In the good old days, it was all fairly simple. When you started planning your wedding, you made up a wedding gift list, gave it to your Mum and hoped! There were always tales of couples who got three toasters or weird stuff that wasn’t on the list. But the idea was right. It all arrived at your parents’ house, was stored and then displayed on the day. When you came back from honeymoon you opened it all up and wrote a “Thank You” letter. Job done. Provided the gift tag had not fallen off!
Of course, that implied that you were organised. For myself, I got married in Hong Kong in front of two friends and no family. No guest list. No present list. That all came later when we got home (and there wasn’t Internet in those days!).
So far, so good. Now it is, perhaps, a bit different. For one thing, there’s so much more choice out there. For another, most engaged couples have lived together before hand and probably have most, if not all of the basic staples.
So what to do?
How to show the wedding gifts that you want in an easy to understand and friendly way?
We’ve been giving it some thought. Ever since we started getting enquiries from guests for the hire of our photo booth - they wanted to share the cost between them. The programme needs to be internet based, naturally, and, as far as is possible, easy to use for both yourselves and your guests. We’ve come across three that seem to answer both of those requirements:
Bottom drawer. They call themselves the Original Flexible Wedding List Service & are very obviously UK based. They specialise in “alternative” gifts and gift ideas and have a pretty extensive list of affiliated suppliers. You create as many wedding gift lists as you like. The most it will cost is £89 + VAT for the essential service or £149 + VAT for their bespoke service (as at 2013). It would seem best to withdraw all the money from your account in one go as there is a fee of £10 + VAT otherwise.
SimpleRegistry. US based (in Cincinnati), with a very clear and easy to use website. There is a drawback to this, though, in that it is not country specific and, in particular, everything is US$ based. The principal operation is very similar. There is a 5% fee on all gift transactions (again US$) which can either be paid by your guests or by yourselves when you redeem the gift.
ZankYou. is another UK based site with a broad appeal. Their blog posts are great, and they have Apps for Android and iPhone so you can keep up to date. Zankyou charges a 2.85% with £0.85 transaction fee per purchase which they claim is the lowest rate in the market - and with an offer to match any other rate.
How does it work?
You send the link to the list to your guests with the password and they then choose which they want to give you. Your guests then “buy” the item(s) by sending the money to them. They then pass the money onto you to actually buy the items - or you can change your mind and buy something else.
We should point out that there are many other wedding planning websites around and these are just a taster.
What’s neat about this whole idea is that it allows guests to contribute together towards the cost of an item. Whether it’s part of the honeymoon, a photo booth hire (there, I mentioned it!), the venue hire - pretty much anything. It’s a bit like crowd sourcing for YOU!
And before we sign off, we wanted to share this link from The BBC who post about High Tech weddings; we’ve mentioned it before but you might have missed it.