G is for Gift lists

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G is for Gift lists by Bex 

There are so many options for gift lists these days, if you even have one at all.  I think it’s easier all round if you do give your guests some kind of hint as most will want to give something, I know we always do.  Gift lists make it so much easier, especially with so many people nowadays already living together and having fully equipped homes.  If you really don’t want to receive gifts of any kind, you could just mention that if they really want to give something they could donate to your favourite charity.

If you are one of those couples with a happily furnished home and don’t need or want anything else, there are many untraditional kinds of gift lists around these days!  Friends of ours wanted to landscape the garden of their new home so set up a garden wish list where you could buy them vouchers towards it or specific items for their new garden.  You can also set up a honeymoon gift list which is quite common now and what we chose to do.  What we didn’t want to do, however, was to be limited to booking with one company or giving a company a percentage of our gifts.  Most of the ones we looked into would take a cut of contributions or charged a fee to set it up.

We therefore decided to set up our own one, which effectively means asking for cash and it took us a while to come up with a way that didn’t sound crass.  We wanted to keep it more like a gift list so I came up with a few ideas of things you might find on a honeymoon list such as excursions or treats like champagne so guests could still choose a specific thing if they wanted.  The plan was to then make sure we took a photo of us enjoying that gift and send it with the thank you (kind of like making the person a cake if they’d given you cake tins!)  As it turns out, no-one bothered with that and just gave, generously!  We were overwhelmed by our friends and family and ended up having an amazing honeymoon with a little cash left over to save towards ‘the future’ (i.e. our next home when we have to move).

It may be against etiquette to ask for cash (or anything), but I don’t see it as asking, it’s just a suggestion that if they DO want to give something, this is an idea.  We didn’t want guests to feel like they were just funding our day to day lives with their gifts, but equally didn’t want them to waste their money buying us things we’d never use.  With the honeymoon fund, we got to have an amazing first three weeks together as husband and wife, sharing a holiday of a lifetime to start off our marriage with so many happy memories of safari, diving and lots of cocktails and fizz while chilling out after the wedding :)

This is how we worded it on our invitations…


When thinking of a gift for us

we ask if you’d please consider

contributing to our honeymoon

to make it all the sweeter.

Our house is full of all the things

a couple could require

and so a holiday away

is what we most desire.

Then while we’re relaxing on the beach

 or beside the water so blue,

we’ll sit back and know

that it is truly thanks to you!


A poem Nik found on the internet that didn’t seem too cheesy (we changed ‘beside the water’ to ‘under the water’ since we were going diving).

Originally we had this…

We really value your presence to help us celebrate our special day.

We hope you don’t feel the need to give us the obligatory toasters as we

have all the household items that we require.  If you wish to give us a

gift, a contribution towards our honeymoon

in Tanzania and Kenya would be greatly appreciated.


But thought the poem was a bit cuter and less blunt.  Of course, if that’s more your style, you could just write…

Your presence at our wedding is gift enough but if you do wish to buy us a gift, a contribution towards our dream honeymoon would be appreciated.

Alternatively, if asking for cash, you could just write “No boxed gifts.” at the bottom of the invite, so you’re not actually asking for anything.  You’re simply asking people not to fill your home with stuff.  There are many more ideas on wording on the internet if you’re having an alternative gift list.  When we returned and I sent out the thank you cards, we included a collage I made (took me hours!) of our trip photos to show them the fund was well spent and how grateful we were for it!

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married, Uncategorized
13 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Becca
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Ah its so tricky. We are looking at buying our first home after the wedding so willl actually need all the house-y bits. I personally don’t like giving cash because it feels a bit “new” but I know that regardless of having a list, some people will always give cash or vouchers because its easier.

    As for where to have a hous-ey list, we’re going to it at John Lewis with the option of vouchers from there, M & S or House of Fraser. I know someone that made some small books with pull out pages and sent it around the guests and once a guest decided to buy that thing, they just pulled the page out the book. It took a while to get it around people but they had a few books all with different things in. I think its quite a good idea. Because you might find a whisk cheaper in Argos than it would be at John Lewis and why should your wedding guests pay more?!

    Just a thought but if you are going to ask for vouchers, I’d recommend trail finders rather than Virgin (via Debenhams) or Kuoni (via JL). We had a three week schedule drawn up at Kuoni, took it to trail finders and they literally HALVED the costs! Staying at the same (or even nicer!) places.

  2. Susu
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    On the topic of honeymoon lists, I would heartily recommend Turquoise (www.turquoise.co.uk). We looked first at Trailfinders but I was put off by the fact that the money donated HAS to go on your holiday booked with them and if you are given more than the holiday cost, they will refund it to you in Trailfinders vouchers only, which I found a bit limiting. Turquoise, on the other hand, just collect the donations for you and then refund them to you in full, so you have more flexibility. And the gift list service is free! I loved them.

    On a totally random note – this is my first EVER comment, but it’s my first wedding anniversary today which means I’ve been stalking on this blog for oooooh, about a year and a half! And I thought, wouldn’t commenting be a good way to mark the day?! So…….Hello :-)

    • Katie
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Happy Anniversary! xx

    • Alison
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Happy anniversary – it’s our first wedding anniversary today too! And I’ve also been stalking this site for about 18 months but don’t comment enough. Unfortunately I read it at work and never get time to comment but think it’s amazing. Anyway, hope you had a lovely day!

      • Susu
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Thanks, both, and happy anniversary to you too, Alison! (sorry it’s belated) :-)

    • Posted October 3, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Hello! Happy Anniversary. x

  3. Katie
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Bex, I love the poem, and your honeymoon sounds amazing.

    So tricky. I personally love gift lists or cash requests, makes life much easier. My husband’s aunt and nan are very traditional, and we’d heard them complain about invites with cash requests. My husband didn’t want to ask for cash for honeymoon, although I’d happily have done so. We decided to play it safe, and just not mention gifts in any part of the invite.

    A lot of people asked us and our parents if we had a list, at which point we pointed them in the direction of our list at Debenhams. Some guests gave presents from list, others one’s that they’d chosen, and we also received cash! It worked out fine for us.

  4. Lynsey
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    We’re doing exactly the same as Katie and not mentioning gifts anywhere on our invitations. I personally find invites asking for cash a bit awkward, and I really don’t like poems – just because it rhymes doesn’t make me think it’s any more polite/cute, it just makes me cringe a bit!

  5. Katielase
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    We also did the same as Katie, we didn’t mention gifts on our invites anywhere, because I felt awkward asking for anything. Anyone who asked us for a gift list was asked to donate to the hospice who had cared for my Grandparents in the last weeks of their respective lives, because I wanted to remember them on my happy happy day. We were quite happy not to get any gifts, as our flat was quite full of stuff and things.

    THEN, a large number of our ridiculously lovely, kind and generous friends and family all came back to me. They had donated money to the hospice in memory of my wonderful grandparents, and they still wanted to give us a gift as well. This was, to me, the most overwhelmingly lovely thing connected to our wedding, so we set up a small gift list at John Lewis including things for our home that we wanted, rather than needed, mostly replacing things we owned with posher JL versions. I think with the gift list all you can really do is what feels right for you and your new husband/wife. You know yourselves and your guests better than anyone else, so read all the advice, and you’ll know what feels most appropriate.

    As a side note, anyone doing a John Lewis gift list, don’t just do it online, if you go in-store to zap things with the super-fun zapper, they give you free tea and cake. I was beyond excited at this. Free cake!

    K x

  6. Roz
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    We did a honeymoon gift list similar to Bex and as a result of our amazing family and friends had the most fantastic honeymoon in New Zealand and Fiji :D

    As with everything in life you can’t please everyone, the inclusion of a gift list (honeymoon or otherwise) in a wedding invite makes me as a guest pretty happy, I’d much rather be buying my friends something they want to wish them well than guessing what they’d like. Now I LOVE buying gifts for people but can imagine how random that would be if everyone did it! Xx

  7. Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Fab post Bex. Gifts were the thing that caused me the most angst while wedding planning.

    We also had a honeymoon gift list, which most of our guests said they loved. Some donated through the site we used, a lot more just put cash in with the card. We had an amazing honeymoon, with memories that are worth 100 toasters.

    We lived in a tiny furnished, rented flat with zero storage when we got married. It caused me a lot of stress and worry as I really didn’t want people to spend their hard earned money on something that we wouldn’t fully appreciate. We did get a few decorative gifts from some people and I am mortified to admit that they are still being stored at my in-laws. They are all very lovely items, but very traditional and not to mine or the boys taste. I have no idea what to do with them.

    I do think gift lists are much easier, but it’s really difficult to not seem crass or money-grabbing. We relied quite heavily on our parents to explain why we didn’t want gifts to more traditional guests.

  8. Pickle
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    We had so many discussions around gifts ahead of the wedding – we didn’t want lots of ‘stuff,’ didn’t want to come across as grabby, I didn’t want to ask for honeymoon contributions (for reasons that were really important to me at the time but I can no longer remember); also our tastes are quite different to a lot of our guests and we really didn’t want to have wedding gifts we felt obliged to treasure forever that we didn’t like.
    In the end we very carefully worded our invites to include a section on gifts, made it clear people didn’t have to give us a gift, suggested some charities that we’d appreciate donations being made to (like Katielase one of them was to a charity that cared for a grandparent at the end of her life), suggested one or two things we’d like as ‘things’ and also asked for contributions towards one big thing we’re saving up for. We covered all bases!
    My husband particularly was against asking for any ‘things’ but has since admitted he loves the things we were given – there’s something lovely about having some things that we will use forever that will always remind us of our wedding and the people that gave them to us.

  9. starlet_haylz
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Wow, always a tricky one. Some poems can be so bad as well. I think that as long as you make it clear you don’t expect people to buy you a gift or give you money (even if you really do) it’s OK to specify a gift list/honeymoon fund etc etc. We said something along the lines of “Being a wedding guest can cost a fortune so we don’t expect you to buy us a gift but if you still wanted to we have a gift list at John Lewis accessible online or instore with refererence 12345″ – it was a small bit at the end of the “information” section of our invite. The funniest were the old relatives who said ” We had absolutely no idea what to buy you so we just gave you money” – very generous but ummm, gift list?! And interetingly some people purposefully don’t want to buy off the list and want to come up with their own ideas for you – risky strategy but fair enough.

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