Wedding gift etiquette

There is more to wedding gifts than just figuring out which of the six toasters that you receive will be kept. From the moment that you announce your engagement, there will be question about gifts. Engagement party gifts? Registries? Let’s consider wedding gift etiquette.

Wedding Registries

Wedding registries have long been a preferred way for the couple to ensure that people know what they need and for guests to know that their gift will be useful.

In recent years, gift registries have gotten easier for couples to establish and more convenient for guests to access. Most major department and even discount stores offer computerized registries, complete with in-store assistance in selecting items. Some registries can even be created online, and many more can be accessed online by guests looking to shop for the perfect gift.

Proper etiquette dictates that someone other than the bride and groom advises guests where a couple has registered. A family member or a member of the wedding party is acceptable. Etiquette dictates that you do not including gift registry information with your wedding invitations.

The nature of items in a registry has evolved in the past few decades. In the past, it was limited to items such as china and silver. Nowadays, the selections are much bigger. Major Hardware store chains, such as Home Depot offer wedding registry, so instead of china, you can register for a power sander, which you may well find much more useful.It is, however, still a faux pas to register for cash gifts, anything lewd or vulgar, or anything with an exorbitant price.

Cash Gifts

Whatever you do, don’t write “cash-only gifts” on your wedding announcements. For some ideas on how to handle a wedding where the couple prefers (or really needs!) cash as a gift, look at Asking for money instead of a wedding gift for more ideas.

Exchanging Gifts

So you look at that rug that Uncle Lester bought you (you know, the one with the giant peacock on it?) and you think that it may not fit with your décor. That’s a sticky situation. Exchanging a gift may offend or hurt a loved one’s feelings, so you have to use your better judgment and consider the risk. If you decide to exchange the gift, you are not obligated to inform the gift giver and your thank you note should be for the original gift received, not the replacement.

If a gift was received broken, was a duplicate or just an incorrect gift, go ahead and attempt to rectify the situation with the retailer. If you’re unable to do so, see if the gift-giver can help you get it straightened out. The store should offer to return, exchange, or replace the gift.

Thank You Notes

All gifts should promptly be followed by a hand-written thank you card, and not an e-mail. Etiquette dictates that all thank you notes must be written within 3 months of your wedding. This applies to engagement and bridal shower gifts.

When writing your cards, don’t worry about sounding original so much as sincere. After all, your Aunt Lucy won’t know that her thank you card sounded strikingly similar to your new husband’s cousin Ted’s card. Just be sure to specifically mention the gift they gave you and how thankful you are that you received it. If you’ve still got lots of space on the card, you can also mention when and how you might use the gift and that the gift will always remind you of the giver.

When writing thank you notes for cash gifts toward a larger purchase (a house or a car, for example), let them know how much you appreciate their cash gift and tell them how the buying process is going. If it’s feasible, invite them over for dinner or take a ride in your car once the purchase is made.

If you are a guest at a wedding and never received a thank you note for a wedding gift sent several months ago, it is perfectly acceptable to inquire whether the couple ever received the gift. You may ask their parents if you feel more comfortable. The gift may have been lost during shipment, a situation which would need to be addressed.

Gifts at Second Marriages

When it comes to second weddings, friends and relatives are not required to buy you a gift if they bought you one the first time, however most likely they will want to do so. It is acceptable to register for a second wedding.

If you so choose, here are some polite ways to say no gifts please.

Small Weddings

If you send a wedding announcement, rather than a wedding invitation, for a small wedding and not inviting many out-of-town friends and relatives, it is clearly implied that gifts are not necessary.

Gifts for your Guests

It’s common for brides and grooms to show their appreciation for their guests’ participation in your wedding ceremony by giving favors. Favors can consist of anything from a miniature box of chocolates to handmade keepsakes bearing the couple’s name and wedding date.

Attendants’ Gifts

The bride and groom traditionally select special gifts to present to members of the wedding party in thanks for their special role in the event. Any amount you choose to spend is acceptable. You may consider gifts of higher value for your maid of honor and best man.

When is a Wedding Gift Too Much? Or Too Little?

There are no specific price guidelines for gifts. Gifts are based on what the guest believes the receiver would like, what they want to give and the amount the gift-giver can afford. There is no average amount that a guest needs to spend on a wedding or shower gift. Really, as the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts.






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