Receiving wedding gifts is always a very exciting part of getting married and it's something that couples agonise over considerably before making any decisions.
First of all, you don't wish to appear greedy. Although many wedding guests expect to receive a wedding list with their wedding invitation, it feels quite pushy on the part of the bride and groom. Well, it certainly did for us when we were sending out our wedding invitations. We actually felt quite uncomfortable about asking people what to buy us at the beginning although this changed considerably once we started thinking about it in more depth.
When you are invited to a wedding, choosing a gift is a very personal thing and gift choices vary considerably from couple to couple, family to family and culture to culture. The eventual decision on what actually gets purchased is ultimately down to the person buying the gift. In some cases, it is nice to have the freedom to choose something personal although in other cases it is nice to have a rough framework to work from so that you have some ideas. The choice is very much dependent upon how well you know the couple. If they are close family members, you may wish to purchase something special that is unique to them. In contrast, maybe you are buying for a couple you don't know very well and in which case a gift list is probably a lifeline.
Many couples these days go for funky wedding gift lists from unique boutiques. Lovely as this idea sounds, the word boutique' sounds small and expensive and may therefore put some guests off. You then run the risk of only getting a few gifts from your chosen shop along with 27 toasters. Great news if you're into selling kitchenware on e-bay, not such great news if you really wanted a kettle! It is probably better to choose a wedding list with a well-known and nationwide department store. This is much more accessible for all your guests, especially if it's a high street department store. Guests who wish to go in-store and purchase a gift for you can do so and those who wish to purchase a gift on-line can do so. This seems a much more sensible solution to cater for all your guests. Equally, you can have a great time going in to the store and choosing the items you would like together. Many stores provide you with a hand-held machine that you can zap each barcode with. This is the best part of setting up a wedding list - but don't expect your partner to let you hold the zapping gun because you probably won't be allowed anywhere near it!
In conclusion, it seems that all couples feel awkward about asking their guests to buy presents for them. However, it is important to consider that nearly all wedding guests will want to buy a gift for the happy couple and so what's the harm in giving them a little guidance? If guests want to spend their money on a gift, isn't it better that they purchase something you will actually like and use?