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All Wedding Gift Etiquette Details You Should Bear in Mind

Wedding gift etiquette can puzzle us, especially when we are a plus one. That is why we made sure to answer the most crucial (and also some of those less common questions) for you.

Wedding Gift Etiquette: Everything You Need to Know

It can be said that today's wedding gift etiquette is changing way faster than it used to back in the day. Even though it's only details that are mostly changed, if we distance ourselves and take a look we could see that over the course of last decade or so, those details have piled up and created a significant distinction.


Such distinction can tell us a lot about how the society has also changed, one detail at a time. This time last year you couldn't even imagine that you'd have a chance to go gift-shopping for your gay friend and his groom-to-be, but here we are!

Wedding gift etiquette is changing, just like other social conventions. And we, the social animals that we are, should surely follow up.

Wedding gift etiquette

1. Decide on your budget

Before we start contemplating on anything else, you first have to figure out how much money you want and can spend. Think smart!

2. The traditional way

Shopping from the registry. Easy and straight-forward. Unless it's entirely out of your budget. But we have the cure.

3. When it's acceptable to shop outside the registry

We are not breaking any rules here. See what are those extraordinary situations when you are allowed to make your own move.

4. Personal gift

A gift from the heart. The fact that it's something you made by hand doesn't have to mean that the gift is less valuable. Au contraire.

5. Group effort

Just like a group hug can be a real positive boost, a group gift can give the newlyweds the possible financial boost.

6. No gifts situation

Yes, that's a thing, too. And it's completely acceptable.

7. Being a plus one

When you're attending a wedding as someone's date, the big question can be if you are obliged to get the couple something or not. Both are acceptable, and we know why.

8. When to ship the gift

According to wedding gift etiquette, we share with you the latest update on when the couple can expect you to send them your gift.

Wedding gift etiquette follow up: Because we want you to enjoy your shopping time while at the same time being sure that you are making the right choice

Wedding are one of those events I really love attending. Weddings are a great excuse for me to wear dreamy gowns, experiment with new makeup tricks, and eventually dance the night away with the people I care about. Another big plus about weddings is an excuse to go shopping for items I don't usually buy. Really, when was the last time you went out and came back home after buying yourself some new silverware? You can't simply find an excuse to do so.

And that's especially hard for me, as I really love silverware shopping (Those cute little spoons take my breath away).

But let me share with you the points I stick to when it comes to wedding gift etiquette.

1. Decide on your budget

Before you get any further, make sure that you know how much money you want to spend. I have the need to emphasize the importance of knowing how much you can afford to spend on this gift. But that's probably because I had a couple of slips here and there before I learned my lesson.

When deciding on your budget you should have several things in mind. The first thing is whether or not you're attending a bridal shower, too. Because if you do, you'll be needing two, not one, gift.

Secondly, how close you are with the happy couple? Depending on whether you're just co-workers, college friends, or close relatives, you'll know whether you should spend more or less money.

You should also take into consideration if there are any additional expenses for you: Is the wedding reception in another town, maybe another country? Do you have a place to stay, or you need to rent a room. In case of such expenses, the wedding etiquette allows you to spend less on the gift and easily cover other expenses.

2. The traditional way

If the happy couple is registered, picking wedding gifts can become so much simpler for you. That's why we love registries. They are simple, straight-forward, and you can always be sure that you'll get the newlyweds the gift they want and need.

But why are then some people not fond of registries? While some consider buying out of registry to be impersonal and plain, others often complain that couples use registry as a way of extorting expensive gifts from their guests. But is that always the case? Or are you just buying gifts too late?

Shop early

If you want to be sure that you'll spend just the amount of money you were willing to spend, you have to make sure that you get your hands on that registry before most of the other guests do. Be among the first to shop, and you'll have the benefit of getting the least expensive item registered.

Today you also have the benefit of all those online registry tools that can help you find the perfect gift and ship it to the couple without even leaving your chair.

3. When it's acceptable to shop outside the registry

Trust us on this, you can do so. If you know the happy couple well, you certainly have the benefit of choosing the right gift even if they haven't thought of it themselves.

If you know that the couple is getting ready to redecorate their home, and you are (or know) a skilled constructor or an interior designer, let your gift be a constructor's or designer's service.

If a couple is enthusiastic about a certain hobby, or has a valuable collection, you might wish to contribute to that. Get them a coupon that can help them improve their climbing equipment, or browse for a rare item for their Star Wars collection. The only thing you should keep in mind is that this topic of interest should be mutual for the two of them.

The very special and noble case

If the couple is very enthusiastic about a certain cause, there's one beautiful thing you can do which we are sure would be widely appreciated. And not just by the couple.

Make a donation in their name. That's another thing you can finish in no time online. But that is also an incredibly selfless gesture, which both happy couple and the receivers of the donation would be grateful for. And that's entirely acceptable according to wedding gift etiquette.

4. Personal gift

If you're feeling especially DIY, or you are the artsy one in your social group, you can always go a step further getting wedding gifts for your friends. And the best wedding gifts are those given from the heart, and the best way to show the newlyweds how much they mean to you, is to give them something you made yourself. It can be a painting, a unique piece of furniture, and even an eloquent piece of embroidery (if you're good with thread and needle).

5. Group effort

Wedding gift etiquette of today has one especially efficient feature. If you can gather a group of friends to combine the funds, you can afford to get the couple a gift that will swoop them off their feet.

For example, you can gather enough money to help them have the honeymoon of their dreams. Or you can help them start a creative project they've been planning to start for a while now. Or help refurnish a part of the house.

Or just give them the money

This rule applies for both groups and individuals: Some couples consider best wedding gifts to be the monetary ones. If you're not sure which gift would make them happy, or if you think that they will easily find better use for that amount of money, just give them the money.

You'll save yourself the trouble of searching for the perfect gift, and the couple will be happy because they'll be able to get themselves whatever they want.

6. No gifts situation

This method can be considered somewhat new, as it started gaining on popularity fairly recently. What happens when the couple emphasises that you should bring no gifts?

As this is still not such a common situation, people are usually confused when they get this kind of invitation. What should you do? Is it not rude to go to a wedding without a gift?

Essentially, no. If a couple clearly stated that gifts are not to be given for their wedding, the courteous thing to do is follow their wish.

Still, some of the guests still opt for getting something to the couple. Is that rude? Not really, but it would be rude if the couple was to reject the gift.

7. Being a plus one

The everlasting mystery. What should you do if you're not invited to the wedding, but you're going as someone's plus one? Even though you'll be there as someone's companion and probably don't even know the couple getting married, it can seem strange to visit a wedding and not get a gift (just like in the situation above).

The smart thing to do in a situation like this one is to ask your date what he or she wants you to do. If the person whose plus one you are wants you to participate in getting the gift, that is a legit reason for getting something to a couple. Otherwise, it's completely acceptable to go to a wedding without a responsibility of thinking about wedding gifts.

8. When to ship the gift

Wedding gift etiquette definite no-no is one thing: Don't bring your gift to the wedding and/or wedding reception. The happy couple already has too many thing going on that day to think about where to place the gifts and how to get them home. Plus, there's always chance of gifts getting stolen while the couple and guests are enjoying that special day.

Instead, ship the gift to the couple's address, or pay them a visit before or after the ceremony and hand them the gift yourself.

According to wedding gift etiquette, you can shop and send the gift to the couple from the moment you get the invitation until two months after the wedding. The previous unwritten rule said that you can ship your gift in the year after the wedding, but eventually it became customary to finish that in the first two months.

To be honest, that sounds more reasonable to us, too.

If you're shipping the gift before the wedding in the case where the couple is not already living together, ship the gift to the address left on the registry. In case the particular address is not specified, the choice where to ship the gift is entirely up to you.

By Abie Giles

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