THE ART OF GIFT­ING

Putting off sort­ing your gift reg­istry or not sure where to be­gin? Here’s how to find out what might work for you, and how to pull it off grace­fully.

New Zealand Weddings - - CONTENTS - By ANYA TRUONG- GE­ORGE

Find a gift reg­istry that works for you, then pull it off with grace

he idea of swan­ning through a store pick­ing out gifts for other peo­ple to buy for you can seem a tad... self­ind­ul­gent. We get it. But con­sider the al­ter­na­tive: each of your guests spend­ing months scratch­ing their heads over whether or not you al­ready have a hand mixer they’ve seen. Then, you open a pile of gifts to find you’ve re­ceived three cake stands, eight sets of plates and one wall hang­ing that you know you’ll only put up when Un­cle Stu comes to visit. Well in­ten­tioned as each gift is, you’ll spend weeks re­turn­ing items, clear­ing space in stor­age cup­boards and won­der­ing what to write in the thank-you cards. Gift reg­istries were in­vented to cir­cum­nav­i­gate all of the above. There are lots of op­tions to choose from and, yes, dif­fer­ent eti­quette codes for each. But when a gift reg­istry is done right, your guests will thank you for it.

YOU WANT The tra­dI­tIonal If you’re mov­ing into your first home to­gether fol­low­ing ‘I do’, or set­ting up a place on your own for the first time af­ter years of flat­ting, a tra­di­tional gift reg­istry from a home­ware re­tailer may be the right fit. Lots of big-name stores (think Briscoes, Har­vey Nor­man and Stevens) al­low you to set up a reg­istry on­line and then click away to fill it with pots, pans, white­ware and ap­pli­ances. Guests go into the store or onto the web­site and use your name to bring up the list of items you’ve ear­marked. They choose a gift, the item is crossed off the list, and they ei­ther take it home and wrap it them­selves, or the store wraps the gift on their be­half ( great for out- of- town guests) and then de­liv­ers them all straight to you on a date of your choice. Too easy.

TOP TIP When stock­ing your reg­istry in­clude items at a range of prices to suit dif­fer­ing bud­gets, sug­gests wed­ding plan­ner Emma Newman (en­wed­dings.co.nz). That means you should opt for the $25 mug set as well as that lux­ury cast iron roast­ing dish. That way, guests won’t feel pres­sured to spend more than they can af­ford.

YOU WANT A hon­ey­moon fund Wed­ding con­sul­tant Sarah Arkin (sim­plyper­fect.co.nz) says hon­ey­moon reg­istries are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as many cou­ples al­ready have house­holds set up. Main­stream travel agents such as Flight Cen­tre of­fer reg­istries to fund all travel book­able by them, such as flights and ac­com­mo­da­tion, cruises and in­sur­ance. Al­ter­na­tively, a ser­vice such as Honey­pot (hon­ey­potreg­istry.co.nz) al­lows you to list items on a unique URL and at­tach a price to them (it might be flights to Van­u­atu, a zip-lin­ing ex­pe­ri­ence once you’re there, or money for a bot­tle of Duty Free cham­pagne). Guests can ‘ buy’ items in full, or con­trib­ute par­tially to the cost of them, and Honey­pot will de­posit the money di­rectly into your bank ac­count so you can spend it ac­cord­ingly.

TOP TIP When veer­ing away from the tra­di­tional there’s al­ways the chance of a few raised eye­brows. Wor­ried? Of­fer guests a choice, sug­gests Emma. “Some may like to give you some­thing tan­gi­ble while oth­ers will be more than happy to con­trib­ute money to­wards an on­line hon­ey­moon fund,” she says. Mil­dred&Co’s easy to use web­site (mil­dredandco.com) of­fers the ul­ti­mate plat­form for do­ing ex­actly this. As well as a con­ven­tional on­line reg­istry sys­tem al­low­ing cou­ples to reg­is­ter for the store’s high­qual­ity home­ware, the site’s wish­list fea­ture also al­lows cou­ples to add ten items they don’t stock, such as flights and ac­com­mo­da­tion pack­ages.

YOU WANT Cash Per­haps your kitchen is in a state of dis­re­pair, or you’re sav­ing for a house de­posit. Ei­ther way, the most use­ful gift you could re­ceive is a mone­tary one. As above, on­line ser­vices such as Honey­pot al­low you to at­tribute money to a fund. “It’s all about cre­at­ing your reg­istry, your way,” ex­plains Honey­pot’s di­rec­tor, Ver­ity Craft. “It means you can pick the things that are im­por­tant to you, and your guests can help make it hap­pen.” Al­ter­na­tively, set up a col­lec­tion point at the re­cep­tion – a box clearly la­belled ‘Cards’, for ex­am­ple – and ask a trusted fam­ily mem­ber to be re­spon­si­ble for col­lect­ing it at the end of the night.

TOP TIP When ask­ing for money, says Sarah, tact is key: it’s im­por­tant that guests know what the money is go­ing to­wards. Take in­spi­ra­tion from an Auck­land cou­ple who had been bat­tling with the gar­den in their new home. “The fence was fall­ing down, the shed was rusty, and lack of proper drainage meant the lawn be­came a swamp ev­ery

time there was a storm,” says Lisa Ver­ity, who at­tended the wed­ding. “They set up a wed­ding web­site which, as well as venue di­rec­tions and trans­port de­tails, fea­tured a photo of the gar­den and a hu­mor­ous para­graph ex­plain­ing that they would love to make some im­prove­ments to their back­yard. In­stead of gifts, guests gave the cou­ple money or hard­ware vouch­ers. A few months later we all re­ceived a new photo – it showed a lush herb gar­den, a vel­vety patch of grass and a tidy court­yard com­plete with out­door seat­ing and a bar­be­cue.” YOU WANT Some­thing unique You’ve got all the house­hold ap­pli­ances you need, but your guests are still keen to get you some­thing sen­ti­men­tal and long-last­ing. That was the sit­u­a­tion for Queen­stown bride Jacqui Spice, who sought out an art gallery that pro­vides a reg­istry ser­vice. “We al­ready had all the house­hold goods we needed and were build­ing a new home,” she ex­plains. “We thought a beau­ti­ful piece of art would look great, so we ap­proached Art­bay Gallery in Queen­stown about a reg­istry. Guests loved the idea. Now, when peo­ple come over we can show them what they bought us.” An­other op­tion is to con­sider ask­ing your wed­ding sup­pli­ers if they of­fer a reg­istry. Videog­ra­phers, for ex­am­ple, can be seen as an ex­tra ex­pense, es­pe­cially if you al­ready have a pho­tographer in the mix – but a wed­ding film is the ul­ti­mate way to be able to re­live the mem­o­ries for years to come. Sup­pli­ers such as the team at Wanaka Wed­ding Films (wanakawed­ding­films. co.nz) of­fer a gift reg­istry op­tion, as owner Joe Mur­die ex­plains. “You can use our ser­vices to cap­ture your in­cred­i­ble day, and you’ll al­ways be able to re­mem­ber that it was with the help of your friends and fam­ily.”

TOP TIPAs with hon­ey­moon and cash funds, the key is to let guests know that your art reg­istry or wed­ding video fund is an op­tion, not an ex­pec­ta­tion. As long as you’re po­lite and sin­cere, guests shouldn’t take of­fence, says Sarah. “Ex­plain to your guests that they can choose to con­trib­ute if they de­sire, but also make it clear that their pres­ence is the per­fect present.” SPREAD­ING THE WORD While in­clud­ing reg­istry in­for­ma­tion at the bot­tom of your in­vi­ta­tion is a sure­fire way to en­sure all guests know about your reg­istry, do­ing so is gen­er­ally seen as poor eti­quette. It im­plies that re­ceiv­ing a gift is just as im­por­tant as your guests’ pres­ence at the wed­ding, which of course is not the case. One easy way of dodg­ing the eti­quette mine­field is by arm­ing your fam­ily, bri­dal party and other close friends with the reg­istry in­for­ma­tion, and al­low­ing them to spread the word. Trust us – word

will spread as guests grad­u­ally con­sult each other. Al­ter­na­tively, con­sider set­ting up a wed­ding web­site that de­tails any use­ful in­for­ma­tion such as ac­com­mo­da­tion, venue di­rec­tions and, yes, your reg­istry in­for­ma­tion. Safe­guard against feather- ruf­fling by word­ing it care­fully. (See sug­ges­tions on the left.) Keep it taste­ful, sin­cere and to- the- point. AF­TER THE EVENT Keep a record of who gifted what (do this as you open any gifts – don’t rely on your mem­ory!) and be sure to send thank-you cards no later than three months af­ter the big day. Give de­tails in your card about how the gift is be­ing used – for in­stance, if some­one gave you that $25 mug set then men­tion how you’re both re­ally en­joy­ing us­ing them for your morn­ing cup of cof­fee to­gether. In the case of a cash gift, give the guest an idea of what the money went to­wards. Even if some­one didn’t buy you a gift, send a card thank­ing them for their at­ten­dance and help­ing you to cel­e­brate on your spe­cial day.

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