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Wedding Gifts

Whether you're planning a wedding, or attending one, gift-giving plays an important role in the "big day." Here are some guidelines to help answer some questions on this part of the wedding process.

For the Wedding Guest

So you've been invited to a wedding? Are you wondering what to do about the somewhat obligatory gift? Most brides and grooms have registered their gift wish list with a local department or specialty store. Does this mean you must select from this list? Not necessarily. While it is nice to help the couple complete their flatware selection or informal place settings, remember that a unique gift can be just as welcomed. With the convenience of shopping online, you can now purchase, gift wrap, enclose a personalized gift card and ship a gift to the couple without leaving your home or office.

Some things to keep in mind:

Do not take a gift to the reception. You cannot be guaranteed that the bride and groom will ever see the gift, as there is generally no security at the reception (with the possible exception being if the reception is at the home of the couple or a family member). Gifts can easily be damaged or misplaced. Remember, the last thing on the couple's mind that night will be gathering up gifts. It could easily be left behind. Send the gift to the address on the registry or the RSVP address on the wedding invitation.

Etiquette says that it is a nice gesture to send a gift whether or not you plan on attending.

For the Couple

Planning a wedding can be a very time-consuming process. If you're like most couples today, you both work full-time, leaving little time during the week to complete the many details. Fortunately, with the explosion of the Web, many excellent resources are now available online to help you to plan your big day. You can gather ideas for your ceremony and reception, locate local vendors, read tips from those who have been there, register your gift wish list, and purchase gifts for your wedding party. Giving a token of appreciation to bridesmaids, ushers, groomsmen, and others who have taken a role in the wedding planning process has long been a custom. Afterall, these individuals are generally close friends or family members who have given of their time to help make your day special. And taking part in a wedding generally comes with financial responsibilities with the purchase or rental of wedding attire, throwing bridal showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties, and travel expenses. Giving gifts to members of the wedding party is left to the discretion of each couple. There are no set standards on the cost of the gift, nor do all gifts have to be the same. Below are some guidelines to help you decide what is most appropriate for your situation.

Presentation of the Gifts

Presentation of a gift is almost as important as the gift itself. First, be sure to enclose a short, personalized note thanking the individual for the important role he or she played in your wedding and mention any details that you especially appreciated. Second, be sure to elegantly wrap the gift. Nice paper, bows, and tissue paper help to make a nice gift even more charming. Some couples opt to incorporate the wedding colors into the gift wrap, tissues and bows.

When should you give your wedding party their gifts? Generally, couples prefer to present the gifts at the rehearsal dinner because of the intimate setting with your family and closest friends. Other appropriate times include a small gathering or party for your wedding party the week before the wedding, or in a private setting where you can express your gratitude to each participant individually.

Wedding Gift-Giving Guidelines
by Susan Kurth Clot de Broissia

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