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Unwrapping the etiquette of wedding gifts

We have hosted hundreds of memorable weddings and seen a wealth of beautiful gifts exchanged over the years. So let's unwrap the expectations, social niceties and sometimes awkwardness involved in the giving and receiving of wedding gifts once and for all…

Losing sleep thinking about whether to provide your guests with a wedding gift list or not? Or attending a wedding and panicking about what gift to buy, if any? Here are some sensible rules that should make everyone comfortable and relaxed about the whole gift giving/receiving thing when the big day comes.

‘No gifts’ won't work - people will ad lib

I remember a 'no-gifts' wedding I looked after once. The reasoning was practical - the newlyweds lived overseas, and didn’t have the space to fly a crate of gifts home with them. Of course, they still received plenty of presents.

Which tells me that whether you specify no gifts, ask people to donate to a cause instead of giving gifts (which this couple did), or offer no guidance, people will still bring gifts to a wedding. It’s ingrained in our psyche.

So it makes sense to take control of the situation and be bold enough to point guests towards a gift list, ask for cash, or even a donation towards your honeymoon.

Always thank your guests

If you’re fortunate enough to receive gifts and donations, it’s generally expected that you send a note of thanks. Modern etiquette suggests doing so within three months, which gives you time to decompress, honeymoon and settle down before you get around to it.

As a guest, how much should you expect to give?

It’s the usual conundrum. Give too little and you might feel you’re being tight, but give too much and you risk being accused of showoffery, and all the while you just want to enjoy the day and show your appreciation for being invited. Plus, if you’ve got a spate of weddings to attend, gift buying costs quickly mount up.

I tend to think that going to a wedding is like being treated to a night out at a nice restaurant. What would you pay for a great meal and a few drinks? That’s a good ball-park figure for your wedding gift.

Let’s brush all that financial stuff aside for a second. If someone invites you to their wedding, it’s because they consider you an important part of their life. And that means your presence is the greatest gift of all. Everything else is a bonus.

Whatever your thoughts on presents, Bruisyard Hall is a gift for weddings, with exclusive use over several days. Email or call 01728 639 000 and we can discuss your awesome wedding