From department stores to charitable giving, here’s our guide to building the perfect gift list, keeping you – and your gift-giving guests - happy.
Traditional gift list
John Lewis has one of the most popular gift lists in the UK; with a fantastic selection of home wares and appliances, it’s easy to see why. Register online or at your nearest store (do this well in advance as a limited number of lists are created each month) and 10 weeks before your wedding, start choosing the items you’d like. You can also ask for John Lewis vouchers or contributions towards a honeymoon with the travel company Cox and Kings. Guests can browse your list for six weeks before your big day and two weeks after. Gifts are delivered around three weeks after the wedding.
House of Fraser also has an excellent gift list. They recommend creating the list 12 weeks before the wedding, and you can browse the store with a member of staff who will scan the barcodes of the items you’d like. Guests can buy gifts six weeks before the big day and presents will be delivered four weeks after your wedding. Both John Lewis and House of Fraser gift list services are free.
Honeymoon gift list
Do you love the idea of your guests buying you a champagne cocktail on the beach, or a romantic massage for two? It’s becoming more popular to ask friends and family to contribute to your honeymoon, rather than buying you a new set of saucepans. You can ask guests to make direct contributions to a specially-created bank account, or ask for foreign currency (there are risks to carrying cash - check your travel insurance). Some companies can also act as the middleman so guests don’t have to write a cheque or present you with a pile of cash.
At HoneyMoney you create a personal page that lists the honeymoon experiences you’d like, each with a specific price. Guests can ‘buy’ the experience for you, but you’re free to use the money as you wish on your trip. You’ll be charged a £50 set-up fee and the company takes 9% of each donation. Many travel companies also have a gift list service, like luxury tour operator W&O’s Honeymiles Contributions must be used with them, so it is a slightly less flexible option.
For the couple with everything
If you’ve lived together for years and have everything you need, you might not know what to ask for. Rather than rack your brains, consider vouchers from a favourite store (make sure they have a long expiry date so you can use them well into the future). Also, many in-store gift lists let you spend your money for extended periods of time after the big day, so even if you don’t need a new toaster right now, it could come in useful if your old one breaks down. Alternatively, you can ask for cash. This can be a tricky issue, so many couples ask indirectly, with a lighthearted poem in their invitation. Others simply state their wish and have ‘money wells’ at the wedding where guests post their gifts (a common tradition in Asian countries). There isn't a 'perfect' way to ask, so consider what feels most appropriate for you as a couple and your guests.
Generous gift list
Like William and Kate, a growing number of couples decide not to ask guests for presents or money, but for charity contributions instead. It’s a wonderful way to give something back - particularly if it’s a charity that is close to your hearts. The Oxfam Unwrapped wedding list allows guests to choose from 'gifts' including safe drinking water for ten people (£9); Cancer Research uses contributions to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer; ActionAid puts the money towards offering healthcare and education to the world's poorest people; the NSPCC helps vulnerable children. Or, make charity part of a wider gift list; B&Q’s gift list lets you donate up to 10% of the money gifted to a charity of your choice.
The guest budget
The amount your guests spend on gifts depends on a number of factors including how close they are to you, whether they are friends or family, how much they will spend on getting to the wedding/accommodation etc and how much disposable income they have. Offer a variety of gifts, from under £20 for those feeling the squeeze (B&Q offer everything from mirrors to designer wallpaper in this price range) up to your dream gift. Tailor the majority of gifts between £30 and £60, and consider having more than one list so your guests have plenty of options.