So you're invited to a wedding and you want to know what to do about a gift. There are a lot of things to consider in gift giving. Do couples prefer money, items from their registry, or a more thoughtful gift? Is it insulting to give a specific gift to the person you are closest with of the bride and groom? Or, perhaps, it’s a destination wedding and you’re not sure a gift is necessary. Don’t fret! Here’s a little advice on proper gift giving etiquette:
The gift is a must.
When attending a wedding, you should always bring a gift. Even if you are traveling across the globe to be with them at their destination wedding, you should get them at least a little something. This is one of those cases where it really is the thought that counts. No need for the gift to be extravagant as you have probably invested more than a few dollars in airfare or gas, hotel rooms, dining out and other travel-related expenses. Even a bottle of wine or a picture frame would be sufficient and a fantastic gesture.
Hit up the registry.
Obviously what gift to buy is up to you; however, we advise to select a gift with help from the couple. Registries have taken all of the guess work from the gift giving dilemma. The couple has literally spelled it out for you as to what they want to receive—what could be easier? Save yourself the headache and buy from the list of the couple's approved items.
The registry has been picked over and there’s nothing left…What to do then?
If you’ve waited until the last minute to get a gift and the registry has been filled or there are only a few high-priced items left, there are a few options. You can always go in on a gift with other people. No one is expecting one person to buy the thousand dollar cookware set, but if you go in with a handful of other friends, you may be able to give the big ticket item as part of a group. You may also want to give something from the heart. If you know that the couple likes wine, try personalized glasses or corks. If they like to travel, purchase decorative personalized luggage tags. Just make sure that you give a gift that they both will enjoy.
What about money?
Money is a great gift! Many customs even have giving money as part of the wedding traditions. For instance, couples with strong ties to Italian, Vietnamese, and Brazilian cultures will likely have the giving of monetary gifts incorporated into the wedding reception celebrations. Have you ever witnessed a money dance?
Nowadays, many couples are getting married later in life. They may have lived together before they tied the knot and have most of their house put together. As such, they may have small registries. Gift cards or monetary gifts are always appreciated, and sometimes preferred! Your monetary gift may go to use on their honeymoon to make it an even more special trip.
P.S. Don't forget the card! No matter what your gift may be, the newlyweds will need to know who gave them the generous gift card or new cookware set for the thank you notes!
Jay Van Vrancken is an event planner and wedding architect at The Balcony Ballroom, a wedding and event venue in New Orleans. Established by his parents in 1974, Jay and his family have planned over 10,000 weddings.
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