If you can't give a gift, would you tell the bride?

posted 2 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 16
257 posts
Helper bee

I think it would have been really weird if someone messaged or called me out of the blue before my wedding to tell me they weren’t getting me a gift. Don’t say anything to her.

Give her a nice card with a thoughtful message inside. That being said… if you’re already spending $1000, what’s another $20 for a card and a bottle of wine ? You don’t have to break the bank to make a gesture. We had people do this at our wedding and while we’re not wine drinkers, the gesture was still appreciated.

She shouldn’t be ‘expecting’ gifts, the only thing I hoped was that people would give us a card if nothing else, as I’ve kept all of them in a keepsake box.

Post # 17
542 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

moneeeeeek :  If one of my guests couldn’t give a gift I’d really love a nice card with some receipes cards or something like that in it. Maybe you can hand write or type and print out some of your favorite receipes and write something cute in the card about how the bride and groom will be eating thousands of meals together. I think the couple will love that! 

Post # 18
1112 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I’m not sure how I would handle this situation. But here’s an idea. I like to give closing gifts to my clients when they purchase a new home, and this could work for you. You could get them a return address stamp with their new “Mr & Mrs LastName” or “The LastNames”. I add this into my basket of goodies and people love it! Just a thought!




Post # 19
25 posts
  • Wedding: September 2018

I don’t expect out-of-town guests to give us anything. Just give her a card with a heart felt message and don’t say anything about the cost it took you to get there. I’m sure she’ll know and appreciate the effort you made to get there.

Post # 20
786 posts
Busy bee

I would tell her. One of my bff is getting married in October and I’m a bridesmaid. We are in a really, really tight spot right now financially & are counting every penny bc Darling Husband is out of a job right now. I’m struggling just to afford the alterations needed. I’m going to write her a nice note in a card & tell her that I simply just couldn’t swing a gift that I wish I could get her. 


We had had a couple people attend our wedding that did not give us a gift. We certainly weren’t mad but we did wonder the reasoning despite knowing gifts aren’t mandatory but are custom. 

Post # 21
399 posts
Helper bee

You technically have a year to send a gift, but can you get them something small and sentimemental? Its labor day weekend, and a lot of places have good sales. I agree with other bees on picture frames (or honestly something like homemade spoons, cutting boards, or coasters can be found fairly cheap with groupon deals!) I think a lot of times its the thought that matters more than the amount (esp if the couple knows your spending a lot to celebrate with them.

Post # 22
472 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

My fiancé and I paid well over $1300 to be in a local wedding and we didn’t get them an expensive gift- just a Christmas ornament from things remembered with their last name and wedding date. 

Post # 24
2092 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

If finances are tight for me, I give a card with a thoughtful message and a bottle of nice wine from a local vineyard (unless I know that the couple hates wine). It’s not really expensive, but I think it shows some thought and effort. We are traveling long distance for a wedding next weekend and we plan to do this. 

Post # 25
498 posts
Helper bee

cant you get something cheap like a nice wedding photo frame or picture album for under $15

Post # 26
9595 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

moneeeeeek :  I would just send a gift a few months later when my finances had recovered and not say anything at the wedding- that would just be awkward. 

Post # 27
568 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Do they have a registry?  Most registries have a bunch of low price misc. things like measuring cups, spoons, cooking utensils.  You could choose a few of those much-needed things to total $25-30 and that’s a beautiful appreciated gift!  There are often online coupons to help lower the price as well.  

Please don’t tell the bride I’m not getting you a gift because of all the money I’m spending coming to your wedding.  Attending her wedding – with your partner – is your choice.  Don’t put a damper on the celebration.  Put aside a dollar a day or something to get them a little something nice.  Lots of great ideas here!

Post # 28
480 posts
Helper bee

I’d give her a card and a $10-15 gift card for them to go out for coffee, it would be thoughtful and cute just to show them that you wanted them to go and do something nice whilst it’s totally understandable that you didn’t spend a fortune on it 🙂

Post # 29
265 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I think it would be nice to get something inexpensive but thoughtful. One of my favorite wedding gifts was a board game, coincidentally from a couple who had traveled from out of town and I know spent a considerable amount of time and money to be there. I wouldn’t have minded if they hadn’t given a gift at all but it was really nice and unexpected. 

Post # 30
11469 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I would not mention dollar amounts, but I would say something along these lines in the card:

“As you may already have guessed, I had to choose between attending the wedding or getting you a gift. I hope you don’t mind that I chose the former — I just couldn’t imagine not being there for your big day! Thank you so much for including me!”

Any logical, caring person cannot reasonably be upset by that.

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors