5 Wedding Gift Ideas for the Truly Disorganised Guest

Photo credit: Niklas Hamman on Unsplash

Photo credit: Niklas Hamman on Unsplash

If your summer is due to involve countless weddings and you have spent more time obsessing over your outfits than giving thought to the dreaded wedding gifts, then you might be in need of some last minute inspiration. Especially if, like us, you occasionally find yourself trawling through a John Lewis gift list just 3 days before a wedding. This highly common form of disorganisation can leave you bereft of ideas and often you are left with just two (equally unappealing) options:

1. Buying your besties the remaining spatula, pillowcase and hand towel or;
2. Going. Off. List.

Now, people who buy ‘off-list’ fall into two camps:

1. The over-confident serial off-lister who immediately tosses the enclosed gift list information into the bin, chortling to oneself about how buying people what they actually want/ need is beyond absurd and actually rather thoughtless.    
2. Normal, nice people who have simply left it too late and want to over-compensate for this by buying something awesome.

In order to help people from both camps, (the first may not think they need it, but keep reading, please) we have put together 5 non-specific gift options to get you on your way. These have all been experienced and approved of first-hand by our brides. You will still need to engage your brain a smidge to tailor the gift to what they like, but generally time and thought is minimal, and you will be deemed a most excellent friend/ family member and rock star wedding guest…..

1. Case of Wine - including bottles to lay down for their 10 and 20 year anniversaries

Photo credit: Marco Mornati on Unsplash

Photo credit: Marco Mornati on Unsplash

Assuming they like and drink wine, then promptly get down to your local wine shop, speak to the owner and get them to help you pick wines of varying age, that can be drunk on big anniversaries. Some days these fresh-faced newlyweds might wonder if they’ll make it to twenty years without killing each other, so having a nice bottle resting may provide some much needed incentive to hang in there.

2. Club together with equally disorganised friends to book the happy couple a night/ weekend away

Photo credit: Angelo at  Carlo Carletti

Photo credit: Angelo at Carlo Carletti

They will obviously be totally exhausted from all the celebrations and 3 weeks in the Maldives so will definitely need to have something to look forward to. Post-wedding blues are a real thing, you know. We have tales of couples receiving a whole ski weekend, a night in a tree house at Chewton Glen and a weekend at one of The Pigs. I need new friends.

If you’ve been shafted by organised friends then a voucher for a posh restaurant might be more affordable. Where you choose will depend how much you like them - their local pub for a burger, or something fancy you’ve seen on Masterchef where the ice cream tastes like a roast dinner.

3. Annual Cheque Promise

This is old skool, but my uncle and aunt promised to send us a cheque on our first anniversary, and every year after, whilst they are still mentally and physically able. The only instruction is that the money should be used to do something together as a couple, like go out for a meal, go to the theatre, anything as long as you do it together. Now, my uncle is a man of the cloth so is motivated purely by love and goodwill, but this is also ruddy perfect if it’s the morning of the wedding and your answer to almost everything is to throw money at it, not to mention the boost from getting annual thanks and praise. Please note this is reserved for lifelong friends and family members only, if you are likely to forget or fade from their lives then step away.

4. Frame a meaningful photo...

Photo credit: Pine Watt on Unsplash

Photo credit: Pine Watt on Unsplash

...Like the place they got engaged, their wedding venue, a photo from the wedding itself etc. You’re not only showing that you know them super well, but more importantly you’re saving them the agony of thinking about, talking about and arguing about what pictures they should print for that massive empty wall. It’s the gift that keeps giving (as long as you buy a nice frame and don't stop at Wilko’s en route to the wedding).

5. Voucher for a unique shop or site you know they like

Photo credit:  Such & Such

Photo credit: Such & Such

There is an element of risk here, but by giving vouchers rather than choosing something specific you are massively reducing it. Assuming you have paid some attention to their taste and style over the years you can at least be in the right ballpark, but they can pick their own seat. For example, if everything in their house is from Made then it’s a no-brainer. Or they may like a design/ furniture shop or website which they bang on about relentlessly, now here’s your chance to show you were actually listening with intent, rather than fantasising about throwing said furniture items out on the street while they sleep just to put an end to the misery of talking about it. Or, and this actually happened, just buy them some Ann Summers vouchers ‘for when things get a bit same-y’.


In case Camp One still feel that they are nailing off-listing, we have collated a rather startling list of real-life gift fails, just so you can check:

1. Obvious Re-Gifting

If you are going to re-gift (and we are shaking our heads here) you must cover your ass. Make sure you have fully inspected the gift before deeming it worthy of being passed on. For example, do not assume they are plain generic champagne flutes, they might have ‘Congratulations on your 25th Anniversary’ engraved on them. And, sorry for appearing to target the older generation here, if you are rooting through your loft/ garage for some random art, make sure you dust it first.   

2. Varying Types of Art

Photo credit: Niv Singer on Unsplash

Photo credit: Niv Singer on Unsplash

Tread carefully, this is a frickin’ minefield. You are imposing your taste on someone else and the chances of getting it right are very slim. Brides who received large and serious pieces of artwork are having to dig it out for your visits. And if it’s up, its probably in the utility room where it can’t offend anyone. Thinking of painting something yourself? Unless you are actually Banksy then don’t, just don't.

3. A Selection of Colman's Mustards

This doesn't really fit into a category but it’s so bad it’s worthy of its own. Living in Norwich does not make this an acceptable wedding gift, or gift! And I like mustard.

4. No Gift

Come on people. Do better.

5. Personalised handmade Gifts

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

There are hundreds of stories of people getting personalised gifts right: a nice cushion, a flower crate, a mug etc. thanks to sites like Not On The High Street. It’s all borderline naff but can be very well received if done tastefully. However, should you feel inclined to make a cross stitch of some Bride and Groom RATS with the happy couple's wedding date, then we’re (almost) sorry to rain on your parade. Actually, what the hell, why not go all out and present your blessed creation to the newlyweds during the speeches….

Photo credit: Mert Guller on Unsplash

Photo credit: Mert Guller on Unsplash