SL's Guide To Wedding Gift List Etiquette

SL's Guide To Wedding Gift List Etiquette

Want to get it right when it comes to wedding gift list etiquette? SL looked to John Lewis' Gift Lift service experts to help stop you committing any major marital faux pas. So whether you’re a couple getting ready to tie the knot, or a guest invited to the big day, read on to see your burning present registry questions answered…


How soon before the wedding should you set one up?

Aim to ensure your gift list is open by the time the invitations are sent out (typically around six to eight weeks before the wedding). Don't select all your gifts too far in advance of the big day, in case any of your chosen products are discontinued, or out of stock when someone comes to buy.

How do you mention your gift registry to guests?

Many couples nowadays are choosing to create wedding websites with links to their lists. Or, with John Lewis’ Gift Lift service, you can request inserts to place within invitations, giving your guests information on how to select a gift from your list.

Are long lists and mega-expensive gifts acceptable?

Firstly, don't underestimate how generous friends and family can be. Always make a longer list than you think you’ll need and flag the items you really want as ‘priorities’. Secondly, don’t be afraid to think big – guests like to have a good range of gifts to choose from, so it’s wise to pick items across a whole range of prices. With John Lewis, you can also ask for gift vouchers to go towards a big purchase.

Is it OK to ask for money for a honeymoon?

Definitely. More and more couples are opting to create honeymoon funds either alongside or instead of traditional gift lists. With John Lewis, you can request contibutions towards a dream honeymoon with Kuoni, John Lewis Gift Vouchers, or even donations to Cancer Research UK. 

What if you change your mind about an item?

With John Lewis’ service, once you’ve added items to your list, you can view and amend them using the website. Their Gift List department will also contact you when your list closes to ask if you’re happy to order the items chosen.

When to thank guests?

Whether you’re sending physical cards in the post, or a free digital cards via a site like Postable, it's a rule of thumb that couples should send a thank you note no later than three months post-wedding.



Do guests have to give a gift?

There seem to be two schools of thought on this one. Technically, you’re not obligated to give a wedding gift, but in reality, it’s considered polite to give one, however small.

How much should you spend?

It’s a personal decision, but to give you an idea of the nation’s spending habits, a recent Moneywise survey revealed the majority of people attending a whole day of the wedding gave a gift worth between £26 and £50. As for those just attending the evening do, most people say they spent up to £25.

Can you club together with other guests?

Yes. Whether you’re a couple or a group of friends, it’s commonplace for guests to club together and split the bill to buy larger items on the list.

Is it ever OK to go 'off list'?

Tearing up the wedding gift list rule book is a brave move – only do so if it’s an incredibly close friend of family member getting married, and you know exactly what they want. If in doubt, why not chat to them first to see if they’re happy with you planning a surprise.

If you’ve bought something from the list, should you take a card to the wedding?

It’s not at all necessary, but if you want to, feel free! Alternatively, if you’re keen to give the couple your present on the big day itself, John Lewis’ service allows you to take your present home to wrap yourself and bring along to the wedding.

Shop our edit of wedding gift list ideas all available at John Lewis below...

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