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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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Wedding Favor Gifts that Reflect Who You Are as a Couple


Leaving your guests with wedding favor gifts is a wonderful way of thanking them for sharing your big day with you. Wedding favors provide your guests with a memento that they can keep forever and think back on the joyous occasion. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing elegant wedding favors is to not fall in the candy-covered almonds wrapped in twill trap. Venture off and find the gift that reflects who you and your fiancé are.

Unique to You
Make a list of you and your hubby-to-be’s hobbies and passions. If you both love to cook, then consider giving a gift that reflects that. For example you could box up mini bottles of olive oil and vinegar ready for the pouring. Go the extra mile and make them personalized wedding favors and have your names and wedding date painted or printed onto the glass. One of my favorite favors is a bag of flower seeds. This gift has such powerful symbolism behind it—new life and beauty ahead. It is also ideal for those who have a passion for gardening. Stick with the theme of life but add a twist by giving your guests seeds to plant a tree that bares fruit or vegetables.

Weather Appropriate
If you’re having a spring or summer wedding and it’s hot out there, then give your guests personalized fans. Choose a fan that reflects your style and have the wedding date stitched, painted, or printed onto the fans. This is ideal for destination weddings where the weather is on the humid side, like Hawaii or Bali. Another fantastic gift that’s weather appropriate and ideal for destination weddings is a sarong for the ladies, and a hat for the gentlemen. If you’re having a daytime, casual wedding in an exotic location then pass out these favors prior to the wedding so your guests have the option of wearing them to your wedding.

Go Green
Consider giving your guests an eco-friendly gift of stainless steel water bottles. This will give them a reason to forego plastic water bottles and help the environment. Another option is to give them customized and personalized reusable bags. A third option is to give your guests natural bamboo eco-friendly coaster favors.

Theme Appropriate
Find favors that match your wedding theme. If you’re having a winter themed wedding, consider giving your guests white soap in the shape of snowflakes. Soap is a great option for any theme, just make sure the shape is theme appropriate, for example if you’re having a fall wedding you could give pumpkin soap.

For the Romantics
If you’re a true romantic then choose a heart shaped favor. The possibilities are endless! To get you started on your search here are a few ideas: heart shaped personalized key chains, soap, chocolates, a bag of candy hearts, or heart shaped bath salts. You don’t have to choose a heart shaped favor of course, you could still remain true to your romantic core and give the gift of a scented candle, incense, or any other aroma therapy gift.

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The Complete and Downloadable Wedding Registry Checklist


Make sure you get everything you want on your wedding day!

Our registry checklist covers everything you need for your new life together, from dining and kitchenware to home décor and luggage!

View and download the Wedding Registry Checklist here!

Are Wedding Registries No Longer Optional?


In this weekend's Washington Post there's an article about to-be-weds who do not wish to register, but are forced to.

Modern wedding registries really started in the 1920's, and we all know that the world has changed a lot since then.  Many couples now get married a little later, and have already acquired plenty of "stuff."  Others had already been living together, and long-since bought all the dishes and appliances they need.

We certainly understand why some couples don't feel the need to register, but we're not wild about this article because it tries to make a connection between registering and greediness.  Most guests want to give a gift, and want that gift to be something the happy couple would truly enjoy, so treating those who don't want to register as though they're "better people" seems more than a little unfair.

Of course what ultimately trumps everything else is what the couple wants: If you don't want a registry for whatever reason, you shouldn't have one.  Or you could direct guests to a charity you'd like to support, or to your honeymoon fund.  You certainly shouldn't be strong-armed into registering for things you don't want.  But neither should you be celebrated for not registering.

Read the Washington Post article here.  What do you think?

A Checklist for the Day Before Your Wedding


Take a deep breath, shake out those jitters and make sure all your last-minute details are covered. Use this easy checklist to iron out the final tasks before your wedding. Once everything is in place, you’ll be relaxed on the day before your wedding.

  • Call each of your vendors to confirm arrival times and any last-minute details. When you call your caterer, give your final head count. If you haven’t officially scheduled group shots with your wedding photographer, do this now.
  • If you’re traveling directly after your wedding, start packing at least three days before the ceremony.
  • Email your bridesmaids and groomsmen with a list of everyone’s cell phone numbers and email addresses so that everyone can coordinate and communicate when they’re in town for the wedding.
  • Wear your wedding shoes around the house for a few hours at a time if you’ve never worn them before. Just be cautious to avoid blisters or soreness before your big day.
  • Give checks and tips in envelopes to your wedding organizer so that he or she can pay your vendors at the appropriate times on your wedding day. If you’re not working with a wedding planner, assign this task to a close friend or relative. If you don’t have a wedding planner, you also need to ensure that someone reliable can bring home your wedding gifts after the reception.
  • Take care of yourself—non-wedding-related activities can be one of your most important wedding planning tools. Schedule some light time at the gym, an early morning walk or a movie night with your girlfriends. If you find yourself getting stressed out, remind yourself that you’re prepared and move on to something distracting and fun.

The Tradition of the Bridal Purse


Wedding purses date back to at least the 15th Century, and were just as practical then as they are now. (A woman always needs a good bag to hold accessories.) One big difference: At one time the purse was a gift to the bride from the groom.

Poland adopted the Dollar Dance a couple of centuries later, a wedding custom in which guests danced with the bride and pinned money to her gown. The tradition was more than just fashionable, as many couples had very little money to start their new lives together. Since then, the Dollar Dance has been adopted throughout Europe and parts of Latin America, and a Wedding Purse has become a popular alternative to pinning money on the bride’s gown.

The Wedding Purse is now a popular American custom too, especially if you come from a European background. (The Dollar Dance is common too.) The bride can carry around a specially made purse at the reception, and guests put money in it as they meet and greet. In addition to money being a common gift for certain cultures, the custom is just a heck of a lot of fun.

Continue reading here for more on how to incorporate the bridal purse into your wedding, as well as the "Money Bag."

After Your Wedding: Obligations & Traditions


Wedding traditions aren’t limited to the engagement, ceremony and reception. When you wake up on your first day after the wedding as a married couple, be prepared for a few more obligations and wedding traditions. Not to mention all those gifts to sort through.

Check out your postnuptial obligations and traditions here, including brunch, farewells, thank-yous and more.