Wedding Gift Etiquette

Wedding etiquette can be a wonderful tool to help a bride and groom plan a wedding that is tasteful, thoughtful, and a pleasure for everyone. Unfortunately, there are also some people who spread misinformation about weddings, claiming that it is proper etiquette. For those who do not have the time to sit down and read Emily Post from cover to cover, take a moment to get the facts straight about these wedding gift etiquette myths.
You have a year to send a thank you note. This one just kills me! Think about it - do you really think that people want to spend the next year wondering if their package got lost in the mail or if you hated their gift so much you could not even write a note of appreciation? Thank you notes should always be sent out promptly; within two to three weeks is ideal. If you keep up with the notes as gifts arrive, it is not all that daunting a task. The origin of the myth, by the way, stems from the fact that etiquette allows a guest up to a year after the wedding to send out a gift.
It is not necessary to send notes for bridal shower gifts. Just because you thanked someone in person at your shower does not get you off the hook for dropping a proper thank you note in the mail to them after the event. To make the job easy, designate one person to take notes on which gift was from which guest. A simple note like "Aunt Edna - bridal jewelry) should be all that is needed to jog the bride's memory when she sits down to write her thank you notes for shower gifts. ("Dear Aunt Edna, Thank you so much for the beautiful bridal jewelry! I cannot wait to wear it on my wedding day...etc, etc")
Writing "No gifts" on the wedding invitations is thoughtful. While the intentions behind a "no gift" request are always thoughtful, it is actually considered to be in poor taste to make any mention of gifts on the wedding invitation. The reason is that it is implied that without the "no gifts" notation, your guests would have been obligated to provide a wedding gift, which technically, they are not. Of course, it is in even worse taste to include bridal registry details on or with the wedding invitation, because it makes it look like a gift is the price of admission to the event. Don't worry - anyone who is interested in purchasing from a bridal registry will ask where you are registered, and the information will get passed around by word of mouth.
Bridesmaids are obligated to throw a bridal shower. While it is certainly customary for one or more of the bridesmaids to decide to host a bridal shower in honor of their friend, it is never mandatory. The bride is never to ask her attendants when they will be having a shower for her! If they want to, they will, and if they do not want to or cannot afford to throw a shower, that is their prerogative. Besides, for all the bride knows, her friends could be conspiring to throw her a fabulous surprise shower, which would be ruined if the secret was revealed.
The cost of the wedding gift should be the same as the cost per head of the reception. First of all, who beyond immediate family even knows what the bride is paying the caterer per person? Second of all, wedding guests should give what they can afford and what they wish to give. A young couple paying their own way might have a very modest celebration in a church basement, but a generous relative might wish to give them a substantial gift for their new home. Conversely, the guest at a very lavish wedding might be living on a tighter budget than the hosts of the wedding. Under no circumstances would that person be obligated to spend beyond their means. A gift should be chosen with care that it will please the recipient, not based on some imaginary equation.

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Cherry Flitcher said...

While the intentions behind a "no gift" request are always thoughtful, it is actually considered to be in poor taste to make any mention of gifts on the wedding invitation.

Cherry Fletcher @ Acne and Treatment

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