“No boxed gifts,” honeymoon fund mentions and other similar pleas for cash on a wedding invite: experts believe they should all be avoided like the plague.
“You’ve seen it, but it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable,” said Ottawa-based etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau.
“Even ‘Your presence is present enough’: tacky. You should not allude to anything having to do with a gift on a wedding invitation.”
“I think it’s inappropriate,” added Los Angeles-based lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann.
“You can let people know through word of mouth — if they ask.”
That also applies to wedding gift registries. It’s also important for couples to consider their guests’ budget if they choose to go down that route, she stressed, and avoid really high-end stores and excessively large items.
Gift tips for wedding guests
Swann suggests guests send their gift to the couple’s home so the newlyweds don’t have to haul everything from the reception hall.
If there’s no registry and you’re not sure what to give, Blais Comeau points out it’s easy to find out.
“Pick up the phone and call somebody that’s close to them and say ‘what would they like?'”
“Then that person could say, ‘They’re dreaming of this Caribbean cruise’ or ‘they’ve been saving for a house.'”
If a guest chooses to give money, Swann says not to give anything less than $25.
“The value of the gift has to do with the relationship you have with the person,” Blais Comeau explained.
“Follow your heart and respect your wallet.”
Experts agree that you shouldn’t feel pressure to give more than you can afford just because you know the wedding is costing the couple a lot of money. You’re not there to fund the pricey reception. In Blais Comeau’s eyes, inviting means paying.
And if you decline the invite?
“If you’ve seen them in the last year or so,” she said, “there is a gift obligation, whether or not you attend.”
Swann encourages guests to have fun and get creative with their gifts. Consider a “wine of the month club” subscription or an organic produce delivery.
Regardless of what you give, you should receive a “thank you.”
Those “thank yous” should be sent as soon as possible, but better late than never. Swann thinks it’s nice for the hand-written message to include what the happy couple likes about the gift and plan to do with it.
Blais Comeau adds that the personalized note should come from both the bride and groom.
“Gentlemen are not off the hook.”