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Top 8 Wedding Gift Etiquette Questions and Answers


There are many questions regarding wedding gift etiquette; many of which are cut and dry, others that are not. Here are a few questions clarified:

If I am invited to a wedding and cannot attend, should I still send a gift?
This is one of the most common wedding gift etiquette questions. The answer is, yes! If at all possible, you should absolutely send a gift.

What if I do not know where the couple is registered?
In this case, make a phone call. Call someone you think would have this info, as this sort of thing usually spreads by word of mouth. If not, you should call a family member, or ask the couple themselves.

If the bride and groom specify that they do not want gifts, should I still send a gift?
Yes, you should still send a gift. Some people do not want guests to feel obligated to spend money on them, but proper wedding gift etiquette would encourage you to ignore this. The good news is, if the couple does not have a registry, you can either 1) give them cash, or 2) be creative with your wedding gift! Sometimes it feels impersonal to get them something off of their registry (like the couple will never remember who gave them what dishes), but if you give them something unique that you personally picked out, they will likely always remember it. If it is the case that the couple is extremely wealthy, then write them a nice card and donate to a charity on their behalf. The point is: Do something that they will appreciate.

What is monetary wedding gift etiquette?
Some couples request cash, and some guests prefer to give money.  If you are bringing a card with the money inside to the wedding, it is probably fine to include cash. Depending on the amount, it might be best to address a check to the couple.

If I am invited to the shower, do I need to get a shower gift and a wedding gift?
Yes! Being invited to a wedding is an honor, and being invited to a shower is actually even more of an honor, because the guest list is shorter and more intimate.

How much do I need to spend on a wedding gift?
This is a point of much debate. Most wedding gift etiquette experts say that across the board, it should be a minimum of $25 for a shower and $50 for a wedding. One thing to keep in mind is that a wedding is an opportunity to practice generosity. You should give what you can afford.

What if I am invited to a deluge of weddings in the same month and cannot afford them?
If you absolutely cannot afford to spend money on all of these wedding gifts, consider doing it in increments. Technically, you can send a gift up to a year after the wedding (which is when most registries close out), but it is recommended that you send the gift within six months. For example, if you are invited to three weddings in one month, set up a personal payment plan over a six-month time period, purchasing a gift every two months. Remember that the bride and groom would not want you to go broke on their behalf, so you do not need to bring them an expensive or elaborate gift. In this case, do the very best you can.

When should I send the gift?
Ideally, you should send it before the wedding if possible, but this is not required.  All gifts should be received before the couple's first anniversary, however.

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4 Advantages of Online Wedding Registries


Though many people are weary of building online wedding registries, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. Here are a few reasons why many wedding planning services recommend you register online:

  1. With most online registries, you can edit your registry as you see fit. For example, if you walk into a store and register for chocolate brown bath towels, and then change your mind about the color scheme in your bathroom a few weeks later, you can simply go online and delete them (or replace them with the appropriate color).
  2. For grooms who do not like setting foot in a store, online wedding registries are perfect! Your fiancé can even sip a beer while looking at vacuum cleaners, bath towels, dishes and bed sheets. (Remember, your registry does not need to be limited to household items. Electronics are also valid items. Even if you do not get the 70-inch flat-screen television, you may receive some gift cards to put towards the total).
  3. Many items are available online and not in the store. Sometimes the reverse is true as well, but more often than not, online retailers have a larger selection.
  4. Many guests appreciate the convenience of being able to go online, purchase a gift, and have it shipped straight to you. Some guests will prefer going to the store to pick out your gift, but many just want to “get in and get out” while getting you exactly what you want.

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4 Points of Wedding Gift Etiquette


Wedding gift etiquette can be a little tricky to navigate if you don't know much about it. But don't fear, the following tips will help you answer any questions you have about wedding gift etiquette.

  1. Many people ask if the amount they spend on their wedding gift should correspond to the amount spent on a dinner, or how sophisticated the venue is. According to wedding gift etiquette, this is absolutely not true: the point of a wedding gift should be to bless the couple in their life together.
  2. You should try to send a gift within three months, if possible. Official wedding gift etiquette says that you have a year, but that is definitely pushing it. Ideally, try to send a gift when you reply to the invitation, about a month before the wedding.
  3. If at all possible, send a gift to the couple even if you can’t attend the wedding. You shouldn’t think of a gift as an exchange for being invited to the wedding; rather, think of it as a way to practice generosity.
  4. The average wedding gift amount is around $75. However, if you have a bunch of weddings in a short period of time and simply cannot afford a $100 espresso maker, then do not break your bank account; do the best you can. The amount also depends on your age and your location. A student cannot spend as much as an established career woman. Likewise, if you had to spend $1,000 on a plane ticket and accommodations to attend a destination wedding in the Caribbean, it is understood that you will not have a lot of extra cash for a wedding gift.


5 Tips on Deciding Where to Register & What to Register For


What to Register For

  1. Register only for things you truly love, and will actually use. (Read: you don’t have to register for fine china if it’s just not your thing. You can still set a lovely, expensive-looking table—and entertain grandly—without it). Most salespeople will tell you that there are certain absolute essentials to have on wedding registries, but this is simply not true. However, if you can see yourself using something and enjoying it (even if you have not used it before), register for it! A perfect example of this is a quality espresso maker. While you may not necessarily need one, it is a great item to have if you frequently have guests over for coffee and dessert!
  2. Choose gifts that represent a wide variety of price ranges for guests of all income levels. That being said, even if you think something is too expensive (and are worried you might look a little presumptuous putting it on your wish list), register for it anyway. Sometimes a few people will combine their gift money and get you that fantastic television set. On the flip side, make sure to register for less expensive items such as hand towels, mixing bowls, and measuring spoons.
  3. Choose high quality items that will last. Choose the bed sheets with the higher thread count, or the everyday dishes that are virtually indestructible. You do not want to end up with a bunch of things that you will have to replace in a few years. Sure, there are certain things that you will inevitably have to replace—coffee makers don’t last forever—but there are things that you'll want to have even after your kids are grown (such as a beautiful silver platter).

Where to Register

  1. Have wedding registries at a couple different locations, to give your guests options. At least one of these locations should be a widely available institution where most people can actually go and look at your selection, if they prefer. Some people are happy to choose from online wedding registries (and appreciate the convenience of being able to have the gift sent straight to your door), but others (especially older guests) want to be able to go to the store, print out your registry, and see, touch and feel the things you have chosen. The best stores are ones that have a wide selection in the store, but simultaneously have an extensive online presence. (Note: sometimes, the same item from the same store can be priced differently online than in the actual store, and guests will want to do their research to see where they can get the best deal).
  2. Choose a location that offers as many extra incentives and perks as possible. Certain businesses are geared for gift registries clientele. The advantage is that these places tend to offer tons of reward points, which you can use for up to a year after your wedding. How about when, six months after you get married, you realize that you could really use 4 more of those vintage champagne glasses to make a complete set? You take note of when the registry completion sales occur, and purchase the glasses at a huge discount. If you play your cards correctly and stay on top of things, you can save a substantial sum.


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