on the stovetop, but you do the stretchy part in the microwave). The recipe I made apparently came out of a Barbara Kingsolver book [Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - which I, um, haven't read], but similar recipes are all over. (…but do remember to put in salt. I have “discovered” that salt is important in cheese.)

          (personally I’m wishing the glassmaking course was within my geographic range – that would be AWESOME.)

  • MC

    I love this concept and would totally use it if I lived in NYC… BUT I live in a small city where this kind of business will probably never show up, and until then, what’s a couple who values experiences over things to do? We’re about to set up our honeymoon registration and I’m not sure why people are so skeptical about alternative registries. I know there are some people that will always prefer to give tangible gifts vs. cash, but I feel like the worry that the money you contribute won’t be used for that EXACT THING is a little… petty? Like, I would looove to contribute (and I have) to people’s honeymoon in some way, but if something changes in their lives and they had to use that money to pay the mortgage or buy furniture or something? I would totally understand and would still feel great about contributing to their life regardless. So are people really that judgemental about alt. registries, or am I just internalizing my own worries?

    • Laura C

      Never mind that you can always exchange things off a traditional registry anyway.

      I think some people are a little judgmental about alt registries, but screw it. No one’s forcing anyone to use one, and anyway it’s a moving etiquette goal line that will be in a completely different place in a few years.

    • Amy March

      I don’t care what you use my money for, so I give cash. If you tell me I’m giving you $100 for a dolphin rude, then yeah , I expect you to do that ! You’re the one setting up the alt registry- if you want flexibility I’d say just don’t do it and let people who want to give you $$

      • MC

        Oh, I don’t necessarily want flexibility – I plan to use my honeymoon money for super awesome honeymoon adventures. But I’ve seen some people on APW/elsewhere in the world say that they don’t want to do honeymoon registries where you just give people cash with the intention to do some activity because what if they don’t use it on that exact thing? And I feel like that’s a little judgmental. If for some reason we needed the flexibility, I wouldn’t want people to feel like we used their money the “wrong way.” Trust the people whose wedding/life you’re contributing to, y’know?

    • Alyssa M

      “I love this concept and would totally use it if I lived in NYC…”

      make NYC interchangeable with Bay Area and this is how I feel about 99.999% of APW sponsors… *sad face*

  • Amie Melnychuk

    I am excited about it expanding to Toronto! Oh, so pumped!! I’d love to go to some of these great classes to experience the big hub next door.

  • Liz

    Oh my gosh, this is so cool! My fiance and I were JUST trying to figure out how we could register for fun NYC things and boom: here we go!