A wedding list provides newly-wed couples with the chance to start married life with the essentials as well as a few luxury items they might not afford themselves.
But getting the list right is vital if you are to truly appreciate the gifts you receive. These days the options are many and there's no need to stick to crockery and silverware.
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Here are a few ideas to help you plan your wedding list.
Finding the right balance is essential - your list should include a wide range of items at a wide range of prices. Think carefully about the items that will really make a difference, no matter how small or large, how cheap or expensive. Don't be tempted to ask for classic items, such as plates and silverware, unless you know they will get used.
It's also worth bearing in mind that, when it comes to homeware, your tastes may change so it's best not to include anything too outrageous that you're liable to want rid of in a year's time. Make sure that your list is a long one, not because you expect to receive everything on it, but because it allows your guests to choose from a wide variety.
Before you decide where you would like your wedding list, it's worth asking a few questions. You want to make life as easy as possible for your guests so check whether your chosen store can provide an online or telephone buying service. Some stores even offer gift vouchers to the happy couple so you might even get a few extra perks.
But it's equally important to be aware of any restrictions that may apply so ask about possible extra charges such as delivery. Your first port of call for a traditional list is most likely your local department store and many of these will offer a personal shopping assistant to help you with any questions.
Alternatively, it's possible to employ the services of more than one shop with a multi-store gift list. Both Presentwise and Marriagegiftlist.com give you the choice of a huge range of stores from which you can choose the gifts you would like.
Alternative gift lists
Of course, wedding lists these days are not restricted to traditional presents. There are a whole range of alternatives that offer couples the chance for a dream holiday, a big luxury item or even make a charity donation.
For example, at Bottom Drawer guests simply contribute money towards a gift fund. This is ideal for newly-weds who already live together and who may not need the day-to-day essentials but are saving for home improvement and the like. If travel is your thing, it's worth checking out the Trailfinders gift list service where guests spend their money on travel vouchers that can either contribute to your dream honeymoon or some future holiday of a lifetime.
And for the couple who has everything, why not consider a charity gift list. Charities such as Oxfam Unwrapped or companies such as The Alternative Wedding List offer a wide range of gifts that will improve the lives of those in need.