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The Reason Grey's Anatomy Fictional Couple Meredith And Derek Had A Real-Life Wedding Registry

"Grey's Anatomy," ABC's long-running medical drama, is headed into its 19th season on October 6, 2022 (via TV Line). A staple of the Thursday night lineup since Season 3, "Grey's Anatomy" has chronicled the lives of the interns, residents, and attending physicians at the Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital. While featuring a large and rotating ensemble cast, the show has always kept its stories in orbit around the titular character Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) — until now. Per Deadline, Pompeo will retain a reduced role on the series going forward, though she will still be providing the voiceovers.

Meredith originally started as an intern and eventually rose to chief of surgery. Pompeo's semi-exit marks a more definitive end to the legacy of her romance with the deceased Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), who left the show after Season 11 for other reasons. Through their many obstacles — including Derek's previous marriage to Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) — Meredith and Derek maintained steady love and affection. Their post-it note wedding in Season 5 certainly brought tears to fans' eyes, as did their fantasy wedding in Season 17. During that season, Meredith, suffering the effects of COVID-19, imagined a beach wedding to a now-deceased Derek, who had previously died in Season 11.

TV weddings are nothing new, but that Season 5 post-it event came with a strange fixture — an IRL wedding registry that fans could actually access.

Derek and Meredith's real-life wedding registry went toward a good cause

For their Season 5 wedding, the ABC marketing department started a website for the couple. Though the website is no longer available, People has preserved the categories and content for reference. The wedding site included sections detailing "The Couple," "The Proposal," and "The Dresses." It even had a gift registry, though it came with a twist. Instead of providing a list of gifts that people could purchase for the fictional couple, donations were solicited for charities and non-profit organizations devoted to a variety of health awareness issues. Among them were the American Academy of Neurology Foundation, the American Skin Foundation, and the Alzheimer's Association.

These organizations all benefited issues that were important to the "Grey's Anatomy" characters, or had impacted their storylines. Derek was the head of neurology, meanwhile Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) was combating advanced skin cancer during Meredith and Derek's engagement. Finally, Meredith's mother suffered and ultimately died from Alzheimer's disease.

All in all, a nice Shonda Rhimes touch for several good causes.