In keeping with this tradition and as a mark of affection, many of your family and friends will want to buy you a gift – whether or not they will be attending your wedding. Although they are under no obligation, you will find that those attending your ceremony will almost certainly buy you a gift, whereas those invited to your reception or evening party only may not.
Whoever buys you a gift, it is very important that you respect the basis on which gifts are sent to you and that you do not consider it a right to only receive gifts that you desire.
The Balancing Act
The difficulty most couples face when considering the issue of wedding gifts is balancing the desire of your guests, who want their carefully chosen gift to be received with appreciation, with your desire to receive gifts that you need or would find useful in your home. It is in no one’s interest to buy or receive gifts that are duplicated or not needed.
The answer to this problem is to have a wedding list. Those wishing to buy you a gift can then choose something they know is needed and will be appreciated. It is important to remember that there is nothing wrong or presumptuous with having a wedding list. It is only considered bad taste if you try to force your wedding list onto your guests.
Guests who wish to ensure that their gift is needed and not duplicated, usually call the hosts of the wedding to ask for suggestions. It would therefore be sensible to have a list of desired items to hand from which guests can choose according to their means and generosity.
The wedding list
Your wedding list can take one of two forms. The first is where you make up your own list and distribute it to those who ask to see it. When they have chosen a gift it is returned with that item crossed off. Since your invitations will have been posted 8 to 12 weeks before your wedding day there will be plenty of time for your list to do the rounds. So that the correct items are chosen you should include the manufacturer’s name, model and colour. It is traditional that the host (usually the bride’s mother) handles and circulates the wedding list.
The second form your wedding list can take, which is preferred by many couples today, is where a particular shop or department store holds your wedding list. Most major stores such as Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and House of Fraser provide a wedding list service where you make up your list from their stock.
Furthermore, as part of the service, a store will manage your wedding list so when your guests telephone or visit the store, the item chosen is removed from your list. After your wedding the store will send you a list of who has purchased what so you know who to send your thank-you letters to.
Online gift lists offer further advantages. The greatest benefit is that they will have a catalogue from which you can compile your wedding list – all from the comfort of your own home thus saving many hours of browsing around a store. Once you have made your selection you can usually either create a list online, or mail your choices to them and they will set it up for you.
Using the wedding gift services of single product companies such as Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Edinburgh Glass is becoming increasingly popular, especially with couples who have been living together for some time and already have most items needed for their home.
By choosing a company such as this you have the opportunity to acquire something of quality that will last for a considerable number of years and can be added to long after your wedding to make your collection complete.
Whatever type of wedding list you decide upon it is important that you include a wide range of items to cater for all budgets. You may also wish to put some more expensive items on your list so that some of your family and friends can pool their resources to buy you something really special. Your list should also have more gifts on it than you expect to receive so that the last person to see the list still has a wide range of items to choose from.