There are a lot of differences between getting married today and when our great grandparents, grandparents and maybe even some of our parents got married. Marriage symbolised the start of a couples life together quite literally. Most people only moved in together following the wedding. The reality is, Callum and I met at university so although we didn’t live together, we spent a lot of time at each others place. We then moved in together straight after graduating, another year later bought our first house and are now on to our second! As a result, (and the fact that I have worked in Homewares and Gifting for almost 4 years) we have everything we need to make our house a home. I have billions of candles (literally), dozens of sets of glassware for every eventuality and a large stack of white company towels (lucky girl!) We even have a lovely, albeit plain set of Royal Worcester Serendipity fine bone China. So what are we supposed to say when our parents, grandparents and great grandparents want to give us a wedding gift?
Both Callum and I had very strong feelings about this topic, as I know most couple do. In all honesty, we could forego gifts completely! My only concern was, when I go to a wedding, I want to give a gift. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand what the couple’s tastes are, as well as what they have and don’t have so I love having a list to choose from. I like looking through everything and finding something that they want AND most importantly I want to give. I find it quite a personal thing and like the idea of them opening it and thinking this is such a ‘Helena gift’.
Callum really wanted to say that we weren’t doing a list, however as we hadn’t (and still haven’t now!!) booked a honeymoon, contributions would be greatly received. This for me, takes all the romance out of it. I worry that it would put unnecessary pressure on people as they have to put a monetary value on their gift. As a guest, you also can’t guarantee what part of the honeymoon (if any) your gift is going towards. I mean could you imagine, ‘your money is going towards the tax/extra baggage charge/VAT of my flight…’
Having said that about honeymoon contributions, we have friends getting married next month (OMG guys it’s next month!) who have done this in a unique way. They have both taken a year off work and have planned an incredible around the world trip (jealous much?) They have paid for the flights and accommodation themselves but are asking guests to give them the gift of an experience. On their giftlist, it has a breakdown of activities they would like to do and reason why they would love to do it, in each of the places they’re visiting. There is also the opportunity for you to suggest something for them to do (we have a few ideas in mind for our gift having travelled the west coast of the USA last year!) They also promise to send you a photo of them doing whatever you give them as a thank you! I had so much fun reading through their list and would definitely recommend doing this- I would if we hadn’t already sent our gift list number out!
So anyway, back to Callum and I. We finally decided upon a John Lewis gift list as they don’t charge the guests for delivery (unlike some of the others so definitely watch out for this.) I found writing about gift lists on our invitations was so awkward! It’s difficult because you have to keep words to a minimum and can’t explain your thought process. I had seen so many cheesy rhymes that I was also really put off these. After a lot of back and forth we opted for a simple paragraph that was ‘us’.
‘We cannot wait for you to be a guest at our wedding, however please do not feel gifts are necessary! For those of you are wanting to give us a gift and are seeking inspiration, we have a gift list with John Lewis. Number XXXXXX’
Now for the fun part- Gift List shopping! Last weekend we drove to Bluewater in Kent as this was our largest John Lewis nearby and we thought it would have the most choice. We got given a scanner as well as a list of things we may want to include (really helpful if you are just setting up home.) So off we went, trying to be logical in our process which is really difficult as there is so much to look at! We started in kitchen as we both love to cook but I was really disappointed that a couple of things I wanted to include were no longer online or in store! We recently bought a gorgeous, thick wooden ‘shoulder of lamb’ board from Emma Bridgewater as we LOVE a good Sunday Roast and lamb is our favourite. They also do a matching cookbook stand and egg holder which I had my heart set on and wanted to put on the list but couldn’t. To be honest, if I could have a whole list of Emma Bridgewater I would but I’m sure not all guests share my love of her things! I am dying to buy the old joy pattern platters and serving bowls for our Christmas dinner table but they are long discontinued (2012) so I need to have a hunt on eBay as opposed to putting these on our wish list unfortunately. We do have the Mr and Mrs mugs stored away ready for after the wedding, which I have also gifted to other brides and grooms because I think they’re so wonderful!
When compiling your gift list there are loads of aspects to consider;
- What do we need
- What do we want
- What is the price point
- Do people want to gift me some ceramic beads for blind baking????
It’s super hard to get a balance of price points and we did put a couple of higher ticket things on our wish list such as a lamp, le creuset pot and a blender. Our thought process being, we know that someone is not going to buy those expensive items but it will show people what we would put any vouchers towards! That way they know I’m not going to stock up on chocolate and wine.. Some companies also offer the bride and groom a discount if they wish to purchase any left over items on their list so it’s well worth putting extra things on that you want but don’t think people will necessarily buy!
After a floor and a half of this gigantic John Lewis, we stopped for a tea and cake break. It was lovely to be able to pause and think about everything. Callum got taken back to his childhood with a huge slice of Carrot Cake… Yum! Once the shopping resumed, we encountered Chinagate. Basically I really wanted to pick out a nice (traditional) set of Wedding China to save for special occasions. Callum on the other hand wanted a really on trend blue speckled stoneware set. In the end, we decided not to put either on due to logistics.. imaging ending up with half a set or breaking something which you then couldn’t replace! Instead we selected some table runners, napkins and napkin rings to dress up our current set. I also picked out some beautiful vases to encourage Callum to bring more flowers home for me. We put on some grown up things that we actually really need like chopping boards (plain plastic ones), baking trays, cake tins etc etc. VERY rock and roll obviously!
All in all it was a brilliant day where Callum and I spent some quality time together. A nice change from the usual Sunday Sainsbury’s shop, petrol run and laundry turnaround! We also came home with a couple of additional purchases, a comfy leather office chair for Callum (VERY grown up) and a new skiing outfit for me! It WAS my birthday on Monday so it was a gift to me from me (and Callum.) To use when we finally have money to go on skiing holidays again after the wedding has finishing taking it all..
#beansorgravy wedding countdown… 77 days!