It goes without saying that planning a wedding is ridiculously exciting. Things are finally starting to come together; we’ve booked up the important suppliers and bought our centrepieces 😻 It’s crazy to think that this time next year I’ll be packing my suitcase with my favourite ladies to spend a week in Morocco to celebrate my hen.
I didn’t really understand when people said planning a wedding was difficult or stressful. Surely you just open a savings account, go to Pinterest and plan the best day of your life. Wrong! You end up second-guessing yourself and questioning if that dress, those flowers, that food, is really what you want. There are some awkward things you have to deal with as well, such as creating a gift list.
Tradition dictates that you should buy the bride and groom a present if you’re attending their big day – usually something useful they can put in their new home. This is super awkward because *surprisingly* we don’t feel comfortable asking for presents. We also would have been living together for three and a half years so we’ve already filled our house with stuff.
Gift lists make sense because you don’t want people to waste money on things you already own, but equally, it’s an awkward thing to write. You don’t want to ask for too much and bankrupt your loved ones on your big day and seem like a self-obsessed Bridezilla. We’ve been doing some research in gift lists to learn a little bit more about etiquette and get some ideas. Here is what we’ve learnt:
As always, the first thing to do when you are unsure is to ask for advice. Hopefully, there will be a newly engaged or married couple that is going through the same thing. That way, you can consult and find the answers together. If there aren’t, don’t forget about the married couples that have been together for donkey’s years. Their big day may have been a long time ago, but they might still remember small details. Come on – no one forgets receiving a pressie! Our parents have been SO helpful through the entire planning process.
Vary the budget
Some people will be happy to spend a fortune and others won’t. We’ve been so lucky that our parents kindly offered to help out by purchasing my wedding dress and contributing a lump sum that we are going to use for our honeymoon and travel around south-east Asia. Everybody in my family is an avid traveller, so it made sense for us to spend the money on a once in a lifetime trip.
Whatever is important to you, whether it’s wedding car hire, the venue or your bouquet – parents are usually keen to chip in to help you have the day you want rather than an FM radio from a department store.
Your friends are the ones that should be on the cheap and cheerful part of the list. Weddings can be expensive to attend. Bear in mind they’ll probably be attending the bachelorette, buying a new dress and booking transport to get to and from the venue. You’ll find that lots of your friends will be getting married in their twenties and thirties, so don’t expect friends to be forking out everytime someone says ‘I do!’.
When in doubt, cash in!
Recently, there has been a shift towards asking for money and for good reasons. Firstly, the average wedding costs £27,161, so asking for money can cover some of the costs. Secondly, guests might snap up items on the list and there might not be enough to go around. Finally, cash is flexible. There’s a chance a gift you receive might not be perfect but you can’t ask to return it for obvious reasons. With money, you can buy what you want without any awkward conversations.
Personally, we know that people in our family don’t like giving cash – they don’t like not knowing exactly where the money went and how they’ve contributed. If you know what you’re likely to spend your money on but it isn’t a material product, you can always write a list of experiences. This is perfect for a honeymoon. There are lots of websites online where you can write a list of things you want to do, from scuba diving to having a cocktail on the beach. Guests simply check out and pay the amount of that product.
There’s a lot to sort out and a gift list seems insignificant. However, guests need a list to buy their present in time. Otherwise, you and they run the risk of it being out of stock. Even worse, there won’t be enough time to find a gift before the big day. Although time is precious, don’t leave the gifts until a month or two before the reception. Instead, get out in front and draw it up with six to eight months to go.
A gift list is an essential part of a wedding. Are you more confident about it now than before?