We live in thoroughly modern times. We might meet our match on Tinder, or in the tearoom at work, travel the world together, have a baby, buy a house, and then, get married! Our wedding might be folksy, or fun – eco or exotic. It could be held in a wildflower field, in a chapel, at a restaurant, in our parents’ garden, on an island far far away…
We might have a really clear idea of what we would like our guests to contribute – a small token, or contribution to something significant, cash for our honeymoon, a special work of art, or something that helps protect the world around us.
Whatever the wedding style, theme or season, gifts will almost always be a part of the celebration. At Cranfields, we get excited when we’re asked to help select a special gift. There’s joy in giving, and we love that we get to play a tiny role in that experience.
So whether you’re the one getting married, or the one considering what will make the perfect gift, here are some of my tips – gleaned from years working closely with brides, grooms, and guests, all choosing something special.
FOR THE HAPPY COUPLE
Guests love a little direction on what to give – so be specific. Set up a registry at a favourite store (we have a great system accessible online) or use an online registry service that encompasses items from a range of stores. This could sit as a link on your wedding website, if you have one, or with an email reminding guest of directions, or the location of the post wedding BBQ. Remember, not everyone will want to have a prescribed list presented to them – so it’s nice to invite other ideas in the wording of your invite too.
Some of your guests will have money to burn – others will struggle to scrape together enough for a gift. Make sure you select a range of affordable gifts. If it’s a cash or travel fund you’ve decided on, ensure donation amounts are hidden, so your guests don’t feel pressure to spend more than they are able to.
MAKE IT COUNT
The gifts you receive on your wedding day will remain with you for a really long time and every time you look at them or use them, you’ll think back to the people who shared that day with you. Consider beautiful ceramics, pewter, or larger pieces of furniture that several people can contribute to. If you don’t need a toaster, don’t pop it on your list!
Try hard not to leave gift selection until the very last minute. Make a note in your online calendar, phone, or (old school!) wall planner and ensure you’ve left plenty of time.
Consider your friend or family member’s personality and what their interests are. Ask yourself, is there something that would bring them joy for many years to come?
Consider items that will stand the test of time – nothing too gimmicky or frivolous. Good gifts are meaningful to both the gifter and the giftee. We have one client who was given a game of Klop many years ago, and it quickly became a family tradition to play it on Christmas Day. These are the types of gifts that have longevity, and the added bonus of creating memories within a family for, potentially, decades.
Find a decent window of time to shop – make it a fun experience rather than something that gets squished between the dentist and the school pick-up!
As store owners and retailers, we are here to help! My staff get a real thrill from helping you to find the perfect gift. Also, try and choose a store that loves to giftwrap as much as we do. We love to make any wedding present look super swish with recyclable wrap and ribbons. Often, the wrapping makes takes a gift from simply meaningful, to something truly magical.
WHAT IS THEIR GIFT PERSONALITY?
For couples who have been together many years, all the practicalities of life are already likely sorted. For these couples, consider something that epitomises luxury – a real treat! Beautiful drinkware is an enduring gift, gorgeous ceramics or leather goods.
For couples getting married the second time around,a freshly blended family is often a factor. It’s a great idea to gift something to help them make new family memories. A lovely photo album, visitor’s book or photo frames work well.
For a couple living outside of New Zealand, keep it non-fragile, transportable and light. And make it New Zealand made, to give them that little taste of our country and remind them of their connection to it. A locally produced mohair throw might do the trick, or a special book.
For a creative couple think about something unique - an antique or retro gift, or a one-off vintage piece.