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Weddings > Get the wedding gifts you want

GET THE WEDDING GIFTS YOU WANT
By Suzanna Bain (28 Mar 2006 )

Choosing the perfect wedding gift is fraught with confusion and indecision, so help your loved ones choose wisely to ensure you get the wedding gifts you want.Ever had that terrible, sinking feeling when your mind draws a complete blank as you hit the high street, desperately seeking a birthday present for a relative or a friend? No matter how much you know and love them - and no matter how many not-so-subtle hints they've dropped - you just can`t think what on earth to get them and the clock is ticking.



And anyone invited to a close friends wedding will go through similar angst, so why not be kind to them and make their job that little bit easier instead, by giving them a gift list to help inspire them.

BE CONSIDERATE

Be considerate when drawing up a wedding list as not everyone will be working to the same budget.Not everyone will be working to the same budget, so make sure that there is a wondrous choice of lovely gifts to suit everyone's pocket, ranging in price from the very reasonable and very affordable to the monstrously lavish and equally more expensive.

Those who love you will probably be prepared to part with the most that they can afford, but presenting them with a long line of things that are all way beyond their means can put a real dampener on the proceedings.

If you are the deserving bride or groom you also need to consider the type of person who will be buying your gifts for you. It's no good going for an obscure specialist shop that nobody can get to, or signing up to an online service if no one has access to the internet or even knows how to use a computer.

CHANGING TIMES

Long gone are the days when people were expected to okay their choice with the mother of the bride, and in its place are a huge range of services - available on the high street, over the phone and online - to take care of the whole process instead, leaving mum free to concentrate on other things at this extremely busy time.

Many department stores run gift list services so buyers can log on, phone up, or pay a visit to the store to see what is still left on that all important gift list. They can then simply make their selection and pay for it. This is an incredibly good way of ensuring that you don't end up with more toasters than you can handle.

Stores such as Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks And Spankers and Argos all offer reliable, accessible services and have a huge range of items available to grace your wedding gift list. Alternatively, take a look at www.wrapit.co.uk, which teams all the choice and affordability of a department store, with the utter convenience of the web.

Another benefit of this type of system is that every last detail can be taken care of very quickly and easily, such as wrapping, delivery direct to the wedding venue, and even the message on the card. This saves guests a whole lot of hassle, and means they don't have to lug gifts round with them in the car or worry about forgetting them.

TO LIST OR NOT TO LIST

Two-thirds of newly weds now prefer cash to crockey as a wedding gift.Traditional homewares and furnishings are all well and good, but if you're already pretty sorted for this type of thing, or even if you just want to be a little more unique and original, don't be afraid to really push the boat out in terms of letting your imagination run riot.

Travel or holiday vouchers might be of more use to you, for example, or perhaps you'd like to look forward to an adventure weekend or a spa break, or be the proud owner of fine wine, art or antiques. Luxurious, indulgent things like this don't necessarily have to break the bank, and guests may even decide to club together and split the expense.

Recent research by Direct Line reveals that around two-thirds of newlyweds would prefer cash to crockery, which adds up to around £2,000 when you consider the average couple received 29 gifts, costing £70 each.

If you decide to take this approach, it's a nice polite touch to let guests know what you're saving up for, such as getting a new kitchen, or landscaping the garden, then to drop them a line once the work's done.

HONEYMOON BRIDAL REGISTRY SERVICE

Something many people will be more than happy to help out with is your honeymoon ( www.honeymoney.co.uk). Travel specialists, Travel Counsellors, also offer a unique bridal registry service for those who'd like to add 'Honeymoon' to their wedding gift list.

"For the happy couple the Bridal Registry Service often means a dream honeymoon that they would not otherwise have been able to afford" says Archana Nathwani, Redhotcurry.com's travel counsellor "And friends and family will be delighted that they have helped you start your married life in style. A deposit of just £10 opens the honeymoon account. We provide personalised gift cards – similar to those offered by department stores – to include with your wedding invitations. There is no minimum contribution but as the average value of a honeymoon booked through the service is over £3,000 most guests are clearly quite generous".

You can book this bridal registry service through Archana Nathwani on Tel: 01635 873547 (archanan@travelcounsellors.com) or through the Travel Counsellors website www.travelcounsellors.co.uk

For something totally different, with a heartwarming and charitable edge, take a look at www.alternativeweddinglist.co.uk

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Many department stores offer a complete gift list serviceIt can be difficult to narrow down your choice of gift list provider and make a final decision, so it's helpful to ask yourself what you realistically need and what you will actually make use of. Think about colour schemes and themes within your home too, if necessary, and make sure you have somewhere to store any gifts you won't make use of immediately.

Don't be afraid to put down a few frivolous things either, such as jewellery, posh toiletries or cosmetics, fancy gadgets or even designer clothes and accessories. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to ask for all sorts of things you'd never normally splash out on yourself, so make sure you make the most of it.

Once you've reached a decision, it's time to inform your wedding guests. Wedding etiquette has changed a great deal over the years, and nowadays many couples are choosing to send out their gift list with the invites, rather than wait for people to accept and then contact the mother of the bride for further details.

This not only saves on postage, it also gives buyers more time to look into what they want to lavish upon you, although some couples find it too presumptuous to be this forthcoming. But it's only like slipping in directions to the wedding venue or details about nearby hotels, which people tend to find very helpful.

Alternatively, it may be convenient and suitable to e-mail details through to people, especially if you're using an online list, because that way you can provide a link to the relevant page in there too.

AND FINALLY...

Whatever you go for, do your best to strike a balance between the functional and the indulgent. And don't forget about your guest's circumstances in terms of what they can afford, where and how they will be buying, and most importantly, what they'd like to give you both to wish you well in what will hopefully be your long and happy married life.

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