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Do I Have to Bring a Gift If I Was Only Invited to the Reception, Not the Wedding?

Ask a Savvy Bride: Do I Bring a Gift If I Was Only Invited to the Reception?

Wedding etiquette can be tricky. If you have a conundrum like the one below, be sure to ask our Savvy Bride for help in the Ask Savvy group. Reader Natty recently posed this question.

Dear Savvy Bride,
My cousin recently had a "destination wedding". During the planning it was made very clear that it was going to be a small wedding and that no one but immediate family was invited. I recently learned that nearly 40 people attended the wedding, (including some co-workers). My feelings are hurt since he is more like a brother than a cousin.

During the months building up to the wedding, the bride would not even talk with us about the wedding details. When my sister asked her about the wedding dress, she rudely responded, "Ugh! I don't even want to talk about it!" So, 1. we're not invited to the wedding, and 2. we can't even ask about the wedding!?!?! Come on!

Next month, they are having a reception. I'm not sure what to do for a gift. My cousin is very close to me and I'd like to do something nice for him, however my feelings for the bride leave something to be desired. My sister tells me that since we were not invited to the wedding, we do not have to give a gift. Is this true?

Can anyone offer suggestions for a gift idea? I don't feel like giving something off her greedy gift registry.


To see the Savvy Bride's advice,


Savvy Bride says:

I'm sorry to hear that you and the rest of your family were shut out from your cousin's destination wedding — while it might not make sense to you now, I'm sure there were some ground rules that they had to stick with to make it fair to both the bride and the groom and their guest lists. It's pretty clear that you still have hurt feelings, and while you're entitled to have an opinion about your cousin's new wife, she's not going anywhere so I advise you to overcome what happened during their planning process.

Now that they are husband and wife, think of them as a package deal — if you want to do something nice for him, it'll be impossible (and not very nice) to exclude her from the equation. I'm a firm believer in never going to a party empty-handed, especially a wedding, so if you're headstrong about not buying something off their registry, you should at least bring a bottle of wine or a small celebratory gift. Hope this helps!

Ask anything budget-, etiquette-, or planning-related — well, almost anything — by posting your questions in the Ask Savvy group, and I'll find the right expert to help you out. If you are planning a wedding, already happily wed, or still looking for Mr. Right, start sharing your big day with our community. Don’t forget to check the wedding content box on your post.

—Additional reporting by Alexis Nordby

Image Source: Thinkstock
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