Wedding Gift Guide

Wedding Gift Do's & Don'ts

Wedding Gift Guide - The Do's & Don'ts

Thinking about an appropriate wedding gift for the bride and groom can be overwhelming and a little stressful. Wedding etiquette may seem old-fashioned and then, just to add confusion, the rules often seem to change.

If you're stuck wondering what to do, here are the answers to some of your most common questions on the etiquette of wedding gifts.

Do I need to give a gift if…

I was invited to, but don't attend, the wedding?

Yes. It's customary to give a gift when you're invited to the wedding ceremony, even if you don't attend.

I received an announcement through the post but was not invited to the wedding?

You're not required to give a gift if you simply receive an announcement in the post. It's still nice to give something (and most people do), but there's no etiquette faux pas in simply saying "congratulations on your marriage" or sending a card.

I already gave a gift at the bridal shower?

Yes, you still need to give a gift. The shower and wedding are two separate events; the bridal shower is for the bride only and so your gift should be something more to her taste, the wedding gift is something the couple can enjoy together. If you're invited to a bridal shower, it's a safe bet you're also going to be invited to the wedding; keep this in mind before purchasing either gift. Figure out your overall gift budget and divide it between the two however you see fit.

I'm already spending a lot of money to attend a destination wedding?

Attending a destination wedding is pricey and rightly feels like a gift in itself. Often, a couple hosting a destination wedding will let guests know their presence is their present, and if they do, you need not give a gift.

If they don't make this known, however, you're likely still expected to bring a gift. If this is the case, it's absolutely okay to factor the cost of attending the wedding into your gift-giving budget and give a smaller gift.

OK, I'm going to get a gift, but…

How much should I spend?

How much you spend on a newly married couple is a personal decision. It should factor in both your relationship with the celebrants and your personal budget. If you're giving multiple gifts (say, for a shower and the wedding itself), decide your total budget first and then divide it between the gifts.

Do I need to buy something off the registry list?

It's customary to give a gift off a couple's wedding registry list if they have one. They've put a lot of thought into what they need and want, and there's no need to second-guess their wishes. Also, purchasing from a registry list makes gift giving easy! It takes the guesswork out of finding the perfect wedding gift, and you can also have it delivered directly to the new couple.

However, if you're in the wedding party, and therefore presumably closer to the bride or groom, you might have some inside information and be able to go for something a little more personal. A special set of earrings from the maid of honour would be an important keepsake.

What about cash?

Like giving a gift from the couple's registry, cash is also a great option. With cash (or a gift card to one of their favourite stores), the couple can use their gift in the way they need it most to start their new life together.

I have up to a year from the wedding date to give a gift, right?

Well-known wedding etiquette dictates you have up to a year from the date of the wedding to give a gift. While this is still technically true, it comes with some common sense limitations.

In a real-life sense, sooner is always better. By a year after their wedding, most couples will have moved on to the next phase of their life together. (Just think: a year is plenty of time to have a baby!) The ideal approach is to give a gift as close to the wedding as possible, taking up to three months after the event date.

On the flip side, if extreme circumstances come your way, it's also true that a wedding gift, like any good deed, is better given late than never given at all.

In the end, wedding gift etiquette, like any etiquette, largely comes back to common sense and good manners. Keep these two things in mind and enjoy picking your gift and celebrating the newly joined couple.

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