Wedding Gift Etiquette: A Guide for Guests and Couples

In the final installment of our summer etiquette series, we are tackling a big one: gift-giving and thank-you cards. Planning a wedding involves managing a myriad of details, and among them is the delicate dance of gift-giving and gratitude. Where shall we begin?

The Wonderful World of Wedding Gifts

Wedding gifts can be as varied as a box of chocolates – you (unforunately) never know what you’re gonna get. Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Registry Gifts: This is like giving your guests a treasure map where X marks the presents you actually want. It’s an easy way to get more of what you need without any added stress. Plus, it takes the guesswork out of gift-giving for your friends and family so everyone can be happy!
  2. Cash Gifts: Some cultures consider cash the king of wedding gifts. If you’re cool with this, gently let your inner circle know. You can also set up registries on sites like Honeyfund or Zola that allow you to ask for contributions to certain experiences, like a dinner on your honeymoon. Many guests (particularly in the, ahem, parent generation, find this more tolerable).
  3. Charitable Donations: For those who want to turn their big day into a big difference. Who said you can’t wear white and go green?
  4. Handmade Gifts: These are the mixtapes of wedding gifts – personal, thoughtful, and probably going to end up on a shelf.

Regardless of the type, remember: it’s the thought that counts. Handle each gift with care, even if it’s not quite your taste.

Dodging Potential Gift Grenades

Gift customs can be as diverse as a global buffet. From Chinese red envelopes stuffed with cash to Indian weddings dripping in gold, it’s good to know what’s on the menu. Our biggest advice: READ THE WEBSITE. The couple will almost always let you know what they would like to recieve. Even if you haven’t heard of a tradition before, put aside the judgment and follow directions.

A common question we are asked is: “what is an acceptable amount to give?” Take into account whether you are traveling in for the wedding, whether you had to purchase any pre-wedding gifts for a shower or other celebration, and (of course) your budget. For most weddings, an amount between $50 and $150 is considered appropriate. However, if you are close to the couple or have a very generous budget, it may be worth considering giving more. Ultimately, it’s your decision — give what you can comfortably afford and feel good about!

Another important factor to consider is timing. Weddings often come with unexpected expenses, so it can be helpful to give the newlyweds an early wedding gift or card with a check inside. This helps them pay for those little extras that may come up as they finalize all the details of their big day.

Conducting the Thank-You Note Symphony

Thank-you cards are the standing ovation for your guests’ stellar performances. Here’s how to strike the right chord:

  1. Timing: Aim to send your notes before the three-month mark after your wedding, but ideally as the gifts come in. You don’t want your gratitude to be fashionably late.
  2. Personalization: Name the gift and its future role in your life. “Thank you for the blender; we look forward to many margarita nights!”
  3. Handwritten Notes: In our digital world, a handwritten note is like a vinyl record – classic and oh-so-sweet to receive.

Unique Encores: Creative Ways to Show Gratitude

Want to make your thank-you notes more memorable than the best man’s speech? Include a photo of you both using the gift, or write on a snapshot from the wedding. For group gifts, a group thank-you message could work – just make sure everyone gets their round of applause.

At the end of the day, wedding gifts are all about the best intentions, and it’s important to keep that in mind. No matter your role in the exchange, let’s keep our minds and hearts open, and remember that we’re all here to celebrate love together (toaster, or no toaster).

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