What do you do when you don't get a gift from a guest?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
206 posts
Helper bee

You write a thank you card that thanks them for sharing in your special day and attending your wedding.  Asking them if they bought/sent you anything could put both of you in a very awkward position if they didn’t buy you a gift.

Post # 4
6951 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

@mahkittahkakes:  Generally you don’t write thank you notes unless A) there is a gift to thank them for B) they did something to help with your wedding that requires thanks or sometimes C) they traveled to get there. Other than those, a thank you note “for sharing our day” can come off as a way of pointing out that they DIDN’T get you a gift. 

There is no good way to ask someone if they got you a gift. Just don’t. If I mailed you a gift and never got a thank you, I would eventually ask if you’d received it (after checking my tracking number, etc, on my own). 

Post # 5
5351 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

While I am personally not from the school of thought that “guests don’t have to bring a gift/card,” I would never ever ask someone or confront anyone about a lack of gift/card. 

I would do as you suggested, and just write general thank you cards to those who did not bring a gift. 

Post # 6
2973 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@MexiPino:  That sounds like a good rule of thumb.

@mahkittahkakes:I would still send a general thank you like you had suggested because you do still appreciate them being there with you to celebrate a joyous day in your life. What they make of the card is on them. 

Post # 7
904 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

@mahkittahkakes:  If your wedding dates is right on your profice (6/22), I would wait a couple of weeks. Maybe they ordered it off of the website and its getting shipped to you! That’s weird that things are marked off on the registry that you didn’t receive.

Post # 8
1148 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I wouldn’t ask, because it could come off as rude. Some of the items that are showing purchased on your registry could be on their way in the mail for a guest who wasn’t able to attend, or didn’t have the funds at the time, or it didn’t arrive at their house in time.

My younger sister didn’t get me a card, but she was my MOH, so I didn’t expect her to get me anything after spending the time and money for the wedding!

Post # 9
3424 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I will admit that I stiffed a friend of ours a gift and a card for their wedding last summer and I think about it EVERY DAY! I just plum forgot to get the card! It was a very busy week! They still sent me a thank you card for sharing in their special day (I did a reading). Their gracious manner reinforced me that I will send EVERYONE a wonderful thank you note, regardless of weither they gave me anything at all.


In my defence, I bought the Bride her Garter.


Post # 10
10886 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

You don’t need to do anything at all. Etiquette gives them a year to give you a gift, so it may be something they just haven’t gotten around to doing yet, or they may have not been able to get you a gift, or they may have chosen not to give one. We had several people not give us a gift or card, and some of those who didn’t were in our bridal party and had already spent a lot of money traveling to and being in our wedding. That was their gift to us.

Post # 11
822 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@mahkittahkakes:  Depending on your relationship with your sister, she may be one person you could actually ask about it, but in my experience, either being in my sister’s wedding or having her in mine, we were both so busy & doing so much for eachother that getting a gift was the last thing on our minds.  She may get you one later or may figure out that her participation in your wedding was enough.  I felt the same way with my bridal party too.

Some people may eventually ask you if you received their gift when they don’t get a thank you card from you or when you thank them for their participation that day but not for a gift.  My husband was a little worried about losing things, especially cards with cash.  No one wants that to go missing!!

We noticed that we had two gifts with missing cards one anonymous honeymoon donation & a few things purchased last minute on our registry that we haven’t received yet.  One of the registry gifts was a pretty big one, and I have two girlfriends who are good friends that didn’t leave gifts, so there’s a good chance it’s from the both of them together.  It’s been just over a week and supposedly people have a year to buy a gift so things may trickle in, but over all, we really just wanted people to come & have fun.  We have plenty of friends who don’t have a lot of money & just their gas money to get there was enough for us.  The only ones that might bug us a little are the one’s who we gave a nice gift to at their wedding not too long ago.  Not because they have to match it or anything, but it is nice to know that they care as much about you as you do about them, by at least remembering a card or somethng.  But in the long run, they remembered to show up so that’s good ;-).

Post # 12
1734 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 1998

Send a thank you card thanking them for traveling, for being there on your big day, for their friendship, etc. We had a few folks who attended sans card/gift (I would never attend without at least a card – but calling anyone out on their rudeness just isn’t an option. Better not compound one wrong with another). I just sent them a thank you card for that.

It opens up the lines of communication. If they DID get a gift and something happened, they can call and say, “Hey, did you get x?” It clears up the confusion between everyone. And if they didn’t get a gift, it still covers them for what they did do…showing up.


Post # 14
1644 posts
Bumble bee

@mahkittahkakes:  You do nothing. You do not even notice. Since gifts are not required, so the default normal state is for people not to have sent one, you only notice (with surprise, and touched gratitude) when someone does send a gift.

As hostess, you properly greet your guests at the door to the reception salon as they arrive, and thank them for coming before they leave, so you have done your thanking already for their kindness in attending. Notes of thanks for simple hospitality are properly sent from the guest to the host on the day after a substantial entertainment, but you wouldn’t notice their absence either since you aren’t afflicted by a sense of entitlement.

Notes, by the way, are not an alternate class of gift; and greeting-cards are a form of note. It is a modern custom to bring greeting cards to informal special-occasion parties, which has always struck me as silly. Why give a note — a written communication — when you are present in person and can simply say what needs to be said? A bride sends thank-you notes for gifts because, properly, the gifts are sent to her home rather than presented in person, and should certainly not be lugged along to a formal reception. So just get on with the joys of married life: there may yet be a parcel or two wending its way to you through the delivery services, which will come as a delightful surprise.

Post # 16
206 posts
Helper bee

@mahkittahkakes:  We understand, you’re irked by your sister.  I can tell you how I feel about siblings and bridal party and whether they’re supposed to give gifts or not, but that’s irrelevant.  It won’t change how you feel.  So here’s where you’re at: you’re peeved, and saying anything will cause more strife.  Or you can suck it up and go on with your life and ignore the fact that she didn’t get you a gift, which is the path of least resistance.  Does it really, truly, genuinely matter that she didn’t get you anything?  Will it matter in a year, 5 years, or 20 years?

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