You can't host a big wedding right now, but you can get the gifts you actually want, here’s how

illustration. Photo by Getty Images
illustration. Photo by Getty Images
  • Whoever coined the term 'it's better to give than receive' probably never witnessed an overexcited bride-to-be assembling her wedding registry.
  • For many couples, the thrill of starting married life is amplified by the anticipation of creating a happy home and filling it with their first 'couple' homewares.
  • Choose wisely and many of these gifts will become lifelong keepsakes. However, make the wrong decisions, and you could one day regard your presents as outdated clutter.
  • Here's our definitive list of registry dos and don'ts to help you out.

Give your guests a helping hand to make your gift table more wow than what were they thinking?

Make a list of things you really want before setting foot in the store. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and register for random things you don't need, and if you get too carried away, you may end up owning an expensive bunch of useless gadgets while being in desperate need of a new iron or kettle.

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Give yourself plenty of time to choose your gifts - space it out over a couple of visits if you need to. If you're determined to have it all done in one day, perhaps shop in the morning, then treat your fiancé to a lunch date, before heading back for round two. 

Include gifts that are appropriate for a house warming party if you plan to host one after the weedding. Your girfriends and relatives could use it to buy cute gifts such as tea towels, coffee mugs, kitchen utensils and nice napkins.

Include gifts that will last forever - many guests, especially older relatives, like to buy presents that will become keepsakes. Silver photo frames are timeless and can work with both formal and informal décor.

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List quality items as well as 'everyday household goods, says Fiona Irving, marketing director for Waterford, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton. "Over the next 30plus years, you will need good-quality china and crystal for entertaining."

Consider your guests who live overseas - can they buy from the registry? 

"I was invited to a wedding in the United States," explains Keri, 33. "I tried to buy a gift from the online registry, but it wouldn't accept my credit card."

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Consider a registry that lets you update your list online. It's a godsend for a busy bride to add or edit things without having to go back into the store. Some registries will even send you a sneaky email when a gift is purchased.

Here is what you need to avoid:

It's not rocket science, but you can avoid common wedding gift pitfalls by keeping these in mind

Don't forget to ask your consultant about all the terms and conditions before you sign on the dotted line - such as the returns policy, home delivery service or any extra fees for you and your guests.

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Don't create a list that's too limited - include lots of gifts so your guests have plenty of choice, and so those who leave it to the last minute aren't left with nothing to choose from. In fact, some registries offer the couple a significant discount on leftover items.

Don't pick gifts that are all in the same price range. "When we chose our gifts, we broke it up into three different price brackets," Rebecca, 30, says. 

"This catered for our uni-student mates, family and groups of friends who wanted to go in together and buy an expensive gift!"

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Don't be scared of including big gifts, like an expensive 12-piece dinner set, even if you think it's a bit too much because guests can contribute towards large items.

Don't choose things you'll never use just because you think they're 'proper' wedding gifts. If you can't see yourself polishing a silver candelabra or filling a crystal decanter before a formal dinner party, don't list them. 

What's your love story? Tell us about it here.


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