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by Emma Hla

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All images courtesy of Prezola.

The Gift List… Those three words sparked fear in my husband’s eyes when I brought up the topic during our own wedding planning.

He didn’t want one, I did.

The reason he didn’t want one is because he felt that weddings were expensive enough already for guests attending (new frock, possible accommodation, taxi’s etc). Plus we didn’t exactly need anything. At our age (which was somewhere between 21 and 40 at the time!) we had our home and it was filled with the necessities and the not-so-necessities that we’d accumulated as singletons and as a couple. So what the blinking hell would we ask for…?

I wanted one because I’d already tested the no-gift-list idea with my Bridesmaids who said it was a terrible idea and people would most certainly want to celebrate the occasion by giving us gift, so we may as well guide them. You know what, they were right.

So my friends, to ensure you don’t fall into the same debate with your beau or for those of you currently researching the Gift List, I want to introduce to Prezola. Quite frankly, in my eyes, the ultimate wedding Gift List Registry.

Ali Beaven, founder and owner of Prezola, tells us the story behind their service and gives you a run-down of her top tips for choosing the right wedding gift list for you!

Notes from Prezola

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Ali: I’m an interior designer by trade and my husband Dom has over 20 years’ experience in the media industry so it’s no surprise that we’re asked how we got into the world of weddings when we made the decision to launch gift list registry Prezola back in 2010!

On my birthday, a few years ago now, I mentioned to Dom that it would have been great to be able to somehow share my birthday list with friends and family as I loved so many items from different shops. We realised that a website was of course the perfect platform for this…and that’s how (after a few glasses of wine) Prezola was born! Initially our plan was to offer lists for many occasions but with my interior design background and the fact that Wedding Gift Lists are already an established tradition we made the decision to really focus our energies into that sector.

With our respective backgrounds and with a fabulous team of personal shoppers all with previous interior design experience, we’re perfectly equipped to offer insight and expertise to even the most style-savvy couples. Five years on and we’re a multi-award-winning brand that’s going from strength to strength and even more passionate about what we do than ever before.

I absolutely love what I do because I’m paid to do what I love most… Follow the latest interior trends from the high street and online, find clever ways to replicate high end designer looks at accessible prices and help couples assemble a gift list that truly reflects their style.

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Our Brand

Deciding which gift list provider to choose in the run up to your big day can be a daunting task. With a range of guests to please from your traditional Grandparents to your trendy best friend, it can be difficult to know which items to ask for from your loved ones. From traditional household items such as towels, glasses and cutlery to charity donations, honeymoon activities and even cash presents the possibilities open to couples are endless and we really felt that no one had ‘cracked’ the market and that’s what we really set out to achieve… Offer all of the above in one seamless service.

Since its launch, we’re proud to say that we’ve revolutionised the gift list offering and in 2015, modern, style savvy couples don’t have a gift list, they have a ‘Prezola List.’ Prezola allows any item from over 100 retailers alongside cash contributions, a honeymoon fund and even donations to a charity of their choice.

Prezola lists are not created with a scanner in a busy department store, but curated over the space of days, weeks or even months from the comfort of the couple’s own iPad. Luxury linens from The White Company and other ‘must have’ brands such as Le Creuset, Dualit and LSA glassware sit comfortably alongside personalised gifts from Not On The High Street, wall art from Bold & Noble and even gardening gifts made popular courtesy of Sophie Conran for Burgon and Ball!

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From picnic hampers from Fortnum & Mason to traditional crockery from Cornishware and new ceramic designers such as Alice Peto, couples really do have access to it all with Prezola’s impressive online directory featuring more than 30,000 products handpicked from over 300 brands.

Further enhancing our offering as the ultimate gift list provider, we launched a fine wine and champagne service in 2013 in collaboration with Great Western Wine. Ideal for the wine connoisseur couples can choose from over 250 exclusive, award-winning fine wines and champagnes available to purchase either by the bottle or case.

Throughout every step of the process, couples are assured a fully personalised service – our team of client advisors have extensive interior design expertise and are on hand to provide inspiration and guidance throughout the selection process. Couples can also benefit from adding products from any UK website to their lists, providing unlimited choice.

To ensure a seamless shopping experience for guests, we provide a one-stop express checkout online. Guests can select any item from any retailer plus cash contributions and charity donations in one single transaction, including free delivery on all items purchased from the company’s 300 brand partners. Plus, unlike many other department stores, our lists can go live as soon as couples want – ensuring guests can start shopping for the perfect gift as soon as they receive their invitation.

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For that little something extra, guests can choose the Prezola gift-wrapping service to deliver beautifully packaged presents. Once complete, all gifts are checked and packed by Prezola ready for delivery on a convenient date following the wedding.

The UK’s independent wedding gift list service is also completely free to use*, including no delivery charges for guests and free delivery of all gifts to the happy couple after the wedding! (*Unlimited cash contributions can be added to Prezola lists for a one-off fee of £39, after which there are no transaction fees.)

So if you fancy adding a vintage eBay find to your list, or asking for cash to put towards a deposit for your future marital home (yes, this has been a genuine request before) then Prezola is the option for you.

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Our Advice

Debrett’s – the Official Guide to British Etiquette – states that it’s expected for couples to have a wedding gift list but with over half of UK couples still not creating one for their big day, it’s definitely time to banish those very ‘British’ etiquette fears and ensure you build the perfect gift list for you (and your guests)!

So here are a few tips on how to do this and stay well within the bounds of acceptable etiquette.

  • Have a list! It’s actually a pain for guests when you don’t because they’ll almost certainly buy a gift anyway.
  • These days there are a huge range of gift list options to consider so you don’t necessarily have to stick with the obvious and use the same traditional single store gift list that your parents did – you could have a honeymoon fund, cash fund or even ask for donations to your chosen charity. You could also opt for a more modern gift list service like Prezola which can combine all of these elements.
  • Think less about what you ‘need’ and more about what you would ‘love’. Wedding gifts should be a luxury that you might not buy yourself.
  • Show your personal style with choices that reflect the two of you as a couple. There’s no need to stick to the staples of a white dinner service and silver cutlery these days. Unless of course you would love a white dinner service and silver cutlery!
  • Create your own heirlooms. In twenty years’ time your children might still be using them!
  • Cash towards something important is perfectly acceptable, as long as guests know what they’re helping you to achieve. Even if it is a honeymoon to die for!
  • Prepare for all budgets. The national average spend per invite is now over £60 on a wedding gift, which lots of couples underestimate. Think about adding items at the top and bottom end of the budget and also consider adding vouchers as a flexible option.
  • Your wedding photos will always be very special to you. Be sure to add bespoke photo albums and beautiful frames to your gift list so that your wedding photos can be protected and proudly displayed.
  • Be ready on time. Ideally your wedding gift list should be ready to view as soon as your invitations are sent out. So plan ahead, do your research, try to stick to just one list and make sure your guests have all of the information they need as soon as they receive your invitation.
  • Use a gift list service that keeps track of who gave what so it’s easy when it comes to those very important thank you notes!

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So will you be one of the ‘style savvy couples’ who have a ‘Prezola List’…?

I love the idea of creating your own heirlooms and yes to the photo frames! You’ll certainly be needing one or two of those post W-day.

Thank you so much to Ali and the team at Prezola for dropping by, not only with their gorgeous start-up story, but their pearls of Gift-List wisdom.

Lots of love…

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