A Guide To
Wedding Gift Etiquette

If you are looking for information on wedding gift etiquette, you have come to the right place!

We hope to answer your questions and clear up any hesitation that you have around gift giving for weddings.

The first rule of wedding gift etiquette is if you attend a wedding, you must give the bride and groom a gift. Never, ever, ever, ever attend a wedding, eat the food, drink from the open bar and not give a gift. This is very obnoxious and classless!

The second rule is to always send out thank you cards to everyone who gave you a gift for your wedding.

Now that we have the first two rules established, let's move on.

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Below are answers to frequently asked questions about wedding gift etiquette:

For Those Attending A Wedding:

Q: Is it OK to give money as a wedding gift?

The days of the young couple having their wedding paid for by their parents is almost a thing of the past. While many parents will contribute money to the wedding, the happy couple usually ends up paying thousands of dollars out of their pockets for their wedding.

Because of this, money is always an acceptable wedding gift, and in many cases the preferred gift.

Q: How much money is enough?

There is no general wedding gift etiquette rule about how much money to give as a wedding gift because it varies based on your relationship with the bride and groom and the region where you live.

If a sibling or close friend is getting married, you may want to give $100 or more. However, if you are not that close to the couple, under $100 is acceptable.

If you are located in or near a major city like New York or Los Angeles, the amount you should give tends to be more than if you lived in Memphis or Topeka.

In the end, give what your budget allows.

Q: Is it OK to give something from the registry?

Yes. The couple would not have created a registry if they didn't need the items listed on it. This is especially helpful for younger couples that are just starting out. It can also be a good way to give a very nice gift if you are on a limited budget.

Q: Should I send the gift prior to the wedding?

If you feel better sending the gift prior to the wedding, it is totally acceptable. Instead of carrying the gift to the reception or worrying about if your card will end up lost, you can send the gift to the couple before the wedding.

This should definitely be the case if you are planning on giving the couple a personalized wedding gift, such as toasting glasses or cake serving set, that will be used at the reception.

Q: If I am not attending the wedding, should I still send a gift?

It is generally good wedding gift etiquette to send a gift even if you are not attending the wedding. The couple thought highly enough of you to invite you to their wedding, so you should plan on sending a gift.

Q: It isn't on the registry, but I really like the gift I picked out. Is this OK? Maybe, but use good judgment. If you are absolutely positive that the couple will like your gift, then go for it. However, if you found a bizarre statue of a former president that you think is neat, this is not a good idea.

An example would be if you know a couple is really into wine and has a wine cellar at home, a wedding gift of a case of fine wine could be a great gift.

Q: I received two of the same gift at my wedding. Is it OK to re-gift it?

We advise against re-gifting. How embarrassed would you be if the couple or anyone found out?

Q: My friend is getting married for the second time. Should I give her a gift?

If you did not know the person at the time of the first wedding, definitely give a gift. If the first wedding was several years ago (like 5+), you can give a small gift.

If the first wedding was last year and you gave her a great gift, you are not obliged to give her another gift. However, a card and a small thoughtful gift would be appropriate if you wanted to give something.

For The Bride and Groom:

Q: Do I really have to send out thank you cards?

Yes! You absolutely must send out thank you cards, as stated in the second rule of wedding gift etiquette above.

Q: Can I request gifts of money on my wedding invitation?

It is not considered appropriate to list any kind of gift information on your invitations. Instead, consider mentioning it to your friends and family with the hopes that the rumor spreads to all guests. Or, you could write something about it politely on your wedding website or blog.

Q: We are considering calling off the wedding. Do we have to give back the gifts that people have already sent us?

Yes, you should send the gifts back if you are calling off the wedding. This should also include any gifts you received at your wedding shower.