Negotiating the Matrimonial Minefield of Wedding Gifts

Kettles, toasters, and chinaware – when our parents got married it was the norm to gift household items to help the bride and groom build their new home together. But times have changed. The majority of modern grooms don’t carry their brides over the threshold of a home they’ve never shared before. Out of the ashes of premarital cohabitation has arisen a new culture of giving, and with it, a whole new way of requesting wedding gifts.

The Art of Asking
When an invitation pops through your door you’re likely to find one of two things with your invite – details of a specific gift list from a high street store, or a whimsically polite poem asking for gifts of money towards a honeymoon.

Whilst some people find the asking of specific gifts a little uncomfortable, there is merit in being so upfront. It gives guests a pointer in what to buy and they’ll be safe in the knowledge that their gift is wanted and won’t be left gathering dust on a shelf somewhere after the wedding. 

It can, however, put undue pressure on guests if they can’t afford any of the items on the list (or similarly don’t want to gift any of the items on the list), and that’s where the merit of asking for a nice and simple sum of money can come in handy. People give what they can afford and the couple can buy something they actually need or want.

In for a Penny, in for a Pound
If asking for specific gifts still causes you consternation, do what makes you feel comfortable, even if that means not asking for anything and letting your family and friends decide what they would like to give you. In years to come it won’t be their wedding gifts you’ll remember, but their sharing of your big day. In the slightly amended words of medieval historian, Thomas á Kempis, ‘a wise bride values not so much the gift of the giver, as the love of the giver.’ 

Main Image: Ivan Kruk /

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