Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
At our wedding, after going through the gifts, we noticed that 4 of my close college friends had not given a gift. It seemed really weird, and I was concerned that maybe they all put their gifts somewhere together and they got misplaced or lost. If that were true, you’d think they’d want to know. What would you do here?
Expected A Toaster
The official etiquette stance here would be to say nothing for a few reasons. 1) Guests sometimes send gifts a while after the wedding so they might still be getting around to it (obviously this is more likely if it’s only been a few months since the wedding). 2) guests aren’t really obligated to give gifts at all, and if they spent a lot of money travelling to your wedding, they might not have given a gift at all. 3) If the gifts DID get lost, what’s going to happen? It’s too late to try to find them and your guests will just feel bad that they were lost.
What you could do is send a thank you note thanking them for coming to the wedding without mentioning gifts and hope that if they did give a gift that was lost that they will call you up and ask if you got it.
Jaya: So I do like that advice, but I agree that if I had given at gift and it was lost, I’d rather know about it than wait until the thank you note. Because if they don’t mention it in the thank you note, you’re thinking “wait, did they get the gift and just not thank me for it?”
Victoria: Yes, I totally agree, with close friends, I would ABSOLUTELY ask.
Jaya: Yeah! And these sound like close enough friends.
Victoria: Just be like, “omg this is really awkward, but I’m really worried someone misplaced your gift at the wedding.” And this actually happened to me sort of! I went to a wedding and sent a gift ahead of time, but then I never got a thank you note. The groom thanked me verbally at the wedding for the CARD I had sent separately, which made me think maybe they hadn’t gotten the gift.
Jaya: Ooh! What did you do?
Victoria: Nothing, haha, it was a couple years ago. But I didn’t really know them well enough to feel like I could say anything. I should have just emailed and been like, hey, I sent you this thing, did you get it? But at the time, I didn’t want them to think I was chastising them for not sending thank you notes.
Jaya: Yeah, that’s the tricky part. Or on the bride and groom’s side, you don’t want to make it seem like you expect a gift. But I still think it’s ok to just send a thank you note to the people for being there, and then maybe it’s up to the guest to say “wait, did you get my present?”
Victoria: Yeah, after my experience, I would strongly advise people to follow up if you haven’t heard from the couple about your gift. Especially with sending gifts to their house, there are so many ways it could get lost and you want to find out ASAP so you can follow up with the store and try to get a refund/replacement.
Jaya: Definitely. But in general, I think if you’re going to send a gift, do it through the mail or give it to them in person. Leaving gifts on a table at the wedding seems like a good way to have them go missing.
Victoria: Yeah, I am not a fan of gifts at the wedding- though I know its a regional thing- there’s way too much going on and things easily get misplaced or their cards get detached and you don’t know who gave what.
Jaya: Cards getting detached! That’s happened to me, and it’s no fun doing the process of elimination to figure out where they belonged
Victoria: Hahaha yeah! Exactly!
Jaya: So yeah, I think for this, given that they say these were close college friends, you could ask if they brought a gift but if it’s some outsider, just thank them for coming in the thank you note and wait for their response.
Victoria: Yep, and just phrase it like, “we noticed there was a big chunk of people who didn’t bring gifts and we were concerned they might have gotten misplaced at the wedding, so we were wondering if you had given us anything, but don’t worry if you didn’t! We just want to make sure we don’t miss a thank you note.” It’s going to be horribly awkward, but if you do sound a bit sheepish, your good friends won’t care.
Jaya: Absolutely. They know you’re awkward anyway. People just need to suck it up and communicate.
Victoria: Oh! Or! If you have a bridal party member/close friend who is also good friends with these people you could send them on a little reconnaissance mission and have them ask them what they gave you. Only if you can trust them be to extremely subtle.
Jaya: Ooooh yes, that’s a great solution.
Victoria: I would totally do that for you, btw.
Jaya: Aww, you’re so sweet.