The wedding cash cow

The season for happily-ever-afters is well and truly with us and apart from the usual mad panic to buy the right dress and shoes for the event, a new conundrum has risen of late which our mothers didn’t have to deal with: the right gift for the bride and groom.

In the not-so-distant past, my mother’s generation had two avenues open to them when it came to wedding gift buying: they could either buy the happy couple some random statue that they liked but didn’t know would fit with the happy couple’s aesthetic (my mum still has a collection of mismatched pieces perched on a shelf presiding over the dining room like vigilant sentinels), or you could buy them something from a wedding list that they had lovingly compiled. The main problem with the latter was that you got to know about the wedding list through word of mouth and if you didn’t know any of the close family members well enough, you probably wouldn’t be privy to it.

A new conundrum has risen of late which our mothers didn’t have to deal with: the right gift for the bride and groom

Probably sick and tired of seeing ceramic turtle doves and alabaster half-naked ladies with a face only a mother would love, the children of the 1970s decided that they would ask for what they really, really wanted and started putting in little cards asking in the nicest way possible for money. I can still remember the first invite my mother received containing one of those cards and the confused look it was given. I’m not going to go into the merits of this trend because we could be here all day and I have no intention of starting a revolution. However, it does beg the question: with very few people actually drafting a wedding list, what do you get the happy couple if you don’t want to just bung some money into an envelope and call it a day?

I think the key to answering this question always lies in how well you know the couple and their tastes. If they are close friends, you can really get creative and maybe buy a beautiful painting or photo which you know they have been admiring. I’ve even known people to buy their friends a holiday or an antique mirror.

And if you know them less or aren’t completely sure of what they might like but still don’t want to give them money? Well, why not give them a voucher from one of the more beautiful stores and write them a small note telling them to get something which will be a lasting reminder of the person that gave it to them? Let’s put some thought back into our gifts.

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