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Traditional gift lists are an ideal way of letting your family and friends see what you would like for your wedding gifts, whether that's items for the home or simple honeymoon treats.

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The traditional gift list gives your friends and family an insight as to what you and your groom would like for your wedding gifts. Department stores were traditionally the most popular provider of wedding gift lists, however most couples now opt for online gift lists, allowing you to include all the toasters and dinner plates you want, in addition to more unusual gifts that might not be available in a high street department store. Online gift lists allow an easy way for your guest to browse through your wedding list and choose the wedding gifts that they want to give you, however you may find that older guests would prefer a more traditional way to shop, either with a department store gift list or by simply choosing wedding gifts for you themselves. For second marriages, and online list also opens up the options for the more unusual wedding gifts – the ones that you really want, whether it is a golfing weekend for two, a row of vines in a French vineyard or a new bed.

Alternative, charity and eco-friendly gift lists

If you are keen gardeners, you could have your wedding gift list at a garden centre where you can include plants and garden-related products as wedding gifts. Wine connoisseurs could set up a wine-related gift list to fill up that wine cellar. For the couple who has everything, or just wants to give something back, you can set up a charity or alternative gift list where you set your list up for donations to charities. Gifts could be anything from a first aid kit to an eye operation, to a tree being planted.

Cash or honeymoon vouchers as gifts

If you want to steer away from household items altogether, how about a honeymoon gift list? With an estimated four in ten couples now asking for money towards their honeymoon in place of traditional gifts, a honeymoon wedding gift list makes perfect sense. Here you divide up your honeymoon itinerary into affordable portions so that your guests can buy you anything from a night in a hotel or a romantic meal, to an elephant safari or hot air balloon ride. This means that not only do you avoid the awkward situation of asking people for money, but your guests feel that they are actually buying you a tangible gift. Speak to your travel agent, who may be happy to open a special account and supply personalised inserts to go in with your invitations. The final option is cash or vouchers as wedding gifts. It is easy for your guests as they don't need to think about it until they are on their way to your wedding, but usually only an acceptable option for couples paying for their own wedding and where it is well known that you are saving for a house deposit or similar.

Gift list etiquette

Traditionally the bride's mother held details of the gift list and you would phone and discreetly ask for details if you wanted inspiration, however it was very normal for guests to choose to give you items not on your list. These days it is assumed that every guest will want to give you a gift you will appreciate and it is acceptable to include details of the gift list with the invitations. This should be in the form of a web address or shop contact details though - not a complete list! Some gift list companies deliver your gifts as the orders are placed, which makes it easier for you to write a heartfelt thank you letter as each one arrives. Other companies deliver all the gifts after the honeymoon so that you don’t need to worry about extra insurance for new wedding gifts being left unattended for weeks while you are away on honeymoon. Either way, it is really important to write a personal thank you letter for every gift so that your guests don’t have the embarrassment of checking that you received it.

Thank you gifts

A lot of people will have put a lot of time and effort into your big day and it is appropriate to put some time and effort in to choosing a little gift or memento to thank them. Don’t be too self-indulgent - however much your bridesmaids love you they really don’t want a framed photo of you – but do make it personal. This isn’t the time for a box of chocolates. It is traditional to give the mother of both the bride and the groom a bouquet of flowers to thank them for their support, and it is not appropriate to re-use the flowers from the church for this! Brides often give their bridesmaids a gift of the necklace they would like them to wear on the wedding day, and grooms could follow this route by giving their ushers and best man gifts of personalised cufflinks to wear with their wedding suits or a personalised tankard to use at the reception.

Gift List Services FAQ

What is a wedding gift list?

A traditional wedding gift list gives your friends and family an insight as to what you and your groom would like as wedding gifts. Most couples now opt for online gift lists as an easy way for your guests to browse through your wedding list.

How does a wedding gift list work?

Guests want to give you a gift you will appreciate, so it is acceptable to include the gift list details with the invitations. This should be in the form of a web address or shop contact details. Some gift list companies deliver your gifts as the orders are placed, other companies deliver all the gifts after the honeymoon.

What are good alternative options for wedding gift lists?

There are plenty of options for more unusual wedding gifts from a golfing weekend for two, a row of vines in a French vineyard or a new bed, depending on you and your partner’s taste. For the couple who has everything, or just wants to give something back, you can set up your list for donations to charities.

Can I ask for money ask a wedding gift?

An estimated four in ten couples now ask for money towards their honeymoon in place of traditional gifts. Here you divide up your honeymoon itinerary into affordable portions so that your guests can buy you anything from a night in a hotel or a romantic meal, to a hot air balloon ride. Cash or vouchers as wedding gifts are easy for your guests as they don't need to think about it until they are on their way to your wedding. However, this is really only an acceptable option for couples paying for their own wedding and where it is well known that you are saving for something like a house deposit.

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