Bride Debate: Should you ask for wedding gifts?

11 Nov 2019

Is a wedding gift list helpful for guests or impolite? Bride editors Amanda Griffiths (magazines) and Sarah Harris (digital) did it different ways

Image gallery

Image gallery

To gift or not to gift? That is the question faced by many couples when considering a gift list for their honeymoons. See how Bride's editors did it on their wedding days...

Amanda

Magazines editor Amanda Griffihs asked guests to contribute to a honeymoon fund when she married Andrew Woollacott in May 2015

“I’ve been to a lot of weddings over the years where, when I have asked friends what they would like as a gift, they say ‘nothing’ or ‘just give us money’ and in many cases I’ve ended up buying them ‘a little something’ they probably didn’t want, or need…

"While Andrew and I certainly didn’texpect our guests to cough up for our whole honeymoon, we were anxious to avoid getting lots of well-meaning gifts that would just sit in a cupboard for years doing nothing. So, when we sent out our invitations we included a line saying although we didn’t expect a gift (their presence on the day was all we needed), if they felt they would like to give us something, then please contribute to our honeymoon fund.

“While we did get a few presents to open, most of our guests were happy to contribute in this way and knew these contributions, no matter how small, would be appreciated as we had the honeymoon of a lifetime.

“A gift list or guide as to what any cash will be used for is always helpful – I hate giving money for birthdays or any occasion as I feel it lacks thought – but when I am asked for money for something specific it somehow makes it OK and takes the pressure off.”

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Above: Amanda and Andrew asked for contributions to their honeymoon as wedding gifts (Lisa Aldersley Photography)

Sarah 

Digital editor Sarah didn't have a gift list when she married Jon Harris in April 2019

“Jon and I felt very awkward about asking our guests for gifts for our wedding day, as we didn’t want to sound greedy. We had also bought our house three years previously, so didn’t need any homeware and we had paid off our honeymoon.

“After much discussion, we decided not to ask for anything. However, this spurred many guests to contact us and ask what we would like – which made us feel even more awkward.

“Guests do expect to give something and in contrast to our wishes, we were inundated with wedding gifts. The day after our wedding, when we opened all the presents and cards, we were overwhelmed by our guests’ generosity. Many of them had given us spending money for our honeymoon but we also received lovely keepsakes including picture frames, personalised prints and expensive glassware.

“My advice would be to give your guests an idea of what you would like or need. Gift lists are less traditional than they used to be and offer a great variety of homeware and experiences. Many gift list providers also offer a platform for guests to contribute towards a central honeymoon fund, which is particularly beneficial if you’d rather not carry too much cash on your travels.”

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Above: Sarah and Jon didn't have a gift list and felt awkward when guests contacted them asking for one (Nick Murray Photography)

What we agree on: It’s not wrong or greedy to have a gift list. Most guests will want to get you something, no matter how small, so take the pressure off them by giving them some ideas.

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