The one-stop guide to buying wedding gifts in the UK

Who doesn’t love a wedding? A day to celebrate love by dancing, drinking and generally spending a great evening with your close friends: It’s basically a big party! For the happy couple, their wedding day is likely to be one of the most important days, if not the most important day, of their lives. To help them get off to the best start as a newly married twosome, it's customary to give them a gift, but what constitutes a good wedding gift?

Thankfully, we’re here to help you negotiate the minefield of buying an appropriate wedding gift, with ideas to suit all budgets and inspiration for all the different types of newlyweds in your life.

Weddings in the UK

In the UK, weddings are big business. A recent report stated that couples in the UK can expect to spend over £30,000 on a wedding with all the trimmings, with the average cost of a UK wedding in 2018 reaching an astonishing £32,273. This leaves rather a large hole in the bride and groom’s pockets, even if it that cost does include the following:

  • Venue reservation
  • Honeymoon expenses
  • Food
  • The engagement ring
  • Alcohol
  • Photography
  • The wedding dress and tuxedo

Wedding costs UK In recent years, it’s become more acceptable to buck the trend for a traditional white wedding and opt for something more reflective of the couple themselves. This can range from small changes, such as hosting the wedding abroad, to bigger ones, like having a themed extravaganza. However, though undoubtedly individual, this all comes at an extra cost in addition to the already exorbitant price of holding a wedding.

In the past, it was customary for the bride's parents to cover the cost of the nuptials. Though some couples will still ask their parents to help out should they find the cost of their wedding too large, this now happens less often, and the happy couple are usually the ones burdened with the expense. In order to help them lighten their load, a great wedding gift is essential, providing them with necessary items or nice extras that will help them get their newly married lives off to a happy start whilst they work on getting back on their feet financially.

Useful wedding gift ideas

It’s more than likely that the happy couple will be starting their married lives off with some debt left over from the day of their nuptials. As a result, gifting them things that they’re actually going to need when they don’t have the funds to buy them themselves can be an incredibly thoughtful thing to do. However, finding something that is actually useful for them depends on how long they had been living together, if at all, before they got married.

New spouse, new house
Wedding gift idea for new house If the new Mr and Mrs are moving in together for the first time following their vows, then there’s a long list of things they’re going to need, from the essential to the mundane. When considering what wedding gift they’ll get the most use out of, consider the things you’ve needed the most after a house move. Electrical items, window coverings and cookware are all incredibly essential yet expensive items. Buying things such as these can really help newlyweds, allowing them to settle into their new lives with as few headaches as possible. To help direct your search, the items below could prove very helpful.
Wedding gift idea - gift voucher
Gift vouchers

No matter how well you know someone, buying them a gift they’ll find useful is always a tricky prospect. A gift voucher may not be the most elegant gift, but it does give people the freedom of choice to buy the items they really want without harming their bank balance.

Wedding gift idea - elctric appliance
Large electricals

Large electrical items such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners can prove costly, but they’re absolutely essential to maintaining a happy home. Not sure whether the happy couple will like it? Include the receipt so they can exchange the item in store if necessary.

Wedding gift idea - decorative item
Decorative items

It could be the case that the happy couple have planned well and put aside enough money to cover all the major expenses that accompany a new house move. As a result, though, it’s likely that they don’t have enough funds left over to buy smaller, decorative items that help to make a house into a home. Paintings, framed pictures and soft furnishings are all good choices. For something that will brighten up any room, eternity roses are available in a range of colours to match the tastes of the newlyweds, as well as provide a lasting token of their love for one another.

Went for a test drive before making a commitment
Some couples like to move in together once they’ve become engaged so they can test out whether they’re actually going to be able to live together in the long term. In this case, it’s more than likely that they already have all the absolute essentials but are still missing the nice extras.
Wedding gift honeymoon suitcase
New luggage

Luggage is one of the last things to get updated, and it’s likely that the newlyweds were planning on using their old, battered suitcases on their impending honeymoon. Make their travels a touch more glamorous with some stylish suitcases and carry-on bags. For smaller budgets, you could buy them matching passport cases or beach towels that will help elevate their beachwear looks.

Wedding gift knife set
A knife set

New knives can be incredibly expensive, but they can turn cooking dinner from a chore into an enjoyable – and much faster! – experience. Sharpen up their cooking skills and get a nice new set they can proudly display on their kitchen counters.

Wedding gift coffee machine
A coffee machine

Nothing is more appealing in the morning than a freshly ground cup of coffee. This gift is something the new Mr and Mrs have probably had on their wish lists for a while but have just never had the spare cash to go out and buy. Add a touch of luxury to their mornings with this slick present.

The long-term cohabitees
Nowadays, it’s common for the happy couple to have been living together for a few years before one of them popped the big question. In this scenario, the new Mr and Mrs will have everything they could ever need, but what they would truly cherish is the quality extras that will help to elevate their day to day.
wedding gift spa day
A spa day

After all the hustle and bustle of their wedding day, the newlyweds probably want nothing more than the opportunity to properly relax and unwind. Thankfully, there’s an easy way that you can help them with this endeavour: spa vouchers.

wedding gift buy experience day
An experience day

If you think they’d rather learn a new skill or unearth a new passion than lounge around, then you could buy them an experience day or pay for them to attend a local class in such subjects as ironwork or pottery.

wedding gift coffee machine
Remembering their travels

If your budget is a little limited, then a scratch map is a great gift, giving the happy couple a visual reminder of all the places they’ve travelled to together. You could also give them an empty album, ready for them to fill with pictures of their next adventure.

DIY wedding gifts you can make at home
Nowadays, it’s common for the happy couple to have been living together for a few years before one of them popped the big question. In this scenario, the new Mr and Mrs will have everything they could ever need, but what they would truly cherish is the quality extras that will help to elevate their day to day.

Unique wedding gift ideas for the happy couple

Of course, if the couple have already been living together for quite some time, there’s less of a chance that the gift you buy them will actually be useful and a higher chance that they already own something similar. To avoid purchasing something they already have at home, you may want to find a unique wedding gift that will stand out from the pile of other gifts they receive. Of course, there’s nothing more unique than an eternity rose for them to display at home. Not only does it make for a beautiful centrepiece in any room, but it’s also a visual reminder of the love between them.

Personalised wedding gifts
Personalised wedding gift ideas If the idea of getting them a gift that highlights their romantic love is appealing but you would still prefer something even more personal, then a personalised gift is probably the right choice for you. Whether you’ve been to one wedding or one hundred weddings, every newly wedded couple will be different and will want their wedding to be individual, just like them. As a result, personalised wedding gifts are highly popular, as they add a touch of individuality and ensure the couple know that you put in significant effort to find a gift that would suit them down to the ground. There is a wide variety of wedding gifts that you can have personalised, including jewellery such as cufflinks, bracelets and necklaces.
You could also look at personalising wooden goods such as chopping boards, coasters and serving platters to add an extra special touch each time the couple serve up something delicious. Finally, fabrics are a good choice if you’re searching for personalised wedding gifts. You could arrange to have a cushion monogrammed with their initials and the date of their wedding day, you could have a bale of towels monogrammed, or you could even get ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ sewn onto some new cotton robes for them to lounge around in at home.

And there’s much more to choose from, too. If you already have a wedding gift in mind but want to make it even more special for the happy couple, then consider getting it personalised: It’ll add an extra considerate touch that they’ll really appreciate.
Creative wedding gifts
Creative wedding gift ideas If personalisation isn’t creative enough for you, then you’re probably looking for a gift that will really stand out from the crowd. A creative wedding gift is perfect if the newlyweds are quite artistic or like to do and have things that are a little different from everyone else.

One option would be to get the song lyrics of their first dance printed and framed for them to put up at home. You could also get the sound waves of the song printed and framed, which is a bit more unusual but just as sweet. If you like the idea of sourcing artwork for their home, then you can also buy personalised portraits of the happy couple or a watercolour painting of their home or wedding venue.
Like the idea of buying them something that will remind them of their romantic day? In this case, an eternity rose is a creative and unique gift unlike any other. Not only will it be a representation of their eternal love for one another, but it will also serve as a great piece of art in their home. Eternity roses are available in a wide range of different colours, meaning you can choose the right shade to match the hues they used for their wedding. If you would prefer to gift something that will match any home interior, then a platinum-dipped eternity rose is the right choice, combining an iconic symbol of love with stylish, modern appeal.

Wedding gift etiquette in the UK

Of course, giving a wedding gift isn’t as simple as just finding a gift that’s right for the couple you have in mind. In the UK, there is a certain wedding gift etiquette, and it’s crucial you are aware of it before you even think about taking out your bank card.

Wedding etiquette invitee only
Only invited to the evening do

If your invite is for the evening do only, then it’s up to you whether or not to give a gift. However, know that the newlyweds will have a list of guests and the gifts each one gave so that they can remember who to write thank you cards to. If your name has a blank space where the gift should be, they’re unlikely to be impressed.

Wedding etiquette gift rules
Following the bride and groom’s gift rules

If the bride and groom specify ‘no gifts’, this doesn’t mean you can get away with not getting a gift. You should get them a gift anyway, even if it’s slightly smaller than what you would have otherwise bought.
If they’ve specified that they would like you to buy something from a gift registry or to make a donation to a charity of their choice, then you should do so. 39% of people said they thought it was bad manners to specify a gift, but the remaining 61% indicated they preferred being given some direction to make sure they bought a gift the new Mr and Mrs would actually want. Consider that the bride and groom will have already had enough stress without having to deal with getting rid of gifts they don’t want or need. If there’s a gift registry, take advantage of it!

Wedding gift how much to spend
Financial worries

Of course, one of the biggest questions when it comes to buying a wedding gift is how much you should spend on it. This becomes even more of a concern if you have to pay for travel expenses and hotel-stays, and especially so if you have to go abroad. However, having to pay for things like travel and accommodations doesn’t mean you don’t have to get a gift. In fact, the general rule of thumb is that you should spend what you think your food and drink would have cost the bride and groom. In most cases, this is around £40–60. A poll suggested that most people consider this bracket to be the most appropriate amount of money to spend overall:

  • Less than £20: 9%
  • £20-39: 20%
  • £40-59: 41%
  • £60-99: 18%
  • £100+: 12%
But generally, you should spend what you can afford and not go beyond your means. If this amount, or indeed any amount on a gift, is something you can’t afford, then you should tell the bride and groom. They will understand if your financial limitations mean you can’t stretch to a wedding gift but still wish to be there, and they will definitely appreciate that you considered getting them a gift anyway.
Wedding etiquette gifting money
Gifting money

Gifting money has typically been seen as a little crass, but it’s really quite an old-fashioned approach. If the couple are older, then gifting them money – unless they have asked for it – is probably unnecessary, as the assumption is that they are already quite settled financially.
If, however, the couple have asked for money specifically – perhaps so that they can put it towards a honeymoon or buying or modifying their home – then you should give money if you can. This is especially true if you’re close in relation to the newlyweds, as parents in particular are expected to give gifts that will help them along.

Great wedding gifts to give your children

If you’re a parent with a child who is soon to be married, then it’s generally expected that you will give a gift that reflects how close you are in relation to them, as well as that you want to set them up for a prosperous and happy future. If you’re financially able, this should probably include a cash gift, which is likely to go towards home renovations, mortgages or a honeymoon.

If you’re not able to make such a large – and expensive! – contribution to their future, then there are, of course, other gifts ideal for a parent to give to their child and future son- or daughter-in-law. You could opt to buy a material gift to be given after the wedding, or you could offer to pay for part of their special day. This way, you can lighten their financial worries.

It’s highly common for the parents of the bride to pay for her wedding dress, so this is also something you could offer to do. If she already has her dress, then what about the shoes, or perhaps paying for the services of a makeup artist or a hairdresser? If you’re the parents of the groom instead, you could offer to pay for certain aspects of the festivities, such as the DJ or the band, the transportation or the bill for the alcohol. If you’re unsure about what to get or what to pay for, let the bride and groom know of your intentions and ask where you can help them out.
What wedding gifts siblings should give one another
Wedding gift idea for sibling Earlier in the article, we mentioned just how expensive weddings can be, which means helping out with the cost of the wedding day can be a godsend for the future Mr and Mrs. As with parents, it’s common for siblings to gift money after the wedding or to offer to pay for a part of the day. If you’re older than your sibling, you’ll probably find this easier to do. You could offer to pay for everyone’s champagne to toast with or maybe even the cost of the wedding cake.

However, if you’re younger than your brother or sister, you may not be able to make such a large financial contribution.
Luckily for you, your siblings will know what you can and cannot afford and won’t be expecting you to start splurging. Instead, tell them you’d like to get them a nice gift but have a budget you have to stick to, and they’ll undoubtedly provide you with a few ideas. If you have no budget at all, then it’s time to get creative. You could DIY a thoughtful and unique gift or offer your time to help with such things as decorating the venue, making and addressing invitations or putting together favours for the tables.

Wedding gift ideas for brides

Keeping in mind good wedding etiquette is just one aspect that will ensure the happy couple enjoy a special wedding day, but it’s also important to be thoughtful in advance. Of course, no one knows this better than the groom, who will want to make sure he helps keep his future wife happy and stress-free in the run-up to the big day.

What a groom should gift his bride
Planning a wedding is fun, but there’s also a lot of stress involved, with most of the planning and stress taken on by the bride. For this reason, it’s important for the groom to show how much he cares as all the planning begins to get a little overwhelming.
Expensive wedding gift for bride
Big spender: Wedding gift for bride - gold petal earring
  • Earrings - your future wife will want her wedding dress to be the focus of everyone’s attention, and a necklace would only detract from that. If you would like to buy her some jewellery to mark her special day, then earrings are the ideal choice. Rose petal jewellery in particular is an ideal choice and available in a range of colours and styles, so you can match the shade of the real rose petals to her bouquet.
  • Wedding gift for bride - Eternity RoseFlowers - let her know she’s in your thoughts by arranging for a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to her either the evening before your wedding or the morning of, when she’s getting ready. Alternatively, you could buy her an eternity rose dipped in either gold or silver, meaning she’ll have an eternal symbol of your love, gifted to her on the morning of your special day.
  • Perfume - buy her her signature scent. There’s nothing more heartwarming than knowing the person you’re going to marry knows all the little things about you, including what scent you use day in and day out.
Budget wedding gift for bride
On a budget:
  • A dance - it costs nothing but your time to organise a surprise choreographed dance by you and your groomsmen. Obviously, it depends on your bride’s personal tastes, but this could be a great way to show her how much you enjoy making her smile.
  • A wedding slideshow - put together a slideshow of photographs and videos of the both of you throughout the years, with funny stories to accompany each, when you give your speech at the wedding.
  • Breakfast - does your bride love pancakes in the morning or a special drink from a certain coffee chain? Get her perfect breakfast delivered and get the day off to the best start possible.
A Little Wedding Ditty

This old English rhyme names the four good-luck and prosperity objects that a bride should carry or wear on her wedding day:

Wedding gift something old Wedding gift something new Wedding gift something borrowed
Wedding something blue Wedding gift shoe for bride

These items are often gifted on the wedding day at the final moment by female relatives as tokens of love and good wishes.

Should you get wedding gifts for your guests?

With all this gift-giving, it’s fair to wonder whether or not the wedding guests should receive gifts, too. After all, they are buying wedding gifts themselves, buying new outfits, paying for travel expenses, hotels and possibly childcare, and sometimes even booking holiday time to attend the festivities. For those in the wedding party, such as bridesmaids and groomsmen, there are even more expenses, planning and time involved.

However, it’s important to remember that at some point, all these people will have their own weddings, at which point all the time and money will then be given by the couple currently getting married. In addition, the wedding is completely free for the guests and consists of food, drinks, music and often entertainment. Because of all this, it’s not usual to give wedding gifts to guests, though many people do give their wedding party small gifts as tokens of their appreciation. This includes giving gifts to those in the stag and hen parties and particularly to the best man and maid of honour.
Wedding gift for best man
Gifts for the best man
The best man does a lot in the run-up to the wedding day. Not only does he organise the stag do and promise to provide a speech that’ll have everyone crying with laughter, but he’s also by the side of the best man for suit fittings, to pick up odds and ends for the wedding and often to help pick out the engagement ring. For all these reasons and more, you may want to get him a little something to say thank you, but what gifts do this well without blowing your already maxed-out wedding budget?
Wedding gift for groom gold dipped poker cards
  • Cufflinks - the groom and all his men are likely to need cufflinks on the special day anyway, so this gift combines ticking an item off the list with getting him a personalised present.
  • Alcohol - just like the groom, the best man will have his fair share of stress to deal with in the run-up to the big day. Ease his nerves with a personalised bottle of his favourite tipple. For many higher-end drinks, you can buy gift boxes that often come with glassware or edibles.
  • Wedding gift gold dipped golf ballAftershave - in all the mad rush of the wedding, how everyone is going to smell on the big day is likely to be something that gets forgotten about. A nice bottle of aftershave will make sure he smells great all day long and also makes for a pretty sweet gift.
  • Hobby set - if your best man loves settling down to a game of poker, then some gold-dipped poker cards could be just the way to elevate his skills. If he likes to be a little more active, then encourage him to improve on his swing with a playable 24 karat gold-dipped golf ball and tee. He’s sure to be impressed!
Wedding gift for maid of honour
Gifts for the maid of honour
Arguably even more hard-working than the best man is the maid of honour. Not only does she organise the hen do, attend every dress fitting and chase up all the various odds and ends the bride is simply too busy to do, but she’s probably also sorted out an engagement party, been the sounding board for every idea the bride has had and fielded a thousand and one questions from the wedding guests. She deserves a big gift! But what?
Wedding gift for her glazed rose pendant
  • Jewellery - the bride and maid of honour are undoubtedly close, meaning the bride will know exactly what type of jewellery her chief bridesmaid loves. You could gift her a personalised initial bracelet or a necklace that will look perfect with the neckline of her bridesmaid dress on the big day. A glazed real rose pendant would definitely do the trick.
  • Luxury skincare - with all that rushing back and forth to help the bride and groom get everything sorted for their big day, the maid of honour could be feeling a little worse for wear. Make sure she looks and feels her best at every opportunity with some luxury skincare that will have her looking radiant late into the night on the day of the wedding.
  • Afternoon tea - let the maid of honour know how much you appreciate her by taking her out for a bit of R&R. Not only will this serve as a moment of peace from all the wedding planning for both the bride and the maid, but it will also allow the two of you to catch up and talk about something other than the nuptials.
If you’re working on a tight budget when planning your wedding, gifts such as these are often the first to leave out. However, if you’d like to splash a little cash in an effort to show your wedding guests how much you appreciate them being there on your special day, then buying wedding favours is the usual way to go about this, with a wide selection of small gifts to choose from.
Wedding favours for every budget
Looking for the perfect wedding favours to dress up your tables? These ideas add an extra-special touch without much added expense.

wedding gift sugared almonds
Sugared almonds

A traditional wedding favour, presented in a small bag or box with each almond representing health, wealth, happiness, long life and fertility.

wedding day gift sweets

Sweets are inexpensive and easily customisable, as you can buy ones with personalised messages or only use sweets that you and your partner love.

Perfect wedding favour - chocolate

Handmade chocolates are perfect for favours, as just one beautiful treat in a small box is enough for each guest.

Wedding gift paper fans

If you want something more long-lasting, then wooden and paper fans are a great touch and will look fab in your photos. Great for a hot summer wedding!

Wedding gift favour seeds and bulbs
Seeds and bulbs

Another low-cost option, seeds and bulbs are a great way to make sure your guests get some use out of their favours.

wedding gift DIY hangover kit
Hangover kits

Weddings are famous for including plenty of alcohol. DIY hangover kits including dissolvable painkillers, rehydration sachets and personalised eye masks are a great touch.

wedding gift fridge magnets
Fridge magnets

If you’re having a destination wedding, then fridge magnets of the place you’re in make for a favour that everyone will want to take home!

The most important thing you can do, though, is to communicate. Keep talking and sharing your interests. He will always care, and so should you!

The best wedding gifts of all time

If, after all this wondering and worrying about gifts for everyone involved or aware of the wedding, you still haven’t found something that feels quite right, then perhaps it’s time to turn to history for inspiration. Historically, wedding gifts usually came in the form of land, animals and money, all of which was essential for the newlyweds to set up their lives together. If you would like to take some cues from this era of history, then you could gift the Mr and Mrs-to-be a star. You could also sponsor an animal on their behalf or make a donation to a local animal shelter.

Throughout the Renaissance period, it became customary for the bride to be given a marriage chest, which she would then take to the home of her groom. This marriage chest contained all the things she would need in married life, including linens and so on. Take some inspiration from this period of time and gift the happy couple expensive bed linens, placemats or bales of towels. If you’re good with your hands, you could take on the task of building them their very own wedding chest. Storage always comes in handy, after all!