If you’re from a Greek or Italian family, the issue of asking for wedding gifts is unlikely to arise. Marry in the UK however and the question of gift etiquette arises.
The Greeks take a practical view, pinning money onto the bride’s dress at the wedding reception and in Italy it’s common for the bride to be given little parcels containing money.
So that solves that problem then.
The chances are the two of you have been living together for a while before getting married and you are probably quite well equipped with kettles, toasters, bed linen, china and all the other traditional gifts brides and grooms receive.
In fact what you could really do with is some money to help with a) the mortgage b) paying for the wedding c) paying for your honeymoon.
First off, asking for money is a bit tricky. Different guests will have different budgets and whilst £50 can buy a memorable wedding gift the giver may not feel that a donation of £50 is going to make much difference to your finances.
Also, people may want to give you ‘something’. A gift that you’ll keep and use throughout your married life rather than a donation that isn’t so much of a ‘thing’.
What you can do is let it be known via your parents or close family that a gift of money wouldn’t be unacceptable, in fact very welcome. But still be prepared for guests to want to give you something.
Which is where having a wedding gift list really comes into its own.
You might be well equipped but look around at what you have and think about what could do with being upgraded.
If you’ve always wanted a fabulous coffee machine then now’s the time to ask for one. Or maybe a piece of furniture – maybe a new bed? Or some high thread count bed linen?
If you have your gift list at one of the well-known department stores, like John Lewis, then everything in the store can be part of it. That includes items like garden furniture, electronic equipment and lighting. So be a bit creative. Maybe your sitting room would look fabulous with some new overhead lighting, in which case now is the time to ask for it. Maybe you’re planning an extension and need to furnish it. Then think about what you could put on your wedding list to add those final touches – maybe curtains, blinds.
Rather than money, you could ask for gift vouchers to your favourite store and many people may feel more comfortable giving a John Lewis or M&S gift voucher than an actual cheque or notes. You can also put gift vouchers on your gift list of course.
And if you’re both gardeners, you can have a garden gift list – where guests buy plants from a supplier so that you can restock your garden after your wedding and make it beautifully green.
If you need help with your wedding reception costs, then what about putting the word out that you’d like help with buying your wedding cake or the wine? That’s something somebody might like to contribute to. Some big wine merchants like Majestic offer gift vouchers which you could use to put against the cost of champagne and wine at your wedding reception. Certainly worth looking into.
Aside from your wedding, your honeymoon is going to take a cut of your finances and this is another route you could go down for wedding gifts. Have a gift list by all means, but also set up an account with your honeymoon provider so that guests – if they wish – can make a donation towards your honeymoon. Every little helps and many guests would love to know that they have helped to send the happy couple off on the honeymoon of their dreams.
Wedding gifts and money are a potential minefield and you don’t want to offend anyone. So here are a few pointers to make sure you get it right.