A-Z OF BRITISH ETIQUETTE
For younger couples who may have not started a home together, or who may have only just begun prior to the actual wedding, the wedding list will (and should) be geared to items that will help make their home. Toasters, tea services, placemats, napkins, decent cutlery, and the like are the staples of such registries. The tradition began in the 1930s in Chicago and has stuck.
For couples who have been married before, or who have been living together for a long time, asking for kettles and teapots is not very useful, however the temptation to just ask for money is not appropriate. Instead they may wish to open a wedding list of luxury items, or less ‘every day’ things: a silver toast rack, wines or ports, the complete works of Shakespeare or Dickens, nicer bed linen. Failing that, charitable donations should be encouraged.
√ The list must have items across a wide price range
√ Do not print information about where the list is being held on the invitation
√ Guests are free to go ‘off list’ – couples should welcome any gift with the same level of gratitude
Traditionally, the bride’s mother was contacted by guests to ask where the list was being held (i.e. which department store), but nowadays lists can be accessed on the internet and the details could be printed on the information pack sent out to guests with the invitations, or sent to guests by post after they have accepted. (Although guests who cannot attend sometimes still like to send a gift and so this method is not always practical.) Just never print registry details on the actual invitation.
William Hanson is the Etiquette and Protocol Consultant for The English Manner. He works with VIP households, diplomats, businessmen, schools and colleges and has advised multinational brands. He is regularly asked by global media to comment on modern manners and social mores