Planning Your Wedding Gift List During Covid

Putting together your gift list is one of the most enjoyable parts of wedding planning – and despite everything else going on right now, it’s something you can have total control over. With their beautiful London showroom currently closed, we spoke to Georgie Evans, managing director of The Wedding Present Company, about their virtual appointments, as well as how to curate the ideal gift list featuring the latest brands.
NICOLE HAINES

CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE WEDDING PRESENT COMPANY

Lots of couples got engaged over Christmas and New Year. When would you advise they start thinking about their gift list? 

Normally, we would advise couples allow four to six months to plan and build their gift list. It’s such a fun part of wedding planning, so they should really take their time and enjoy the process. However, we’ve also been known to help couples create their list in one evening. We can be totally flexible. 

To start their gift list journey, most of our couples like to book in a private appointment with one of our wedding list advisors. We offer virtual appointments and face-to-face appointments at our iconic London showroom (although this is currently closed due to lockdown). Both options are a brilliant way to kick-start the process – you’ll meet your dedicated wedding list advisor who will make tailored and bespoke suggestions for you, based on your individual style and needs. 

What does The Wedding Present Company offer? 

We offer couples unlimited choice and an unrivalled personal service when it comes to building a wedding gift list. Couples can add products from our extensive range of over 400 interior and lifestyle brands; ask guests to contribute towards something special (such as a honeymoon, a piece of art, wine cellar or a charity donation); or specify certain subscriptions and experiences (such as Mr & Mrs Smith vouchers). If a couple has their eye on something special we don’t supply, they can still add this to their list as a ‘custom product’ – meaning the opportunities for your wedding list are endless.

Many weddings have been postponed – should couples still curate their lists even if they don’t know when their weddings will be? 

Absolutely! Creating a wedding list is one of the easiest and safest parts of wedding planning that couples can do right now. We can change a wedding date at the click of a button, and our dedicated wedding list advisors are always on hand to help amend a list should guest numbers have to change. 

If couples were due to visit your showroom, what happens now?

We launched virtual appointments back in April 2020 as an alternative to our showroom appointments, and they have been a huge success. For any couples hoping to visit our showroom, try booking a virtual one. Your wedding list advisor will be armed with a host of wedding present suggestions for you, and you’ll still receive the same personal service. And, of course, as soon as our showroom re-opens we’ll be delighted to welcome you with open arms and a fully charged glass of champagne!

WICKLEWOOD
“We pride ourselves on working with small, bespoke and artisanal interior brands, as well as the big names.”
RACHEL SMUIN

How do the virtual appointments work? 

We designed our virtual appointments to mirror the personal experience couples would have in our London showroom. It is hugely important to us that couples having a virtual appointment still feel supported and inspired by a totally bespoke service.

Ahead of a virtual appointment we’ll send you a short questionnaire. This covers questions such as, ‘What do you want to achieve from your wedding list?’ ‘Are you looking to furnish from scratch?’ or ‘Are you looking to top-up favourite items and add to an already established home?’ We use this opportunity to get an understanding of the couple’s tastes and needs – finding out what they enjoy doing and the brands they love. We then use these answers to create a bespoke interactive mood board of wedding-present inspiration, which is shared with the couple before their appointment. It’s a really exciting moment when couples receive that from us – it kicks off the whole experience and the fun really starts.

In their appointment, via Zoom, the couple will meet their wedding list advisor who will explain in detail how our service works. They will then go through the mood board together. At this point, the couple’s wedding list advisor will continue to make tailored suggestions from our online showroom, using their expert knowledge of our interior and lifestyle brands. There are a few surprise touches too, which I can’t share with you, but suffice to say they help ensure the virtual experience is just as special!

Virtual appointments can last up to two hours, however it’s really up to the couple how long they wish to spend with us. Some like to add items to their list during their appointment as we make bespoke recommendations for them, while others prefer to get some inspiration and then explore our online showroom in their own time. 

What should couples do if presents have been bought by lots of guests, but now the day will consist of just a few people? ​

Over the past year, we’ve found guests often still want to purchase a gift, even if they are no longer able to attend the wedding itself. They still want to celebrate the occasion. If, however, a guest would like us to refund their purchase, that's no problem. 

What should couples do if they are now having two celebrations – a small legal ceremony and then a big party after lockdown? 

A lot of our couples are taking this route, and we can be completely flexible. Some couples have chosen to create a smaller list for their first celebration and then increase their list ahead of the larger party – taking delivery of presents whenever suits them. Some have decided to build one large list for their first celebration and just keep their list open until after the second, again taking delivery of presents when they wish. 

NICOLE HAINES
“We have definitely seen a shift towards presents that are more timeless and less trend-focused.”

What happens to the gifts between the two celebration dates?  

This is entirely up to the couple. They can choose to have all their presents delivered in one go or opt for multiple deliveries if they don’t want to wait. We only ever order something when a couple tells us to, giving them complete control and flexibility over their wedding list. 

If couples added gifts they no longer want, what can they do? 

We offer two types of wedding list – a fixed list and a flexible list. If couples feel they would like to change gifts on their list once guests have bought them, they should opt for our flexible option (by far the most popular choice). This means we don’t order any presents until the couple tells us to, giving them the opportunity to swap items around. 

A fixed list is a popular choice for couples who are sure of what they want, and if they want it quickly. As soon as a guest purchases a present from the gift list, we order that item. It means presents arrive faster, but it also means couples can’t change their mind once it’s been bought. Of course, if they change their mind about an item on their list that hasn’t been bought by a guest, they can simply remove it with the click of a button. 

What happens to money gifts that guests have pledged but the wedding has been postponed? 

Any guest pledges are always safely ring-fenced in a separate trust account. This means their money is 100% secure and safe. 

NICK SMITH
“Over the past year, we’ve found guests often still want to gift whatever it is they have purchased for a couple, even if they are no longer able to attend the wedding itself.”
LE CREUSET

What happens to a honeymoon fund if couples can't travel?

We simply transfer any contributions from a honeymoon fund directly to the couple. This means they can spend it as and when they like. They also have the option to transfer this towards items from our interior and lifestyle suppliers, if they wish.

Have you seen any changes to the type of products being ordered during Covid?
 
Actually, we’ve seen a shift away from cash-based presents, such as honeymoon funds, and a focus on quality interior and homeware items. Given the amount of time we have all spent in our homes recently, particularly round our kitchen tables, this isn’t a surprise. We have definitely seen a shift towards presents that are more timeless and less trend focused, too. We’ve always been big advocates of building a wedding list full of treasured, quality items that you will love and use forever. We also find that guests far prefer to buy a physical present than contribute towards a cash fund.

Okay, so are there any brands at The Wedding Present Company couples might not find anywhere else? 

We pride ourselves on working with small, bespoke and artisanal interior brands, as well as the big names. We are huge believers in championing small, independent creatives whose items aren’t available anywhere else. Some of our most popular suppliers are Issy Granger, Angela Wickstead, Penny Morrison and Polkra. 

Are there any items you’d always suggest couples add to their lists? 

Each couple’s list is so personal and entirely dependent on their circumstances and set up, so there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. We get to know each of our couples personally and make tailored recommendations to suit them. Although in my opinion, no wedding list should be without a good cocktail shaker.

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