Answered: Common Questions About Buying The Perfect Wedding Gift

A good friend, co-worker, or family member is getting married and you are excited for them! But what are you going to get them as a wedding gift? Whether you are attending the wedding or sending a gift to the couple without attending, choosing the right gift is an important part of wedding etiquette. How do you find the perfect gift that is just right for them? There are some common questions that you are likely going to be asking as you search for the right wedding gift, and they include:

Is it okay to choose a gift that is not on the couple’s wedding registry?

It’s totally fine to choose a gift the couple has not specifically noted on their registry. Remember, the registry is more of an outline or suggestion list of things the couple is interested in or thinks they would need. If you choose a gift not on the list, compare it to the items on the registry list to make sure it’s a similar style so they don’t clash in the home. Also, do not feel confined to the specific item the couple has on their registry either. You don’t have to buy the $300 cappuccino machine if you found one almost as nice that is more within your budget at $200. Many couples use the registry as their ultimate wish list, so you don’t always have to get the most expensive item either!

How long after the wedding do I have to send a gift to the couple?

One year has long been held as the acceptable time frame you need to stick to for sending the gift after the wedding. In reality, it should not take you that long but certainly any longer than a year. If you choose your gift after the wedding, send it to them as soon as you are able to. The sooner the gift is sent to them, the sooner you can rest at ease. A fast purchase post-wedding prevents you from forgetting about it and also avoids situations where the couple has already started to buy things from their registry that no one else had bought yet. If you are attending the wedding, you can bring your gift with you or you can send it to the couple right after the wedding. If you are buying from the registry, the store will usually send the gift to the couple as soon as you buy it.

Is cash better than a gift?

Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out the right gift to give the happy couple, especially if you do not know them super well or they seem to have everything that they could want or need already. There is also an ongoing debate that most newlyweds could use money when they are starting off their new life together more than another set of cookware or bathroom towels. Some wedding guests opt to skip a physical gift from the registry and decide to send cash. This is fine, but it can take some careful planning in some situations. When it comes to sending monetary gifts, there can be a fine line between what you feel is a good amount and what the couple may feel is a little stingy. A good way to determine how much money to send as a gift is to look at the price ranges for the gifts on their registry and use that to gauge what you would have spent on a gift and send around that amount to the couple.

More people are attending the wedding than gifts on the registry- what do I do?

Sometimes couple decides to treat their registry as a public wish list to give people an idea of what their tastes and likes are. Most of the time, these are filled with higher-priced items or things the couple knows they likely won’t be able to get on their own so they want to see if their wedding guests want to help them out. This means there may only be a few items on the list so they can try to make sure they get as many of them as possible. Or the couple may assume some people may get them something similar to an item on their registry- a few more pots or pans or some more kitchenware in the same style. So, don’t stress too much if you run out of wedding registry options and use your best judgment!

The couple’s registry is open a year before their wedding date, can I buy other gifts from their registry too?

Certainly you can, and in fact, they will appreciate the fact that they can receive more items from the list for their home! Buying other gifts for events such as birthdays or Christmas with items they have listed on the gift registry will also ensure the couple gets everything they want and need and makes shopping easier for you as well. Many couples keep their registry open even once the wedding is over in order to give people more time to buy something or to use it as inspiration for other gift-giving opportunities. It allows people to refer to that wish list for holidays and birthdays that come after the wedding. No couple should feel offended as it shows you are trying to help them get things they actually want and could use!

Is there an acceptable price range for what I need to spend on a gift?

There’s no hidden secret etiquette code when it comes to the amount of money to spend on a wedding gift. Much of it depends on what you can afford, your relationship with the couple, and whether you are attending the wedding or not. Casual friends and co-workers usually end up spending less on gifts than family and best friends do. And old rule some people tried to hold onto was that a wedding guest should spend close to the amount that the couple would be spending on their dinner at the reception. This is ridiculous, and many people are starting to move away from this kind of constraint. It is generally accepted that you should spend what you can- no decent couple would want someone to go broke to get them a wedding gift!

I’m buying my own dress so I can be in the wedding- Do I need to buy a gift, too?

Not necessarily. The goal of good wedding etiquette is to make sure you are being thoughtful towards the bride and groom. If you are in the wedding party, then you are likely very close with either the bride and groom or both. They will usually understand that you are spending money to be an important part of the wedding. For many couples, that is a gift enough for them, and the wedding party is not expected to get a gift as well. If you really want to get them some small gift, consider a nice but inexpensive gift for them. If you have can’t spend money on a gift, consider making something unique and one of a kind that they can enjoy in their new home. Thoughtful gifts usually mean more to the couple than expensive gifts with no personal value.

Registries feel like an easy way out- how can I make my gift more meaningful?

You are not limited to buying only from the registry, so feel free to be creative with your gift if you wish. Even if you do buy something off the registry, you can still make it personal and more meaningful. You don’t even have to have the gift in your hand to do this. Be sure to take the time to think about what you are going to write on the card that will be sent with a wedding registry gift purchase. Write something personal to the couple, share a happy thought you have about them, send them well wishes as they start their new life, share a memory you treasure about them, share a word of inspiration or encouragement, or say how you hope they enjoy the gift in their new home. Personal touches are always possible, even when you buy your gift from a wedding gift registry, so take advantage of it!

Whether you are attending the wedding of your best friend or sending a gift to an acquaintance, choosing the right gift is a big part of following proper wedding etiquette. How do you find the perfect gift, and how do you avoid a gift that is not right or that, even worse, insults the new couple? You now know the answers to this and other common questions to help you find a piece that is just right for the couple and the unique relationship that you share with them!

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