A Wedding Gift Guide

Photo Credit: magicbeanbuyer via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: magicbeanbuyer via Compfight cc

It’s well into the summer season which means that tons of weddings are happening or already happened! Tomorrow, I’ll be going to my first wedding of the year (mine doesn’t count) and I’m looking forward to it! The wedding is for my aunt. Not quite my aunt in the real sense of the word, but my mother’s cousin so we call her an aunt. She’s not that much older than me actually and I’ve only met her twice so far. Family is family though! I’m excited for the food and to see how they did the decor.

As a former bride, there are definitely a few things I know about wedding gift giving. Most people usually set up a registry and a lot of people buy from there. In some cultures, cash gifts are the norm. Other times, people like to give sentimental gifts to remember the occasion. Just always keep in mind the wishes of the bride and groom when choosing a wedding gift. Also, try to make your gift as earth-friendly as possible!

Make it earth-friendly
The most obvious item to look at is the wedding card! If you are bringing a gift to the wedding, then a card is essential. Try to look for recycled options. Also, if you are bringing a physical gift, see if you can forgo the big card and just use the small message card that sometimes comes with gifts you buy. Those would be only a few inches big and don’t always have an envelope.

If you intend to give money, cash is perfectly acceptable. Writing out a check might be easier for you, but then you’re using a tiny bit of paper and then the couple has to deposit it.

Lastly, keep the gift wrap to a minimum. Wedding gifts tend to be an area where gifts are overly wrapped and have a gazillion bows and ribbons. If there is a free shipping option, then you can go that route and not choose gift wrapping. The gifts will arrive right on their doorstep and then they won’t have to deal with the hassle of taking so many gifts from the reception.

Be considerate of the bride and groom’s wishes
Every bride and groom is different in what they want. Some ask for only cash gifts to help out with the cost of the wedding. Others will create a registry with items they need or want. In Asian cultures, monetary gifts are pretty much the way to go. American weddings usually have a registry or two.

If you want to buy an actual physical gift, then do buy off their registry. These are items they have handpicked that they most likely do not have or have an old version of. There’s a good reason for registries and that’s to prevent people from buying unwanted items! Buying off a registry ignores the couple’s wishes. A lot of people seem to want to buy sentimental items instead of what is on the registry. For some couples, this might be nice, but for myself and my husband, we wouldn’t have liked that as much. Sentimental items tend to be picture frames, engraved flutes, a special wedding cake server, small figurines, and so on. These aren’t items that are generally useful and everyone’s taste is different. If for some reason their registry is all bought out then a monetary gift is better than a random gift card.

When in doubt just ask the couple what they want.

Gifting when you’re not attending
This isn’t a must, but a lot of people still give gifts even if they can’t make it to the wedding. These are mostly close friends or family members. If you did RSVP yes and had to cancel last minute, you can still consider giving a small gift. At the very least if this happens, you should explain why and send them a congratulations. Most likely the couple will still have to pay for your seat. This will help ensure your relationship stays on the positive side. We had a few day of cancellations where we didn’t get anything but a text message. We also haven’t heard from them since. It’s not a good feeling to invite people because you want them to be there, then have them cancel. Try to see them after the wedding if you do have to cancel.

Spend within your means
Couples aren’t expecting you to go into debt because of the wedding gift. In the end, they invited you because they wanted you to be with them on their special day, not because they want your money. My rule of thumb is to spend what I can and to determine how much depending on my relationship with the couple.

If you really cannot afford a gift, at least give them a card to congratulate them. See if maybe you can help out with anything during the wedding planning process. There are plenty of things to do! If you are a close friend or family member, it might be nice to explain to them why. They will understand hopefully. I can’t say anything about the bridezillas and groomzillas, but most normal people will.

Always provide a gift receipt
Even if you buy something off their registry, make sure to add the gift receipt in also! We ended up with a duplicate item somehow, even though we only request one on our registry, and we had to return it. The store took it back without giving us any hassle, but not all stores are so accommodating. Gift receipts are especially important if you decide to go off the registry. What if they already have the same exact blender, but in a different color?

And the most important thing… have fun! It’s a wedding and it should be a joyous occasion! The wedding gift is just a small part of their wedding day. It’s really the family and friends who make it wonderful, not the food processor that they just had to have.

What do you think are the best wedding gifts to get? What’s the most horrible one you’ve heard of?

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