Everyone loves a good wedding. In fact, it’s not uncommon to start seeing the RSVPs pour in just weeks after sending out the invitations. While the bride and groom may be caught up in the stresses of wedding planning, they can quickly forget that guests also worry about planning for the wedding; what should I wear, bring, buy? Since weddings are becoming less traditional, the guidelines have become blurred. Luckily, gift giving etiquette is a bit more defined, and many guests understand there are a few key rules to follow:
Sending a Gift – If you are invited to the actual marriage ceremony, but cannot attend, it’s considered proper etiquette to send a gift. If you’re invited to a belated reception, however, such as one that takes place after an elopement or a destination wedding, you are not obligated to bring a gift. Many guests will send a gift to the bride before the wedding even if they could attend; it used to be considered the standard procedure.
Destination Weddings -Destination weddings are a bit tricky, since many guests already spend hundreds of dollars just to attend. Even though your attendance may seem like a gift in itself, it’s still customary to give a wedding gift, unless specifically advised not to on the invitation.
Bridal Shower Gifts – Some couples have a series of celebrations before the marriage, like a bridal shower and an engagement party. It’s always been customary to give a separate gift for the wedding and for the bridal shower, but since engagement parties are more recently making their way back on the scene, there aren’t as many guidelines on gifts. If a couple has two or more parties before their actual wedding, you may want to disperse the amount of money you planned on spending over the three or more gifts.
Second Weddings – Renewing your vows or holding a second wedding are mostly to reaffirm a commitment in a couple’s marriage. While couples enjoy having friends and family partake in their recommitment ceremonies, it’s generally not necessary to bring a gift, especially if you attended the first wedding.
Always Give a Gift – Even if the bride and groom didn’t get you a gift, it’s no reason to not get them one. It may have harm your feelings at the time, but maybe your friends weren’t in the situation to buy a gift, or maybe they couldn’t attend your marriage ceremony and didn’t know proper gift etiquette themselves! For whatever reason, it’s never acceptable to come empty-handed to a wedding.