The gift list
The gift list

Compiling a gift list used to one of the bits of organising a wedding that both bride and groom could look forward to. After all, what could be more fun than spending a few hours creating a wish list of household goodies and not having to worry too much about the pricetags? Nowadays, however, for some it's turned into a headache. If, like many couples, you were living together before you decided to get married you've probably already accumulated masses of stuff and it can be difficult to figure out what you could possibly ask for.

Before you rashly decide to do away with the idea of a gift list altogether, it's worth looking at a few alternatives...

Have a small gift list...

Even if you decide there is absolutely nothing that you need and want to ask for cash instead, it's well worth setting up a small, back-up list. There will always be people that insist on buying you a gift - your nan, your fiancé's Auntie Janice - even if you've repeatedly said that you don't want anything. So think about putting together a list of select items that will come in useful in the future, even if you don't desperately need them now. Good things to include: wine glasses, white china, plain towels, bedlinen, to name a few.

Get donations to your honeymoon fund...

Having the honeymoon of your dreams will be more likely to come true if everyone is contributing! Travel companies like Abercrombie & Kent, Kuoni and Thomson offer honeymoon gift lists where guests can "buy" things for your trip, everything from flights and accommodation to extras like massages and day trips.

Ask for vouchers...

Store vouchers are just like asking for cash, but are less likely to offend friends and family. If you have a favourite department store, ask for vouchers to either use towards a larger item, such as a sofa, or to keep and use at some time in the future. You can still write thank-you letters too, so that'll keep everyone happy.

Give to charity...

You may not need anything, but there's sure to be a deserving cause that would be grateful for any donations. To make it more interesting for guests, some charities will break it down so people can buy specific items, ie, a goat for a village in India, or school books for children in Pakistan. Check out what Oxfam, The Alternative Wedding List, The Smile Shop and Cancer Research UK have to offer.

And finally...

If you're still adamant that you don't want a gift list, make sure everyone is clear about it from the very beginning. What you don't want is for some guests to buy you gifts because they think you'll change your mind later on and others to be upset because they took you at your word and didn't get you anything at all! The best way is to mention it when you send out your invites, either on the invitation itself or on a nicely worded note. If you say something like "As we've been living together for years, we don't actually need anything for our home and have decided not to have a wedding list. Your presence on the day with be gift enough for us..." then the message should be clear and no one should be offended.

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