FAQ section 14

14) Gift-Giving

14.1) Am I required to give the bride and groom a wedding present?

No, you are not required to give a gift to a couple who are getting married. The idea is that you give the bride and groom a gift because of your genuine fondness for the couple and desire to present them with a token of your esteem to celebrate the occasion of their marriage.

People who actually attend the wedding generally do experience this outpouring of enthusiasm and joy, and therefore typically give gifts.

People who decline a wedding invitation but would have liked to attend if they hadn't been out of the country (in the hospital, etc.) also generally experience this, and therefore typically give gifts.

People who decline a wedding invitation because they didn't feel this level of enthusiasm for the event do not generally give gifts.

Under no circumstance should people who are invited to weddings ever feel obligated to give a gift.

14.2) Am I required to give a gift at a shower?

The purpose of a shower is to "shower" the bride with gifts to help her set up her new household.

Therefore, you are required to give a gift if you attend a shower. This gift is generally expected to be of the smallish household variety (though this may vary in different social groups). The invitation to the shower will usually give some kind of indication of what sort of gifts are expected (this can range from a spice and a recipe that uses it up to things like mixing bowls or casual china and the like.

One of the differences between typical shower gifts and typical wedding gifts is that shower gifts tend to be less "special" or "eternal"-- fine silver is not usually given at showers.

14.3) Am I required to choose a gift from the couple's registry?

No. The purpose of the registry is to provide information to potential gift buyers about the couple's taste and preferences. However, you are under no obligation to purchase items from the registry when giving the couple a gift.

Generally, you would want to consult the registry if you would like to purchase something such as china, silver, or crystal, in which the couple may have selected a favorite pattern. This would allow you to buy something in the pattern they have chosen. You might also consult the registry if you do not already have specific ideas about what you'd like to give them, or you would like to give them something unrelated to the registry but need to know what colors or styles they might like.

14.4) When should I give the couple my wedding gift?

There are different traditions in different cultures about this. However, it is often best to send the gift by mail to the bride, either before or after the wedding, rather than bringing it to the reception. This is because it is much more convenient for the couple if they do not have to worry about cards becoming detached from gifts, transporting the gifts to their home, and so on. This is particularly important if the couple live far away from the site of the wedding.

You can give a wedding gift up to 1 year after the wedding.

The contents of this document are copyright 2004 Sonja Kueppers. Do not use without permission.

Last Modified: May 15, 2004