Credit Crunch Bride

Posts Tagged ‘gift lists’

Dos and don’ts for a practical wedding gift list

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2009 at 7:24 pm

The irony of the broke-ass bride is that at a time when what she really needs is cash, cash and more cash, instead she will be putting together a gift list full of presents that she couldn’t normally afford, even in less stretched times. It’s like doing Supermarket Spree when you know you’re off to the Debtor’s Prison next week.

Considering you wont be able to afford to buy anything for months/ years/ decades after your wedding, you’d best get your wedding gift list right. Here’s the Credit Crunch Bride’s dos and don’ts…

Do a tour of your home. Look what items you’re missing or really need an upgrade. This is the time to replace that nasty studenty cutlery and that cheapo Ikea laundry basket you never liked.

Do keep it practical. Bed linen, towels, wine glasses, crockery, bakeware, cutlery, cushions, vases, jugs, frames, photo albums, lamps, clocks and rugs will always get used.

Even something as absurdly practical as a tea towel can be pleasurable with Emma Bridewater

Even something as absurdly practical as a tea towel can be pleasurable with Emma Bridgewater

Do keep it classic. Don’t buy things you’ll go off or want to upgrade after a year or two. Get the best version of the smaller items, rather than stretching to cheap versions of big items. This is your moment to get that toaster of your dreams.

Let someone treat you to the best toaster in the world

Let someone treat you to the best toaster in the world

Don’t ask for gifts you’ll never use. Ask for gifts for who you are, not who you plan to be. If you never normally use a decanter, you’re not going to magically start, just because you’re a Mrs.

Unless you have previously owned the following items, you probably wont start using them regularly, just because you’re married:

The ice cream maker. Just as surely as eggs should come from chickens, ice cream should come from shops, not from badly-designed home ice-cream makers.

The cocktail shaker. Enjoying drinking cocktails is not the same as being good at making them. This requires sobriety, the correct ingredients, impeccable mixing skills and the correct recipe. This present is likely to sit in its packaging for years.

The bread maker. There’s a reason eBay is full of bread-makers ‘used once’.

Don’t ask for presents you wouldn’t buy yourself. If you wouldn’t buy this present for yourself or someone else, it probably isn’t meant to be.

Don’t ask for things you already have. If you already have lots of lovely bed linen, don’t ask for more, just because it’s what people put on gift lists. Ask for what you don’t have, be it things for the garden, boardgames, tools, meals on your honeymoon or a firegrate.

Don’t take the fun out of giving. No one wants to give a boring present, like a sixteenth of a sofa or a fifth of a pair of curtains. Each gift should be an object which the giver feels is their personal blessing of your marriage.

Sophie Conran low casserole dish from The conran Shop

'With this Sophie Conran low casserole dish from The Conran Shop, I bless this marriage.'

Wedding gift lists for the budget-conscious bride

In gift lists on March 7, 2009 at 6:01 pm
Get all matchy-matchy at John Lewis

Get all matchy-matchy at John Lewis

Gift lists are an inherently hateful entity. It’s basically like writing your ‘what I’d like from Santa’ letter directly to your friends. They expose the ugly commerical contract behind invites and thank you cards i.e. I buy you dinner, you buy me a gift, we end up even(ish). It says ‘I expect a present, in this price range, and yes, do feel obliged.’

Saying that, if people are going to buy you presents, they’d want to know it was somethinyou’d like.

Here’s how to deal with the minefield of obligation and expectation that is the wedding gift list:

1. ‘Your presence is gift enough’. If you’re just having a relaxed cheapo affair or are getting people to travel and pay for a weekend away, maybe you shouldn’t expect a present too. However, if you say no gifts, you have to stick to it. No hints of ‘if you insist’ as this actually just means more anxiety for guests as to if you’re really asking for presents or not.

2. No one likes to give the gravy boat. Think about what will give your guests pleasure to give. Each gift should be something they’d be proud to have bought themselves. Something complete is far more satisfying that half an expensive item, or the fifth bowl in a set of crockery.

2. The Charity gift list. There’s an aura of middle class smugness which surrounds the charity gift list. It gently reminds the guests that they failed to be as altruistic on their wedding day, and you’re a slightly better person than them. This said you can’t knock the morality of it. The Alternative gift list lets you give to a wide variety of national and international charities. Alternatively, Oxfam Unwrapped have packaged up charity-giving beautifully, so your guests can give a goat or a toilet to African villagers.

3. The Honeymoon Fund. For people who’ve got all the toasters and ceramic soap dishes they need, the honeymoon fund gives the couple something they actually want. However, guests don’t like to feel their money has fallen into a hole, and prefer to buy something tangible – a meal, a diving lesson or a night in a hotel. There’s a few honeymoon fund websites which do this: Honey Fund

Buy a couple a safari tour or a helicopter ride

Buy a couple a safari tour or a helicopter ride

4. Multi-shop gift lists mean avoiding ending up with a John Lewis catalogue house, which can only be a good thing. Bottom Drawer seems to be the best – it’s ‘hacker-safe’ and you can choose items from almost anywhere online, including every big department store, chain or big charity. It is a money contribution list, so you only buy the actual items once the list closes. This means you’re free to change your mind about presents, but it is a little more risky if it folds (as Wrapit did last year). One thing to bear in mind is that you have to pay £90 if you take the money and don’t buy the presents through the site.

Alternative gift lists

Alternative gift lists

What to give

What to give - another money contribution list

Marriage gift list doesn’t seem to have any hidden charges. (Has anyone used them?)

There’s also Present Wise, thought it isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as Bottom Drawer. And yes, that does matter.

Confetti do a gift list, but they charge guests £2 per contribution as well as £15 to sign up, the cheeky blighters. Here’s an article slamming them, written by the MD of Bottom Drawer…

5. The single store gift list. Heals and its many pretty things can be turned into a gift list here. You could do John Lewis if you’re happy to be part of middle class suburbia. Or Debenhams, if you fancy getting a £50 free voucher on sign up (you don’t actually have to use the list…) Selfridges does a pledge list (a money contribution list) so you have a day out shopping and choosing presents after your wedding.

6. Guests buy your wedding. At youbuymywedding guests pay for your wedding. The downside is that everyone will know exactly what your wedding cost. And guests might think it’s outrageously cheeky.