Long gone are the days when putting together a wedding registry, couples would go to department stores and pick, piece by piece, through dish wares, bedding and goods they likely wouldn’t really use to find the perfect, priciest gifts for loved ones to buy. These days, couples are putting together cash funds to get the money they need, or asking people to contribute to experiences they are looking to have on their honeymoon or long after. There are also couples, like Ally Love and her fiancé Andrew Hayes, who are seeking to create a registry and overall wedding experience that not only makes them happy, but also serves and uplifts others as well.
The star Peloton instructor and her partner, who met 10 years ago, became engaged on Christmas Eve in 2020 and are set to tie the knot before summer ends.
“We’re bringing our close friends and family together to one of our happy places outside of the country, so it’s a destination wedding,” she tells ESSENCE. “We’re gonna celebrate safely and we’re so excited.”
Leading up to their big day, they have planned a wedding and put together a registry that is all about purpose and intention. With help from The Knot, the multipurpose wedding platform, they booked inclusive BIPOC vendors to work on numerous details, including wedding invites through The Knot Invitations. They’ve also put together a registry via The Knot Registry that supports diverse voices and businesses as well as lends a helping hand to the things and people they care about.
Love tells us being impactful about how they go about their big day came easy for the couple as it’s a part of their personalities. It’s also unique to the culture they’ve created in their home, which is to be thoughtful and considerate as much as possible.
“When we thought about planning a wedding, the priority was to make sure we plan something our friends and family thought would feel inclusive to them, thoughtful of them, and enjoyable to them,” she says. “Then, when we took a step back of how we would want to operate, we thought it would be a great time. We have our wedding registry inspiration through The Knot, which highlights women and Black indigenous people of color.”
The couple are leading the way in showing that registries can make a difference. Sure, theirs does include familiar, fun things that play into their self-care practices, including kitchen goods like an aluminum wok from Ayesha Curry’s cooking collection and a houseplant subscription box for example, there is also a charity registry in place. The registry includes contribution opportunities to the Armour Dance Theatre in Miami. It, and its instructor, Ruth Weisen, hold a special place in Love’s heart.
“When we were looking to partner with The Knot, my priority was to plan purposefully and use the platform to highlight women and BIPOC creators, businesses, owners, and vendors in the wedding space,” she says. “My teacher, Ruth at ADT, would write grants when I was growing up. We would go to ballet school for free, they would pay for our tights and leotards and ballet shoes. We’d get a stipend. They sent us to New York in the summer to train and dance. They’d be able to put us up for the summer and provide the scholarships or provide the tuition, apparel, and the food. She did all of this through grant writing in Miami, in the state of Florida. I feel like I owe all the person that I am to many of the things and opportunities I was afforded at a young age. That was a primary opportunity that opened doors for me to experience New York, for me to fall in love with New York, for me to gain the courage and fortitude to move here to go to University and to pursue dance.”
She adds, “Any of the ways I can continue to highlight those who have helped us, which is what we’re talking about when we talk about planning thoughtfully and purposefully, why would I not pay it forward?”
While you don’t have to go the same route as Love and Hayes, however you choose to plan your dream wedding day and registry, she encourages people to be open to thinking outside of the box. Make the things that are important to you in everyday life important on your special day as well.
“You don’t have to be traditional, right? Tradition is a big part of a lot of our lives and a lot of our cultures. I’m not saying to ignore or neglect those things. What I am saying is as we continue to move through life, whatever our values and our value systems are, we lean into them as a culture, as a family, as a unit, and make sure that it shows up in every area, even in the traditional sense of a wedding,” she says. “How can I make sure that we’re showing up as us? We talk about people being themselves and showing up, and I think that this is a way that we can do it. My advice is if you’re leaning into your value system and you’ve established that culture between you and your partner, then make sure that appears in the wedding that you’re planning and the people that you’re inviting. You know what you’re doing, you know what your values are, and so the purposeful planning is connecting those dots. I think that it’s ultimately whatever’s going to bring you joy.”