Sophie McBain explains why she's shunning the tradition of gift lists...
I’ve found myself at the wrong end of a wedding gift list too many times to subject my guests to one. Many will be familiar with that horrible sinking feeling on scanning a gift list the night before the wedding and realising there’s a choice between some £500 funky sculpture or a set of flannels. Flannels invariably win, and then I end up feeling horribly inadequate – how has it happened again that two friends are celebrating one of the happiest days of their life and all I can find to mark the occasion is a set of flannels/egg cups/tea spoons?
I realise David and I are very lucky, we’ve been living together for years and have gradually accumulated a fine collection of egg cups, a few teaspoons and basic versions of most wedding list items, with the exception of flannels, because I’ve never seen a use for them. We don’t need the same help to set up home as a couple who are just moving in together. I might have smashed almost all of our wine glasses and driven David mad because of the mascara stains on our once-white towels, but we’ve managed just fine for years. On top of that, a gift from a wedding list can feel strangely impersonal, and attending a wedding can be expensive enough without factoring an extra ₤80 for designer crockery. I don’t begrudge my friends who decide to compile wedding lists, but it didn’t feel quite right for us.
This doesn’t mean I’m letting my long-suffering friends off the hook. Of course not! There is one thing that David and I both lack, and that’s music. When we were evacuated from Libya we had to leave our belongings behind, and our music collection was looted. So we’re asking our wedding guests if they’d like to give us a CD that they love, that reminds them of us or that means something to them. It feels like a perfect solution: we hope it won’t be too much of a burden on our friends, we know we’ll treasure our music collection for many years (provided it doesn’t get looted again), and that each CD will bring back memories of the person who gave it to us.