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Western Wedding Gift Etiquette

Western Wedding Gift Etiquette

No doubt you’ve heard that “it’s the thought that counts.” When it comes to weddings and wedding gift etiquette, this is, at best, only partly true. If you know the couple well – and know their circumstances and needs – and think carefully about what will be both useful and appreciated, then the thought will lead you to a great gift.

Cost may be less of an issue if you really have thought it through, though with the expense of a typical large wedding and reception, an excessively inexpensive gift can be an embarrassment. It shouldn’t be since it is unreasonable to expect people to buy gifts they can not really afford, but often the expectations seem high enough to make many people feel uneasy.

Wedding gift etiquette does not require you to spend beyond your means and most newly marrieds will recognize this and respond as warmly to a less expensive but carefully selected gift as to some more expensive object.

Doing a lot of research on the couple is something not too many guests will do – or have the time for, it works better for close friends and family who have the opportunity to do some discrete interrogation. Most likely, you will only know one of the couple really well, so finding out how they fit together as a couple is important in selecting a meaningful and useful gift.

These days, of course, wedding gift etiquette nearly demands that the couple go ahead and set up a wedding registry – or a series of them at different stores and/or online. This can be a great help in reducing guest gift stress. All you need to do is go through the registry and find a gift within your cost limits. One really critical hint – get to the registry lists absolutely as soon as you can – especially if your budget is limited. Very often the less expensive wedding gifts shown in the registry lists will be spoken for at light speed.

By using the registry, you can be sure that you’re selecting an item that is wanted and that fits well into the couple’s planned lifestyle. A wise bride and groom will also be sure to include a variety of items at a variety of price levels. It’s bad wedding gift etiquette to only put high ticket items on a registry list and can easily lead to some gifts that simply don’t mesh with the bride and groom’s plans.

Finally, depending on the couple and their own background and traditions, a gift of money or the equivalent in a gift certificate may also fall within the wedding gift etiquette. For most newlyweds, a gift of money can be quite acceptable. It does, however, lack the aura of a personal touch which a carefully selected gift has and, as such, is less likely to be fondly remembered.