While traditional wedding etiquette says it's a no-no, here's why it is now acceptable to ask for money instead of having a gift list, and the many ways you could do…
Written by Ali Beaven Last updated: April 12, 2012
Did you know that only around half of us create a wedding gift list? Prezola’s Ali Beaven explains why you need to banish your etiquette fears now, and save on time spent selling toasters on eBay later.
Debrett’s The Official Guide to British Etiquette states that it is perfectly acceptable (and indeed expected) to have a wedding gift list for your guests. Yet, given our ‘British’ nature we find it oh-so-hard to ask for anything. How very presumptuous.
Then of course, a lot of us already live with our partners when we tie the knot and we’re perfectly happy with our china from IKEA.
If we were honest, we’d ask for cash, a new handbag or a bloody good weekend away. Alas, etiquette prevents us from doing so, which means that many of us settle for whatever our favourite department store has to offer. Or we don’t do a list at all, and find ourselves selling toasters on eBay while Googling fondue recipes. Because of course, our wedding guests are terribly British too, and couldn’t possibly not buy a gift!
In these modern times, things are beginning to change. Asking for honeymoon contributions is pretty acceptable and online services like Honeyfund.co.uk work well for that. It’s even becoming more acceptable to ask for cash, particularly if you have a project in mind for the money (which generally excludes handbags I’m afraid).
Felicity Nutall, 35, married Mike earlier this year. “Although we lived together, we had just bought a wreck of a house and needed a whole new kitchen, not a load of new things to go in the old one. We asked everyone for IKEA vouchers and most people were delighted to do that, because they knew it was important. Some older relatives weren’t so sure, but largely it worked very well for us”.
Heidi and Owen Scott married last summer and wanted to do something charitable to mark the occasion. “We asked everyone to donate a cow at sendacowgifts.org.uk, which was both fun and charitable. We pretty much sent a whole herd to Uganda, but still, people felt the need to bring a small present on the day – all cow themed obviously!”
Online gift list services give you the opportunity to really mix it up, choosing items from lots of different places work well. You get to choose interesting items that you’d actually love to receive alongside more practical or traditional items as well as home and travel vouchers. It’s important to let your guests mark the occasion with a gift, so give them lots to choose from in a variety of price ranges.
Personally, I love to buy gifts, but can only ever buy something that I like myself. I can’t go to a dinner party without flowers and chocolates, so there is no hope of me attending a wedding without a gift. I’m a bit of a traditionalist, and prefer to buy things that will be around for a while, or at least be remembered. Recent wedding gift purchases include matching Hunter wellies (very cool), a romantic hotel break and, believe it or not, a Wii Fit!
I have never given anyone a toaster.
Ali Beaven knows about wedding gift lists. She is an Interior Designer as well as Founder & Creative Director at Prezola.com, the UK’s fastest growing gift list company.
Prezolais a free-to-use wedding gift list service bringing together over 25,000 products hand-picked from the UK’s favourite retailers such as John Lewis, M&S, The White Company, Notonthehighstreet and MacDonald Hotels. Items include everything for the home and garden alongside gift vouchers for dozens of different retailers, experience days, weekend breaks and electricals.