Since most people now live together before tying the knot, when it comes to a wedding list, they no longer want the basics. Today’s wedding lists are about upgrading to sophisticated items that reflect the way we want to live, whether it is eco-friendly paints and organic bed linen or the latest gym equipment. We look down the lists to see what’s on offer.
The Private House’s wedding list offers the last word in personal service. Launched last month by Felicity Loudon, it caters to the couple that has it all — but would like more. Service, presentation and wrapping are the key.
Each couple is invited to come by appointment to The Private House showroom in Pusey, Oxfordshire (although there is a smaller London showroom). They will be served refreshments while deciding what to put on the list. Everything is for sale.
The sky’s the limit for choice and price, starting with a bespoke caravan (£30,000).
More affordable items include 19th century cut-crystal and silverplate ice jugs (£288), handmade ceramic pea pods (from £32), his ’n’ hers black or pink leather-and-silverplated boxes (from £25) and cream silk rose balls (from £45). Every item comes beautifully boxed and decorated.
Postage and packing is 10 per cent of the order value for UK delivery and will be delivered by arrangement.
Not On The High Street is an online-only collective of 700 small design businesses. Its wedding list was launched in April after its owners realised the potential of having so many quirky products made by craftspeople and designers under a single virtual roof.
According to spokeswoman Louise Cullen, popular items include pairs of silvered glass candlesticks (£36), individual vintage Union Jack cushions (£75), scented candles in zinc holders (£16.95) and the ornamental silver-and-white painted birdhouse (£17.95).
The site has a section devoted to wedding stationery, lighting, table decorations, keepsakes and bridal accessories, including white bunting, heart-shaped wreaths, fairy lights and more. You can choose whether the gift is sent to the couple, or to you to wrap. Delivery on orders of more than £30 is free.
For a designer green wedding list, with a touch of personal service, Ecocentric, set up by Oliver Heath, has it all. From exfoliating bamboo towels (bathsheets, £28) and organic cotton bed linen (double duvet covers, £62.50) to glassware and crockery made of recycled glass.
It also sells Earthborn’s chalky paints (from £22.50) in a range of muted subtle shades, and compostible rainforest-design wallpapers made from corn (£29.95 a roll).
Set up two years ago, this list prides itself on being design-lead and ethical. “People want things that are stylish and less basic,” says Ecocentric’s Niki Clarke, who will guide customers through the whole process on the telephone or by email. Purchases will be wrapped (in recycled paper, of course) and delivered at a time to suit the couple.
Up and running
Business at Peter Jones, the most traditional of wedding list companies, is brisk, according to personal shopper Jane Winskill. “At least 20 per cent of our lists are for civil ceremonies, so the choices have changed. Our most popular items now include home gym and fitness machines, digital and audio equipment — although Vera Wang’s dinner service costing £1,500 still tops many lists,” she says.
Betrothed couples take an electronic scanner around the store, scanning anything that takes their fancy, which is automatically added to the list. Or they can request vouchers to be put towards one big expensive item such as a sofa. Wrapping is not offered. The items are delivered together, two weeks after the honeymoon.
Amazon launched its wedding list three years ago. It sells a big selection of no-frills, competitively priced products for house and garden: electrical equipment, computers, games, jewellery, health and beauty. Prices are often lower than on the high street.
The entire process is online, from creating the list, emailing it, receiving automatically generated updates on who has ordered what — and generating automatic thank you responses.
Items are dispatched as they are ordered, postage-free on orders of more than £15. Optional gift wrap with message is £2.98.
Where to place your list
* Ecocentric: 020 7739 3888; www.ecocentric.co.uk
* Not On The High Street: 0845 259 1359; www.notonthehighstreet.com
* The Private House: 01367 870582; www.theprivatehouse.com
* Peter Jones: 020 7730 3434; www.peterjones.co.uk
* Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk