Wedding gifts – how to ask and what to ask for

by Owen Relfe

If you’re busy planning your wedding you might be feeling a little stuck on what to do about asking for wedding gifts. While some couples are eager and excited to ask their friends and family to contribute to their future, you may be feeling awkward about the whole thing and unsure how to approach it. We thought we’d take a look at this dilemma to help you decide what to do.

Is it okay to ask for gifts? If you are feeling uncomfortable about asking for wedding gifts, put yourself in your guest’s shoes. The chances are you will have been to a few weddings yourself and enjoyed being able to show your love and appreciation to the couple by buying them a gift. Your own wedding guests will feel the same! “Your family and friends want to celebrate your marriage by buying you something special or contributing to your honeymoon” says wedding planner Lauren, from Bluebird Creative. “Giving them direction towards something that you would like shouldn’t be a worry”. You’ll find that pretty much everyone will want to buy you something anyway, so make it easier for them by letting them know what it is you’d enjoy. Lauren goes on to say “word it in a way that is polite and doesn’t make it obligatory and only if they want to buy something”. Do a quick search online and you’ll find loads of sweet poems that you could include on your invitations.

So what should you ask for? - while traditionally the bride and groom would have asked for gifts to help set up their new marital home, since most people now all ready live together before they marry, there are many more options. From traditional lists to experience days, booze or charitable donations it’s much easier to find something that suits you as a couple.

Traditional gift list

Although you may think you have everything you need for your home it’s worth taking a look at a few wedding gift list websites as they are no longer just about pots, pans and napkin rings! We’d heard of The Wedding Shop so we hopped onto their site to take a look and were pretty impressed. The range of products is vast, so you could include anything from a new bed for your dog to a monthly flower subscription, a fire pit and patio heater or an indoor herb garden! Many of the online gift list services allow ‘group gifting’ which means guests have the option of contributing to part of a gift. This is perfect if you want to include a few higher price items. They also offer a good mix and match service so alongside products you can set up a charity donation fund, a honeymoon fund or a personalised fund allowing guests to simply give cash.

Honeymoon contribution

It’s really commonplace now to ask for a contribution to your honeymoon. Whether you choose to do this via an online site or simply ask for cash is up to you. What we like about the online lists is that you can add honeymoon adventures so your guests can choose to pay for you to do an activity. Prezola has kayaking trips, surf lessons and ski passes for example. By collecting it all online it also means that you don’t have to worry about having envelopes full of notes and cheques on your wedding day - if you are jetting off straight away you might not have time to cash it in.

Cash

There is nothing wrong with asking for cash and in fact at Italian weddings it would be deemed odd not to. The bride carries a small satin bag and guests will put envelopes of money into it in exchange for a dance! Here in Britain some people don’t like simply giving cash, mainly because they would prefer to give something more thoughtful. The best way around this is to explain what you will use it for. We love Patchwork – here guests can contribute towards personal projects and you can let them know the things they can choose to fund. For example if you are redoing your kitchen ‘you can include the option for people to buy a tile for £1 or pay for a plumber for £100’. Friends can even contribute time or skills if they’d prefer not to give money!

Wine

We are slightly miffed that we hadn’t heard of this when we got married ourselves – a ready-made wine cellar! Asking your guests to choose you a bottle of wine is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only will you be presented with your very own wine collection fit for a Parisian cellar, you will receive bottles that you might not have chosen yourself and may discover some firm new favourites. A wine list will also give you an opportunity to share your gifts with those who are closest to you – what could be nicer than hosting a meal and opening some wedding wine, or popping open a bottle during special celebrations. If you’d prefer to have a bit of input into the bottles then take a look at Private Cellar, they offer a personal wine service and will help you build a dream list.

Experiences

If you are a couple who has everything, or simply aren’t into material gifts then you will love Humdinger Days. This site allows you to choose from hundreds of ‘super dates’ to make memories as you enter married life. Choose from the adventure category and you could be heading off to try coasteering for a day or out on an exhilarating RIB powerboat ride. The options are endless – there are experiences for foodies such as cookery courses and wine tasting, and some amazing options if you love animals and nature – you can work on a farm for a day or do a falconry course!

Charity contribution

If you want to follow in the footsteps of the Royals and really would prefer not to receive anything personally, then you could ask your guests to make a charitable donation. The Wedding Shop lists over 100 well-known charities or you can create a custom charity if you have a smaller one in mind. This is really nice way of phrasing your ask:

In our house we have all that we need, but if you wish to give a gift, a small donation to our chosen charity would really make us happy.

If you are big into sustainable living you could even ask your guests to make lifestyle change pledges. For example, by promising to go vegan once a week, or only getting a take away coffee if they have their reusable cup! You might inspire a whole bunch of changes in your closest friends and family that have a positive impact on our planet!

Nothing

If you really don’t want any gifts or money then you will need to get your family and bridal party to help spread the word. You could try including this little poem;

We’d love your well wishes and congratulations too, No gifts are necessary, all we really want is you!

And if you still receive some presents then just smile politely and say thank you!

We hope this has helped to give you some confidence in how to ask for wedding gifts. By choosing something that fits with you as a couple your guests will just be happy that they can set you off on married life with a contribution no matter how big or small. We’ll be back with more wedding related help and advice soon.

Coastal Tents Team xxxx