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Planning, Money

The Gift List Debate: To Have One or Not?

The wedding gift list - the one time in your life you can really ask for what you want and fill your house with belongings that mean something to you. Or maybe not. Growing controversy concerning gift lists means many brides and grooms opt against them these days.

So, what is good wedding etiquette - is it rude to send out a gift list with your invitations or are you just saving people from spending money on items you're not going to like?

Pro-gift lists

There are many reasons why you may be in the pro-gift list camp:

It is traditional. Guests have been buying the bride and groom items for their 'bottom drawer' for many years, so why fix something that isn't broken? Couples may have lived together for several years before tying the knot, but that doesn't mean they have everything they need. If you got together at uni, the chances are you're still using the same blunt knives and cheap saucepan as you did when you first met. This is a great opportunity for you to get some nice new items that will hopefully last several years into your marriage (unlike your mismatched crockery set).
It saves people who don't know what to get you lots of trouble. Choosing a special wedding present can be very difficult, especially if you don't know what the couple already has. A gift list makes it much easier for guests.

It spares you from ending up with several sets of towels, multiple photo frames and more cheese knives than you know what to do with. Let's be honest, it also saves you from receiving things that aren't to your taste. Having a gift list means your guests won't waste money on things you know you'll never use.

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Anti-gift lists

Of course, there are just as many people who are against the idea of gift lists, and with good reasons:

Many people think it's rude to 'demand' presents from the guests. They are, after all, spending a lot of money to get to your wedding and stay overnight in many cases, so asking for a present on top can seem a bit much.

Guests may want to choose a personal gift for you that they think you'll really love.

Some guests think they shouldn't have to re-stock your linen cupboards just because they're attending your wedding.

A lot of wedding gift lists have expensive items on it, which can make guests feel uncomfortable if there's nothing they can afford to buy on it.

Some guests don't want the bride or groom to know how much they spent on their wedding present.

You may, in fact, already have a well-stocked home with all the latest mod cons and good-quality décor, in which case you genuinely don't need any more presents.

The solutions

There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to gift lists. You shouldn't feel guilty if you have spent years buying other people fancy toasters, and now desperately want one yourself. Similarly, if you would rather guests do something else with the money or not spend any at all, that's up to you.

Here are some solutions to please all parties:

Have a gift list but include a number of inexpensive items - this won't make some guests feel uncomfortable.

Tell your guests they can contact you if they want your gift list information, so you're not forcing it upon anyone.

Have a honeymoon gift list instead, so guests can contribute to your romantic break and give you the chance to really enjoy yourself.

Ask for money instead and then use this to buy something really special for your home or even put it towards a deposit - at least it's gone to good use.
Tell guests to donate to a charity of your choice instead.

Make it clear you don't want your guests to give you anything - this won't make anyone feel awkward about turning up empty handed.

What are your thoughts on gift lists? Are you planning to have a traditional gift list or are you doing something different? How has the reaction from your friends and family been?
Take a look at our forum to see what other brides have said!


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