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Gift etiquette: top tips from Denby

group of gifts on a table, from Denby homewares, blue plates and mugs As many couples can finally get married after two years of disruptions, wedding planning is once again underway. If you and your partner are unsure about how to make a registry or ask for contributions to the honeymoon fund, Carole Robinson — Head of Retail at Denby — has shared some top tips and gift etiquette to help your day run smoothly.

When it comes to wedding planning, some tasks can be more enjoyable than others: while you may not get too excited about picking out the colour of your napkins, making a gift registry with your partner is more fun! However, as with most big celebrations, there's always an element of etiquette and expectation that surrounds wedding gifts. Read on for our top tips on making the ideal wedding list for you and your partner.

Choosing the right gifts
If you want to keep up the more traditional mode of gift-giving, the first step is to create a wedding gift registry. You can register at one shop if you and your partner particularly love their products, but if you'd prefer items from a range of different brands, then online registries can now compile a list of gifts that's easily accessible to you and your guests. Aim to compile your registry around three to six months in advance, so that your guests have plenty of time to buy their gifts and aren't waiting for last minute orders to arrive before the big day.

When it comes to gifts, remember that you don't have to put classic wedding items down on your registry just to keep up with convention. They should be things that both of you will treasure for years to come, rather than just being a nice gesture to unwrap on the day. So, even if they feel a little more unconventional, what matters is choosing things that mean the most to you. For example, you and your partner may already live together and therefore have plenty of shared homeware, so instead you might ask for sports equipment or travelling gear for your next adventure together. However, don't forget that your registry is still a great opportunity to finally get that piece of luxury kitchenware you've had your eye on: while a coffee dripper might not be an essential item that you would buy yourself, it can be the start of a new Sunday morning ritual in your new lives together.

If you do want to refresh your home with new décor and appliances, then work together to compile a list of your favourite staple items. When presented as a wedding gift, statement ceramics or a vase can become sentimental items that always reminds you of the giver, which is one thing that monetary gifts just can't do.

Without choosing overly extravagant products that will cost your guests, try to ask for high-quality homeware that is versatile, timeless, and built to last: particularly if you're moving into a new place as a married couple, you'll want to start your domestic bliss with the right things. It's also wise to stick to a loose colour palette while picking out new items, so that they don't clash with your existing interiors. Similarly, aim for pieces that are sophisticated and beautifully made but can also be used every day, to avoid the tradition of saving your wedding dinner set 'for best'.

white cooking pot and blue plates and mugs on a gift table Asking (politely!) for money
Rather than write a gift registry, some brides and grooms ask their guests for financial contributions. In fact, over 50% of UK couples reported asking for money at their wedding to contribute to a new house, a honeymoon fund, or home renovations (Brandon Gaille).You may feel uncomfortable or slightly presumptuous asking for cash gifts (especially if you were born with British stiff-upper-lip sensibilities!), but weddings are notoriously expensive, and your closest friends and family will understand why you're asking for a little help.

Some couples decide to make a wedding website, which they fill with key times and details ahead of the big day. Often this includes an FAQ section, and this is where you might add information about gifts. Making your announcement about cash gifts through this question-and-answer format (even if you've written them yourselves) can feel less blunt or forthright than asking for monetary contributions on your invitations, or even in person.

On the other hand, if you word your invitations well and know your guests won't take offence, you can always lean into the idea of a honeymoon or house fund more openly. For instance, there tends to be a gift table next to the entrance of the venue, but you could replace this with a customised miniature post-box where they can put their cash gifts. If you're planning an exciting honeymoon, you could decorate this to look like a vintage suitcase covered in travel stamps from around the world. Or, if it's a new home you're saving for, this box could resemble a house with the happy couple's initials painted above the door.

Simply announce on the invitations that you're lucky enough to have all the furniture or appliances you need, but you would greatly appreciate any contribution — no matter how small — towards this next step in your new lives together.

Sending thank you notes
Another way of using your wedding website is to show your guests what their contributions made possible. As well as sending out personalised, individual thank you notes after the big day, make an announcement either on your website or on your social media accounts with pictures of the honeymoon or new house you could buy thanks to them. This way, your guests can see how they helped to kickstart your married lives together, by contributing towards major milestones that you'll remember forever. Similarly, for any household gift you receive, be sure to send the giver a photo of it in pride of place or getting used at home as part of your daily routine. Think of it as a modern-day take on thank you notes!

Whether you create a traditional registry or ask for donations to the honeymoon fund, your wedding gifts should best reflect you as a couple. If you're in the process of planning your big day, be sure to check out our bridal fashion, beauty, and honeymoon inspiration here at County Wedding Magazines.

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