We have chosen to celebrate that step with friends and family. We are asking almost all of them to travel across the country and stay in a hotel. We have guests coming from London, Wales and even Paris. The fact that they will put time and effort into being at our wedding is enough of a gift. We don't want people to feel that they have to bring an actual gift as well. No one will get cut from the christmas card list if they arrive empty handed (I have heard this said!).
Having said that, we recognise that people may want to give us a gift, just as we would/have at their weddings. Enter the wedding registry.
Traditionally wedding gifts were used to set up a house. Somehow that ethos persists in todays gift registries. It is still common to ask for plates, or towels, or serving ware. I have no idea why, and we certainly won't be asking for that (slight moment to mourn the loss of more le creuset dishes). We combined two houses worth of stuff, then promptly packed it all into my future-in-laws giant chalet-shed and left the country. We won't have time to sort through it all before the wedding, but the chances are we have too much stuff.
A new trend which I quite like, but my mother hates, is asking for contributions towards the honeymoon. I think maybe if we did it quite specifically Mum would be less opposed to it - I have friends who have registered for a day scuba diving, a candlelit dinner on the beach and his 'n' hers massages. Each of their wedding guests knows exactly what they have given the happy couple, rather than the money/vouchers just going towards the overall cost.
We chose not to disagree with my mum on this, because there is something else we don't have that we would really, really like. Something that sounds perfect for a wedding gift - it will be the centre of our family life, will last a long time and is too expensive for us to justify buying it ourselves. We want a solid oak table and chairs. Something like this: