To guide you through the wedding registry minefield we've consulted the experts to find out which items should be avoided at all cost.
When it comes to the contents of the gift list, there are certain dos and don'ts that it pays to bear in mind. Firstly, no matter how much you (and your husband-to-be) love those Ann Summers' crotchless panties, they've got no place on a wedding gift list. "While it's okay for the bridesmaids and sisters-of-the-bride to give lingerie to the bride as a gift, lingerie is still a very personal purchase," warns Tatiana Byron, founder of weddingsalon.com. "There is no telling how the mother-of-the-groom or the grandmother-of-the-groom could react to sexy lingerie on the gift list, so save it for the hen do!" If you really are planning on using the gift list to finance a lingerie upgrade, ask for a department store gift card.
It's all about you
No matter how strapped for cash you are, if it becomes obvious that you're using the guest list to simply tick off items you really should be purchasing yourself, guests won't be impressed. For this reason, avoid gifts that are obviously only going to be enjoyed by one of you, or worst, someone else. "One thing that I sometimes see are on wedding lists are items for their children," says Catharine Han, owner of dreamweddingwisconsin.com. "I think something like that shouldn't be on a wedding list because your list should be about the two of you." For the same reason, avoid items you're not both able to enjoy. "A wedding list should be comprised of gifts the couple can enjoy together," says Anita Bourne, founder of thegiftlistcompany.com. "For this reason, it's inappropriate to list personal items such as a jewellery box or console games."
Ditch the dusters
While it's easy opt for practical items, the idea of a gift list is to allow your nearest and dearest to buy you items you'll treasure and which will remind you of them for years to come. Sadly, no matter how much use you'll get out of that easy-clean duster, it's unlikely that your closest friends will relish the thought of their years of friendship being represented by such a mundane item. "That spiffy garlic peeler looks great in the store, but will you really use it?" asks Michelle Lynn Buckley, founder of wedding planners Mint Julep Social Events. "If you're not into cooking, don't waste space on your list on kitchen gadgets you'll never use. Instead, ask for sets of luxurious linens or designer dishware."
[See also: Can you really wear white to a wedding?]
While it's understandable that some guests might be on a budget, it's equally likely some of your closest friends will be looking forward to splashing the cash on an expensive present. Despite this, it's important to apply reason; unless you're marrying a millionaire there are still certain items that will be beyond most people's budget. "As a guide, don't register for large items of furniture or extremely expensive pieces like a chandelier," warns Michelle at Mint Julep. "It's definitely off-putting for guests to view a wedding list and see a £2,000 bed frame on there, even if there are less expensive items next to it." However, it's also important to avoid compiling a gift list which is dominated by ridiculously cheap items. "Avoid a list full of gifts for under £5," advises Francesca Moore, site editor of wedding website hitched.co.uk. "If your guests are faced with several small or very inexpensive gifts they may become frustrated with your list and opt to buy you something different."
Finally, while asking for donations to a honeymoon fund is no longer a faux pas, it's important to state your request politely. "Asking for cash is often considered to be vulgar and many guests may be less than impressed when asked for a donation because it's impersonal and the money becomes anonymous," warns Anita Bourne at the www.thegiftlistcompany.com. "If necessary, add a polite note to the invitations informing attendees who want to get a gift that a donation to the honeymoon would be appreciated. Invitations stating "cash only gifts" are inappropriate and will hardly convince guests that your honeymoon fund is a worthwhile cause - you could soon find yourself swapping that dream holiday in the Maldives for a budget break in Skegness.
Five top tips for your gift registry
- Ensure there's something to suit everyone's budget.
- Avoid items that are obviously intended for sole use by either you or your partner, or at worst, your children.
- Steer clear of limited edition or low stock items which might not be available on the day.
- Avoid items that are too personal — underwear, perfume and jewellery should all be kept off the list.
- If you must include every day household items, look for items that have a real wow factor, such as designer tea towels or hi-tech kitchen accessories. Think of the gift list as an opportunity for an upgrade.