10 steps to getting wedding gifts you actually want by Georgie Evans of The Wedding Present Company.
Trust the experts to help
We host around 1500-2,000 gift lists a year. It’s a totally bespoke service that’s very personal with our advisors working one on one with you. We know the list has to work for you and for your guests. You’ll meet your dedicated advisor who will talk you through everything from start to finish, they’ll get a feel for your taste and your likes and what you need. You may already have a cupboard full of wine glasses but are they all a bit of a random mix? We’ll make personal suggestions on brands and products and help you curate the list.
Pick presents that grow with you
We see interiors trends come and go, but we also see the big ticket items like Kitchen Aids, Magi-mixes and Le Creuset cookware consistently topping couples’ lists. They’re iconic wedding presents for a reason – they serve you for life as your priorities change.
Include the big brands . . .
It’s the big electricals that are on track to be the top wedding gift list buys this year. After covid, people are spending so much time in their homes and investing in those items – the Sage coffee machine is one of our best sellers and the Ooni pizza oven is a real stand out for 2022. I have one and it’s so fun! They fold down into the size of an overnight bag.
But remember the niche ones too
We can source anything as long as we can buy it online in the UK. We work with over 450 suppliers – the big suppliers like OKA, The White Company and Soho Home all the way through to smaller niche brands like Wicklewood and Issy Granger. We love championing the smaller artisanal brands because that’s what will often make your wedding list unique to you. No one wants to go to a friend’s house and see all the same styling.
Consider what your guests want to spend
You really need a good range of gifts under £50, then £100-£150 and £200+. It’s about offering your guests enough choice to make them feel like they are in control of what they’re buying you. If you don’t offer enough choice and they don’t see something they like for you, they’re going to shop off list and buy you something you don’t necessarily want or need. The cost of the average wedding gift varies hugely but we say expect roughly £50 a head or £100 a couple. There will be people who spend a lot less and people who spend a lot more, but that sum tends to be the sweet spot. We offer a group gift option which means that guests can individually contribute an amount of their choosing to a gift. We often see big groups of friends clubbing together to buy a Sonos speaker system.
Keep guests informed
We show what has been purchased online because we think it’s important for guests to understand what the whole list looks like. If you come to the list very late and there’s only five forks left and two plates and a pillowcase, you need to can see what others have bought to understand that your purchase is completing a set. What we don’t reveal is who has bought what.
Decide what kind of shopper you are
We offer two types of list – a flexible and a fixed. With the former you put the list together, your guests buy from it but we won’t order anything until after your wedding so that you can chop and change the items as much as you like. It’s a great option if you have a change of heart or if people buy off list and you have doubles. It allows you to get really creative with your pot of money. As much as you might love the £80 porcelain bathroom bin, in hindsight the money might be better used completing your china set. What we promise you is that we will never tell your guests. We leave it up to you whether you confess or not. We give you what we call a ‘thank you manager’ which lists everything that guests think they bought you.
A fixed list is the more traditional option. As guests buy your gifts, we order them. The plus side is you tend to get them a little quicker, but it does mean you can’t change anything.
Remember it’s not all tea pots and towels!
We offer experiences too which essentially act as funds, a pot of money that guests can contribute towards – maybe for the honeymoon, an art fund or for furniture, wine or your chosen charity. But bear in mind it is really important to have a well-rounded list of options including products, experiences and funds, because not everyone feels comfortable contributing to a cash fund. It’s an odd psychology. Someone might not want to give £50 towards your honeymoon but will happily buy you a vase for the same amount.
Choose online, in person – or both!
Our showroom on the King’s Road is an Aladdin’s cave and a great place to start. When you come in, you’ll find it’s free flowing Nyetimber, the building is double storey and arranged much like the rooms of a house. You can get interactive with it and take glasses and plates off shelves, lay your table and have some fun with it. We offer appointments after work and all weekend if you need them. It is one of the most splendid bits of wedding planning. If you can’t get to the showroom, we also offer virtual appointments which were born out of lockdown but are just as special as being here in person. You’ll get a bespoke moodboard of present suggestions, then we follow up with a zoom call with lots more suggestions to share with you. Or you can simply set up the list online. People who think building a wedding list is a bit of a chore are often surprised how much fun it is.
Guests love a gift list as much as you do!
Please don’t think it’s grabby to have a list or that you are forcing people to buy you a present. In our experience, and we’ve been doing it for 25 years, guests love gift lists because it makes their life so much easier. They are buying you something you really want and need, with no worry about whether they are spending too much or too little and they don’t have to faff around taking a present to the wedding. If you’re a disorganised guest, you can buy a gift on the day of the wedding. We keep it open for another four weeks if needed, longer even if you’d like us to.
Interview by Jade Beer.
For more information and inspiration head over to The Wedding Present Company.