Switch to gift registries
Weddings are filled with tradition, from the gown to the exchange of vows and rings, the reception and banquet.
Offering a red envelope at a Chinese wedding may be customary, but these days some couples are opting for gifts rather than money.
Brides- and grooms-to-be are setting up gift registries at their favourite lifestyle or specialist store.
These lists make it easy for guests to identify what a couple would like and avoids the bride and groom ending up with multiple sets of dinnerware, as items are crossed off the list as they are bought.
When it comes to finalising the list, a general guideline is to include gifts that will be memorable as well as items that are needed or desired.
'Foodies who cook a lot may like a beautiful set of copper pans. Wine lovers perhaps some great bottles that they can start a wine collection with,' says Nunu Luan, managing director of online gift registry Double Happiness (www.doublehappiness.com.hk).
Personal tastes can get in the way of a couple agreeing on their final choices.
A registry fund is one solution, with the couple able to use the money to buy gifts from retailers through Double Happiness.
'This gives them more time to decide on the gifts. Before the wedding they may be too caught up in the details to give enough thought to what they really want or need as wedding gifts,' says Luan.
The registry fund solution is a popular option at other outlets, too.
Catherine Trotman, director of contemporary lifestyle store Inside, says increasingly people donate money to the list, which the couple 'can then put towards a bigger ticket item such as a piece of furniture or a rug'.
Many couples have an established home before they marry so basic household items are no longer desired, Trotman says. 'Wedding lists now represent an upgrade in basic items such as a toaster to something like a Dualit, the Rolls-Royce of toasters or new luxurious towels.'
Couples setting up a gift registry at Inside typically include a cross section of furnishing and accessories as well as more personal items such as his and hers bath robes.
Large serving platters, hurricane lamps, vases and cake stands are popular items, and accent pieces such as cushions or mirrors 'all make good wedding gifts,' Trotman says.
Wendy Siu, president and founder of Heather and March, says couples registering at a specialist boutique may be able to have items customised. 'Special shapes, sizes, patterns and colours can be requested and made, usually with a minimum order quantity.'
Heather and March specialises in French and European home products and accessories.
Couples can find silverware, dinner sets, cutlery and wine accessories and practical items such as these are usually first on couples' lists.
Silverware can be engraved and other items such as table linen can be personalised.
A couple can even have their initials embossed, monogram-style, on fine porcelain.
'We have a special collection just for this,' says Siu.