Etiquette Junky


Wedding & wedding shower gifts…….to give or not to give and how to do it properly.

Wedding Season is year-round, and there are plenty of Spring/Summer weddings, but often, Fall is the season of choice. All the beautiful flower choices and jewel tone colors that can be used send wedding season into overdrive. People often ask questions about wedding and wedding shower gifts……… do you have to give a wedding gift if you give a shower gift? Or if you’re in the wedding, do you have to give a gift? How much do I spend on the gift? What if I don’t want to buy off their registry? If I am not attending the wedding how quickly do I need to send a gift? These are great questions and the answers are easy. I subscribe to all things by Emily Post. I even asked for her book on etiquette for a birthday gift one time. For me, it’s my go to on all things when I have a question.

So, most people, ok most women, get super excited when they receive a wedding or wedding shower invite……. this equates to frilly things; girl talk and plenty of pretty things. Plus, cake and champagne…. At least I’m hoping for the champagne……… there are exceptions to the rule, like the year I received 121 invites (ok, so it was only 8, but it felt like 121 and I was in a couple of them). I wanted to run……… I was so over weddings by #3 that I could have screamed…….. but I did make a list of what I knew I didn’t want at my wedding, whenever that day was supposed to arrive. But I digress, back to the questions at hand:

Question #1 If you’re invited to a couples shower, or just a bridal shower and you take a gift, do you still have to take a gift to the wedding? The simple answer is YES. The long answer is, you don’t have to break the bank to give two gifts. You should give a gift, but the choice of gift is based on your preferences or how close you are to the bride/groom. If you’re especially close to the bride/groom, you might spend more than if it’s a casual acquaintance. Maybe use the registry for one gift idea and the other gift you come up with on your own?

Question #2 If I’m in the wedding, do I still have to give a gift.….. and the answer is YES.  You need to send a shower gift and give a wedding gift. Again, what you spend is dependent upon what you want to spend. I will say most times, if you’re in a wedding, the attendants will go in and get one gift from everyone. But that doesn’t always happen…… so be prepared to find your own gift. This is the perfect time to make it special & give something that will be meaningful to the bride. If you share a love of something, find a gift that includes that, so that when she looks at that item she remembers you.

Question #3 How much do I have to spend? The old saying of “you must spend the same amount on a gift as they spend per person at the reception” isn’t true. Most etiquette gurus will tell you that $50 is a great starting point, but if that isn’t in your budget, don’t panic. Again, it depends on how close you are to the bride and groom.

Question #4 I am not attending the wedding & I don’t have their registry information, what do I do? Today we are lucky that most registries are online, and you can google the bride & groom names to find them. If you can’t attend, the safest bet is to shop & send the gift as soon as possible. There was an old saying that you had a year to send a gift, but that isn’t true. The gift should be sent as soon as possible after the event, as well. You are welcome to send gifts prior to the event as well.

Remember it’s not about how much you spend, it’s what you get them that they will remember. You also don’t want to be the guest that’s remembered for not sending a gift. If all else fails, you can take a card and a gift card to a specialty store or just a Visa gift card. I know that I look at items we receive as wedding gifts & I smile when I think of the person who gave it.

I will leave you with this, sometimes if there is a case of beer or a bottle of Tylenol on the registry, it’s a sign and you should get that.

P.S. I did have a friend that had these items on the registry for her first wedding. I laughed at the time, looking back I should have purchased both items!

Until the next one………… happy shopping!

Etiquette Junkie


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