The Ultimate Wedding Gift Guide

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It’s wedding season once again, which means not only fussing about your outfit but also worrying what gift to get the newly married couple. Whereas some couples compile a wedding list, making buying a gift relatively simple, many others opt for the element of surprise.

In fact, statistics uncovered by a First Direct Survey show that 22 per cent of couples register an official wedding list. One fifth of couples want the guest to choose a gift while 19 per cent decide they would prefer not to receive a gift at all.

For those people who are attending a wedding with no specified gift list, it can be a difficult process, as many couples tend to live together before they are married. We have compiled a gift guide to help you make your decision.

GOOD GIFT GUIDE

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The first question to ask is what constitutes a great gift? Consider their individual personalities, hobbies and what you think they would really appreciate.

Talk to the bride and groom about what they want out of their wedding gifts. This will give you some pointers as to what practical homewares and gifts, if any, they would like. A good idea for acquaintances, family or colleagues is something that combines practicality with a special sentiment, such as a gift that can be used but maybe only for special occasions.

Think outside of the box and go for an exciting or unusual present, or simply something that will help them remember their big day such as a coffee subscription, wine tasting course or an instant digital camera so they can capture special moments. This then saves you from the dreaded situation of giving a duplicate present!

Your in-depth knowledge of a close relative or best friend should help get those creative juices flowing. A good tip is to be personal and to go the extra mile, such as picking a gift that references a particular event or time in your life. Photo albums, jewellery or a course for something they have always wanted to learn, are sure to get you extra brownie points.

If in doubt, giving a gift voucher to use at their favourite restaurant or to buy some much needed home furnishing will always go down well. Food and drink gifts are also a popular wedding gift choice - even a luxury hamper or a great bottle of champagne!

THE CASH QUESTION

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Research shows that 35 per cent of engaged couples ask for cash instead of traditional wedding presents. However, this presents a whole new dilemma - how much do you give?

People spend an average of £47 on a wedding gift. Under 24-year-olds are the most generous, spending an average of £48, followed by the over 55s, who spend £56, and then 35 to 54-year-olds, who spend around £39. This means that you may want to give a similar amount in the form of cash, although some wedding experts say that you should give more than this if you choose to use money as a gift for someone close to you.

Anja Winika, site director for wedding planning website The Knot, says the amount you give should be dependent on the relationship you have with the bride. She recommends giving between £45 and £60 to a distant relative, friend or co-worker, between £60 and £75 for an average friend or relations, and at least £60 to £90 for a close friend or relative. You may also want to give a larger gift if you are taking a guest with you to the wedding. Conversely, it is acceptable to give less if you have spent a lot of money already on just attending the wedding.

Instead of asking for cash or a cheque, come couples nowadays will set up special accounts at stores, such as Selfridges Celebration service, which allows people to pay in money which can then be spent by the couple.

HANDING OVER YOUR GIFT

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Now that the tricky part is over, it’s now left to when you should present your gift to the bride and groom. This very much depends upon the type of wedding it is but, generally, it can be a good idea to give your present to a close friend or relative of the couple, rather than the pair themselves. It is also perfectly acceptable to send your gift or money before the wedding to save having to deal with it on the day. In terms of etiquette, you also have up to a year after the wedding to give your gift, although, in practice, this should be done much sooner than that.

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