With all the options out there, how do you set your wedding gift list style? The simple answer is, you don’t actually have to.
Where to Start
These days, couples don’t need to choose between specific types of gift list, so there’s no FOMO,” says Ali Beaven, co-founder of contemporary cool gift list company Prezola, where you can ask for beautiful products and cash contributions (whether for a honeymoon, saving up for a big home item or charity donations) all on the same list.
“First and foremost, make sure your chosen gift list company can offer you what you want, whether it’s a certain selection of gifts, pricing and whether there are any extra costs when creating a honeymoon fund.”
Also check whether you can make product substitutions after the list has closed. With Prezola, for example, if you have an incomplete set of cutlery, you can transfer the value from another item to get the full set before placing your order.
Building your gift list should give you as much pleasure as choosing your dress, so leave plenty of time to avoid feeling rushed. “It’s a brilliant chance to get gorgeous gifts you wouldn’t normally receive - you can update your home decor or even create a new style as a couple,” says Ali. “We usually advise couples to start creating the list three to four months before the wedding, so they can come back to it and add gifts at a casual pace, plus this gives guests time to actually buy them!”
If you’re asking for any homewares, don’t forget that it’s all about your unique aesthetic taste as a couple. “Really reflect your style in your gift list, so when guests buy a present, they’ll know it’s ‘so them!’” Not a fan of wandering round shops? It’s increasingly easy to create your list entirely with just a few clicks. “Our entire store is online, so creating and managing a list can be done in the comfort of couples’ own homes,” says Ali.
And remember, there’s no reason to worry about asking for presents. The tradition is still alive and kicking (if updated for the contemporary world): according to our 21st Century Bride survey, over four fifths of you are having some form of gift list. “Believe it or not, but guests really do want to buy a gift to commemorate your marriage,” says Ali. “Make it easier for them and avoid the awkwardness by making the first move.”
How it Works
Once you’ve started building your gift list, it’s a good idea to think about how you’ll spread the word.
“Many couples tend to add their gift list registry information in with their main wedding invitation,” says Anne-Marie Jenkins, Managing Director at The Wedding Shop, which offers an utterly stylish online gift list service as well as showrooms around the country.
“We provide each couple with a link to their dedicated gift list page, as well as providing discreet insert cards for couples to send out with their main invitation. This way they have a choice on how they wish to inform their guests.”
Don’t be shy about asking for contributions to a fund. “The biggest change to wedding gift lists in recent years is that it is now very acceptable to ask for cash or honeymoon contributions. Providing alternative gift options such as money towards experiences or their honeymoon allows for greater flexibility,” says Anne-Marie.
“We encourage couples to add both products and cash contributions to offer a range of gifts suitable to all guests’ budgets.” Anne-Marie recommends keeping your gift list open for two weeks to a month after the big day. “You’d be surprised just how many guests buy a gift after the wedding!”
Once the list has closed, you confirm that you’re happy with the selection. Always check with your chosen company ahead of time how long it’ll take for your gifts to arrive – timings will vary.
“It normally takes between 8 – 12 weeks for us to collate and collect the items ready for delivery, and it’s up to the couple to choose whether they’d like everything in one go, or to split their deliveries,” says Anne-Marie.
“We can hold gifts for up to six months after the last order arrives in our warehouse. Contributory funds (cash or honeymoon) are transferred to the couple’s bank account within 48 business hours of receiving their transfer request.”
Products received? Don’t forget the thank-yous! Make a note of who bought what, to ensure your cards are perfectly personalised – or your gift list company may do this for you. “We have a Thank You Card Manager which includes your guest’s name, the item they bought, their message and their address. It acts as an instant and handy check-list when writing up thank you cards.”
Considering the Costs
Having so many gorgeous gifts to choose from can be an overwhelming experience. Just how on earth do you whittle it down to your favourites? An easy way to begin is by organising the items by price.
“It’s so important to offer a good range of prices to cater for guests with different budgets,” says James Dundas, co-founder and owner of Wedding Presents Direct, which has both online and physical showrooms, and works with a range of well-known suppliers and smaller artisan workshops.
“As advisable as it is to have good value presents in the £20-£50 bracket, we would recommend having a few higher-end ones in case guests want to club together or someone wants to get you something special.”
This is a time it’s actually acceptable to choose your own presents so put yourselves first. “Don’t let your list to be dictated by second guessing what you think guests want to spend,” says James. “If you pick presents you want and need, there will naturally be a range of prices. The most important thing to offer is choice. If you don’t have enough, there is a risk of guests taking the ‘off list’ route.
“For lower price points guests don’t want to buy you a spatula and you certainly don’t want to write a thank you letter for one! Lasting, lovely presents such as napkins, bedroom china, kitchen ceramics, recipe books, coffee table books, and games are very popular. For the mid range there’s more variety: lamps, placemats, serving pieces, decorative items and soft furnishings. Higher-end pieces can range from full sets of china, glasses and cutlery to fully-bespoke products.”
Once you’re happy with your choices remember some guests may feel as indecisive as you did at the start of the present-choosing process. “Sometimes guests don’t have a clear idea of what they want to buy you so adding gift vouchers to your list simplifies things for them, particularly as you get closer to the wedding and there is less choice.”
What to Choose
When gift lists first began, many couples didn’t live together, so they used their wedding presents as a chance to furnish their brand-new marital home. These days you’re more likely to be living together before the big day than not, so you’ll already have a lot of the essentials.
“The number of couples moving in together before they tie the knot has increased by almost 30 per cent in the past decade,” says Tasneem Shafiq, Development Manager, Product Services at department store John Lewis, where couples can shop for their gift list till they drop online or in store with a scanner in hand and complimentary tea and cake.
“With this change we’ve seen ‘everyday luxury’ items such as Kate Spade and House of Hackney tableware replacing the essentials such as cutlery canteens on their list.”
Whether you’re a cohabiting couple or not, it’s still a good idea to focus on upgrades or special items that you can use for years to come. “While you can upgrade almost anything now, the more traditional items such as kettles and toasters along with china, bedding and linen are popular choices,” says Tasneem.
“And items such as photo frames and champagne glasses always make great long-lasting gifts. Remember, you can also look to update some of your larger home items such as furniture and even TVs.” Naturally, some of these bigger gifts will be well over the budget that the average guest has to spend, but fortunately there is a way to choose expensive items without bankrupting your nearest and dearest.
“We are seeing more couples setting up a gift voucher only list, enabling you to shop over a longer period of time,” says Tasneem. “This is also a good option if you would like to put the money towards a bigger purchase, such as carpets or a fitted kitchen.”
The main thing to bear in mind if you start to feel overwhelmed by choice as you scan the shelves for gorgeous gifts is your lifestyle. “Choose items that reflect your hobbies and interests, for example suitcases, cameras or sports equipment,” says Tasneem. “It’s important to remember that the list doesn't just have to consist of items you need and should also be things that you can enjoy together.”
Still not sure where to start? Don't miss our sister site hitched's round up of wedding gift lists for more ideas and information.