CLOSE
Original image

Wedding Registries That Don't Include Gravy Boats

Original image

Wedding season is in full swing, so chances are you'll be scouring a registry or two in search of the perfect gift over the course of the next few months. While most couples register for the fairly mundane "starting a home together" items like linens, dishes, and flatware, these certainly aren't the only options available for brides and grooms. Many couples who have been living on their own for a while are pretty well stocked for housewares by the time the big day rolls around, so instead of hitting Bed Bath & Beyond with a scanning gun, they take a more offbeat approach to their gift requests. Here are a few options you might not have seen before:

Charitable Donations

Perhaps the most extreme version of "Please, don't give me another spatula!" involves eschewing gifts altogether in favor of charitable donations. After all, if people are already prepared to open their wallets and fork out some dough in honor of your nuptials, why not put the cash where it can do some good? A number of groups, like the I Do Foundation and JustGive.org, allow couples to register for easy charitable donations through their websites. Wedding guests just have to provide their credit card number and the amount of their donation. Best of all for the givers, the donations are tax deductible; let's see a china place setting that can do that.

If you need to bag some merchandise from your wedding but still want to be charitable, there's a solution for that, too. A number of stores will take a percentage from each purchase made off of your registry and donate it to the charity of your choice.

Your House

house.jpg

There's no sense in registering for a bunch of stuff to fill your house when you can't afford a place to live. Since a wedding can cost as much as the down payment on nice new digs, why not just register for the house itself? Lots of couples are doing just that; they request donations to a house-down-payment fund in lieu of more traditional gifts. Sites like mydreamhomeregistry.com ("Because You Don't Need Another Blender!") allow friends and family to give gifts of money earmarked for a house down payment. When the couple finds a house they want to buy, the site transfers the cash from a savings account over to the home purchase.

What if you've already got a house you'd like to spruce up? The registries have thought of that, too. The same site lets people register for renovations and remodeling; couples can put up a plan of what they want to change in the house, then receive gifts to help cover the costs of paint, carpentry, etc.

Your Honeymoon

honeymoon.jpg

This option's been around for a few years now, but it still seems like a terrific idea. After you've sunk all of your funds into a blowout wedding, it can be tough to scrape together enough cash to take a nice honeymoon. Luckily, the registry industry thought of this potential snag and now allows for well-wishers to contribute to part of couples' honeymoons. Want to go snorkeling on your getaway? Terrific, your great aunt can foot the bill if she wants. There are dozens of websites devoted to honeymoon registries, so if you've got a hankering to do something special on your first trip as a married couple, you can probably find a way to get it financed. [Wedding cake topper image courtesy of Flickr user pauline@weddingtreasures.]

What about you, dear readers? What offbeat wedding gifts did you receive (or give)?

Original image
Target
arrow
This Just In
Target Expands Its Clothing Options to Fit Kids With Special Needs
Original image
Target

For kids with disabilities and their parents, shopping for clothing isn’t always as easy as picking out cute outfits. Comfort and adaptability often take precedence over style, but with new inclusive clothing options, Target wants to make it so families don’t have to choose one over the other.

As PopSugar reports, the adaptive apparel is part of Target’s existing Cat & Jack clothing line. The collection already includes items made without uncomfortable tags and seams for kids prone to sensory overload. The latest additions to the lineup will be geared toward wearers whose disabilities affect them physically.

Among the 40 new pieces are leggings, hoodies, t-shirts, bodysuits, and winter jackets. To make them easier to wear, Target added features like diaper openings for bigger children, zip-off sleeves, and hidden snap and zip seams near the back, front, and sides. With more ways to put the clothes on and take them off, the hope is that kids and parents will have a less stressful time getting ready in the morning than they would with conventionally tailored apparel.

The new clothing will retail for $5 to $40 when it debuts exclusively online on October 22. You can get a sneak peek at some of the items below.

Adaptive jacket from Target.
\

Adaptive apparel from Target.

Adaptive apparel from Target.

Adaptive apparel from Target.

[h/t PopSugar]

All images courtesy of Target.

Original image
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
arrow
Pop Culture
How Jimmy Buffett Turned 'Margaritaville' Into a Way of Life
Original image
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Few songs have proven as lucrative as “Margaritaville,” a modest 1977 hit by singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett that became an anthem for an entire life philosophy. The track was the springboard for Buffett’s business empire—restaurants, apparel, kitchen appliances, and more—marketing the taking-it-easy message of its tropical print lyrics.

After just a few years of expanding that notion into other ventures, the “Parrot Heads” of Buffett’s fandom began to account for $40 million in annual revenue—and that was before the vacation resorts began popping up.

Jimmy Buffett performs for a crowd
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

“Margaritaville,” which turned 40 this year, was never intended to inspire this kind of devotion. It was written after Buffett, as an aspiring musician toiling in Nashville, found himself in Key West, Florida, following a cancelled booking in Miami and marveling at the sea of tourists clogging the beaches.

Like the other songs on his album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, it didn’t receive a lot of radio play. Instead, Buffett began to develop his following by opening up for The Eagles. Even at 30, Buffett was something less than hip—a flip-flopped performer with a genial stage presence that seemed to invite an easygoing vibe among crowds. “Margaritaville,” an anthem to that kind of breezy attitude, peaked at number eight on the Billboard charts in 1977. While that’s impressive for any single, its legacy would quickly evolve beyond the music industry's method for gauging success.

What Buffett realized as he continued to perform and tour throughout the early 1980s is that “Margaritaville” had the ability to sedate audiences. Like a hypnotist, the singer could immediately conjure a specific time and place that listeners wanted to revisit. The lyrics painted a scene of serenity that became a kind of existential vacation for Buffett's fans:

Nibblin' on sponge cake,
Watchin' the sun bake;
All of those tourists covered with oil.
Strummin' my six string on my front porch swing.
Smell those shrimp —
They're beginnin' to boil.

By 1985, Buffett was ready to capitalize on that goodwill. In Key West, he opened a Margaritaville store, which sold hats, shirts, and other ephemera to residents and tourists looking to broadcast their allegiance to his sand-in-toes fantasy. (A portion of the proceeds went to Save the Manatees, a nonprofit organization devoted to animal conservation.) The store also sold the Coconut Telegraph, a kind of propaganda newsletter about all things Buffett and his chill perspective.

When Buffett realized patrons were coming in expecting a bar or food—the song was named after a mixed drink, after all—he opened a cafe adjacent to the store in late 1987. The configuration was ideal, and through the 1990s, Buffett and business partner John Cohlan began erecting Margaritaville locations in Florida, New Orleans, and eventually Las Vegas and New York. All told, more than 21 million people visit a Buffett-inspired hospitality destination every year.

A parrot at Margaritaville welcomes guests
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Margaritaville-branded tequila followed. So, too, did a line of retail foods like hummus, a book of short stories, massive resorts, a Sirius radio channel, and drink blenders. Buffett even wrote a 242-page script for a Margaritaville movie that he had hoped to film in the 1980s. It’s one of the very few Margaritaville projects that has yet to have come to fruition, but it might be hard for Buffett to complain much. In 2015, his entire empire took in $1.5 billion in sales.

As of late, Buffett has signed off on an Orlando resort due to open in 2018, offering “casual luxury” near the boundaries of Walt Disney World. (One in Hollywood, Florida, is already a hit, boasting a 93 percent occupancy rate.) Even for guests that aren’t particularly familiar with his music, “Jimmy Buffett” has become synonymous with comfort and relaxation just as surely as Walt Disney has with family entertainment. The association bodes well for a business that will eventually have to move beyond Buffett’s concert-going loyalists.

Not that he's looking to leave them behind. The 70-year-old Buffett is planning on a series of Margaritaville-themed retirement communities, with the first due to open in Daytona Beach in 2018. More than 10,000 Parrot Heads have already registered, eager to watch the sun set while idling in a frame of mind that Buffett has slowly but surely turned into a reality.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios