3 Rules for Wedding Gifts

When it comes to wedding gifts, guests often make big mistakes trying to make a big impression. But what's the etiquette on gifts for ultra-lavish weddings, destination weddings, or when you can't attend? Modern Manners Guy has the 3 rules for wedding gifts.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #331

When it comes to a destination wedding gift, consider two things:

1. The price tag on your gift does not have to equal the normal amount you’d spend on a wedding gift.

2. If you do want to make a big statement with an expensive gift at a destination wedding, allow yourself more time to make it happen. Give the couple a card on their wedding day that clearly lets them know their gift is on the way. You’re allowed extra time when you’re already paying your mortgage just to get there.

But make sure you follow through on your promise.

Tip#3: The Gift When You Can’t Attend

A very common situation with weddings is that you’re invited but (for whatever reason) you cannot attend. Firstly, life happens. If you can't go, you can't go. A wedding invitation is not written in stone. Attendance is not mandatory.

The number one thing to remember is that you have to let bride and groom know your status as soon as possible. Secondly, use the time that you have before the wedding to grab a gift that shows your appreciation and make sure it arrives on time for the big day.

However, this does not mean you have to buy a “guilt gift.”

Guilt gifts come in many forms: the divorced parents trying to win over their ungrateful teenagers, the significant other who forgot Valentine’s Day, and of course, having to miss a wedding and feeling so guilty that you buy an over the top present for the couple.

Just because you can’t attend, does not mean you have to break the bank to show how appreciative you are to be invited. A wedding gift is supposed to show your appreciation for being invited and for participating in the festivities - it’s a two-part game. So if one part doesn't happen, the gift should reflect it.

I don't mean you should phone it in and buy them one towel from the registry. That's tacky. But don’t feel like you have to empty the registry to make them know how bad you feel. A gift comes from the heart and shows you care, not from the wallet to show you have good credit.


As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

Do you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career for great tips and advice on job success. It's available now!

Wedding gift and destination wedding images courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Richie Frieman

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