Essential wedding gift guide for couples and guests

Unsure where to start with wedding gifts, whether you’re planning your own big day or have been invited to one? We asked the experts to share the inside track on the latest gift-list trends, how to ask for cash, shopping local and more

If, like us, you often find yourself clicking ‘add to bag’ while online shopping, even when you know you’ll never actually make it to checkout, then registering for a gift list may sound like heaven. Add all the goodies to your ‘basket’ and leave the hard part (payment!) to your friends and family.

Nonetheless, many couples and their guests are unsure about price points, what to select and how to balance trends with classic pieces. Here’s what you need to know…

A coffee maker in a kitchen
Caffeine addicts will be tempted by the coffee machines on offer at The Wedding Shop

Getting started

“Book a virtual appointment and be inspired,” suggests Hayley Rorrison, from independent wedding gift-list supplier The Wedding Shop. “Our knowledgeable Gift Gurus will help couples build a dream gift list that will bring smiles for years to come. The appointments are quick, easy and free of charge.”

If the pandemic has taught the wedding industry anything, it’s that plans can change in a heartbeat, so it’s good to hear that your gift registry can too: “Couples have the flexibility to change their mind on gifts they would like to receive up until when they finalise the order,” Hayley Rorrison continues. “If they change their date they can change their list at any time.”

Gifting trend: sustainable choices and craftsmanship

“Because wedding gifts are sentimental, couples are looking for items that will last for years to come,” notes Hayley Baddiley, Global Marketing Director at Denby, cookware and stoneware manufacturers with a 200-year history. “In addition, they are making more conscious choices, ensuring that their gifts are high quality, timeless and won’t go to waste,” she continues. “Durable homewares are a popular choice, as are sturdy everyday items, dinner sets and selections of glasses.”

Presents on a table, some wrapped and some unwrapped, including champagne flutes, candles, mugs and a jug
This selection of cookware, stoneware and glassware from Denby doesn’t just look good – it’s made to last

Hayley Rorrison agrees that sustainability is key. “Couples have been making conscious choices by including brands with eco-friendly credentials (such as Nkuku, Weaver Green and IvyLine), or by investing in craftsmanship (like hand-painted tableware by Alice Peto and hand-woven baskets by Artisanne). These are gifts that will be cherished for generations to come. It’s also possible for couples to include donations to environmental charities.”

Left: a photo of a BBQ set up outside. Right: a wellness pod by Neom on a side table with vases and flowers
Left: BBQs are popular group gifted items, according to The Wedding Shop Right: The trend for wellness products is going nowhere, and products like this WellbeingPod from Neom Organics London, available at The Wedding Shop, are proving popular with couples

Gifting trend: group gifting

“Group gifts are becoming more and more popular, allowing friends and family members to club together to get couples higher price-point items that they really want,” explains Hayley Rorrison. “On The Wedding Shop’s site, you can mark any item as a ‘group gift’ and everybody will see that and can choose to contribute. Popular group gift items include BBQs, furniture, coffee machines and wine racks.”

A child's bedroom
Saving up for home renovations or any future arrivals? The Wedding Shop’s impressive selection has you covered

How to handle cash gifts

“When registering for a cash gift, it is exactly the same quick and easy  process as registering for any other items,” Hayley Rorrison assures. “One gift list can include everything from cash to products, a honeymoon fund and charity contributions.”

Still unsure? Denby’s Hayley Baddiley has more advice. “If you plan to put the money towards a home renovation or your honeymoon, give guests some details of your plans. This can make them feel part of the wider celebrations, and it can make it much easier to ask guests to contribute.”

Various cookware pieces, including pots, pans and chopping boards, lined up on a kitchen work surface and on a shelf
Foodie couples will appreciate a selection of cookware by Denby

“Try not to make cash your only option though,” continues Hayley Baddiley. “If you know some of your guests may prefer to give a more traditional gift, then it’s a good idea to pull together a small registry of a few items that they can pick from.”

Gift pricing

“There really is no set amount for family or friends to spend on a wedding gift,” says Hayley Rorrison. “At The Wedding Shop, it’s easy for couples to ensure they have a real range of price points for their guests to browse. Our dashboard has a tool that calculates the number of presents in each price bracket.”

Shopping local

Keen to support makers a little closer to home? “The Elopement Society is a community of wee brands and creatives local to Edinburgh and East Lothian,” explains founder and photographer Solen Collet. “We offer unique and modern ideas for weddings which support small local and eco-conscious businesses. We already have some wedding and elopement packages drawing on the talented service and product providers in our community and now we’re launching a neighbourhood store, which focuses on the product makers amongst us.”

A tablescape featuring items availble via The Elopement Society
The Elopement Society’s new neighbourhood store focuses on bringing couples carefully made products from local craftspeople, without ever scrimping on style (Photo: Solen Photography)

“So far, we have beautiful work from Birch and Bloom, Style Your Spaces, Dook, Jay Frazer Ceramics, Ocelot Chocolate, The Tartan Blanket Company and lots more. Most items are individually handmade or small batch items, and each of the businesses we work with has a focus on sustainability. The ingredients, methods and packaging of each product is carefully created to be kind to the planet and our skin and is made with care and sustainable supplies.”

A tablescape accented with pops of green from The Elopement Society
The Elopement Society’s offerings cover everything from ceramics to chocolate (Photo: Solen Photography)

“It’s important to us that all of our items are really tactile or smell amazing, as we think that having pieces that evoke great memories will help keep those lovely wedding feelings alive every time you use them at home after the big day. Plus you know you’ve made an independent creative business owner smile by supporting their work.”

Saying thank you

“You can show your gratitude in many ways ­­– it doesn’t need to be via a traditional note,” shares Denby’s Hayley Baddiley. “How about saying thank you with a postcard from your honeymoon? On the day itself, wedding favours are great for thanking your guests. Tokens such as chocolates, a candle, or a small potted plant are all perfect for showing your gratitude. For a rustic wedding, thank guests with small jars of honey or homemade jam complete with a handwritten tag.”