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What to do with unwanted wedding gifts…

We’ve all been there! You write a list, or register with John Lewis or a charity, in order to avoid the awkwardness of unwanted gifts; but a well-meaning distant relative decides they know better and deviates. They give you something you’ve either had for a decade or that you’d never even contemplate owning. So what do you do? Never fear, is here!

When the confetti has been swept away, you’re grateful and feel so fortunate for the tremendous generosity that your friends and family have shown, and to have been given so many thoughtful gifts that mean a lot to both of you…but it can sometimes feel like a bit of an anti-climax with gifts that aren’t really “you”. Or you might have ended up with 27 toasters like this couple! Whatever your situation, we’ve come up with some ideas to help…

Give it away, give it away now…

If you’re not really bothered about the monetary value of your gifts, but would like to make a difference in someone else’s life, you could donate your unwanted items to a charity.  Your local Women’s Shelter would no doubt love a brand new microwave or toaster and kettle set, or perhaps the Food Bank would appreciate the Luxury Hamper you could really do without. Freecycle is another great option or your local primary school might be holding a raffle at their next fayre – your unwanted gifts would make fantastic prizes. Giving to charity is a sure-fire way to put a smile on your face.

The gift that keeps on giving …

Most people I know have a re-gift cupboard, where you can squirrel away and save those unwanted treasures until they come in handy. At some point in the next year or so, a birthday or dinner party will take you by surprise and you’ll look at those awful presents with new-found admiration. But when you do scramble for the present closet, make sure you remember who gave it to you originally. Ensure you pop a post-it not on the item to remind you who gave it to you in the first place.

Swap shop

If the unwanted gift is branded, contemporary and can be purchased in a big store, you can attempt to take it back and get vouchers or something else in exchange. Most places will be happy to exchange goods that are in working order and unused, either for store credit or another product that’s more to your liking. Your guest will be happy you’ve swapped for something you’ll make use of.

Alternative uses


In some situations, you’ll be accidentally given duplicate gifts. Here you can opt for His & Hers, or use in your campervan. Perhaps you could turn your hand to a little upcycling? You can flex your craft muscles and *ahem* turn that erm…tasteful vase into a personalised mosaic with one nudge of your elbow. A quick search online should bring up hundreds of ways you could DIY something interesting with your unwanted gift. You can also be creative with finding new uses for things you’ve been given, for example that eau de old lady “Newly Wed” bubble bath set makes for a great bathroom cleaner if you’ve run out of Mr Muscle.

Sell, sell, sell…

It’s relatively easy to take photos and write a brief description, then wait for the bidding to commence. Apparently 82% of newlyweds admit to selling some of their gifts on ebay, so it really is quite common. Facebook is also a great place to list items; look for a local sales group, but be weary of how visible the posts are. A more old-school version of this is taking your treasure trove along to a car boot sale. This costs around £5 per car and a few quid on cups of tea, but generally you can sell all sorts of paraphernalia in a morning and still be able to make it in time for Sunday Roast at your local!


Monica's secret closet

GIF from

Or if you’re anything like the rest of us and either too lazy or busy to do any of the above, you can always just store them up in the attic along with your old school photos, never to be seen or used again.  You never know, they may be worth something when they’re antiques! An added bonus of this hiding method is that you can bring out that bizarre gift when they are due to visit, and give them the impression that it’s part of the furniture.

Thank you!

Whatever you choose to do with unwanted gifts, you need to suck it up and hand-write genuine, personlised thank you cards to everyone who came to your wedding, thanking them for being a part of your special day. Don’t forget to mention how grateful you are for their kindness and generosity. If you’ve got writer’s block and cannot think of what to say, here is a brilliant post that offers advice.

If you have any of your own ideas of what couples could do with unwanted gifts, leave a comment below or tweet us @WedVen with your suggestions!

Featured Photo: Free Ware Gifts.




Siobhan Strode
Siobhan Strode

As a regular wedding attendee Siobhan is our lady on the inside! Married for 10 years to her childhood sweetheart, she's an editor and brings her knowledge and skills to all things wedding related.