This week I thought I'd share some gift list tips from designer Katharine Pooley, who recently got married and offers a wonderful wedding gift list service. She sources homeware and accessories from all over the world, available from her London store, and online at www.katharinepooley.com (0207 584 3223). There's dining crystal and silverware, artwork, antiques and furniture pieces. Everything is unique and you can be sure that your list won't wind up with the standard choices made by all your friends. Admittedly, you won't be able to register for a toaster or bread bin, but that's why I love the current trend for two gift lists - John Lewis for the essentials, and a high-end boutique for everything else.
Here are her tips:
1. Include gifts with different price tags. Parents and in-laws will want to buy you presents that set you up for the next stage in your life, so make sure you list a couple of big items. I asked for a superb washing machine and dryer from my in-laws that we wouldn't have bought for ourselves and my father bought us a new computer. It's equally important to have a range of smaller items for younger siblings, cousins, colleagues and friends. See this as an opportunity to upgrade homeware like salt and pepper mills, napkins, picture frames and candlesticks.
2. Do your maths! Think about when and how you'll use your dinner service and glassware, so you can work out how many place settings you need. If your dining room table only seats four and you have a small family, then there is no point buying twelve. However, try to think ahead. It would be a mistake to buy for a small house only to move and find that you don't have enough of everything in a year's time. I asked for 12 of everything but that's only because I do a lot of entertaining and have a large family Christmas each year.
3. Upgrade. If you already live with your partner, and have all the practical items you need, use the opportunity to upgrade your dinner service, glassware and choose yourself some lovely new home accessories. This could be a good time to invest in new sheets and towels. What could be better than coming back from your honeymoon to crisp new bedlinen?