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What to know about using a gift list for your wedding

Isuru, Co-Founder of Hitchd
Isuru from Hitchd
Apr 4, 20217 min read

If you've been to a friend or relative's wedding in the last few years, then you've probably noticed that gift lists are no longer confined to just household items. Engaged couples are now coming up with all sorts of new ways to ask for exactly the types of gifts that they want.

It's not that the gift list has gone out of style. It's just evolved into something new and better. Now a gift list can help you and your partner pay for the ultimate honeymoon or save for a down payment on a house of your own.

Now sure how to get started with a gift list? Wondering where to begin? Here's everything you need to know about today's gift list options and how to pick one that works best for you and your partner.

Popular types of gift lists

When your parents got married, they likely had one option: sign up for a gift list at a department store or hope that everyone drops some cash in the card box. That's no longer the case, thanks to the rise of the internet. Now that so much more can be done online, engaged couples have more options available to them when planning a gift list for their wedding.

Here are a few popular gift lists and how they work.

Traditional gift lists

Probably the one you're most familiar with, the traditional gift list includes a number of items, usually for the home, that couples would like in order to start their lives together. For couples that are moving in together after the wedding, the gift list helps them ask for everyday home goods, such as sheets, towels, small appliances, and cleaning supplies. Couples that have been living together for some time also use gift lists to replace some older items, such as a blender or toaster or upgrade their current good, such as organic cotton sheets and towels.

Department and specialty stores often host their own gift lists, which can be limiting for some couples. If the store doesn't carry the item you need, then you can't add it to your gift list. Some stores don't offer a good mix of price points, which could shut out some of your guests who can't afford to purchase a £150 gift.

Honeymoon gift lists

The honeymoon gift list or honeymoon fund has grown in popularity over the years. It functions just like a traditional gift list, except that the gifts are actually honeymoon experiences such as dinners, hotel accommodations, and excursions.

For couples paying for their own wedding, honeymoon gift lists have become a lifesaver. So many couples end up spending more money on their wedding than they planned — after all, there's always a last-minute pair of shoes or matching tie needed for the big day — and by the time it's time to start booking hotels and flights, there's little money left to spend. That leaves you and your fiance scrambling to pay for the honeymoon of your dreams.

Couples who are already living together also prefer the honeymoon gift list to the more traditional registries. They already have their sheet sets and nice towels because they're more established in their careers and they're making more money. What they really want is to go on the trip of a lifetime.

Honeymoon gift list websites, like Hitchd, let couples build their own dream gift lists.

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Cash funds

As any wedding planner will tell you, it's rude to ask your wedding guests for just cash as a gift. Although it's the one gift that just about every couple needs, it's also the trickiest to navigate as a wedding gift. This is because guests like to feel like they have options with gifts and that whatever gift they give is truly appreciated. It's easy to see a toaster being appreciated. It's harder to see what happened to the check after it was cashed.

A cash fund helps ease this problem. It's an online fund that allows guests to contribute whatever amount they would like, and the money is then used for a special cause outlined by the couple. You might choose to do a house fund and ask guests to help you and your partner save for a down payment. If you want to start a family soon, you might have a baby fund to help pay for diapers and furniture.

Unlike other honeymoon gift list sites, Hitchd can also host cash funds. When you create a new gift for your list, you'll have the option to select ‘cash fund.' Just add in your own details about the fund and you're all set.

Charity gift lists

Some couples already have love — and that's enough for them. If you and your partner want to share your love and help others at the same time, then consider a charity gift list.

A charity gift list can be a cash fund to be donated after the wedding. Instead of bringing a gift, guests simply donate cash, any amount they'd like, in a card or online using Hitchd. Most couples pick a non-profit that represents a cause close to them, such as cancer or environmentalism. You might also pick a local charity that does good in your community.

You can also do a charity gift list and ask for items to be donated to a local shelter. Homeless and pet shelters are always in need of supplies. Contact one in your area and ask for a list of needed items. Then create a charity gift list using Hitchd and list the items. Wedding guests can choose as many items as they'd like to donate.

Hybrid gift lists

If you're like other couples out there, then you might not fit completely into one of the above categories. Sure, you and your partner live together, but your home could use some upgrades. At the same time, however, you'd still like to take a nice honeymoon together.

Why not take the best of both worlds? Couples today are creating two small gift lists — one traditional and one honeymoon — to meet both of their needs. The traditional gift list usually has a small number of items for those guests who like to give physical gifts. The other registry is designed to help pay for the honeymoon.

The great thing about Hitchd is that it can serve as a traditional and honeymoon gift list all in one. Couples can add physical items to their list, and when a guest choses one, the money goes to you. This allows you to make the purchase, which means you could actually find a better price or get other perks. At the same time, you can also list honeymoon items, such as a snorkeling trip or two tickets to the theater.

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How to choose the gift list that's right for you and your partner

Every engaged couple is different, and you and your partner are no different. While you might think that a traditional gift list is a way to go, you might find that, after talking it out with your partner, you would actually benefit more from a cash fund or a honeymoon gift list.

If you and your partner are still discussing how to choose the right gift list for your wedding, here are some tips to help you think through your decision.

Consider your immediate and short-term needs

When you're engaged and planning a wedding, it's hard to think of anything you'll need past the wedding date. You're so focused on that one day, and you don't even have time to think about where you might be a month or even six months after you're married.

This is an excellent opportunity to talk with your partner about your immediate and short-term needs and to best position your gift list to help you. For example, you and your partner might be saving to buy a home that's bigger than your current living space, but that won't be for at least another year. You might think a traditional gift list would better prepare you for buying that home, but what will you do with all those gifts that you don't have room for right now? Maybe it would make more sense to create a home-buying cash fund to help raise money or a honeymoon gift list. If your guests help you pay for your honeymoon, then you can put the money you would've spent on it towards your down payment.

Some couples need to replace or upgrade a few items, such as their vacuum or stand mixer, but they'd really rather go on a dream honeymoon instead of receiving plates, silverware, and dish towels. If that's you, then a hybrid gift list would work best. With Hitchd, you can mix physical gifts with experience gifts to create a list that meets all of your needs.

Sometimes, we think we know exactly what we want until we talk it out with our partners. Have a conversation about what you want to do in the next few years and use your gift list to position you for success.

Assess your wedding budget

As any wedding planner or married person will tell you, a wedding budget can spiral out of control very quickly, and it's not always because a person is careless with money.

Many couples budget for the big expenses — the venue, the caterer, and the music — but little expenses that crop up in the months leading up to the big day can set your budget back. Wedding dress alterations, flowers, and last-minute accessories and decorations can add up quickly, right as you and your partner are trying to plan your honeymoon.

When planning your gift list, take a good, hard look at your wedding budget and measure it against your honeymoon plans. Can you afford your big-ticket items, such as airfare and accommodations? What about meals? Will you be stuck inside your hotel the whole time because you can't afford to sightsee? If you think you might be low on cash by the time you start booking flights (usually about two months away from the honeymoon), then using a honeymoon gift list will help cover those costs.

Even couples having small weddings or receiving help from their parents have a hard time saving for their honeymoon. Be clear-eyed when looking at your budget, and you'll likely be able to have both a dream wedding and honeymoon.

Research any gift list fees

Many online gift lists charge couples a fee for their services in order to make money. All sites use different structures for their fees, so it's in your best interest to do your research before settling on a gift list site.

Fee structures vary, but they usually involve some combination of:

  • One-time fee paid by the couple when they sign up.
  • Transaction fees paid by the guests when they purchase a gift through the site.
  • Bank withdrawal fees.
  • Early withdrawal fees (some sites won't let you access your money until after the wedding).

Right now, Hitchd offers a low transaction fee of just 1.4% plus 20p for guests. All couples need to do is pay the one-time fee, and they can take money out when they need it and list as many gifts as they'd like.

Now, most gift lists run by department and specialty stores will be free to use, but they do come with limits. In terms of items, you're limited to whatever selection the store carries. If they don't sell a particular brand or item, then you can't list it on your gift list. You also can't ask for honeymoon experiences as gifts.

Gifts lists haven't gone out of style for weddings, but they have evolved and changed over the years. Nowadays, couples have more options than ever, and they can use their gift list, however, suits them best.

With Hitchd, the possibilities and options are endless. Get started here and learn more about how Hitchd can deliver the ultimate gift list for your wedding.

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