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Tielle's Guide to Wedding Gift List Etiquette

Thinking of guest-funding your honeymoon? Not sure how much to spend on the bride and groom? With more couples choosing to live together before marriage, today’s newlyweds are more likely to ask for a smart speaker than another cutlery set. Here’s how to avoid those all too common gift list and gift buying faux pas.

For the couple

When should you compile the gift list?

Aim to get your gift list ready for when the invitations go out (usually six to eight weeks before the wedding), but avoid creating it more than ten weeks before the big day. Items are more likely to become discontinued or go out of stock if you make the list too early.

Should you include the gift list in the invitation?

Many couples create a wedding website for guests with all the big day details. Including a link to the site on the invitation is a softer way to introduce the gift list than in the invitation itself. You want guests to feel their presence matters more than the gifts.

How many gifts should you add to the list?

Don’t be afraid to think ‘big’. People like plenty of choice so pick items that accommodate all budgets and if adding dinnerware, include extras in case some chip or break. When adding higher value gifts, consider adding a message saying you’d appreciate cash towards it, rather than expecting someone to fork out the full amount.

Is it cheeky to ask for cash?

No. It’s perfectly OK to ask for money rather than a traditional wedding gift. Just make it clear what the money will go towards, whether it’s a honeymoon, a once-in-a-lifetime experience or, in Harry and Meghan fashion, a charity or charities of your choice.

When should you thank guests?

Whether or not you love the gift or gift giver, thank you notes are a must. Send a physical or digital card to everyone that came to your wedding within three months, and mention the specifics of any gift. Avoid offending guests by getting the thank you card wording right

For the guests

Do you have to give a gift?

Attending a wedding can be a costly affair, especially when travel and hotel stays are involved. While you may have spent a small fortune simply attending the big day, it’s still considered polite to give a gift, however small. Simple gifts sometimes mean the most.

How much should you spend?

It’s the million dollar (pun intended) question with no definitive answer. While the ‘cover your plate’ wedding gift rule is long dead, the general advice now is to spend what you can afford and is appropriate to your relationship to the couple.

Can guests club together?

Yes. It makes perfect sense to club together and split the bill on larger items. Bill splitting apps can make it easier to collect money for group gifts.

Do you have to stick to the list?

While lists may take the fun out of buying a gift, it does mean you’ll buy a gift they like. That said, going ‘off list’ can bring joy to both parties if you get the gift right. Culture vouchers, a gift experience or a personalised keepsake can offer far more pleasure than a fancy set of salad spoons.

What about a card?

Few gifts survive the passage of time. A wedding card, however, is often kept for life. A handwritten note on a thoughtfully selected card is a great way to mark this special milestone, whether you intend to buy a gift or not.

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