The origin of wedding gifts
The ancient tradition of buying the bride and groom gifts is thought to originate from the days when a ‘dowry’ was paid by the bride’s father to his future son-in-law and family. If the bride’s father was not wealthy enough to provide an adequate dowry friends and family would help out by contributing either money or gifts. When the custom of paying a dowry died out, the practice of buying gifts continued as a way of helping the couple to set up home.
Enclosing your wedding list with your invitations
If your guests wish to buy you a gift, they will make contact with the hosts or yourselves and ask for your wedding list or for a specific item they can buy you. It is an extremely well known and established nuptial nicety that those attending your wedding will make a contribution to your future marital comfort – your guests will not need to be reminded of this! Appearing to ask for a gift will cause offence to some if not many of your guests, particularly older relatives and friends.
Asking for money or vouchers
If you and your partner have been living together for some time and have acquired everything you need for your home, why not make up an imaginative wedding list comprising of life’s luxuries, ranging from the finest bone china to exclusive bed linen; items that you have always desired but have never been able to treat yourself to.
Asking for money or vouchers is now considered more acceptable, and you may want to do this if you plan to donate the money your guests would have spent on a gift to a charity.
When to prepare your wedding list
You should have your wedding list ready by the time your wedding invitations are sent out. Therefore, when your guests contact you (or the hosts) requesting your list, it is available for posting out. You should allow at least one month to compile your wedding list, to allow for several visits to one or more stores.
Delivery of gifts
If you have your wedding list with a shop or store, you should establish from them exactly what happens when someone buys you a gift. If the store allows online or telephone orders to be placed, they will usually have a delivery service. But check to see if your gifts are held and delivered to you after your wedding as they are ordered. If the latter applies, you need to have them delivered to an address where someone is in during the day.
If the store does not provide a delivery service your guests will take the gift away with them after making a purchase. Consequently, the gift will either be delivered to you before your wedding day or brought to your wedding. Furthermore, since it is inevitable that some gifts will be brought to your wedding, you should arrange for a suitable and secure storage area at your reception venue.
It is traditional for the chief bridesmaid to ensure that cards are not separated from gifts so a roll of sticky tape should be on hand.
Thank you letters
Please click here to read our separate article about how and when to write thank you letters. The article also includes several example thank you letters to help get you started.
Protecting your gifts
You will probably be surprised by the total value of all the wedding gifts you may receive. It would be sensible therefore to check your home contents insurance policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover in the event that they are damaged or stolen.
However, you may find that although your gifts are covered if they are kept in your own home, they may not be covered if they are damaged or stolen while they are somewhere else, such as your reception venue or another family member’s home. It would be wise therefore to consider taking out a wedding insurance policy to protect your gifts where your household contents policy does not provide adequate cover.