How to Put Together a Gift List That Really Rocks

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Palm tree dinnerware

When it comes to choosing things for your wedding gift list, I think adding your own personality to the proceedings is the way to go. I mean, sure, you could order a silver kettle and a set of white dinner plates, but why not have a little fun with it?

When The Wedding Shop got in touch to ask if I’d like to curate some of my favourite items from their website, I jumped at the chance to do some fantasy shopping. Hum, I feel like I might need the pink palm tree dinnerware in my life for real though.

The Wedding Shop is the UK’s original multi-retailer gift list company. Their team of in-house buyers travel internationally throughout the year to curate a unique collection of thousands of products from more than 350 leading and boutique brands including Wedgwood, Yves Delorme, Kate Spade, The White Company, Ralph Lauren, Dualit, Le Creuset, Kitchen Aid, Garden Trading, Cornishware, Missoni Home and many more.

For high-value items such as furniture and electrical appliances there is now the option to split the cost into affordable contributions for guests. You can also add an unlimited number of independently stocked products to their list without any additional charges.

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Copper pineapples

If you’re starting to put together your own wedding gift registry, here are my top tips:

Start early

It is completely acceptable to start compiling your gift list as soon as you get engaged. Some people will might want to buy you an engagement gift, or they might just be super keen to order your wedding present right away.

Upgrade your old stuff

With most couples living together before they get engaged, you might think you don’t really need a lot of new stuff for your home. However just because the duvet set you bought from Primark is still perfectly functional, doesn’t mean you can’t try and get something way better!

When we got engaged we were able to register for a Dyson vacuum, Vera Wang plates and 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton bedding. At the time we never would have spent our own limited fund on such indulgences, but receiving them as wedding gifts from generous relatives was so amazing!

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Colourful Wedding with Dinosaurs

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Chanel and Ray’s South African wedding was a quirky affair implementing their favourite colours… plus dinosaurs and lots of other things they love!

“We took everything we loved and put it into our wedding”, the bride began. “Ray inspires me every day and I wanted that to show in our wedding. We make magic together and I wanted our quests to not only see it, but feel it.”

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The bride wore a green dress designed by the bride and groom with the help of a dressmaker. “My dress maker, Rose van Staden, has made countless cosplay outfits for my husband so she was the obvious choice. I decided to not go with white, but rather my favourite colour: mint green with touches of charcoal. My dress also had gold studs on the chest just to add a bit of edge. We bought all of the material and trimmings from our local bulk fabric outlet. My shoes were a present from my husband, he’d surprised me with the most spectacular pair of Converse All Stars I’d ever seen! They’re white leather, with scales like that of a dragon. My flower crown was made by our friend Cynthia but what made it special was that it had little turquoise skulls in the flowers.”

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Super Cool Las Vegas Elopement

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Eleanor and Youssef eloped in Vegas, just the two of them and their photographer, Briana Morrison. They didn’t have a reception but they went for dinner at the Picasso and the went to
see Cirque Du Soleil ‘O’ in the evening followed by cocktails at the Bank night club before going back to their suite.

“I didn’t know anything about wedding planning before we began and I don’t really know anything about it now!”, the bride laughed. “The inspiration for our wedding was to just get dressed up and have fun. Obviously there wasn’t really a theme, unless you count not inviting anyone and doing whatever we wanted all day!”

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The bride’s amazing dress was vintage and from the 1930s. “It was gold Lamé and I bought it from Elizabeth Avey in London. My shoes were gold YSL ‘Tribute’ sandles.”

“There were five people at the ceremony – Youssef and myself, the Pastor, Ruby (the wedding planner at the Bellagio), and the hotel photographer who acted as our witness. I walked down the aisle to Kiss From a Rose by Seal, we said our vows (laughing throughout) and walked out together with Viva Las Vegas as our exit song. After the ceremony we had a few hours before we were due to meet Briana for the photo shoot so we went to the lobby bar in our hotel where we met couple from Texas who has been married 25 years before on the same day. They had also eloped and we shared a bottle of champagne with them and they told us about their marriage and their children.”

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Magical Woodsy Fairytale Wedding & A Bride in a Purple Dress

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Mike and Bug didn’t have a specific theme for their wedding but it turned into a bit of a magical woodsy fairytale scene! “I love the outdoors, succulents, DIY and crafts”, said the bride. “I love the style our venue, The Garden Cafe and the wedding planner there added the plants and colours I wanted to the space. She masterminded the whole gorgeous space.”

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“My awesome maid of honour bought biodegradable balloons shaped like white doves and filled them with helium and handed them out to the children at the ceremony who then released them as we kissed. She also bought biodegradable paper lanterns, the kind that float away, and it was the most beautiful moment I’ve ever been part of, watching everyone I love in this world gathered together sending off these beautiful lanterns into the night sky.”

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Things I’ve Learnt Whilst Planning My Sister’s Wedding

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In less than a week my baby sister will be married. Next Saturday she’ll be standing up there and all the stresses and strains of planning The Wedding Of The Century (fact) will have been worthwhile.

I got married in 2008, and without wanting to sound 672 years old, things were so different then. Back then, the fact that my bridesmaids wore black and we made our own cake was considered pretty unconventional. These days most people (ourselves included) would look at our wedding and think it was actually very, very traditional.

So needless to say I have learnt a lot in the past 12 months. It’s given me a brand new perspective of what it’s really like down in the trenches, and I’ve a new found respect for anyone who’s having a completely DIY or budget wedding. This shit is stressful you guys!

You’re going to offend and disagree with people… and probably feel guilty a lot

Arguments will happen. Whether it’s between you and your significant other, your parents, or well meaning (but, at times, irritating) friends. Emotions are high and there’s a lot to do so they are pretty unavoidable. If you get through your entire wedding planning experience without a single raised eyebrow then you must be a saint. Report to the Vatican immediately.

Having a wedding is just like throwing a big party. That’s stressful on it’s own except this party is the party, everyone’s invited and there are no do-overs. Also everyone has an opinion about it and their own expectations.

You need to attempt to strike a balance between realising the wedding isn’t just about you but also knowing that at the end of the day, it actually is. You have to consider other people’s feelings (because if you don’t you’re an arsehole) and understand that doing so doesn’t mean you’re ‘selling out’ or that your wedding won’t be cool/ alternative/ the most perfect day ever.

If you are arguing a lot, don’t take it as a failure and try not to feel bad about it. It doesn’t mean your wedding day will be in any way less awesome. It probably just means that everybody cares, and (in our case anyway!) everybody has their own, very strong opinions of how they’d prefer things to be done.

Compromise is key, which brings me onto my second lesson…

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You won’t necessary get everything you wanted 

This isn’t a wedding from a movie, this is real life. There are other people’s desires to consider and, as frustrating as it can be at the time, you can’t just stick your head in the proverbial sand and do everything to satisfy yourself.

For example, parents. This is an important day for them too and (especially if they’re contributing financially) you should consider what they want as well. They might have different priorities to you, but that doesn’t make them automatically wrong. Sure, they might think all the extra stress of hand making the favours is pointless, whereas you can’t think of anything worse than asking your guests to stand in a receiving line. As frustrating as it is, try to see things from their perspective. And remember, letting them ‘win’ certain things will not make your wedding any less special.

In the same vein, budget constraints might mean that you aren’t able to have everything you initially wanted. Make a list of the things you absolutely can not live without, and ditch or consider cheaper options for the rest.

You’ll spend more than you planned to

Its very rare that I hear about a wedding that came in under budget. Whether you have £500 or £50,000 to spend, there are always costs that you don’t factor in. I don’t really have any advice here other than to let you know that this probably will happen so brace yourself!

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Festive Wedding in Glasgow

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Lisa and Colin’s December wedding had a festive vibe without being overly themed. “I would say our inspiration was our own individual styles and the fact we love to party”, explained the bride. “Oh yes, we were heavy on the party!”

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“We considered loads of options for the venue. From village halls to warehouses but no where was quite right. Col suggested The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. We visited, had a tour, met the event planner and we booked it on the spot. It is a uniquely stunning venue and was absolutely perfect for us and it was city centre which made it easy for our guests.”

The bride’s dress came from Etsy. “I love disco so I wanted a dress that had a bit of glitter. I made my own headpiece with wire, holly, greenery and ribbon.”

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