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The Friday Fight-out: Gift List Vs Guest Gifts

I have a confession to make: Buying someone a wedding gift completely fills me with dread. Buying something for one of my closest friends is sometimes ok, I at least may have an inkling of what they already have or what they might like or find useful, but then I know my family really rather well and I always struggle to buy them presents so even then it’s not always the case. Buying something for someone I don’t spend so much time with though feels like a complete waste as I feel like I’m bound to be buying something they don’t need or don’t want. This is where the wedding gift list comes in, suggesting items that you actually need as possible gifts is akin to providing a birthday wish list and surely avoids the issue… Unless everyone gets you the same thing, but isn’t that a bit like demanding that people give you something in exchange for their invite? The fact is that probably only Smarties have the answer, but we’ll take a shot at finding it as we begin THE FRIDAY FIGHT-OUT!


Gift List vs Guest Gift

In the Red corner, she enjoys little more than watching Matt struggle desperately to find a present for her and loves being all smug when she’s already found something great for him, fitting for the guest’s own gift ideas it’s Dom “The Tog” Bride

In the Blue corner, praying quietly for people to tell him what to get them and fighting avidly for the gift list (despite never providing present lists himself to help his family find him something) it’s Matt “The Gormless” Groom


Dom: When people have made the effort to come to your wedding (which may be a long distance away or possibly even abroad) giving gift hints MIGHT inadvertently seem a little rude. They are more likely to feel that they HAVE to get you something when they may have already spent lots of money getting there, booking accommodation etc. surely that’s enough and it should be their choice if they WANT to give you something.

Matt: Giving a gift at a wedding is the done thing and has become the generally accepted norm. Guests generally already feel they have to get something so why not at least make it easy for them! Better they get you something useful rather than spending their hard earns cash on something you’ll hate.

Dom: but if there’s a list people feel like they have to only get things that are on it which might well be too expensive for them. With the freedom to pick anything they might be able to find something really personal to you that might be much cheaper or even handmade. Ose re often much more special gifts.

Matt: but for those that can’t think of a special gift like that you’re left with no ideas. With more couples living together pre-marriage now lots of the traditional gifts have become redundant – for example we don’t need anything for our kitchen (a traditional melting pot of wedding gifts) but might want some accessories for other rooms in our new house which are equally priced.

Dom: I think people now recognise that to be the case though and if they don’t have a special gift to give it’s very acceptable at a wedding for guests just to give a small amount of money or maybe a gift voucher if they feel they want to contribute. The money might be the most useful gift but it’s not exactly something you can ask for owing out sounding like they’re buying tickets to the wedding!

Matt: perhaps you can’t ask directly for money but I’ve seen some great schemes where, for example, the guests can go online and contribute to your honeymoon fund. This can even be an anonymous amount so the bride and groom know you’ve contributed but not how much. The guests feel good and you get your honeymoon paid for…win win!!

Dom: What if everyone buys exactly the same item off the list? It’s not like Christmas or birthdays where the main gift givers are likely to all know one another and can coordinate who gives what, many of your wedding guests will never have met and will have no idea what anyone else is giving!

Matt: you can always give a slightly different list out to different guests to try to ensure they don’t all get the same thing, and not everyone will get things off the list, if they’re anything like me then at least some of the guests will have lost the invite 10 seconds after receiving it and have to improvise anyway!

Dom: Not everyone’s as Gormless on the wedding front as you Matt!

Matt: Thanks dear


Dom: Putting in a list makes people feel they have to get something whether that’s your intention or not. Leaving it to them alleviates the need to get something and allows them to think outside the box and get something they think you’ll like which is far more special, they are the people closest to you after all!

Matt: People tend to feel worse if they haven’t got you anything and everyone else has, giving a list at least gives some direction in this regard. It is more likely to result in getting things you actually need rather than a dozen picture frames you might not even like and end up only bringing out when you invite that particular guest round for dinner! Schemes like honeymoon contributions are also a brilliant way to enable you to enjoy your time together more than you would have been able to.

So what do you think? Should you provide a gift list in the invite or leave it entirely to your guests to decide? We’d love to hear your thoughts so leave any comments below!

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