You're getting married, Congratulations!
Now obviously I want you to buy a thousand scarves & bow-ties, but the purpose of my journal is to share my journey, not sell my work, and having recently crossed the threshold myself, I've learnt lots of things that may be good to know.
Today I'm going to tell you about wedding lists.
In Ireland, people love to give gifts. Cash is great, and much needed as you pay for the wedding and settle into married life, but there's something about giving a gift, about finding something really special, going to a store or studio, seeing it all packed up in tissue, ribbon, box and bag, but people also want to give you the things you'd love yourselves, and somewhere between these two options lies a third that strikes the perfect balance between the two, - the wedding list.
Every major department store offers a wedding list service. If you're in the UK, you'll have John Lewis, Selfridges, House of Fraser and more, and in Ireland, Brown Thomas and Arnotts are the popular two. How it works is you meet your wedding list consultant in the store, and they'll talk you through everything, including things like referral incentives, delivery times, and more. Brown Thomas have a beautiful consultation room on the 3rd floor, by the Linen and Childrenswear departments, where you can see some of the gorgeous china and silverware (cutlery and delph) on offer, and look through catalogues for things not on display.
Your friends and family can find your list online, or they can pop into the wedding shop and look at the gifts in person. If they're not sure what to get you, or want to give you free choice, they can put on a gift card to a value of their choosing, and you can of course also add some gift cards to your list to make this option clearer.
Brown Thomas's lovely wedding shop is actually run by glamorous London socialite turned entrepreneur Caroline Stanbury, who also looks after the wedding list in BT's sister store, Selfridges, as well as running several other gift businesses and starring in Bravo's reality TV Show, 'Ladies of London', which gives them great purchasing power and often the prices are lower than you'll find on the high street.
There are a couple of things that are great to know:
- You can set up your list there and then, and can also go online when you get home, browsing the full range of products, adding and taking things away.
- Even though you were both certain on the list when you made it, you may find that you change your mind later, and that's no problem. You can swap out the items on your list for anything in the vast catalogue at any time. For appearances sake, you can't change items on your list after someone's bought them, but you can use the money they've spent on something else.
- It's important not to appear greedy! Even though you're going to go for a €800 coffee machine, some of your family and friends might find the concept a little gauche, and so maybe instead, put on a more reasonably priced one, and a few related items such as a caffetiere or teapot so that at the end of the day you can combine your budget-blowing desire for the novel with the sentiment and generosity of the gifter.
- Often you can order things in different stages, with multiple free deliveries, for example, you might want to have your kitchenware and cookware straight away, but maybe you can't decide between the ice cream machine and the nespresso, or between the Limoges bone china and the stoneware, or a bit of both.
- You can take a certain percentage of the wedding list and put it on a store gift card to spend on whatever you want. You may want to get that favourite perfume, for me, it's Cafe Rose from Tom Ford's Private Collection, or you might go for the dream dress or 'it bag', putting your store credit towards that.
- In BTs You get a 10% discount for life, whether you want to add to your dinner service, or anything else. You also get a €50 voucher for every couple you refer who open their gift list there. You just have to email your wedding consultant when your friends' list goes live.
- The etiquette is that people have from your engagement announcement until a full year after the wedding to give you your gift, so it's worth keeping the list open after the big day.