As couples marry later, months and years after moving in together, traditional wedding lists of kitchen equipment, tupperware, egg cups and bed linen are on the wane. I’ve noticed, in designing bespoke wedding stationery, couples are choosing more often to request ‘presence over presents‘, acknowledging a guests’ effort and expense to attend their wedding, and the guests’ smiling supportive face in the room, as the only gift the couple need. Sometimes though, as a guest, you want to give the couple something more. I find this is especially true for couples who are part of your friendship group. You’ve seen the couple go from first date or accidental meeting, through all the late night or early hours conversations, analysis and uncertainty, to a stable, joyful relationship and the exciting news of the engagement and wedding. You want to wrap up two of your favourite people in a big bundle of happiness, and give them something really special to mark their wedding. You don’t want to hand over a John Lewis voucher in a generic card, but really help two of your favourite people celebrate in a meaningful way. So, with wedding season fast approaching, I’ve put together some ideas for some rather special wedding presents, for a group of friends to contribute to. 1. A Wedding Report Give your favourite couple the chance to re-live their wedding, through words and a very special literary legacy, year after year. The couple will have a photographer covered, and maybe a videographer, but it must be something truly special to hold a hardback story of their wedding day. A bespoke service, the Wedding Reporter attends the wedding, noting all the special moments, planned or accidental, before compiling a completely personal, bespoke wedding report. The wedding reporter can be there from as little as an hour, to as long as twelve hours, so there’s plenty of scope to reflect the budget of your friendship group, with costs from £185.00 for ceremony coverage, you can contact The Wedding Reporter for a bespoke quotation. One note though, this should only be embarked on with an organiser on board! The Wedding Reporter will need to be booked and briefed in advance, as well as organising print options, and letting the couple know who their extra special guest, scribbling in a notebook, is. 2. Bespoke Illustration Gift Card If you would like to give the couple a memento of their wedding day, that they can put together after the event, this Bespoke Illustration Gift Card is perfect. When you order it, you receive the Gift Card itself, boxed inside a gold starry box and navy ribbon. You can give it directly to the couple, and they can read all about the design process and instructions on how to proceed, inside the Gift Card itself. The cost of the Gift Card, just £150.00, includes a beautiful bespoke illustration, including a portrait, flowers or other wedding details, and text from the day, whether it’s a reading or perhaps the lyrics from their first dance. The illustration is professionally printed and a sleek white frame is also included. This is a simple, easy way of giving two brilliant people a bespoke memento of their wedding day. For more information, click here. 3. Honeymoon Meal/Experience Those two lovely people might have beaten you to this idea. Honeymoon meals and experiences, or just donations are becoming ever more popular. However, if you know where the couple are going, you could contribute something more personal than just a general donation. If you, or one of your friendship group like a bit of internet research from the comfort of their sofa – it can’t just be me, can it?! – you could look into their destination and find a particularly special restaurant or spa, and purchase a voucher for the couple. Perhaps there’s a food tour they’d love, a theatre that’s showing their favourite play, or a just a very special pampering treatment, to help in post-wedding relaxation. I’d avoid booking or arranging something for a particular date without consultation- you don’t want to be dictating their honeymoon schedule. Also remember, if they’re heading off to the honeymoon very swiftly, to ensure they open the voucher or tickets, or have the necessary email printout. You don’t want it lost in a pile of cards to be opened on their return! Also, check the terms of purchase carefully, in case you or the happy couple need to book or reserve meals or experiences by a particular date.
4. Boudoir or Trash the Dress Shoot This gift is rather reliant on you knowing the bride in particular rather well. In the past, boudoir shoots, where the bride is photographed in her underwear, have often been rather cheesy and tacky, all suspenders, 80s hair and soft focus. Luckily, that’s no longer necessarily the case. You can see a great collection of shoots at Rock N Roll Bride, and personally, I fancy a trip to New York or San Fran just to get some of these stylised photos taken. I think, for one of your closest friends, the chance to get a collection of good photos, messing around in front of the camera, is a great gift. One great option would be to research the couples’ wedding photographer, and see if they can offer the service, since the couple have already chosen their photography style. If getting involved with a boudoir shoot seems to…well…intimate, then you could also consider asking the bride if she fancies a Trash the Dress shoot instead. Getting the dress wet, covered in paint or just wearing it in an industrial urban setting are all great ways of celebrating your wedding and wedding dress, with photos to prove it. If there are women in your friendship group who are already married, you could also consider a group Trash the Dress shoot – loads of fun!
5. Good Food at home Whether it’s been weeks, months or years of wedding planning, it’s likely that the happy couple have been living off oven chips, biscuits and caffeine. At least, it’s pretty much certain they haven’t had a relaxed evening, cooking, talking things (other than a wedding) over and probably partaking in a nice glass of wine. As a group of friends, it would be a lovely present to give a couple the chance to eat well together, to have evenings at home having real life grown up conversations that are not about place cards or wondering if there are enough toilets for all your guests, or how you can stop Uncle Gerald from making a three-hour speech. I haven’t used them myself, but I’ve a great many positive things about Hello Fresh. They create recipes, pack together the fresh ingredients and deliver it all direct. You can buy a gift card for 5 meals for 2 people for just £52.00. Perfect for a those first special newly-wed meals – fresh, tasty ingredients, at home, relaxed, perfect. 6. A Bespoke Couples’ Illustration If you would prefer a bespoke illustration to give on the day of the wedding, packed full personal touches, telling the story of the journey of the couple, then a Story House Bespoke Illustration is perfect. You, as a group of friends, can club together to put together the special details about the two people that you know, into a structured questionnaire. Based on this questionnaire, you will receive a detailed and special illustration, to give to two lovely people. The illustration can chart special places, presents, places were they were engaged and married. It’s a really special wedding present, that really benefits from having a group of friends involved, to really reflect the personality of both people. Imagine the couple, going through their gifts, poring over the illustration, spotting the tiny details that mean so much – a particular dish they both love, a funny incident, a romantic walk. Again, as a bespoke service, it will really work if you have a super-ograniser in your group. You get a great chance to feedback about the design and have it edited until it’s perfect, so you do need someone to be the main point of contact. Design fees start from £190.00. For more details, click here.