If you’re currently planning your big day, you’ve probably been asked a few times by now what you’re planning to do about your wedding gift list. Do you want to register at a retailer and ask your wedding guests to buy toasters, kettles, and new bedsheets? Would you like your friends and family to give you cash in an envelope? Put your bank details on your invitations and ask them to send a bank transfer? Or would you like your wedding guests to contribute cash towards your honeymoon? There are many options to think about and it’s time to figure out which is the right one for you.
What if we don’t want any wedding gifts?
Of course, you could say ‘no gifts’, but beware, as the majority of your guests will still bring you a present. People are generous and love picking something for the newlyweds. But they may not share your taste. So unless you want to end up with a watering can (despite your lack of garden) and a floral vase (when you can’t stand chintz), it’s best to specify. This doesn’t make you greedy, it just means that you’d rather your friends spent their money wisely, and that you don’t want to end up with wedding presents that you don’t need. At best these unwanted gifts will go to a charity shop, and at worst they’ll end up in landfill.
If you really don’t feel you want for anything, you could ask for donations towards a charity close to your heart. Charities such as Cancer Research UK, The Alzheimers Society and Action Aid all have wedding lists of their own that you can register for, and your guests will be able to easily help those in more need than yourselves. Your friends and family will be grateful for the opportunity.
What wedding presents do we need?
If you haven’t lived together for very long (if at all) and are setting up home together then it’s great idea to set up a conventional wedding list with all the household items you need. Large retailers like John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser provide a traditional wedding list service where you can choose to register for items from their stock. So if you need a toaster, a set of dinnerware, or a Magimix, just head to their store and pick out the items you want to register for.
Of course, times are changing, and with something like 80% of couples living together before marriage, the majority of people have most of the household items they need prior to their wedding day. In this case, perhaps a conventional gift list isn’t the best option. If you feel like you have all of the homeware items you need, you might be better off taking the route of the cash gift list. This way you can put the money towards something that you both really need. Whether that’s a contribution towards your flat deposit, help doing up your kitchen, or a longed-for new sofa, it’s up to you.
What gifts do we actually want?
If you’ve established that you’re not interested in conventional wedding gifts, it’s time to figure out what it is that you really want. More than anything. Is it time together as a couple? Fantastic, why not ask your wedding guests to contribute cash gifts towards your honeymoon fund? With a Patchwork honeymoon fund your friends and family can buy you a cocktail on the beach, a night in a hotel, or even shell out for your first flights together as a married couple.
Perhaps you do want homeware, but you don’t want to be tied to a particular retailer. Set up a cash gift list and you can collect the money to spend in all of your favourite shops, with no restrictions.
Or how about asking your wedding guests to contribute towards a piece of art? You will finally be able to buy that piece that you’ve had your eye on for years. You could even commission a completely bespoke work of art. You’ll be able to treasure it for years to come, and it will always remind you of your wedding day, and all the people that were there to celebrate with you. There are endless possibilities if you’re thinking about asking your friends and family for something a little more unconventional.
What will our wedding guests think?
If you decide to go for the traditional wedding list, it’s fair to say there will be no adverse reactions. Your family, especially the older generation, will have seen this many times. Of course, it’s always annoying when the only item left to buy on the list is a hand towel or a chopping board. Other than that, your wedding guests probably wont complain about your gift list, but they probably wont mention how much they loved it either.
In the current climate and with weddings becoming more expensive, asking for cash gifts is becoming more popular. In fact, in a survey of 2,167 newlyweds by discount website VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, 26% of couples said they asked for a cash contribution for their big day instead of a gift. 37% said that they asked for money for their honeymoon, and only 21% opted for a conventional gift list. So if you are planning on asking for cash be reassured that more couples are starting to go down this route.
How should we ask for cash for our wedding?
This is the tricky bit, and the bit where some wedding guests can end up feeling a little offended by your request for cash, so it’s best to tread lightly. If you’ve decided cash contributions are the right option for you, the next step is to figure out how to go about it. Asking for cash can be awkward, and your guests may feel affronted if faced with your bank account number in their invitation, or asked to bring cash in an envelope. It’s best to be honest, personal and clear about what their money will go towards. Choose your words carefully and make sure your guests know the reasons you would appreciate money rather than gifts, whatever they can afford – no one wants to feel pressured into stumping up £50 as a minimum amount. And above all, make sure they know that their presence on the day is the most important thing to both of you.
If you cringe at the idea of asking for money directly, an online cash gift registry could be the answer. We started Patchwork to eliminate the awkwardness of asking for cash for your wedding, and as a way for you to show everyone the one thing you want to fund – in a way that’s personal, creative and fun. Our registry allows you to show your wedding guests exactly what their money will be going towards, whether that’s the honeymoon of your dreams, or a much needed new sofa. You show them what it is you want as a ‘patchwork’ of images, each with a price attached, and they choose which bit to treat you to. You collect the money in your PayPal account and can spend it when and where you wish. Plus, you can keep track of all contributions in your account, so it’s easy to send your thank-yous.
Whatever you choose, whether it’s cash or gifts, your friends and family will accept your choice. And if your great aunt does get offended by your request for cash and would rather bring you a trinket, of course she can. Just make sure you put it on the shelf when she pops over for tea.