Q&A: What are the biggest guest gifting mistakes? - Wedding Etiquette - Wedding Planning

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Photo Credits: Larissa Cleveland, Next Exit Photography, Tara Connor Photography, Nicole Dixon Photographic, and Lindsay Flanagan Photography.

What Are the Biggest Guest Gifting Mistakes?

A

Buying a wedding gift might actually be the easiest gift you ever pick out. Why? Because most couple's create registries to lead you directly to what they want. With that in mind, here are some wedding gift registry commandments every guest should live by.

Thou Shall Not Skip the Registry
A bride and groom create a wedding registry for a very specific reason: to ensure they get the essential items they need to start their new life together. While you might not find a vacuum cleaner or a blender to be a thoughtful or heartfelt gift, keep in mind it's exactly what the couple wants, so you really can't go wrong by purchasing it.

Thou Shall Not Under-Spend
Typically, the average person spends about $75 to $100 on a wedding gift. That amount increases in larger cities like New York, LA, Miami, and Boston. Keep that figure in your head while scanning the bride and groom's gift registry. If you find that nothing is left at the price level, it's perfectly acceptable to pool your funds with several friends to purchase a larger item for the couple such as a set of luggage, TV, or grill. If you have committed the gift registry sin of "waiting until the last minute to shop" and everyone else has already spent on a gift, consider buying the couple a gift card to one of the stores they registered at. That way, they can still put it towards one of the items on their registry.

Thou Shall Not Bring Your Gift to the Wedding
It's no longer considered the norm to bring gifts to the wedding reception. Don't burden the bride and groom with worries of transporting their gifts on their wedding day. More and more couples are getting married far from home and don't have the space or the resources to store gifts until they return home. While monetary gifts are completely acceptable at a ceremony and reception, all other gifts should be shipped to the address on the couple's registry (usually the bride's parents' home if the couple doesn't live together, or directly to the couple). When it doubt, just ask the mother of the bride.

Thou Shall Buy a Gift Even if You're Not Attending the Wedding
If you've been invited to a wedding and find you're unable to attend, you're still responsible for sending a gift. As a close friend or family member, you should still send something to wish the newlyweds well and write a note explaining why you're unable to attend.

Thou Shall Not Send a Gift After the Wedding
Forget having up to one year to buy a gift for the bride and groom -- this rule no longer applies. These days, it's considered bad manners to send the couple a gift any more than six months after their wedding date. So shop early -- when there are still items available on the registry and you're more likely to find something you can be genuinely happy about sending them.

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