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.