Updated: Sep 23, 2018
Once the wedding invitations are mailed, the wedding gifts begin to arrive. This is an enjoyable part of the pre-wedding festivities and opening the gifts can be a great stress-reliever for those suffering from wedding burnout!
While some guests may think all that's involved in gift giving is printing out a registry and picking an item, it should be noted that it's not that simple. There are rules regarding wedding gift etiquette.
Asking for Gifts It's never acceptable to ask for gift. There are no loopholes to this rule. It's bad form to request a specific gift, and it's bad form to mention a gift registry on an invitation or special mailing. To review: it's very bad wedding gift etiquette for the bride-to-be, groom-to-be, and their friends or family to hint for or recommend a gift.
Wedding Gift Etiquette It has been written that one has up until a full year after the wedding to send a wedding gift, but this is truly pushing it. Gifts should be sent no later than three months after the wedding, and to even wait this long can be considered rude. Most people choose to send a gift as soon as the invitations are sent out or to bring one along to the wedding. The preference is to send the gift before the wedding. This way, no one has to worry about collecting gifts after the wedding and getting it to the home of the bride and groom.
How Much to Spend There's a rumour floating around that the cost of a wedding gift should equal the cost of the guest's meal. This is not true. The gift giver can give whatever she chooses, no matter how much the hosts spent on dinner. Whether ten or one thousand dollars is spent on a gift, the bride and groom should accept it graciously and appreciate the thought.
The Registry Most brides register for gifts ahead of time. By referring to a registry, the gift giver knows she's giving the happy couple something they want, and even more important, something they don't already own. This isn't to say gifts have to be purchased from a registry, on the contrary. A wedding guest is free to shop for a gift wherever she chooses.
Money Is it appropriate to give money? Absolutely, if that's your preference. What's not appropriate is asking for a gift of money. This is considered very bad wedding gift etiquette. While gifts of any kind are a must for those attending the wedding, it is never acceptable for the happy couple to request money over other types of gifts.
Gift Table In some regions, banquet halls will have a gift table set up upon which guests can leave wedding presents for the happy couple. If this is the case, the bride and groom should have designated one or two members of the wedding party to handle the collection of these gifts at the end of the day. The gifts will then be brought to a previously agreed upon location. These gifts will most likely be opened after the honeymoon.
In the Event of a Cancellation No one ever wants to think the wedding will be cancelled, still these things happen. Wedding gifts should never be used before the wedding. If the wedding is cancelled, all gifts should be returned to those who bought them. This includes wedding shower gifts.
Thank You Cards There's no excuse for not properly thanking anyone who gives a wedding gift. A thank you note must be written within a couple of weeks upon returning from the honeymoon. While one month is the rule, the happy couple should never take that long to thank their guests. After all, these people took the time to not only attend the special day, but to pick out and purchase a gift. Certainly gratitude should be given in a timely manner.
Wedding gifts are to be enjoyed. Your guests chose these gifts with your enjoyment in mind. When you say thank you, let them know how much these gifts meant to you. They'll be touched you took the time.
It is considered rude to put "cash only gifts", or other wording meaning the same thing on the invitation.
You're not supposed to put registry information on your wedding invitation. It's left up to friends and family to inform everyone. However, you can put gift information on an insert in your bridal shower invitations.
Note:: If you have a personal wedding website with info for bridal party and guests (and gift registry info), you can include an insert with the link to your website in your wedding invitation.
You're not required to open your gifts at the reception or in front of anyone.