We would like to send you notifications on the latest Product Review Club offers.

wedding gift ettiquette


So, I'm planning on spending some serious money on a wedding present for my boyfriend's brother and his fiancee. Not just because of my relations to them, but because they're really great people and totally deserve an over the top wedding present. But, here's the question. If they have chosen a particular gift, say a set of cookware on a gift registry, is it rude to get them a set of cookware of better quality? Would that mess up the registry? What are your thoughts?
Apr 10, 2008 @ 09:26 am

13 Replies


Gift receipt

Unless you want the gift to be a surprise, it's always best to check with them. Otherwise, make sure you get a gift receipt for your gift, in case there is a particular reason why they really want the one they've registered for. With a gift receipt, they can always choose to return your gift and get the set they originally wanted. If you do get them your choice of cookware, be sure to let them know what you've bought for them so that they can take their cookware off their registry.

My experience: When I got married, I ended up with 2 sets of cutleries. I really loved the one we picked out at the Bay, but the other set from Stokes came without a gift receipt. I considered returning the Bay ones and keep the Stokes one even though I'm not crazy about them; it's just easier that way. But then, I decided it's not fair that I have to give up my favourite cutlery set just b/c someone didn't bother to ask for a gift receipt. So we went to Stokes, explained our situation to them and showed them the cutlery set was unopened and it bares their logo (ie. no doubt that it's their product). The salespeople there gave us a hard time b/c we didn't have a gift receipt. We practically had to beg them to let us exchange the cutleries for something else. And when they finally agreed, they said we can only get store credit and it must be used immediately, the same time we return the cutleries. We ended up getting tons of good stuff b/c they also happened to be having a sales. But the salespeople weren't very helpful and they weren't very nice. We vowed we'll never go back to that particular Stokes.
Apr 10, 2008 @ 09:46 am
Feisty Redhead


When my cousin got married last Summer I printed out her registry information but could not find any of the exact items she had requested. (That were not available online to purchase that way.) I found something very similar to what she and her fiance had requested though. So I called up her mom and asked her what she thought about my getting that instead and we talked about it and she said it would be ok to get that instead. This was only part of their gift from me anyway, the other part was a dozen homemade candles and a homemade wax hurricane to use the candles in, with a colored paper heart with their names and the date of their wedding written on it embedded in the wax. (I casually asked them if they liked candles and what kind of fragrances they liked, so I knew before making anything they'd like them but they had no idea what I was up to!) They liked the cookware I bought for them and have gotten a lot of use out of it already, but they LOVED the homemade candles and hurricane and have it sitting on the mantle in their living room and use it frequently as well. The candles were all used up very quickly and they said it was the perfect gift because their new home had a "new home smell" and they needed to make it smell better. lol

I guess my point is, maybe you can ask someone else who is close to them and involved in the wedding plans etc. what they think or for their advice, so as to not ruin the surprise if you want it to be a surprise for them. Gift receipts are always wonderful. And if you know them well (sounds like you do) maybe you could even try making something for them instead/in addition to a purchased gift, if you know of something you could make that would be enjoyed.
Apr 10, 2008 @ 03:10 pm

good point

Thanks for the advice. Point taken about the duplication of gifts. Lol, Last thing I'd want is to take up precious cabinet space with large pots and pans that they resent! (But, what if they're Demeyere/Paderno/All-Clad!?) Anyhow, gift receipt would definitely make sense. I gotta be careful too since I'm in Toronto and they're in Calgary. Maybe I really should just stick with the registry and add some other thing with sentimental value a la Feisty redhead's idea. That way, I can have fun with gift giving while still making sure the couple actually like what they get.
Apr 10, 2008 @ 04:37 pm


Actually, if i dont like the person, then i would give gift, without gift receipt haha.
I only get invited to wedding because they want an extra guest to help pay the whole thing. So usually I have to pay cash.
But i think if i get invited again and i think that there is no reason for me to be there, then i would probably just buy a good gift but no receipt haha.
Apr 12, 2008 @ 02:17 pm
Ali de Bold

Get what they asked for

I think the sentiment of doing your own thing is very nice. What Feisty Redhead did is extremely sweet but I would say that is the exception. If someone has a registry that means they probably spent hours selecting things they needed in their own tastes for their home and they probably are very partial to receiving those things. I have bought people things outside of their registry in the past, but noticed that the couple tends to be much more appreciative when you buy what they asked for. Remember that weddings are very tricky times because the couple is probably totally stressed out thanks to the enormous pressure applied by both society and family to pull off the perfect wedding and so people aren't always at their best.

When we got married it was out of town, and we went directly from the wedding to the honeymoon and from there home to Toronto. We asked our guests to either get things on our registry that we could pick up in Toronto on our return (Many department stores do this and there is no additional cost), or they could give us cash to chip in for the honeymoon. The reason was we couldn't very well take our wedding gifts along on our honeymoon, and to ship them would have cost us quite a lot. We didn't think of it as a money maker and in fact we got maybe 1/3 of what the wedding cost, and the wedding costs were really reasonable.

To address Hunter's point about people inviting you to make money, I don't know of a single wedding where anyone thought like that. Generally people are agonizing that they can't invite everyone they wanted to, because they need to keep the costs down. If you have been invited to someone's wedding it is because they really wanted to share the day with you, not because they wanted you to help pay the bills. A typical wedding costs anywhere from $60 - $200 + per person, yet it is very common to get a wedding gift for $50 - $100 from one couple. The math doesn't end up. In most cases, the wedding is a money loser, not maker. The point of it is not to be a good business transaction, but to celebrate an incredible decision you have made to share your life with someone.

My rule of thumb with wedding gifts is do what you can afford that you know they want/need and always include a gift receipt. Buying from the registry or cash is always preferable so the couple can set up their home with things that go together in their own style. There is the old rule of covering the cost of your meals, but only do that if you can afford to. The goal is not to have you go in the hole every time you go to a wedding.
Apr 13, 2008 @ 03:57 pm

Give what you can

I think MC is right in saying that you should give what you can afford. My general rule of thumb is to give enough to cover my meal, but of course, this is just a guideline. I've been invited to weddings that cost $150/person and there's no way I can afford to attend the wedding if I have to pay $300 for me and my hubby...so I give what I can. If the bride/groom is just a friend, then I usually give cash. If it's a really close friend/family, then I'd either buy from the registry, or give cash plus a sentimental gift. If it's a friend whom neither one of us knows well, then I probably wouldn't go but still send a "smaller" gift with a card.

As for Hunter's comment about wedding=making money, I've heard of stories like that but I think when it comes down to it, it's the bride/groom (or their family) that's greedy and they will be greedy and selfish about everything in their lives, not just the wedding. Every wedding I've attended/invited to, I know I was invited b/c that person wanted me to celebrate their wedding with them. No one at the wedding spoke of the money or how much your gift cost. So I don't think anyone should generalize wedding as a money making scheme because as MC said, it's not. Weddings are super super expensive and you'll only break even if you are very lucky.
Apr 14, 2008 @ 09:13 am

My comment is not Make money

I am saying to help paying the bills of the wedding. Not make money. I am cynical but not that cynical.
Apr 14, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

still doesn't work that way

I'm still w/ MC on this one. You don't invite folks to your wedding to assuage the costs of the event. To make money or to pay the bills, the math just never will work out. And if you feel that way, then never give the new couple money as their gift. Give them a gift card that can only be exchanged for an in-store item. Or get them a gift they've requested on their registry so they're unlikely to return it in exchange for a refund.

Perhaps its a cultural difference. But I've never known a bride and groom to invite guests to help pay off costs of the wedding.
Apr 15, 2008 @ 11:59 am

On a side note...

...what is wedding gift etiquette for destination weddings? I have heard varying things. I am attending one in November and I am just wondering...
Apr 15, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

destination wedding

I've read that it's best to send the gift to either the bride's parents' house, or the bride & groom's house (if they're already living together), before the wedding. This way the couple won't have to figure out how to lug the gifts back home, which would be a huge problem esp. for a destination wedding.

As for people "making" money from a wedding... I think it might be a less "frowned upon" idea in the chinese culture since giving and receiving money is such a common ritual. Most guests (esp. those from an older generation) will be gifting money at a traditional chinese wedding. So, it ends up being natural to regard the gifts (money) received as a way of offsetting the total cost of the party. If taken to the extreme, this practice of course turns into what hunter refers to as "making money". But, most people just see it as a bonus and won't base their planning on how much they think they'll receive from guests.
Apr 15, 2008 @ 03:51 pm

Leave A Reply