Friday, April 4, 2008

Wedding Etiquette: Gifts

  • If you receive a wedding announcement, but not an invitation, are you required to send the couple a gift?

    You may send a gift, but it's not obligatory.

  • If you've been invited to a wedding and reception but can't attend, are you required to send a gift anyway?

    You're not required to send a gift, but usually you'll want to, unless you don't know the bride or groom well or haven't seen the couple or their families in years.

  • What are the guidelines for enclosing a bridal registry information card — plus a list of suggested gifts and prices — in a wedding invitation?

    Don't do it. Enclosing gift registry cards with wedding invitations is a new phenomenon — and an inappropriate one. The guideline still stands that it's in poor taste to mention gifts in wedding invitations. Use word of mouth to get the message out about the stores where the couple has registered.

  • Should gifts be brought to the wedding reception or mailed to the newlyweds?

    Customs vary among religions, ethnic groups, and localities. In some cases gifts are brought to the reception; more typically, they're mailed (or delivered by the store where purchased) to the newlyweds.

  • What's the acceptable length of time in which a couple should send thank-you notes for wedding gifts?

    Thank-you notes should be written as soon as possible, within three months after the date of the wedding.

  • When giving a check as a wedding present, should it be made out to the bride, the groom, or both?

    A gift check is usually written to both bride and groom unless they prefer it be made out to just one of them.

  • Is it true that a guest should spend the same amount of money on a wedding gift that the hosts spend on each guest at the reception?

    No. The amount spent on a gift should be based on the guest's affection for the couple and their families as well as the guest's financial situation.

  • When a bride opens a money gift, should she announce the dollar amount?

    No. The bride should thank her guests for the check without mentioning the amounts. It is appropriate, however, for the bride to mention the amount, as well as how it may be used, in the thank-you note.

  • I was unable to attend an old friend's wedding a year and a half ago and never sent her a gift (I was ill, then simply put it off). I'm really embarrassed because I'm still very fond of her. Is it too late to send something?

    Since you care about this friend, I think it would be fine to send her a gift now. (Of course, presents are preferably sent before the wedding or shortly thereafter.) I suggest you include a note saying you're sorry for the delay but you wanted her to have the gift, and offer your best wishes.

  • A coworker called off her wedding nearly two months ago but hasn't yet returned the wedding or shower gifts she received. Isn't she supposed to do that fairly quickly? Would it be tacky to ask her if she plans to do so?

    Yes to both questions. She should return gifts, with the exception of monogrammed ones, as soon as possible. If her wedding plans included a huge guest list, two months isn't an overly long time— but she shouldn't take longer than a few months.
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