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Exchanging Gifts With Fiancé

Ask a Savvy Bride: My Fiancé Doesn't Want to Exchange Gifts

If you need an outsider's perspective on a wedding dilemma, be sure to submit your questions to the Ask Savvy group.

Dear Savvy,

I'm pretty much the most traditional bride you'll ever meet. My fiancé and I have followed old customs all the way through our planning process, but when I mentioned wedding gifts for each other, he looked at me like I was a mad woman! I was under the impression that we would exchange gifts while each other got ready, like most brides and grooms do, but he thinks it's not necessary to spend any more money on each other — he feels that the wedding rings and honeymoon should be more than enough. I know this comes off as greedy, but in all honesty I'll be disappointed to break tradition. Is there a way for me to change his mind or do I have to just accept his decision?
Bummed out Beth

To see the Savvy Bride's advice,


Savvy Bride says:

Since you're so traditional I can understand why you'd be disappointed about not exchanging wedding gifts with your fiancé, but try to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Weddings and everything that comes along with them really add up, so while opening something may sound appealing, it just might not be in the budget for your future husband or your future as a married couple. If the actual gift means that much to you, you can always suggest that you exchange gifts on your first anniversary — that will give you something to look forward to, not to mention time to save. If you just wanted to share a moment with your fiancé before walking down the aisle, give each other a card that you can read privately while getting ready — sometimes a handwritten note is the best gift out there. Good luck.

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.

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Assistant-Community-Manager Assistant-Community-Manager 5 years
Great idea Savvy Bride - I like the idea of handwritten notes... I feel like it would give the bride and groom a moment to relax and read each others kind words and would be really special.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 6 years
I agree that a card with a handwritten note is the way to go! I think you'll remember it more in the coming years anyway. I also agree that you can just give him a gift, particularly if you already had a perfect gift in mind for him.
lauren lauren 6 years
I agree with EvieJ! My husband and I didn't exchange gifts, we decided that the wedding was enough of a gift for the both of us! And there is plenty of time in the future to buy each other gifts just because!!!! Good luck!
EvieJ EvieJ 6 years
We did exchange gifts. I gave him a pair of cufflinks, which he wore that day, and he gave me a watch (as I am ALWAYS late - still am!). It is a very traditional thing to do, and if he doesn't want to participate, you cannot force him. If you want to give him something, do. The pleasure in giving should be that: giving. Trust me, you have your whole lives ahead of you for him to give you presents, and one that is forced is never as sweet as one that is "just because".
bisou002 bisou002 7 years
In the midst of all my wedding planning, the last thing I feel like doing is figuring out a gift for my fiance. I don't even think he knows this is a tradition - and his birthday is three days before the wedding!
bunnyhorse bunnyhorse 7 years
Savvy Bride is right- while it might be traditional, it's not the sort of thing to be upset about. The suggestion about handwritten notes is excellent. Your fiance is being practical. My fiance and I will not be exchanging gifts. Of course, we didn't even know it was customary until my mother mentioned it (and then protested when I told her there was no way we'd be spending more than we already have!) I think it's a very odd tradition. In my opinion, we'll be giving each other the greatest gift of all that day. What material possession could possibly compare?
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
I must be out of the loop as well. Hubby and I didn't exchange gifts. As GirlOverboard stated there are many, many more occasions to exchange gifts down the road. I think the wedding is stressful enough without adding to it, especially if he doesn't want to. I like the idea of a handwritten note.
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 7 years
I suppose I'm out of the loop because I didn't even realize that this was something that marrying couples did. My hubby and I didn't exchange gifts and really, with everything else going on that day I don't know if I would have even had a spare moment to really sit down and appreciate the gift or I probably would have forgotten to thank him for it later! I don't think it's selfish to want to do this but I do think that with all of the other planning you're probably doing right now, it should probably be the least of your concerns. You'll already be getting gifts from guests and now you'll have many future opportunities to give each other gifts - wedding anniversaries, holidays (assuming you celebrate them - this includes VDay!), mothers/fathers day (assuming you want kids - they don't buy their own gifts!) plus birthdays. I know it's not the gifts themselves that count but the act... but you're already exchanging a gift at the wedding - your vows!
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