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Did You — or Do You — Expect Wedding Gifts?

Did You — or Do You — Expect Wedding Gifts?

Wedding etiquette can be very complex (just ask the Savvy bride!). The tradition of gift giving, which is a way for guests to help the couple complete their home together, can present plenty of conundrums for guests — What if their registry items are too pricey? Do you have to give a gift for each event?

Etiquette tells invitees they should gift something, but I want to know if brides feel it's required. So, I ask all you past, present and future brides: do you expect presents from all guests?

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Join The Conversation
cho943 cho943 6 years
I recently had a wedding and never thought i'd be pondering over this issue because I have and would never attend a wedding empty-handed. the mere idea of going to a wedding empty-handed literally never crossed my mind until i experienced my own wedding. no matter how small or big the gift, whether you are able to afford it or not, attending a wedding meant you were celebrating and blessing the couple with your gift. it's courtesy. plain and simple. i had a handful of guests attend our wedding empty-handed in which most were church members, and i felt that perhaps our wedding was a church social event rather than a wedding to be celebrated. i know i shouldn't be feeling this way because we shouldn't expect,'s a wedding for goodness sake. i understand for a few who couldn't afford gifts, but we didn't have expensive gifts on the registry which included a $10 gift card (since we wanted to be sensitive to some folks), but even a card with some kind words would do. i suppose those who helped out felt like their time was their gift, but i personally believe helping out is just helping out with the event, not a blessing to the marriage. out of courtesy, you should still give them some sort of manifestation that shows your blessings to the couple. i didn't expect gifts because we needed them or out of selfishness; i expected gifts because it's a courteous gesture of celebration and blessing to the new couple. for those who can't afford it (and i've been there), give whatever you feel worthy is a gift even if it's re-gifting and simply be honest and say "i'm in a tough spot, but wanted to bless you with this...etc" (or something to that effect) anyhow, i guess some folks think differently. i'm making sure i tell my kids NEVER to go empty-handed to a wedding.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I knew there would be the "I don't expect gifts!" I call BS on that. I don't expect gifts as a way to "recoup" costs -- I expect them because they are the cultural norm. If you had a wedding and didn't get a single gift, it would be weird, IMO.
myystque myystque 7 years
I think thoughtful gifts and tokens such as cards are nice gestures; however, I don't think presents should be expected. I mean, isn't your guest's presence at the event token enough? The fact that they actually came to the wedding? Why would you invite people that you suspect are only going for the free food and alcohol? And, if you are throwing a party (even a wedding), why would you expect guests to pay their own way by compensating for their "dinner/beer/cake"? They are guests! Weddings and parties aren't money-making events or fundraisers. I would only plan a party/wedding that I could afford (by myself or with my signficant other) and not expect any part of that to be recouped by gifts from my guests.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 7 years
I expected them, but didn't get any. We couldn't afford a reception, so I suppose no one felt obligated.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I didn't expect gifts, but in general I think it's extremely rude to attend a wedding and not at least compensate for your dinner/beer/cake/etc.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
I'm with skigurl; it is the expected social norm, it doesn't have to be expensive but something to honor the couple. There were a few people at my wedding that didn't give gifts or cards which surprised me.
Miss-Senorita Miss-Senorita 7 years
Indeed so.
AlexisSF AlexisSF 7 years
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Skigurl, I agree. I had just always heard that they weren't traditionally expected in that scenario. I never really understood the logic behind it because you're still expected to bring a gift when you travel to a non-destination wedding that happens to be out of town for you but not the couple getting married.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
some couples who are having a destination wedding might absolutely understand if you don't plan on giving a gift, and feel spending money to attend the wedding is enough gift. for the recent destination wedding i was in, the couple said as much, however my boyfriend and i (both in the wedding party) gave them $200 anyway. again, it's within ordinary social norms to give a gift. perhaps we were generous but we didn't feel like going on a vacation and helping them celebrate their special day was enough of a gift, and therefore we felt they still deserved something as a token to start their lives together. even if you don't plan on giving money/gift, at the risk of sounding all Emily Post here, i think a card or a token gift is still appreciated and polite.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Yes they're expected . . . although I've always heard that gifts aren't expected in the case of destination weddings. Is that not the case? I've never been to one.
sourcherries sourcherries 7 years
I'm with skigurl--of course you "expect" people to get you a gift. It's called manners--theirs. It's when you project your expectations of said gift that you run into problems.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
I told people ahead of time that I rather they be there than send a gift. I knew the economy was bad and not everyone could afford to give us something. I know some people would like a card or bottle of wine, but we had enough crap to carry back and I'm glad they saved me the trouble of writing a thank you card. Yes, if they didn't travel far and they didn't bring even a card, they didn't get a thank you card. I think that's fair.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 7 years
I didn't have a wedding when I got married so I didn't expect any gifts. My friends got off easy!
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Well put, skigirl. It's not about expecting an expensive gift off of your registry. It's just the cultural norm to give SOMETHING when you attend a wedding. I do hate when brides expect that they should get an "equal" gift to what they spent on each guest at a wedding. Tacky. An inexpensive bottle of wine or a few small items off a registry are more than fine gifts !
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
Also, I'm confused about what dog items have to do with this conversation. :puzzled:
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