When we started planning the wedding, Thomas and I were absolutely adamant that we didn't want a traditional gift list; asking guests to first pay to travel (90% of guests are coming from outside of Leicester, with 50% of those travelling from overseas) and then to splash out on some fancy kitchen gadgets from John Lewis just didn't sit right with us. Unlike in times past, when a couple getting married would almost invariably be setting up home for the first time, Thomas and I have lived together for four years and we have pretty much everything we need. So, no gift list.
We did ponder asking for charitable donations in lieu of gifts (I was particularly keen to support the at-risk-of-closure Leicester Rape Crisis), or perhaps for Canadian dollars ahead of our planned trip next summer. But, again, we came back to the fact that asking people to cough up cash in addition to plane fares and hotel bills felt unfair. While some guests would, I am sure, be more than happy to contribute, we didn't want people to feel obliged.
As we count a huge number of talented artists amongst our friends and family, we next toyed with the idea of going with the classic mum line, "Anything you've made would be lovely." But then how would those without artistic skills (or with the skills but without time to commit to a project) feel? Again, we didn't want there to be a sense of obligation.
A few alternatives have been suggested by friends: an Etsy gift list, perhaps, or sharing our Amazon wishlists and getting books as wedding presents. In the end, though, we've gone with what's probably the least satisfactory solution from a guest's perspective - an embarrassed shrug and a muttered, "You don't need to get us anything," when asked. But we're still not entirely sure if this approach is the right one, or whether our attempts to ensure people don't feel obligated to give us something are just making it more complicated for guests who do want to give a present. So let me know: what do you think of wedding gift lists?