There are particular times in life when we seem to be going from one wedding to another. First, this happens in our 20’s and early 30’s. Then invitations start pouring in again when we’re in our 50’s and 60’s as sons & daughters of our family members & friends start getting married. Wedding Etiquette seems to be endlessly changing and we’re often confused about what is appropriate. This blog post answers those tough questions about gift-giving.

What if I don’t know what the couple want or where they are registered?

If the couple have followed the correct etiquette rule of NEVER indicating on the wedding invitation details about the Bridal Registry or that all they want is cold cash, contact someone who knows the couple like the Maid/Matron of Honor or the parents. Another option is just google the names of the couple and their website should appear. All of this pertinent information will be included there. Most couples create a website for that reason among others.

I’ve spent a lot of money to attend this Destination Wedding. Do I still have to bring a gift?

Yes, a small gift would be fine. However, if you’re absolutely cash strapped, no one should demand that you overspend or worse, go in debt. You have up to one year to give a gift to the happy couple, anyway.

What’s a good amount to spend on the gift? Do I just figure out how much they’ve spent on my meal & alcohol?

This used to be the general consensus. Thankfully, that’s all changed. A wedding is not about the gifts but honoring & sharing in the joy of a milestone. When we’re invited to someone’s home for dinner, we don’t sit down and determine how much they spent on groceries & wine to come up with an adequate hostess gift. We just purchase a favorite CD or bouquet of flowers. A wedding is no exception. The bridal couple shouldn’t be trying to recoup their expenses from the gifts. This is very tacky. I’m reminded of the bride who shamed her guests for the food basket that they gave instead of money.

Should I bring the gift to the reception?

In practical terms, have the gift mailed or dropped off to the couple’s address complete with your full name. The organizers of the wedding will thank you as there’ll be less items to deliver at the end of the evening when everyone will be very tired.

The couple only want cash. What should I do?

If the couple only want money, then do as they wish. Presentation is when the couple are presented with cash gifts in envelopes by their guests usually during the Receiving line or the couple may sit at a table after the Reception and receive their guests at that time. Some cultures have this as an accepted practice so as the guest, you need to do likewise.
Weddings are wonderful times to reconnect with family and friends who may live far away. However, they can also be very stressful, too. Practicing correct etiquette makes everyone feel at ease and comfortable so that the memories of this milestone will be truly joyful for everyone.

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