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.
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.