When you and your partner announce your engagement, you’ll likely be flooded with well-wishes, cards and maybe even small gifts from your family members. Any celebration of love is always a big deal, and friends and relatives want to show the happy couple their love and support.
But cards and well-wishes may be one thing, but some couples feel uneasy accepting gifts from supportive friends and family members. It may be that the couple has been living together for some time, and they accumulated many of their household goods — the staple of any gift list. Some couples also feel uncomfortable accepting gifts and would rather support a good cause. Others want to focus less on material items and more on raising money for a down payment on a home — or for that amazing dream honeymoon
If this sounds like you and your partner, you’re not alone, but it doesn’t mean that you should forgo the gift list altogether. In fact, today’s couples have more options than ever when it comes to building a gift list that fits all of their needs and still satisfies guests. Thanks to the internet, you can ask for the exact gifts you want and make it easy for guests to find your gift list and choose gifts.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to add a gift list to your wedding that feels authentically you and asks for exactly what you want.
Think about your needs for your gift list
Times have changed since your parents and grandparents got married. Even 20 years ago, it was less common for couples to live together before getting married, so when a couple did finally get engaged, they had to start from scratch and build up their homes.
Now that’s less common. According to the most recent stats from the Office of National Statistics, about 60% of the population in the United Kingdom lives as a couple with the majority being married, but about one in five couples were cohabiting, which means living together but not married. Younger people are driving this trend. More than two-thirds of people ages 16 to 29 were cohabiting.
These numbers show that gift lists need to evolve and change to keep up with today’s couples, who are more likely to be living together before getting engaged. But this also means that many wedding guests will expect to find variations on the traditional gift list, and there’s a good chance they’ve already been to a wedding where the couple’s gift list looked very different from those of 20 years ago.
So what should you consider when thinking about your gift list? Here are a few good questions to ask yourself.
What objective do my partner and I want to accomplish with a gift list more than anything?
Your primary objective for your gift list should reflect what the two of you really want for the immediate or very near future. You don’t need to choose a lofty objective like solve world hunger or cure cancer, but you should focus on what your next moves might be after the wedding. Some popular objectives include:
- We want to take our dream honeymoon to a fantastic destination.
- We want to finally buy our own home.
- We want to start a family right away.
- We want to furnish our dream home.
All of these objectives are achievable with a modern gift list, but how your gift list looks will vary depending on what you and your partner want to do.
What, if any, household goods do we need or want?
You and your partner may have lived together before getting engaged, but that doesn’t mean you have all of the household items that you need or want.
You might still be using some of the hand-me-down or second-hand home goods you bought or received when you started uni, or because you were fresh out of school, you bought some cheaper household goods with the intention of replacing them with something of better quality some years down the line. Or maybe there are a few upgrades you want to make, such as a nicer coffee machine or a better vacuum cleaner.
If you have some of these items in mind, hold onto them. Even if you don’t do a traditional gift list through a department store, you can still ask for these items.
What principles are important to us?
When they get engaged, some couples feel like they already have it all. They might be well-established in their careers, or they might have started a family first and bought a home. Couples who meet later in life and have combined their households already may be scratching their heads, thinking of what they want on their gift list.
You might think of your wedding as an opportunity for giving back. Maybe you lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease and want to raise money to help find a cure. Or maybe you and your partner love to hike, canoe and enjoy the outdoors and you want to support local conservation efforts in your area.
You and your partner might also be passionate about the environment and how you can minimise your carbon footprint. As you plan an eco-friendly wedding, you might be opting for washingabout dishware and flatware for the reception instead of disposable options or hiring a local catering company that specialises in using ingredients from nearby farms and specialty shops.
As you’re thinking about your gift list, keep these principles in mind. You can incorporate them into your gift list.
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Research your gift list options
Now that you know what you want to accomplish with your gift list and what’s most important to you as a couple, it’s time to start researching the different gift list options. You’re no longer limited to just department store gift lists. Nowadays, you can create gift lists to match your exact needs.
Here are a few of the most popular gift lists for weddings:
- Honeymoon gift list: Instead of asking for guests to help you fill your home, why not ask them to help you fill your honeymoon with amazing experiences? A honeymoon gift list like one from Hitchd functions just like a traditional gift list, except the items on the list include “airfare,” “biking tour” and “accommodations.” Guests can treat you to dinner or buy you a round of drinks as a gift. This option is more eco-friendly, since there’s nothing to unwrap or unnecessary packing materials, and you and your partner can experience the honeymoon you’ve always wanted.
- House down payment cash fund: Renting can be nice for a while, but if you and your partner are ready to take on your own home, then raising money for a downpayment may be most important to you right now. A down payment cash fund operates like a money pool: Guests can contribute as much or as little as they’d like and all the money goes towards that one cause (a down payment in this case). Many Hitchd users add links to homes they’re interested in or photos from Pinterest to show wedding guests what their dream home might look like.
- Traditional gift lists: It is an option, so it needs to be mentioned here. You can always go to a traditional department store and create a gift list if you and your partner really do need goods for your home. But going to a department store does limit you to what’s available there. To give themselves more options, some Hitchd users have been building their own traditional gift lists using our platform. This allows them to ask for goods from any store. Instead of buying the gift, the guest just sends the couple money through Hitchd, which means the couple can do the buying themselves and get the best deal available.
- Hybrid gift lists: Like many couples today, you might need to upgrade a few of your home goods (wouldn’t you love a set of soft, organic cotton sheets?), but you also want to take the dream honeymoon. With Hitchd, you can build your own hybrid gift list that includes a few home goods items along with your honeymoon gifts. This gives wedding guests plenty of options. If they prefer to give physical gifts, they can do so, but if they’d rather treat you to a nice dinner or a fun activity on your honeymoon, they can do that as well.
- Charity cash fund: If you want to give back for your wedding, a charity cash fund gets all of your wedding guests involved. Like the down payment cash fund, guests can give any amount they wish, and all of the money will go towards whatever group you and your partner choose. Make sure that you choose a reputable charity or one you’ve personally worked with, and when you’re writing your introduction on Hitchd, tell your guests which day you will make the donation. This holds you accountable, so guests don’t think you’ve taken the money and run off with it. When you do make the donation, screenshot the donation page and email it to everyone who contributed (Hitchd keeps track of everyone’s contact information to make this easier). It will prove you followed through with your donation. Not only is this a worthwhile cause, but it’s also good for the environment.
- Furniture or baby gift list: If you already have a home and need to fill it or plan to start a family immediately, then you can transform your gift list into one for furniture or a baby. The process would work the same if you were building a traditional gift list for home goods with Hitchd, but now you would include furniture or baby items. For furniture, which can be quite expensive, you can break down the cost into smaller amounts so more people can contribute and no one needs to feel expected to give an extravagant gift that is out of their price range.
All of these gift list options can be added to your wedding. You can include a link to your gift list of your invitations and save the dates to make it easy for guests to find you. With Hitchd, you can also send out e-invites, which will include the link as well.
Build your ideal gift list
Once you’ve chosen the gift list that best suits your needs, it’s time to start building it.
Each gift list platform functions a little differently, but if you’re using Hitchd, here are a few important factors to keep in mind.
Start building your gift list about three to six months before the big day
Our research shows that most couples receive the majority of their gifts about three days before the wedding, so there’s no need to build your gift list until you’re closer to the big day. Of course, wedding planning can get overwhelming, so if you know you’re going to be slammed three months before the wedding, it’s okay to take some time before you get busy to build your gift list.
Set aside some time to build a gift list
You can spend as much or as little time as you’d like building your gift list, but plan to spend at least an hour writing your introduction, adding gifts and finalising your account.
Setting up a gift list can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re in the middle of wedding planning, but we at Hitchd have created this handy guide to walk you through the gift list building process. Building your gift list may also help you focus on your honeymoon instead of the wedding and start thinking seriously about where you want to do and what you want to do.
Hitchd also has gift templates to make the process go a little faster and smoother for users. If you can’t think of gifts to add or what to say, our templates will give you new ideas and provide text for each gift that can always be amended or used as is. With our templates, your registry will be ready to go in a matter of minutes.
Gratitude should always be at the center of your gift list, no matter which platform you choose. Your guests want to feel appreciated, respected and acknowledged on your gift list, especially one where they’ll mostly be giving cash.
Your introduction should thank all guests for coming to the wedding, and each gift you add should also thank guests. If you’re at a loss for what to write, Hitchd has samples you can choose from or you can check out our guide on what to write on your wedding site.
A gift list is an important part of every wedding, and nowadays, couples feel empowered to build gift lists that match their needs. Before you get started, talk with your partner about what would feel most meaningful to you as a wedding gift. Then start researching gift lists that uphold that meaningfulness.
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