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Wedding gift list etiquette


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In times gone by, non-cohabiting newlyweds were often the happy recipients of gifts that provided everything they needed for their new home. Life was simple. Gift lists were for the truly wealthy. Yet in recent times many couples already have a home before they get married and a toaster isn’t their ideal wedding gift. So how to give your guests a hint of the kinds of gifts you need/prefer? Enter the phenomenon of the ‘Wedding List’. But no matrimonial affair would be complete without a smattering of etiquette, so how do you make sure you get the whole ‘Wedding List’ thing right?

Make it an Optional Thing

With the need for an outfit, travel, and stag/hen-do activities weddings are often expensive for guests too. Thankfully most of your friends and family will appreciate that their presence is really all that is required to make your Big Day special. Most will also want to follow tradition and bring a gift too, and preferably something that won’t get shoved in a cupboard until death do you part, so a list is the ideal way to offer your guests a choice.

How you word this in your invitations is critical to ensuring that your guests don’t feel obliged to buy you something. Phrases like “It’s your presence not your presents that we want!” and “If you feel you’d like to bring a gift, then anything from our wish list would be much appreciated” are common, and get the right message across. If you don’t want or need gifts, then why not invite donations to your favourite charity instead?

When to Issue the Gift List

wedding gift list etiquetteWhen this craze for Wedding Lists first took off, it was considered bad form to send the list out with the invitation. It was a bit like saying “We’re getting married, so you’d better get our gift sorted!”. But as the whole concept has become more familiar, most people recognise that it’s a) simpler, and b) cheaper to communicate everything in one go. Many couples now choose to set up a website containing all details of their wedding, including information on gifts, which is a subtle way to let your guests know they can bring along a little something if they wish, and what type of gift would be appropriate.

Who should get the Wedding List?

It is generally accepted that guests invited to the ceremony, and/or the wedding breakfast will be the ones to bring any gifts. Evening guests may choose the bring along a present, but etiquette generally relieves them of this burden.

We’d Rather Have the Cash

This can seem a bit mercenary, but in these tough economic times it’s becoming increasingly popular for couples to ask for money as a gift, to contribute to a honeymoon, house deposit, new furniture, or a kitchen refurbishment, for example. In this scenario it is advisable to let your guests know how you plan to spend the money, and perhaps follow-up with a photo-update when the desired item/experience has been acquired, so they can feel a connection with their contribution.

How do we Word it all?

A little surfing on the net will give you a great selection of slightly-humble-but-appreciative explanations for your choice to have a Wedding List, and the kinds of items it contains. Etiquette generally dictates that your tone is a teensy-bit bashful about asking for gifts, and yet also communicates clearly and without apology what it is you want.

Ultimately, as with every other choice you make when planning your wedding, the decision to make a Wedding List is one that is personal to you as a couple. If your guests are going to take offence, then you may want to think about whether they are the right people to be inviting in the first place. After all, the day is a celebration of the start of married life for you and your significant other, and that’s the most precious gift of all.




About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, whatsapp plus,travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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