Kettles, toasters and towels were once the staples of a wedding gift list. But a new generation of couples are asking their guests for something a little more ambitious.
Friends and family are now contributing towards a first home, acres of woodland and even a flock of sheep to celebrate nuptials. Kiran Kaur, 27, and her fiancé, Sam Sahota, have enlisted the help of their wedding guests to tackle the biggest barrier to home ownership – raising a deposit.
They are getting married next month and hope to buy their first home in Solihull in the next two years.
Ms Kaur said: “Everyone who will have contributed towards the home will know they have played a big part in our future. It makes it really special.”
The couple have sent guests a link to a deposit-saving app, Nude, where they can pay into the home fund online rather than giving cash that could be spent elsewhere.
The app charges £2 a month. Zoe Burke of wedding website hitched.co.uk said: “Couples are definitely moving away from the traditional – everyone already owns a toaster and they usually have the kettle to match.
“It’s especially helpful for couples in their first year of marriage – money might be a little tight after saving for a wedding.”
House prices have surged by 16.8pc since the pandemic began, while average incomes have climbed by just 2.7pc in the same period, pushing affordability to a record low, according to Halifax, the bank.
‘A £200 plumber was a great wedding present’
As well as seeking help buying a home, newlyweds embarking on a renovation project have increasingly asked for cash – particularly as they have recently experienced surging material costs and a supply chain crisis.
Olivia Knight of Patchwork, a website for organizing group gifts, said: “Gift options can be £200 to pay for a plumber, £1 to buy a kitchen tile or more hands-on options like committing to putting up shelves or potting herbs for the window chair.
“Couples are aware that weddings are expensive for guests and want to make sure gifts are affordable and options are inclusive for everyone.”
Three months before Kate and Pete Grevitt married last year they bought a “crumbly little cottage” in Sussex which required a complete restoration.
Mrs Grevitt said: “Asking for money towards the renovation made our guests feel like they were really helping to set us up for married life in our cozy cottage, without our cupboards ending up full of clutter.”
Some friends bought the couple decorative gifts such as tiles, wallpaper and light fittings, while more practically minded guests opted for sheets of plasterboard and insulation.
Mrs Grevitt added: “It’s really exciting knowing all our friends and family have helped make our house a home. Everyone’s really keen to pop round for a cuppa and see the kitchen sink, tiles or fireplace they’ve bought us.
“One friend bought us a brick from each of their children, so we’ve decided to write their names on some of the actual bricks that will be used in the project so they can come and see their bricks once it’s done.”