Wedding Gift Giving Etiquette

The giving of wedding gifts has been in vogue for as long as weddings themselves. Hundreds of years ago, new queens and princesses were usually decked out in expensive jewelry and other spectacular gifts from their dowries. Kings and princes would receive a variety of items from livestock to property. But for those young women who were unfortunate to be without a dowry, wedding gifts were often given by generous friends and family who were able to afford such luxuries.

Today, wedding gifts are meant to get the happy couple off to a good start in their new family home. Proper wedding etiquette also dictates that the newlyweds provide gifts to the members of their wedding parties, as well as to the parents of the bride and groom and even to the wedding guests. And there are a few wedding etiquette rules that must be followed when giving these gifts. While gifts may be given to the newlyweds at the engagement party, the bridal shower and the reception, there are a few standard questions one must ask themselves when choosing wedding gifts.

Gifts for the Newlyweds

While gifts may be given to the newlyweds at the engagement party, the bridal shower and the reception, there are a few standard questions one must ask themselves when choosing wedding gifts.ART-Toasting-Flutes.jpg

  • Are the bride and groom registered at a particular store? If so, where?

  • How much money should you spend on the gift? This usually depends on how close you are to the couple. The closer the relationship, the more expensive the gift should be. However, do not overspend if you are not in a position to do so. If the couple truly values your friendship, they will likely treasure a homemade gift over an expensive one.

  • Are there any gifts the couple may find inappropriate? For instance, you wouldn’t want to present a tee totaling couple with a gift of wine and wine glasses.

  • What can you buy that will be enjoyed by both the bride and the groom? Remember, you are purchasing a gift for the couple. Make sure you purchase something they may enjoy together

Find out exactly what the couple wants and stick to it. Bridal registries have become popular for good reason. When the happy couple returns from their honeymoon, they will already have their hands full with thank you notes and other post-wedding duties. Don’t add to their to-do list by making them run to three different stores to return extra toasters. Use the bridal registry, and make sure you use it properly. Be sure to have the cashier scan the registry at checkout to make sure the gift you purchase is removed from the list of gifts that may still be purchased.

If you do choose to stray from the bridal registry, opt for a creative option that no one else will be able to duplicate. Handmade items such as quilts are likely to be cherished for years. You may also opt for personalized gifts engraved with the couple’s last name or initials. And, even if the couple does receive more than one, you can be sure that each will be unique.


Gift Etiquette for the Receiver


Proper wedding etiquette applies to the gift receivers as well as to the givers. It is important to let people know that you appreciate the significance of the gift as well as the gift itself. There are several key wedding etiquette rules you should follow as the bride and groom.

  • Register. Many of your guests will have no idea what to get you. By providing ART-Coasters.jpgthem with a gift registry, you can provide them with wedding ideas which will help them a great deal. This also helps you avoid receiving multiples of a particular item that you really don’t need.

  • Register the proper way. Never send out registry information with your wedding invitations. There are plenty of good ways to inform your guests of their registry options without making them feel as though the gift is your only reason for inviting them to your wedding.

  • If you would prefer cash over gifts (and many already established couples do,) it is best to inform only a few close family members and allow them to spread the word. Also, be sure to let them know your reasoning behind this decision, as your guests will often like to know where their money is going.

  • Send a thank you note to each and every person who gave you a gift. Each thank you note should include a personal message to the giver rather than a generic message that is repeated in every card.

  • Send out your thank you cards as soon as possible after the wedding to let your guests know just how much you appreciated their gifts.

    Wedding Party Gifts


    Wedding party gifts are a great way to show your appreciation for your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Your bridesmaids go out of their way to help you make your wedding plans. They stand by your side through all of the ups and downs, and even through the occasional breakdown. Your groomsmen also play a special role. They too are there to support the happy couple throughout the entire wedding planning process.

    Bridesmaids and groomsmen alike must attend all pre-wedding functions as well as plan the bridal shower and bachelor party. They purchase their own dresses and tuxedos and take care of a myriad of other last minute details in an attempt to relieve some of the stress on the bride and groom. These special people make a huge contribution to your big day, and it has become common practice for the newlyweds to offer some sort of gift to each member of their wedding party.

    While it is difficult to please everyone, proper wedding etiquette dictates that you do your very best. Some couples purchase a different gift for each wedding guest in an attempt to get everyone exactly what they want, while others choose one gift that can be purchased in large quantities and then personalized to each person. Items such as personalized pilsner glasses, mugs or shot glasses are common. Or, you may choose cuff links for the groomsmen and necklaces for the bridesmaids. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, ensuring your wedding party has the appropriate matching accessories which may then double as wedding party gifts.

    And don’t forget about the smallest members of your wedding party. The flower girl and ring bearer must sit through all of the boring grown up events and stand up during your wedding ceremony like a perfect little replica of the bride and groom. They must smile adorably for the cameras no matter how tight their dress shoes or how scratchy their crinolines might be.

    No matter what wedding gifts you choose for your wedding party, the important thing is to put some thought into it. Just do your best to provide your bridesmaids and groomsmen with thoughtful gifts that will make them feel appreciated for their contribution while reminding them of your special day and the fun time you had together.


    Wedding Gifts for the Parents of the Bride and Groom


    The parents of both the bride and groom each have a variety of responsibilities. In some cases, one of those responsibilities is to fund the wedding. Traditionally, it is the parents of the bride who pay for the nuptials, while the parents of the groom pay for such events as the rehearsal dinner. However, it has recently become more common for couples to pay for their own weddings.

    Whatever your situation, you will want to thank both sets of parents for their own unique contribution to your big day. Choose a personal gift for each parent rather than opting for one-size-fits-all gifts as you might with the wedding party or guests. Remember, your parents have been there for you throughout your lives, and will continue to be so even after your wedding. So, be sure to provide these special people with extra special wedding gifts to show your sincerest appreciation.


    Gifts for your Guests


    The guests are often one of the last people to whom you might think to give wedding gifts, but they too make their own unique contribution to your wedding day. Some travel great distances just to enjoy this day with you, and their effort should be acknowledged. Providing wedding favors to guests is an age old custom that has evolved considerably over centuries of wedding ceremonies.

    The main thing to remember when purchasing wedding gifts for your guests is to try to provide them with small tokens, usually referred to as favors, which they will want to hold onto rather than leaving on the reception tables at the end of the night. In the past, wedding favors often consisted of simple match books printed with the couple’s name or tiny, personalized boxes of candy. But these days, your options are practically endless.

    Wedding gifts can be a lot of fun no matter if you are giving or receiving. By using proper etiquette you can help ensure that everybody involved feels as though their unique contribution to your wedding day is appreciated, no matter how small.

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    by Carlson Craft