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Your Two Cents: Is It Rude to Request a Gift Receipt?

A frustrated wedding invitee wrote to Slate's Dear Prudence asking if he's right to judge the engaged couple's actions as rude. The envelope containing the invitation also included a sheet of paper with places the couple is registered, along with the request to please include a gift receipt.

The guest thinks the couple is rude for mentioning the gift receipt and feels as though the couple could just be looking for a way to get cash without straight up asking for it. What do you think?


Join The Conversation
simplysteen simplysteen 8 years
I am sure everyone has received something they don't like. Either it sits in the closet and accumulates dust or its thrown out in a few minutes. Honestly, if a newly wed couple has a simple request why not abide by it, I mean, they are going through one of the the most stressful but memorable time of their lifetime. I mean, "you only get married once in a lifetime."
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
I'm really amused that people used the words horrified and shocked to describe seeing a reference to gifts in invitations. I believe I'm just being practical. I would never require guests to bring gifts, but everyone brings them if you have a reception! I know a lot of people that figure out how much to spend on a gift based on how much they estimate the bride and groom had to spend per person on the reception. So why not help your guests by including your preferences? They want to give you something you'll like, don't they? I love helping people start a new life together by buying them something they want or need.
karenpanna karenpanna 8 years
I would be quite floored if there was a request inside the invitation for the gift receipt. One, its a massive assumption on the couple's part that they will receive gifts from their guests (or those unable to attend). Two, it would be advisable to have an online site where the guests can get additional details (including) registry information. I think the couple should have exercised a little more... tact in making the suggestion to their invitees. However, as a guest purchasing items from a wish list, there is the possibility of purchasing the same gift as someone else. I think it should be the guests' choice to include the gift receipt or include a note in their letter that if they receive a duplicate to contact you, so you can send them the gift receipt. Perhaps, that would give the bride and groom the option to ensure they don't have too much of a difficult time in exchanging items. Do places allow an exchange for cash with gift receipts? I was under the impression that they would have to exchange for an item of equal or lesser value. I'd be interested to see the reactions had the note said "cash in lieu of gifts would be appreciated." My prim and proper aunt would drop dead on the spot if she saw it!
thelorax thelorax 8 years
I'd say about 1/3 of the wedding invitations I've received have included registry information. My husband was really stuck on putting our registry info in ours too, but I put my foot down. It's just tacky to broadcast expectations like that, and wouldn't have been in keeping with our very simple ceremony/reception anyway.
estella241 estella241 8 years
CoralAmber said: "If a couple didn't want gifts, they wouldn't throw a reception and give guests a free meal and entertainment. They would just share the actual ceremony with guests and that would be the end of it." That's not why we had our reception after our ceremony. We wanted to throw a party to celebrate making our marriage vows. Some people gave us gifts and it was sweet of them, but we mostly just wanted to hang out with our family and friends. I find it kind of sad that you think that a reception is only to get presents. I've never been sent a wedding invitation with registry information inside; I can just imagine how horrified I would be if I ever did get one!
thelorax thelorax 8 years
I think it's a little rude to state in the invitation where you're me, that says "FYI, I'm getting married. You can come watch if you want, but you better get me a present!" I prefer the old-fashioned methodology of telling a few of your gossipy female relatives/friends where you're registered, and let people ask.
tiffanyfuchsia tiffanyfuchsia 8 years
Rude to request the gift receipt? No. In theory you shouldn't get duplicates but it happens all too often. Rude to put blatantly include registry information with the invitation? Yes.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
I think it is a little rude to ask, but i put no. Why? I know for a fact that not everyone understands to take the list of registered items to the register, circle what they bought, and have it all scanned so that it is removed from the list for others. If I receive 3 blenders...i might know where to return them, but what if I am only given store credit when I may need to put that cash toward something I registered for at a different store?
snarkypants snarkypants 8 years
i think it's rude to ask, but it's stupid for people not to include them.
suziryder suziryder 8 years
Yes, it's rude. First of all, you can't expect that everyone will give you gifts - gifts are not mandatory! You shouldn't include those papers in your invites about where you're registered - that's not proper etiquitte either. Your guests find out where you're registered by asking the parents of the bride or groom, or the wedding party, or checking your website. And asking for gift receipts is extremely rude, it shows that you just want to return everything you're getting for money. The places where you register shouldn't require gift reciepts to return items that were purchased off your registry - it might be only for store credit, but at least you'd be able to get something you want. If you just demand presents and gift receipts from people it will come off as ungrateful and greedy.
prada08 prada08 8 years
I agree Heidi MD....Applause... aplause.:)
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
I include a gift receipt with all of my wedding and shower gifts. I understand why people would want to have it, and if it's not specifically what they wanted or they already had it, then I'd be happy to have them return it and get something else they want. Asking for a gift receipt just undermines the whole concept of appreciating a gift for a gift's sake.
grace_08 grace_08 8 years
I think it's pretty rude to specifically request gift receipts. I'm actually a little shocked that anyone would do this. If a store doesn't allow returns without receipts, then don't register there. I would rather not register at all or register at an alternate location than to ask my guests for gift receipts. That being said, if I'm giving a gift, I usually do include a gift receipt but I just think it's tacky to request one.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
But on the topic: asking for gift receipts is rude, but not giving a gift receipt is inconsiderate, especially for occasions when a large number of "traditional" gifts might be expected. Who needs four crock pots?
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
"If a couple didn't want gifts, they wouldn't throw a reception and give guests a free meal and entertainment. They would just share the actual ceremony with guests and that would be the end of it." My husband and I didn't have a ceremony or a reception (we couldn't afford it), and nobody sent us a thing. Not even our parents. We didn't really need anything, but some sort of acknowledgment (just cards from our close friends & family) would have been nice. We're coming up on our fifth anniversary, and I'm still bitter. I'm convinced that you have to put on the big wedding show for people to get anything in return.
OHmeetsBK OHmeetsBK 8 years
Amen kamiko82!
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
"If a couple didn't want gifts, they wouldn't throw a reception and give guests a free meal and entertainment. They would just share the actual ceremony with guests and that would be the end of it." Wow, that's kind of a sad and bizarre way to look at it! I hope you realize that, some guests come from out of down and the free dinner and whatever else still does not compensate their trip cost! If you can't afford your wedding, you can't afford your wedding, nobody should be guilted into giving you cash, or something of value to you (and the EXACT one you want). Almost everyone buys a wedding gift anyways, and monetary gifts are more and more popular these days. Being specific about gifts just makes people feel awkward if they can't afford what you want, or worry that their monetary gift will be the smallest one. I am glad to see that the whole world has not gone crazy and many people agree that this all is very rude! A store offering a service does not mean the service is not tacky.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
"It's tacky to include ANY gift information in an invitation, because it's tacky to ask for gifts." that's right! if you don't like the gifts that you receive or get duplicate gifts, you can donate what ever you don't need or want. its too bad for you that you wish you could get cash back or store credit/exchange (which is almost like cash) but its not worth being so rude and tacky about! i would even feel guilty getting my mom to answer people's inquiries 'they are saving for... so...(hint hint)' (not that i would not accept or give monetary gifts, but the mom hint thing is pretty transparent, imo) omG some people have never heard of manners!
Vsugar Vsugar 8 years
I think it's rude to give gifts when the couple has SPECIFICALLY ASKED YOU NOT TO. Can you tell I'm speaking from personal experience??? We live on the road - musicians - and while we didn't include any registry info in our invites (obv - rude), we told our parents to tell people who asked that we really didn't want any "things". Like, really. Not kidding, please don't give us anything. The answer, when asked, was "They are working really hard to save money for a house and a new car, and if you would like to contribute to this, I'm sure they would appreciate it, but if you aren't comfortable giving cash gifts, please make a charitable contribution to "this" charity in their name, or please give them nothing - you weren't invited to the wedding so that you would bring a gift, you were invited because the bride and groom love you and want you there." So what has happened, you ask? I'm sure you can guess, but I'll tell you anyway, and I will yell while I do it: PEOPLE ARE SENDING US STUPID GIFTS THAT WE DON'T WANT LEFT RIGHT AND CENTER, WITHOUT RECEIPTS, FROM COMPANIES THAT WILL NOT ALLOW US TO RETURN THEM FOR CASH!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!! And then I feel angry and frustrated, and like a total a-hole for getting angry and frustrated at nice people who want to be generous and give us something as we begin our lives together. But IS it really generous and nice when you are SPECIFICALLY IGNORING the wishes of the people you are supposedly doing something nice for??? I don't think so.
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 8 years
I agree with CoralAmber! Weddings cost a lot of money and take a lot of time and energy; gifts were always supposed to be both a gesture of friendship and a symbol of thanks in compensation for the party. I'm coming from a Chinese background though, where traditionally "lucky red envelopes" (filled with cash) are given at weddings instead of gifts. This is supposed to help compensate for the cost of the wedding in addition to showing support for the new couple as they begin a family. Although, I do have to agree that it sounds pretty pointless to ask for a gift receipt to be included with the gift. If they just wanted cash, they probably could have just asked for it instead of trying to go it in a roundabout way. I want to agree that it's supposed to be the thought that matters but I speak from experience in saying some people really don't think and need to have things spelled out for them. And I think anyone who doesn't knows me well enough to be offended by what I include in my invitation probably isn't close enough to me to be included in such an elaborate day.
amers230 amers230 8 years
i think it's rude to ask for one, but i also think it's kind of rude not to automatically include one with the gift.
dootsie dootsie 8 years
If a close family member or friend buys a duplicate, I think it's fine to request the receipt from them. However, if it's not someone you know well, then it's awkward. I don't think you should request receipts from everyone. Aside from getting a BILLION receipts that you'll probably never need--but they might very well need for record-keeping purposes--it just seems as if you're sending the message that "Yes, we'll be glad to get your gifts and we'll love every one of them--well, maybe. Actually, we might want to return them all and get something that isn't so cheap. This is all you spent? So pathetic."
itsme3683 itsme3683 8 years
I totally agree with chocolatine. If you got something awful and you knew the person well enough, I would talk to them afterwards. Like one year for my birthday, my uncle got me a REALLY expensive bag that just was not practical/my style, etc., so I asked him politely if he would be offended if I exchanged the bag for something a little more practical, and he totally understood and said that I could return it as long as I spent the money on something that was a splurge--he didn't want me to pay my bills with it or something. I don't see why this should be a problem with a wedding gift either, as long as you're close to the giftee.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
I'm surprised how many people think this is some horrible offense. Everyone knows a gift is expected at a wedding. So why is it so horrible to express a preference for how to get those gifts? Why is it tacky to talk about gifts directly? If a couple didn't want gifts, they wouldn't throw a reception and give guests a free meal and entertainment. They would just share the actual ceremony with guests and that would be the end of it.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
i think it's not so rude on a shower invitation, which is usually throw by someone other than the couple. i think it's inappropriate in a wedding invitation. i always include a gift receipt w/any gift i give tho... BUT... any gift we received that we didnt like, or had two of... (like maggie above) we regifted! hahaha
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