So you’ve been invited to a wedding! It’s so exciting to be attending your first wedding as a real grown up person. If you’ve only attended family weddings with your parents, you’ve probably just been signing your name to whatever they’ve selected (which is fine! Keep doing this for random family weddings! Forever!). But now you are on your own. Here are a few pointers:
Do I have to give a gift?
Contrary to popular belief, wedding gifts are not obligatory. However, if you aren’t happy enough about a wedding to be moved to send a gift, you probably shouldn’t be attending! Your friends and family love you though, and if you are too poor to travel to the wedding AND give a gift, I’m sure they would prefer your presence rather than a present.
When and where do I send a gift?
You can send a wedding gift almost any time! You can send it as soon as you receive an invitation or up to a year afterwards! I would recommend sending it around 1-3 months before the wedding, though if you have a particular thing you want to get off their registry, you should swoop in ASAP before it gets taken! I say send, because generally you are going to want to ship the gift to the couple ahead of time, not bring it to the wedding. This may vary regionally, so consult with other guests about what they are doing if you can. Cards can be brought to the wedding because they are small. Traditionally, gifts are sent to the bride’s home, but with everyone shacking up these days, you can send it straight to the couple’s home, unless instructed otherwise.
Do I have to have the gift wrapped?
No, lots of people send gifts unwrapped, in fact some couples prefer it for environmental reasons. I like gift wrapping personally, and will spring for it (Bed, Bath, and Beyond has the prettiest gift wrap, in my opinion!) However, regardless of whether you send a gift or drop it off at the couple’s home, make sure you include a card with both your first and last name so they will know who it is from!
What’s a good gift and how much should I spend?
A good gift can be anything you think the couple will like! You can buy things off their registry or you can think up something all on your own! Housewares are traditional, but don’t feel confined by that if you have something else in mind. Money is okay too. Some people say it is crass, or something, but hey, everyone likes it, and in some regions it’s preferred! As for how much you spend, that is also up to you. “Covering your plate” is nonsense. Some people budget for weddings according to how close they are to the couple, some people spend a certain amount for any wedding, and some people just go with what’s in their budget at the time.If you can’t attend a wedding, you are not obligated to send a gift, especially if you aren’t close to the couple, but a nice card would be a great gesture.
Also feel free to chip in on a group gift with other friends. Just make sure everyone agrees upfront how much they can afford to chip in.
How do I know what they want?
Most couples will post their registries on their websites. TheKnot.com also compiles wedding registry information from most popular stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Macy’s and you can search for the names of any engaged couple you know! This is a good place to check if the couple doesn’t have a website. It’s also perfectly fine to ask the bride and groom, a close friend of the couple, or their parents.
I went to their house and didn’t see the gift I gave them. Do they hate me?
First of all, couples get a TON of wedding presents, it’s possible they just haven’t put it out yet or have to store some things until they move to a bigger place. Also, even with a registry, people get duplicate gifts and might have to return one. Or maybe they realized they don’t NEED a pasta maker after all because they can barely boil water. Either way, once a gift is given, it is up to the receiver to do whatever they want with it. I’m sure they truly appreciated your happy thoughts and your gift.