The wedding experts at Zola.com, a wedding planning and registry website, have seen a major increase in couples asking for cash funds, specifically funds to help put a down payment on a home.
"The savvy couples now know that they can use their registries to put down that cash for their future home," Esther Lee, deputy editor at The Knot, told the Financial Times. "With everything that we've experienced when it comes to inflation and the housing market, people are really reflecting on how they want to use their registry."
The national median home price jumped 7.7% in August from a year earlier to $389,500. As the housing market has cooled, home prices have been rising at a more moderate pace after surging annually by around 20% earlier this year. Before the pandemic, the median home price was rising about 5% a year.
The average rate on a 30-year home loan rose to 6.02%, moving above 6% for the first time since 2008, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. A year earlier, the rate averaged 2.86%.
Higher home prices and mortgage rates have pushed mortgage payments on a typical home from $897 to $1,643 a month, an 83% increase over the past three years, according to an analysis by real estate information company Zillow.
With the housing market being as volatile as it is now, it’s no wonder why couples are asking their wedding guests for help reaching their goal to own their dream home.
Couples are getting specific with their wedding registry
The typical asks for wedding gifts are still popular options on couples’ registries, according to Zola.com.
"Couples are still loving dining at home and we see that they still want key registry items like KitchenAid and Le Creuset — which guests also still love to buy — but they’re also looking more at in-home dining and entertaining trends, with categories like multi-functional serveware and espresso machines being really popular," Emily Forrest, director of communications for Zola, told FOX TV Stations.
And about 75% of the couples who set up a registry through Zola set up a cash fund, so it’s not uncommon for couples to ask for cash.
But the experts at Zola have said they have seen a shift in the types of cash funds that are being posted to registry websites.
"At Zola we’ve seen pretty consistently that the majority of couples have always asked for cash funds in addition to physical gifts, and that has remained pretty consistent over the years, but what’s shifted is how they ask for cash funds," Forrest said.
"Couples are getting more and more specific about what they’re asking for, so they may have always been using those funds to purchase a new car but the difference is now they’re actually telling their guests what they’re purchasing. We’ve seen the number of housing-related funds, for example, double just since 2019," Forrest added.
Emerging wedding gift trends
Apart from cash gifts, Zola has seen an increase in couples asking for gifts pertaining to travel.
"With the major travel comeback this year, too, we’ve seen more couples opting for things like Airbnb and airline gift cards, whether for international travel or even just road trips," Forrest continued.
In addition to travel, Forrest said the spirit of giving is actually at an all-time high.
"For example, we did a recent gift exchange in our in-app community of engaged couples and saw several hundred couples participate in gifting things to each other off their registries," Forrest said.
In addition to sharing the wealth with other couples, Forrest said Zola has also seen an increase in couples launching charity funds on wedding registries.
"We’ve also seen charity funds increase in popularity significantly this year, and are seeing recently launched funds for ASPCA and Climate Action really resonating with our couples," she added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.