A Wedding Guest's Guide to the Wedding Gift

Happy Monday, friends!

Have you missed us? February and March flew by in a flurry of client meetings and, ya know, life, so we're the first to admit that blogging fell to the wayside. But lucky for you, April doesn't only bring showers, but more witty thoughts + tips from the ladies of A Lovely Day! So without further ado, let's get on with one of our favorite topics - presents. 

Does anyone else feel like weddings are the only time that proper etiquette gets brought up anymore? We do. And let's be honest - when's the last time you picked up the latest copy of Emily Post?  Today's post is all about breaking down the etiquette of the wedding gift and answering some frequently asked questions around gifting for the newlyweds. We've got the answers that wedding guests need to make Mrs. Post happy!

How do I know where (or if!) the couple is registered?

Gifting is always made a little easier when you're working off a registry list, but finding out the details of where a couple is registered isn't always so easy. As a rule of thumb, gift registry information is never included in wedding invitations. However, it's becoming increasingly popular for couples to list their registry information on their wedding website, which is likely to be included on an enclosure in the invitation. If you can't find information on the registry through the wedding website, ask a close family member of the bride or groom to pass along where the couple is registered. If all else fails, our favorite #ALDhack is to head to Google and search "Bride full name + Groom full name Wedding Registry" (ex: Jane Doe + Ryan Gosling Wedding Registry) - you'll often find links to their registry at any major retailer!

How much should I give? Is there a minimum?

There's an old myth that tells you to spend an amount equal to the per-person cost of the wedding. Besides the fact that it's hard to find that out (and please don't message the Bride to ask her!), there's no need to do a dollar-for-dollar gift exchange. After all, you're supposed to be celebrating a momentous occasion for your friend or family member, not executing a trade deal! There is no minimum or maximum amount that guests should spend. (And as a personal note, we would never want our friends or family to put themselves in a tight financial spot over a gift. We consider your presence at the wedding to be gift enough!)

My boyfriend/fiancé/roommate/sister and I are attending a wedding together. Do we each need to give a gift?

The short answer - no! Families living under one roof, couples or guests and their plus-one can all give gifts jointly.

I've been invited to the Engagement Party, both Bridal Showers, the Bachelorette Party and the Wedding. Do I bring a gift to each?

We've now entered a little bit of a gray area and a lot of this will come down to personal preference. To give you an etiquette friendly answer:

  • Engagement gifts do not have to be given.

  • Guests attending a shower should bring a gift.

  • Bachelorette party gifts are not required.

  • Guests invited to the wedding ceremony, whether they can attend or not, should bring or send a gift.

In our personal opinion, we feel that a small gift at the engagement party is a nice celebratory gesture. Consider bringing a bottle of your favorite champagne or a bouquet of flowers. As for showers, it's becoming increasingly popular for brides to hold multiple showers (we've been invited to three just for one wedding!). In this instance, we suggest bringing an item (typically something from the registry) to the first shower that you attend. In your card, write a sweet note that implies this is representative of your gift for all the showers (ie: Susie, I am overjoyed you've invited me to be a part of your bridal shower celebrations. I hope that this trivet brings you that same joy in the years of your marriage!) For the Bachelorette party, check with the Maid of Honor to see if the bride-to-be will be celebrating with lingerie or other theme and then buy accordingly (sidebar: if buying lingerie is just not your thing, we love to gift from the Kate Spade Wedding Belles collection!). Finally, for the wedding ceremony, we agree that a gift should be sent whether you can or cannot attend.

If I cannot attend the wedding, where do I send the gift?

Most registries will include an address where gifts can be shipped if you can either not attend the wedding, or the item you wish to purchase is out of stock. If they do not indicate an address, it is typically a safe bet to send the gift to the RSVP address listed on the invitation. If you're sending a gift, especially one of high value, make sure that a signature is required at delivery and that you have a tracking number!

I'm a bridesmaid/groomsman in the wedding. Do I need to bring gifts to these additional events?

Technically, no. You are not obligated to offer any gift other than the wedding present. However, if you're standing beside your bestie on their big day, don't you want to spoil them a bit? Consider gifting something from the heart or DIY. The sentimental value will be worth more than any Pottery Barn plate. 

Did we miss any of your burning questions? Leave us a comment and we'll get you an answer!


Kaitlynn + Emma