Wedding Gift Etiquette

by Sarah Macdougall on May 24, 2013

wedding gift and registry etiquette - must read!

Since I am a strong independent woman who don’t need no man, and also an only child with a bit of a hoarding issue (not like THAT, but everything is sentimental, I’m working on it), the only reason I would want to get married right this second is for the THINGS. I don’t care how many toasters I get, or if the silverware matches the plates, or whatever, I just want a lot of stuff that I don’t have to pay for.

Now, I know that eventually, if my life ever reaches the point where I find some guy who has his updated cootie shot and I decide it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever to spend a lot of time with this person, I won’t care about the toasters. Probably. But there have been times in my life where I’ve been like, I could really use a blender or six, what’s the easiest way to go about that? Who do I know who needs to become a citizen of this country, like, yesterday?

Another great thing is money. The way things are lately, everyone has everything already, but no one has any money, which means that if you don’t know what to get someone, you can just stop at an ATM and call it a day (provided you haven’t thrown all your savings into kitchen appliances). If you’re feeling wild, you can do some origami with the Benjamin (or the George or the Lincoln, depending on how cheap you feel that day and how much you actually like the couple).

But let’s talk registries. You go to these places, and you scan all these things that you want. Again, not a good idea for me to get married, because I’d be all about the Superman pajama set or whatever, rather than His and Hers luggage tags. I digress. Since etiquette seems to have taken a back seat these days, I’ve seen a lot of instances where the registry info is listed on the invitation, or more shockingly, the couple makes the generous offer to accept money instead.

1. Don’t list registry info on the invitation. Let people check their calendars before you overwhelm them with options you feel would be acceptable as gifts. If you have a wedsite, have a page set up with this information on it, or include a card with the invitation as just an “FYI – here’s where we’ve registered” type of deal. Furthermore, it’s a wedding. Most people know that they should bring a gift. So there’s really no point in making them feel pressured to do so.

2. If you don’t want gifts, say “no gifts please” or “in lieu of gifts, we request that you make a donation to -insert charity here-“. That gives people the option of forcing money on you (an awful fate, I know), forcing money on a charity in order to do good and improve their karma, or not do anything (because maybe they want to show their support for you but can’t really afford to drop $100 on fine linens, your honeymoon, or the whales).

3. There’s no extremely awesome way to go about requesting money instead of gifts, which is why you should probably just not. However, if there WAS a way, it would NOT be, “We accept Visa, MasterCard, and personal checks”. Again, because many people are running low on the funds these days, while giving a gift is definitely encouraged, giving money shouldn’t feel like a mandatory thing. If you want to have something like a money tree at your reception or whatever, go for it,and make a little sign explaining what it is, but DO NOT put “no gifts please, there will be a money tree at the reception” on the invitation.

Go with the flow. For those of you who have found your lobster (Friends, anyone? Bueller?), that should be what you remember about the day. Not how many blenders you get (although if you want to get any extra appliances off your hands, let me know, I know someone who might be interested in helping you out).

Also, here’s a bonus tip:

4. Make sure to ask for gifts in a range of prices. Not everyone attending your wedding can buy that Vitamix you want desperately. Offer a range of things that you want/need. We’ve already received a couple of gifts so far from attendees (and from those who can’t attend) and I think people liked the option of choosing their own price options instead of having to collaborate with multiple people to get something big. Also, if you’re doing an Amazon registry (like Jaime and Cameron are!), you can even add gift cards to the list!

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