Gift Giving Etiquette for Weddings

A wedding consists of numerous functions like an engagement, bridal shower, bachelor(ette) party and others apart from just the main wedding. With the many gift giving opportunities surrounding a wedding one could feel overwhelmed with the expenses of gifting but the amount you spend can relate directly to your budget or your relationship with the couple. As with all gift giving it’s the thought that counts !
Traditionally engagement gifts are not required. The purpose of an engagement party is to spread the word of the couple’s engagement with each other and inform family and friends with a little celebration. The hosts should not encourage gifts at this point especially because they haven’t created a wedding registry yet and guests should not feel obligated to bring a gift. However some people may not abide by tradition and bring a gift to express congratulations. Also someone who may not be able to attend other wedding functions may get a gift too. In such cases it is good to gift something that the bride and groom would both enjoy like wedding planning materials, some wine or other couple gifts.
Wedding showers were traditionally for the bride only and known as bridal showers but nowadays there are separate wedding showers for the groom too known as Handyman showers or showers for the couple as a whole known as Jack and Jill showers. The purpose of a wedding shower is to shower the couple with items needed to start their life together hence, gifting. The host may choose a theme for the shower with relation to the wedding like a kitchen shower, lingerie shower or a generic shower. Guests may bring items as specified in the wedding registry or use their own creativity when it comes to gifting. A couple may choose to have multiple showers with different guest lists if the invite contains a large number of people or if they stay in different parts of the country or even different countries. In this case if there is a Jack and Jill shower then it makes sense to have wedding shower games that break the ice and allow guests to know the better half that they don’t.
Bachelor(ette) party is an event of celebration as a last night out as a single person for the bride or groom. The general norm is not to have any gifting for this occasion but sometimes the bride or groom pitch in for any gifts if decided. Usually the gifting consists of gag gifts as sexual gifts and lingerie are popular choices.
A wedding gift is expected whether or not someone has gifted for the pre-wedding bashes as specified above or not. Ideally gifts are chosen from the wedding registry and in case they are not then some apt ideas include something for the couple’s home- practical or decorative, stocking the wine cabinet or pantry, gifting a destination holiday, offering a cooking class etc. In India it is customary to gift cash in odd amounts like INR 501 in a decorative envelope. Also the current trend is to include the gift receipt with the gift in case the couple wish to exchange or return it.
Thus weddings come with their requirement of gifting and one can gift appropriately keeping in mind the gift giving etiquette.

Wedding Superstitions

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