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Our lovely friend, Jade, talks to us about why you should have a wedding list, based on the experience of her own wedding list, and from weddings that she has been a guest at. Jade also selects her favourite presents from our online showroom - talk about serious style inspiration!
Jade Beer is the Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast Brides and author of The Almost Wife, this summer's gripping and emotional must-read novel.
"I remember very clearly the day last year when a wedding invitation from an exciting new friend was delivered to my home. It featured a beautiful bespoke illustration of the couple, charting their love affair through university to the present day. A lot of thought went into that invitation and I felt honoured, as a relative newcomer to their lives, to be receiving it. But there was awkwardness to come. Whenever I get a wedding invitation, I immediately look for the gift-list details. If the list isn’t already open, I note the day it will be in my diary, knowing all too well that if you want the best choice, you have to act quickly, before all the good stuff gets snaffled."
"This invitation had no gift-list info at all. Then I turned the invitation over to see their bank details and an appeal to please ‘buy us a brick.’ It took me a few seconds to work out exactly what they were asking for. Money to help pay off their mortgage. There may be lots of people who don’t mind being asked for cold, hard cash. But I’m not sure I’m one of them. For me, it’s too transactional. Here are my numbers. Now enter yours and let’s see my bank balance swell. Surely the beauty of gift giving is that you have taken the time to select something that forms a connection between you both, like a beautiful linen tablecloth where you can linger over long summer lunches together. One year I ordered a friend a relatively affordable vase off her list, then I paid for a flower subscription, so she would have something pretty to fill it with every month for the first year of her married life. Another time I bought an illustration by an artist who lived locally to a friend. Isn’t that more special than simply deciding on a sum and hitting send?
"Here's why I will always be in the gift-list camp:
I married yonks ago. But there are still gifts from my list that remain part of our daily lives: crockery and cutlery that have been central to some of our biggest family celebrations and that my children now eat with every day; an enormous mirror that has moved with me from house to house, a wooden chest that stores all of our wedding photos and ones from our pre-wedding travels. These gifts have become part of the fabric of our lives, and a wonderful reminder of the people who took the time to buy them for us, some of whom are no longer with us. Money would simply have been swallowed up unnoticed at a time when we had so little of it."
"Maybe I’m the shallow one, but coming back from honeymoon, with only a return to the office to look forward to, was greatly enhanced by the present delivery date in my diary. It was one of the most joyous afternoons, sat on the floor of our sitting room together, pulling present after present from the packaging, reading all the beautifully written notes, then seeing the grown-up makeover effect it all gave our home. Actually, it was this moment, more than signing the register on our wedding day, that made us feel like a married couple as we decided where the new coffee machine should go and which fab new bed linen to put on first.
Left to our own devices, we’d probably still be looking at the ubiquitous IKEA prints, flatpack furniture, paper-thin glassware and cheap photo frames. We already lived together, but we needed upgrades and this was the quickest way to get them all."
"If you have a list, some friends will look at it, decide they don’t want you to forever associate them with the matching egg cups, and club together for the big stuff. This magic pooling of funds is, in my experience, a lot less likely if there is no list to steer them. And remember, The Wedding Present Co. can add ANYTHING to your list from its partner brands.
If you don’t have a list, people will be forced to make their own decisions. You will, without doubt, end up with things you don’t need or like. And that means having items in your home that you get no enjoyment from or have no need for. Or a trip to the local charity shop and a lifetime of explaining whatever happened to that crystal ashtray."
"I never did buy that friend a brick. And even if I had, would she really have put it towards their mortgage or would it have been absorbed into the weekly Waitrose food shop? I bought her some Le Creuset I knew she had been lusting after instead – and actually spent far more than I would have done otherwise. And she’s still inviting me to dinner, so I reckon she must be pretty happy with it too."