Gift List alternatives for your 2017 Wedding

Holding your wedding at Rockbeare Manor near Exeter, means that you are playing host to your guests in one of the most beautiful, historical venues the south west of England has to offer. Many of our couples have guests coming from all of the UK, and sometimes further afield, and this often means that the idea of the gift list can cause a few worries for some of our happy couples.

Devon Wedding Gifts

Let’s face it, many people now already live together, have a mortgage together, maybe a cat or a dog, and fairly often, a child or more. The tradition of a gift list was a great idea when couples had never lived together before, and needed help with purchasing some really useful items for their home (towels, bed linen, pots and pans, for instance).

But the chances are, you’ve already got most of the bits that you would need. Therefore, we thought we’d put together a handy top five of gift list alternatives.

  1. Help towards your honeymoon

You have just paid for a wedding which will have undoubtedly cost a lot of money. But after the stress of organising such a big and important day, you would still like a honeymoon to kick off married life in style. You could ask your guests to contribute towards your holiday, either by giving money or by contributing to a holiday gift list with companies such as buy-our-honeymoon.com or kuoni.co.uk. Less stuff, more memories!

  1. Help towards a DIY / garden project

You may well already have your towels and your bed sheets but the chances are, there could be a project at home that’s been on your mind for some time. Perhaps you’ve wanted to do up your garden? You could ask for garden centre vouchers or money towards some new plants. Or maybe you’ve been saving up for an extension? This way, your guests are contributing towards your new married life together, but your guests know exactly what you’re going to be doing with it.

  1. A charity donation

Charity donations are becoming an increasingly popular idea with weddings that we see at Rockbeare Manor. Nowadays, couples tend to be older once they get married, and they are often also more financially comfortable than they were in their early twenties. Consider asking your guests to contribute towards a favourite charity, or perhaps a charity that means something to you. Ideas could be Oxfam or ActionAid. If somebody close to you has suffered with cancer, you could also ask guests to donate towards your own Cancer Research UK fundraising page.

  1. Join an organisation

You could ask your guests to contribute towards a lifetime membership of the National Trust. This costs £1,605 and would be of benefit to you both for the rest of your married life. English Heritage also offers lifetime memberships at a cost of £1,800.

  1. No gift list at all!

It might be that you just want to enjoy people’s company at your wedding, and that you decide not to have a gift list at all. This is a lovely idea, although your guests are likely to still want to get you something. Be prepared to expect numerous picture frames, candles and throws!

Devon Weddings Gift

We’d love to help you to plan your wedding at Rockbeare Manor. If you’d like to discuss your requirements, call Aimée on 01392 797444.

 

(Photos by Shari’s Berries, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

How To Navigate The Top 5 Wedding Planning Minefields

Wedding Place Setting

Throughout our years of experience in planning weddings, we’ve learnt a thing or two about navigating the various ‘etiquette issues’ that have the potential to cause family and friend fallouts on the big day. By fact that Rockbeare Manor is an exclusive wedding venue deep in the Devon countryside means you have so much freedom in how you want your wedding day that ultimately, we believe, this can help ease pressures to do things a certain way.

However for those issues that a bride and groom struggle with here’s our advice on how to manage them:

  1. Guest list

One of the first steps for any newly engaged couple is to plan the guest list. This in itself is a minefield, as you have to find the balance between inviting every acquaintance that you both know, because you feel duty bound to do so, and only inviting the people who you really want to be there. An easy way to simplify your guest list is to consider if you are likely to share a future relationship with the person in mind? Or perhaps ask yourself hypothetically if you would happily take them out to dinner – if the answer is yes then they may well be ones to go on the invite list.

A tactic we see many couples adopt is to make a provisional guest list nice and early in the planning of your wedding which can then be revisited later down the line.  It’s really important when choosing a venue to check that the dining capacity fits in with your potential guest numbers. At Rockbeare Manor we can host wedding breakfasts for 50 to 160 guests in our beautiful Ballroom which gives you lots of flexibility to have a guest list which evolves over time.  Final numbers don’t need to be confirmed until 4 weeks before the day itself.

  1. Children

Another important aspect to consider is whether you want to make your ceremony or even your wedding a child-free zone. It’s important to remember, no matter how many people protest, that it’s your decision.

There are ups and downs to consider with having children present. They can be very cute in photos and liven up the dance floor in the evening, however some may feel them to be a distraction at the wrong times throughout the day. If you do not want children present it’s important to let your guests know as early as possible so that they can make arrangements, and it is equally important to hold your ground if that’s what you would prefer for your wedding.  

However, for those couples that do invite children we’d suggest thinking about how to make their day fun too – a wedding is a long day, and so it’s a great idea to provide some activities for the children such as garden games, colouring books, and activity packs to keep them occupied. We can also put you in touch with children’s entertainers and event crèche’s.  

Whatever you decide, Rockbeare Manor is accommodating either way.

  1. Social Media

We’re now better connected than ever before due to social media. If you want your wedding to be social media free then it’s not unreasonable to ask your guests to refrain from posting pictures or other content about your wedding online until after the celebrations have ended. But if you like the idea of embracing social media you could actively encourage your guests to post online content about your wedding. Why not specify a personal hashtag that is for your wedding only?

Rockbeare Manor has WIFI throughout our venue in case you prefer the latter option.   

  1. Money for gifts

There’s some debate over whether it is acceptable to ask your guests for money instead of a more traditional wedding gift. And the trend of asking for money is on the increase with the average age of couples marrying now at 32 years old.

What research suggests is that wedding guests are more open to giving money as a gift if it has a clear goal attached, such as going towards a honeymoon or a significant item. If you’re going to ask your guests for money towards your honeymoon, then it may be a good idea to give them an idea of where you plan to go or the name of the travel agent you are going with so that they can purchase travel vouchers for you.

  1. Table plans

Arguably the most socially stressful part of a wedding because of course you want everyone to have a blast, and avoid any possible tension between guests that may not get on.

The traditional rule of thumb is to sit close family and friends nearest to the top table, with couples sat together and, if children are present, a children’s table where they can all sit together.

But, if having a top table is too complicated or causing worry (usually due to separated parents) don’t feel that you have got to have one.  Why not have ‘sweetheart table’ with just the two of you, or, sit with your bridesmaids and ushers and ask your parents to each host other tables. It’s your day, and you can think creatively about how to mix up guests based on common interests, geography and family branches.

At Rockbeare Manor we understand how challenging planning a wedding can be, and we are here to help and support you to achieve the day that you’ve always envisaged. Ultimately, one of the best things about Rockbeare Manor being an exclusive wedding venue in Devon is that the events team will work with you to create a day that is as individual as you both are.