Your guests will appreciate the convenience of a well-assembled, simple-to-use list with presents to suit all budgets
As with every aspect of wedding planning, it is imperative to give plenty of notice that you’re setting up a gift list, so guests are aware of your intentions well in advance and will have enough time to think about what to buy and to make the purchase.
“We recommend you start putting together a list around four to six months before your wedding,” says Ali Beaven from Prezola. “This gives you ample time to think about what you want, discuss it with your partner and create the list. Don’t forget you’ll want to include details of your list with your invite, so this will need to be ready before you send the invitations out.”
Gift list companies like Prezola will help with the notifications. “We give our couples an unlimited number of free cards with the gift list number printed on them to send out in their invites,” explains Ali. “There’s no complicated instructions – all guests need to do is type in the number on our website and the couple’s list will appear, ready to go.”
You might feel like a diva, asking for enough homewares to fill a townhouse, but, trust us, your friends and family will thank you for it. “Research has shown that guests prefer to be guided on what to buy,” assures Anne-Marie Jenkins of the Wedding Shop. “Many guests won’t know your taste or what you actually need. A wedding list takes the stress out of buying the ‘perfect gift’.” Most wedding guests expect to see a list nowadays anyway, so don’t agonise over how to present one to them politely.
How much is enough? And how much is too much? Will the inclusion of certain big-ticket items on your list make you look delusional or even just plain greedy? Not at all, agree our experts – so long as you try to include presents for a wide range of budgets.
“The average spend is £48 per wedding gift,” says Ali. “That said, guests will have their own ideas of what they can afford, and they shouldn’t feel pressured to spend more.”
It stands to reason that your close family members are more likely to gravitate towards significantly pricier pieces than your work buddies could justify purchasing for you. “It is very important to include a good range of price points on your list, so every guest can join in if they want to,” agrees Anne-Marie.
“Offer a good selection of less expensive items along with a few more luxurious gifts. If there is a really special item that you feel will probably be too expensive for anyone, you could ask your guests to make it a joint purchase, contributing £50 or £100 to it if they wish.”
If your current collection of homewares puts John Lewis to shame, cold hard cash might be far more useful. If so, there’s a gift list for that too. “At Prezola, all cash presents are insured,” says Ali, “so you won’t have to hunt for missing cheques or envelopes containing money at the wedding. These can easily get lost amid the presents and gift bags, so we deliver everything straight to the couple at a time that works for them. It also gives them something to look forward to after the day!”
Wedding gifts have always been a chance for guests to help invest in the couple’s new life together, so seek out gifts that will, as far as possible, stand the test of time. The casserole dish that’s caught your eye today? It could be what you cook your future children’s dinner in. Those crystal glasses your granny has chosen? They’ll be to hand, champagne-filled, at every anniversary.
“Whether you’ll be living together for the first time after the wedding or have already shared a home for a while, a wedding gift list is the ideal opportunity to ‘upgrade’ your furniture, accessories, crockery and gadgets to more special items that will become lifelong keepsakes,” suggests Anne-Marie. “Always be mindful that your needs will most likely grow throughout your married life. A dinner service for four people may be sufficient at the moment but might not be in years to come when you’re entertaining extended family and friends.”
While thinking practically is to be encouraged, listening to your head over your heart can sometimes be counter-productive. “It’s tough to choose tableware or home accessories that will stand the test of time as we never know how trends will turn out,” admits Ali. “You could choose a calming blue, thinking it will last, but next year it could be old news. I’d say don’t worry about colours and just go for something that really catches your eye. There’s no point in picking tasteful neutral shades if you can’t stand them in the first place!”
Midway through compiling your gift list, it’s quite possible you and your partner will start to feel completely lost in a sea of brands and bed linen options. If that sounds like you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. “Wedding list advisers have a wealth of knowledge behind them,” Anne-Marie reminds us.
“If you’re not sure of the difference between a KitchenAid mixer and a Kenwood mixer, just ask.” Trust your gut, too. “It’s all about what you want to kick-start your new life together as a married couple,” says Ali. “Really think about which gifts you’d like, rather than what you think you should have. There’s no right or wrong gift list!”