Post # 1
Hello! I am recently engaged and have started preliminary conversations on what the wedding would look like. I don’t like the idea of receiving gifts, and I haaaate registries.
Now upon speaking with my mother she said that it will insult people if we do not accept gifts (ie older family members). When my mother told my grandparents I didn’t want a shower, both grandmothers felt that I was “trying to kill them” :-P. I understand the need for tradition for them (I am the first getting married in the family) and I want to be flexible. But I don’t feel comfortable requesting gifts from the bulk of the people we plan to attend the wedding. So how do I make everyone happy?
Here is my plan for the wedding reception:
On the RSVP cards, I will say, “For this day your presence is the best present you could bring, along with the enclosed card.” Now there will be an additional card inside that says “Advice for the newlyweds”. Our friends and family can fill this card out and bring it to the wedding. For those that want to give us some starting money, they can pop it in there, but we are also happy to get some advice from our favorite people. The idea with this is the everyone will come with a card, so no one has to feel embarrassed/pressured about coming without a gift (all equal).
Now with the pressure for a shower, how do I avoid gifts twice? My one idea was to have a themed gift party, “Date Night” gifts or something similar so it would be fun/quirky (I think people would have fun with this and not have to spend much). My moms idea was to say on the invitation “No gifts required, but if you’d like to buy us something personal from you to put in our home together, our favorite stores are (store, etc).” The risk with this is calling attention to gifts makes people feel like they need to get one, and we might end up with five sets of coasters that we don’t really need. I also thought about sending different invitations to the older relatives that don’t address the no-gifts policy?
Any unique ideas out there while I rack my brain? Thanks!
Post # 2
If you actually don’t want gifts then don’t have a shower. You can hang out with your friends and family without implying they need to ‘shower you’ in gifts.
I feel like wedding guests will forget to bring the card with them on the day. Plus if people are giving cash they usuallly want to put it in a nice card.
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2009 - New York, NY
Don’t mention gifts, don’t register anywhere, don’t have a shower. Most people will get the hint and give you cash, but some may decide to get you a gift that you should graciously accept.
Post # 4
You could host a bridal tea for your female friends and relatives instead. Put on the invite, “Katherine has everything she needs for her home with Groom, just your presence is requested at her single gal send-off!”
I like your card idea, but if I were a recipient I’d be tempted to think, “ohh they must want us to put cash inside the card”. I would say go for it if you don’t think your guests would think along those lines.
Post # 5
If you don’t want to encourage gifts, refuse a shower and do not register. If you are in an area of the country where a check is a common gift, that’s what you’ll likely get. However, no mention of gifts is appropriate on an invitation, even “no gifts.” Invitations are meant to offer hospitality. You are not supposed to even be thinking in those terms.
If people want to give you something anyway, then it’s their prerogative. Just accept graciously, write a nice thank you note and return or donate what you don’t need or want.
If people specifically ask you or someone close, then and only then say you have everything you need and only want their presence.
Post # 6
Since the whole point of a shower is to get gifts, you should skip the shower if you don’t want gifts. If that’s such a horrible concept for your grandmothers, then let them throw an engagement party— not terribly common these days but it still can be a good excuse for a party, everyone could be invited (not just the ladies) and the focus is not on gift-giving. Most people wouldn’t give more than a bottle of wine or some flowers for that kind of event.
Don’t put a message on your RSVP cards. Hand out those advice cards at the wedding. If you put them in with your invites, people will assume you’re fishing for cash as your gifts.
Consider adding a page to your wedding website or as an insert to your invite package that directs guests to donate to one or two specific charities in lieu of gifts. I know any mention of gifts can make people’s heads spin on this site but a simple, small insert that says “As we gather to celebrate our joy, we would like to share with those less fortunate. Please consider a donation to Habitat for Humanity in lieu of a traditional gift.” Include the charity website info.
Cutesy poems about “your presence is our present” are just awkward. Just be polite and direct.
Post # 7
Wow thanks for all the quick responses!
The fishing for cash didn’t cross my mind- not sure if my friends/family think that way. Would have to think about it- take a poll on what they would think.
I like the idea of an engagement party, or just a tea, pre-wedding party, coed/chill at the bar. I don’t want a traditional shower, but am trying to appease other people to some degree.
Even though I don’t expect gifts it’s silly to act like it won’t happen. I want to address it in some way. Luckily it should be a relatively small crew and I talk to most people regularly so I’m sure I can explain better in person.
Post # 8
It’s pretty easy to find guidelines for wedding etiquette online. Your situation is by no means unique, nor does it mean that you are the exception to common etiquette.
You don’t mention gifts of any sort, in any manner, with a wedding invitation. It does the exact opposite of your intent. It sends a message that you do want gifts but you are particular about what those gifts should be. It also implies that your guests need a reminder.
A shower is all about gifts, so if you really don’t want gifts, don’t have one. If you want particular gifts, ask whomever volunteers to host, to consider a themed shower like you mentioned: a recipe shower, date night, stock the wine bar etc.
Post # 9
I agree with PPs.
1. Don’t mention gifts anywhere on the invititation. It’s not necessary and generally goes against proper etiquette. If people ask where you’re registered, you can simply let them know you have everything you need.
2. Have the advice cards at the wedding instead of with the invitation. People will most likely forget them (I know I totally would).
3. Have a themed shower – recipe, date night, stock the bar, etc. Then people can still get you something, but won’t be obligated to spend a lot if they don’t want to. Or if they want to go all out, the can!
4. I’d recommend having a small registry anyway. There’s always a handful of people who will insist on buying you something and it’s better to get something you’ll want and use than a monogramed chicken cookie jar. You don’t have to advertise it, but if people keep asking, it might just be the easier to give them a small registry than to keep insisting you don’t need/want anything.
Post # 10
PP’s have all given correct advice – never, ever mention gifts in the invitation and especially not the “your present is your presence” line. Poor etiquette. It is ok for your parents and bridal party to answer questions if asked where you’re registered with “oh, they have everything they need and didn’t register but we’re all so thrilled you’re coming to the wedding.”
Absolutely do not accept a shower if you don’t want gifts. If your grandmother really wants to host something in your honor, suggest an engagement party or a bridal luncheon with your BM’s – neither are gift giving events.
Post # 11
You don’t like the idea of gifts but you are putting in an advice seeking envelope such that guests can “pop a check” in there if they like. And you’re doing people a favor so everyone comes with the envelope and no one is embarrassed. I don’t think it works that way.
Though many people don’t do this, most properly one sends a wedding gift ahead so that the couple does not have to be bothered with it on the day. So there’s nothing for anyone to be embarrassed about.
Anyone who wants to write a check or give money will do so on their own without any reminders or “helpful” envelopes.
Once again, you should not be asking for anything at all, including advice in lieu of gifts, anything to do with gifts, or listing your favorite stores on your invitation. All of this is in bad taste.
Post # 12
I didn’t really want gifts or cash either, but I made a small registry with some practical items that would be nice to have if someone really wanted to buy us something. But yeah, odds are you won’t get the gifts on the day of anyway. I have already gotten a bunch of gifts in the mail. I wouldn’t specifically tell people not to send gifts though. Let them decide for themselves.