Manners & Misdemeanors
10 Wedding Gift Etiquette Mistakes You're Probably Making
How much to spend, when you should send, and other hotly debated topics.
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Given how quickly wedding trends come and go, it's no wonder that every invitation brings about a new set of anxiety-inducing gift questions: Should I bring it to the wedding? What's the going rate for wedding gifts these days? Is it totally gauche to send a check? Luckily, thanks to the help of a few industry insiders, we've solved your every gift-giving conundrum.

Consider this your exert-approved wedding etiquette cheat sheet.

1. HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO GIVE THE GIFT?

Remember being told you had “up to a year” to give a gift? Well, you were misinformed. Most experts suggest waiting no more than two months—three at the most—from the date of the nuptials. Any longer than that and the couple will likely assume you've chosen not to send anything at all.

2. SHOULD I BRING THE GIFT TO THE WEDDING OR SEND IT BEFORE?

“Receiving gifts throughout the wedding planning process can be very chaotic—things can get lost because the couple is juggling so many planning details,” says Jung Lee, a celebrity event producer and wedding expert. “I always recommend buying a gift from the couple’s registry and then leaving it on hold for them to decide when it's best to be delivered."

3. WHAT ABOUT DESTINATION WEDDINGS?

Unless the gift is monetary, do not bring it to a destination wedding. “Due to limited space, packing, and even customs issues, if it’s a destination, be sure to send the gift to a home address, or the couple will most likely have to ship it back, which could prove quite costly,” says Myka Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, a top etiquette school in New York.


4. DO I NEED TO STICK TO THE REGISTRY?

While there’s no hard-and-fast rule about going off-registry, do keep in mind that the couple specifically selected items for their registry that they most need or want. “However, if there is a gift you think the couple will really enjoy and it’s something that they didn’t ask for, I would recommend including a gift receipt,” says Meier.

5. WHAT IS AN APPROPRIATE AMOUNT TO SPEND?

“The truth is, a gift’s monetary value isn’t what makes it special for the newlyweds, but rather its sentimental value and thoughtfulness,” says Lee. “Choosing a gift off of the couple’s registry that is within your price range will ensure that you are giving the couple a personal gift that reflects their style and needs.”

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6. IS IT PREFERABLE TO GIVE A TANGIBLE GIFT VERSUS CASH?

Though the choice is completely at the guest’s discretion, Lee considers financial gifts to be “far less personal and meaningful.” Plus, Meier adds that many guests feel more comfortable giving an actual gift, rather than something with an exact monetary amount. Should you decide to give cash, she says, “make sure to do so discreetly, putting it in either a sealed envelope or presenting it in a tactful way."

7. HOW MANY REGISTRIES SHOULD COUPLES HAVE AT ONCE?

Any more than three registries, and you’ll come across as too expectant, says Meier.

8. ARE “HONEYMOON REGISTRIES” TABOO?

While it’s becoming increasingly common for couples to register for "experiences" rather than “things,” Meier recommends having at least one traditional registry, which gives guests the option to choose a tangible gift should they prefer to go that route.

9. SHOULD COUPLES INCLUDE REGISTRY INFORMATION WITH THE WEDDING INVITATION?

For Meier, that’s a hard no. “Never include wedding registry information on the save-the-date or invitation,” she says. “The only appropriate place for it is on your website. You can also let your parents, grandparents, and bridal party know every store and website you’ve registered at so that if someone asks, they can spread the word.”

10. WHEN SHOULD THANK YOU NOTES BE SENT?

Notes of gratitude should be sent out within three months of receiving the gift, but as a general rule, the sooner, the better.


*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Lindsay Silberman
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