Choosing a wedding list

Whether you opt for a set of le Creuset pans, Ticketmaster vouchers or honeymoon contributions, the gift list is one of the best bits of the whole wedding shebang, not least because it's shopping without paying!

How to sort out wedding invite

The traditional approach

The average spend per wedding gift in the UK is £53 so it stands to reason that retailers like Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Heals and House of Fraser are all falling over themselves to host your wedding list. The department store gift list is the perfect choice for couples starting out together as it offers a one-stop-shop with all the essentials from cutlery to curtains. And of course you also get to spend a very agreeable afternoon wandering hand-in-hand with your fiancé round the store while you compile your wishlist.

Honeymoon funds

It's estimated that four in ten couples now opt for financial contributions to the honeymoon. Dianne Ceresa, Director of free wedding gift list service Honeymiles, says ‘the beauty of the honeymoon service is that couples can plan the holiday of a lifetime and enjoy all the special extras like bedrooms on stilts and scuba diving lessons – the stuff of memories’.

Contributions to an account

An alternative to the department store gift list is the online gift fund. 1bigpresent is a service whereby your guests contribute money towards an account which then transfers into vouchers of your choice. So you could turn a third into Ticketmaster vouchers, a third into Habitat vouchers and a third into Threshers vouchers to kick-start an expensive wine habit!

Bottom Drawer operates in a similar way but instead of store vouchers the fund converts into a dream gift, be it a hot tub, a college course or a bespoke audiovisual system.

Green fingers

Theming your wedding list around your garden is a lovely idea if you're a lover of the great outdoors. Your guests can indulge you with a fragrant rose, architectural topiary, sculpture or furniture. Wedding Garden Company has plenty of ideas.

The ethical option

If asking for gifts makes you uncomfortable, or if you're an altruist at heart, consider setting up a charitable fund. Wedding List Giving represents over 50 charities from The National Trust to Make-A-Wish Foundation and pays 100% of donations to the charity/charities of your choice.

Say thank you

The average cost for a guest attending a wedding is astonishingly high - a whopping £386, so do remember to say thank you. Buy a stack of stamps and some lovely thank you notes (go for small ones if you're reluctant with your penmanship!) and try to send them out as soon as you can after the honeymoon.