A Conversation for The Trouble with Wedding Gift Lists

Avoiding duplicates

Post 1

Cheerful Dragon

I got married years ago, before there was an Internet to put your wedding gift list on. Back then, the easiest way to avoid duplicate gifts was to take a spiral-bound notebook. Size didn't matter, as long as it was big enough to take a description of the item required and possibly a picture if one was available. The gifts were written one to a page, and the notebook was passed around the wedding guests. Each guest picked a present and tore the appropriate page out of the notebook. This meant that everybody bought a different present.

Some friends had a different problem. They were in the position of having all the normal present items - toasters, table cloths, tea towels, they had the lot. So they had a look round various shops and picked a very expensive (Wedgwood, I think) dinner service, and asked people to buy one or two plates, a coffee pot, cup and saucer - whatever they could afford. They ended up with a beautiful dinner service and everybody was happy.

Avoiding duplicates

Post 2


I have to say, I like the "manual" gift list concept. Very neat!

I understand that the author, and most of the respondents to, this article are in Great Britain. I find it difficult to believe, in the "electronic age", that your department stores haven't yet worked out how to avoid duplication from the list.

Here's how it works in Australia: the affianced pair "go shopping" in the department store, with a list provided by the gift registry - they must write down the price look-up number (PLN) from the price tag, and nominate a colour/style preference if required. (The PLN is the number which check-out people type into their cash register if the barcode scanner isn't working.) The gift registry people do the rest. They will then enter the PLN into their database, along with any other preferences nominated, and provide a consolidated (full detail) list to the happy couple. Then, all that's required is to mention to people that there's a list at such and such a department store and you're away. Whenever somebody buys an item from the list it is marked in the store's database - even at an interstate branch of the store, when the couple's list is accessed, it will show that item "X" has already been purchased, and the gift registry staff are usually very good at mentioning this fact!

My wife and I used one of these when we got married five years ago - while we were initially repulsed by the apparent vulgarity of the concept, it made sense to enable guests who had to travel long distances on public transport to buy something both desirable and deliverable. We even had some relatives from the UK purchase a gift from the list, and they didn't even attend the wedding!

Avoiding duplicates

Post 3

Cheerful Dragon

I don't know how it works in the UK now, but some years ago (it must be around 12 years, because that's when we were told about it) it was possible to buy something from a list held by a department store, without ever seeing the item. This happened to a friend of mine, who bought a wedding present from such a list. She chose something from the list and the present was picked out and wrapped before she even had a chance to see it. She then ended up wandering round the store to find out what her gift looked like!

There are a number of problems with department store gift lists, as far as I'm concerned. It's possible that everything you want isn't available from a department store. Even if it is, you have to pay that store's price, regardless of whether the item is cheaper elsewhere. This might very well be the case if you want something generic, like 'a toaster' or 'an iron' and you aren't fussy about the brand or the features. Not everybody that gets invited to a wedding can afford department store prices.

Give me the manual list any day. It makes shopping for and choosing a gift more fun, and much more personal.

Avoiding duplicates

Post 4


I wish the modern wedding wish lists worked more like this - so you could let your guests know what you would like, to avoid duplication, without it all having to come from one department store. What if they could get an item cheaper across the road!
smiley - tea

Avoiding duplicates

Post 5


There are a few of traditional style wedding lists about which let you go ‘back to basics’ and just list the items for your friends and family to choose from – and once chosen the websites remove the item from the list.
We used the e-weddinglist to make our list, it is a website which provides everything you need. Our guests loved it too.

Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more