Compiling a gift list is becoming increasingly popular, although
some couples worry they will seem rude by asking their wedding
guests for a present. The fact is, though, your guests will
want to buy you something to celebrate your wedding and it cuts
out the worry of receiving ten toasters! If you're concerned
about appearing rude, include a note with the invitation and
list, saying it is their presence on the day and not the presents
that are required. Alternatively, ask your guests to give a
donation to charity.
If, however, you intend to ask for a cash gift, you may need
to approach with caution. While it's becoming more popular,
some relatives may find it upsetting and prefer to buy you a
present. However, there are ways around this, such as a gift
card, which is available in a number of stores. It looks like
a credit card but works like a voucher and guests can simply
decide how much they want to donate. the money is stored on
your account for you to spend when you like.
Setting Up Home
Traditionally, a wedding list serves the purpose of giving items
to couples to set up home together. If you're absolute beginners,
make sure your list covers basics. Go through your new home
and work out exactly what is needed for each room. However,
these days, many couples
have been living together for a while, and probably will have
all they need. If this is the case, a wedding list is a good
opportunity to upgrade your existing glassware and cutlery.
Think about including that dinner service you've been secretly
hankering after, or that exquisite set of crystal wine glasses
you've had your eye on.
However, you don't have to ask for specific household items
- you might like to ask for a special treat that you and your
fiance can enjoy at a later date. Your guests will feel touched
that they've been able to give you something memorable, such
as a one-off scuba-diving experience, a spa treatment, a case
of fine wines, or even a hot-air balloon ride! You could also
theme your gift list with something you really like, and register
with a specialist company. Foodies could try Divertimenti, which
can provide a range of top-notch food gadgets; wine lovers will
be happy with anything from The Wine Wedding List; while The
Bottom Drawer is a great place for gifts for gardeners. Alternatively,
if you would like a once-in-a-lifetime trip for your honeymoon,
ask guests to help you with a special honeymoon account - companies
such as Travel Counsellors offer this great service.
Shop Till You Drop
Once you've made a rough list it's time to hit the shops! There
are a number of ways of doing this. You can take the department
store route and go to a shop such as John Lewis, Argos, Marks
& Spencer, Debenhams or House of Fraser. Anticipate spending
at least two hours compiling your list - this is your chance
to furnish your home for years to come, so it's important to
take plenty of time. Leaving your list with a nationwide store
is a good idea, as it means that there should be no delivery
problems, and guests can easily pop into a local branch, or
even buy online.
Usually, when you register with a department store, an experienced
gift co-ordinator will guide you through the process before
leaving you to wander through the store in your own time. However,
if you want to choose things from a variety of shops and don't
want the hassle of leaving a list in more than one place, some
companies can source the items for you. Wrapit, The Gift Registry,
Wedding List Direct or Our Wedding List offer you the chance
to put together a range of gifts from several specialist stores
and suppliers and also their own showrooms.
Saying Thank You
It's a good
idea to keep track of how your list is going online. When a
gift has been bought, write a thank-you letter immediately,
ready to post when you return from your honeymoon. Be prepared
for some of your guests to arrive at your wedding with a gift
that wasn't on your list. Many guests like to show their affection
by giving something that's personal to them, and if you don't
like what they've bought, it's worth practising that polite
smile and gracious thank you, just in case!
'Wedding and Home' Aug/Sep 04
Five Ways to Ask for Cash (Without Asking for Cash!)
Of all the things most commonly asked about wedding gift lists,
one has to be 'can we ask for money?' A few years ago, the answer
would most definitely have been 'no'; it was considered the
height of bad manners and seriously frowned upon by the etiquette
police. Now, attitudes are a little more flexible but you still
need to be tactful to avoid offending
If you definitely want hard cash, it's best to spread the message
by word of mouth. However, if your guests still aren't keen
to stump up the readies, there are a few ways of asking for
the equivalent of cash so you get what you really want.
A similar principle to gift vouchers, the Celebration account
at Selfridges (0870-837 7377) allows guests to 'pledge' cash
into your account so you can have a mammoth spending spree once
the wedding's over. As with gift vouchers you can spend the
money on whatever you fancy. As a bonus, Selfridges will add
an extra 5% to your account and you'll get complimentary restaurant
and cafe vouchers for your shopping day as well as free delivery.
Wtih the average honeymoon now costing almost £3000 the
holiday-of-a-lifetime doesn't come cheap so putting it on your
gift list can definitely help your strained finances. Travel
Coounsellor's bridal registry service (0800-093 1388) allows
guests to contribute to your honeymoon. You get personalised
gift cards and thank you cards, and the company will send you
regular updates of your account balance. Other companies offering
a similar service include Abercrombie & Kent (0845-070 0610)
and Thomas Cook (0870-750 5711).
Store Gift Vouchers
most exciting gift idea but vouchers are very practical. department
stores such as John Lewis (0845-600 2202), House of Fraser (020-7963
2000), Marks & Spencer (0845-717 6176) and Debenhams (030-7408
4444) all offer gift vouchers and, as they sell such a broad
range of products, it's almost like having cash. You can use
the money for a larger item such as a sofa, put it towards a
new kitchen or buy clothes if the mood takes you. At John Lewis
you could even take advantage of the Furnishing Advice Service
and use your vouchers towards the cost of decorating your home.
For an unusual take on the wedding gift list you need to think
laterally! The Wine Wedding List (020-7229 1610, www.thewineweddinglist.com
) allows you to put together a bespoke list of fine wines with
the advice of experts. Guests can buy online or over the phone
and your wines will be delivered when you need them. Each one
has a hand-written label which tells you who bought it for you
together with a personal message. Or how about having a gardener
for a day, employing an interior designer, having your car valeted,
or your kitchen blitzed by a professional cleaning company?
Or maybe you fancy driving a Ferrari, trying skydiving or adopting
a tiger? Bliss ( www.blissonline.com
) features a whole range of interesting and inventive gift ideas
that are great for couple who think they've got everything.
With so much choice it's just like having the money.
You may already have everything you could possibly need so why
not make it a special day for someone else by giving money to
a charity? The Alternative Wedding List (www.thealternativeweddinglist.co.uk
) is a non-profit making company with lists that include donations
to Help the Aged, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Save the Children
and Sight Savers International. For £50 Save the Children
will be able to buy a set of winter clothes for one child in
Siberia, while £60 pays for Marie Curie Cancer Care to
look after someone at home for four hours.
It's always worth having a small back-up wedding list for friends
and older relatives who will still insist on buying you something
no matter what - just ensure you're not stuck with all manner
of gifts that you don't want.
'You and Your Wedding' Jul/Aug 04