Why you should ignore the wedding list (& what to buy if you decide to go off-piste)

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  • Tear up the wedding gift list rule book and buy something the bride and groom will *really* enjoy (we promise)

    You’ve been invited to another wedding. Yippee. But hold on, it’s in Cornwall. Oh well, let’s book a hotel. For two nights. Oh, and it’s on a Thursday. OK, we’ll book the time off work. And look into train times. The costs are really starting to add up now. Right, what’s on the gift list? You want an envelope of cash?!

    Hold on a minute…

    Weddings are super occasions. It’s always wonderful to spend a day celebrating love. And having a wine (or seven) before dancing with a few loved ones and a whole lot of people you’ll never see again.

    But, in a statement that will surprise (roughly) no-one: they sure are expensive.

    Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the present-buying part of any occasion – and I would never want to turn up at a wedding without a gift for the couple (I know from personal experience that the next-day gift opening is all that keeps you from a serious post-wedding-blues crash). But when it comes to the wedding list, I’m a firm believer that you should tear up the rule book.

    I’ve spent time and money coming along to celebrate your relationship, travelled (possibly for miles), arranged childcare (hopefully) and worn something non-white and wedding-appropriate. And dammit, I’ll buy you a hand painted fruit bowl or a ceramic oyster plate if I want to.

    Let’s face it, we’ve all the seen the cheeky poem with their invite to the effect of ‘this is costing us a bomb, so please give us some cash, or we’ll be in debt forever’, and that’s fine – but I say leave the money-giving option to family and give a gift that the couple will associate with you and their wedding every time they use it. Chances are they already have a lot of glass wear, but do they own two Morrocan mint tea glasses that they’ll use for an evening tipple in a year’s time and think fondly of you swinging their grandma round on the dancefloor to Come On Eileen?

    Almost certainly not.

    And they’ve probably got an old milk bottle they use to water plants. Why not upgrade them to a Haws Heritage Watering Can that they never would have bought themselves but will love using every Sunday when they give that wilting orchid a splash of H2O?

    So say no to cash in an envelope. Disregard the gift list. Throw out the ‘honeymoon fund’ account number. Celebrate your friends’ wedding in style and pick an individual, personal present for whatever budget you can afford. In a year’s time they’ll probably still be strapped for cash whether or not you gift them with £50. But the memories of their wedding day will have started to fade, and they’ll be grateful for every little reminder you can give them.

    Here are five alt-wedding gift ideas to get you started…

    Haws Watering Can, £39.99

    Personalised Wooden Chopping Board, £25

    The Cutlery Commission Silver-Plated Love One Another Cake Slice, £34.95

    ROBERTS Revival Mini DAB/FM Digital Radio, £139.95

    Anthropologie Majorcan Garden Pitcher, £78

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