Buying a wedding present should be relatively straightforward when there is a list to choose from.
Unfortunately, wedding registries are on the out, which can leave you pretty stumped as you try to figure out what colour crockery would best suit a school friend you haven’t seen… since school.
But, if you’re currently struggling to find a wedding present for your mother’s cousin, or that guy from work you kind of weren’t expecting an invite from, know that any present is a lovely gesture.
Except for these ones. Avoid these ones at all cost.
Two words: wrong celebration.
Even if the woman walking down the aisle is eight months pregnant, you should keep your baby hampers and crib linen well away. Save it for the baby shower!
When a couple announces their engagement, what they are - inadvertently, of course - doing is inviting every married person they know to open up their arsenal of helpful tips and tricks for life in wedlock.
Such advice is fine early on in the engagement. However, by the time the wedding day rolls around, those helpful tongues should be helpfully shut firmly within their owners’ mouths. And, no, that doesn’t mean you can lend a helping hand through a book titled ‘How to Survive Your Wife’ or ‘How to Save a Relationship’ instead.
There is nothing worse than unwrapping a copy of the Kama Sutra from your Great Uncle Steve.
Crafty presents always seem like a nice, personal gift to give, but unfortunately some people are a little too confident in their own abilities.
The candle you hand-rolled from sheets of beeswax will unroll if it gets a bit humid, and now is not the time to hand over a cross stitch on calico that has obviously been subject to a few sessions with the seam-ripper.
Unless you met the couple by acting as their interior designer, you should step away from the canvas prints and kitchen stools. If they need to fill their new marital home, a gift card is a much better idea.
Unsolicited monogram giving is never a good idea. Not only do many people find it outdated (and - don’t shoot! - a bit tacky), but your choices (whose initial to put first, colour etc.) can ruin a perfectly good linen set that the couple would have used if their names weren’t sewn all over it.
Now, this is a rule that is subject to qualifications.
Obviously there are some presents (the Royal Doulton dinnerware you never opened, for example) which can be regifted, provided they are near new, unopened, and being given to someone in a totally different social circle to the person who gave it to you in the first place.
But if you’re regifting anything used, so old it has gathered dust, seasonally inappropriate (nothing says “I was not prepared for your February wedding” quite like Christmas decorations), or given to you by a friend of the new recipient, put away the new wrapping paper and opt for a new gift instead.
Even if you are regifting in a perfectly legitimate fashion, make sure you buy the couple a small, additional gift. After all, they’ve spent a lot of money on you for the day, it only seems fair that you return the favour.