(Closed) Invited but not attending. Still give a gift?

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
2073 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I usually send a gift of some kind. The price depends on how close of a relationship we have with the couple. 


Post # 4
840 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@sommertime:  Yes, the “correct” thing to do would be to give a gift, although it doesn’t have to be the same as what you would have given if you’d attended the wedding.

Post # 5
1689 posts
Bumble bee

@sommertime:  The accepted modern attitude to gift-giving seem to be along the lines of “Hey, everybody likes to get gifts, regardless from whom, and cold hard cash is the best gift for everyone!” Traditional etiquette recognizes the notion that gifts can actually be an imposition: they burden the recipient with the obligation of gratitude to, and a perpetual reminder of, someone with whom they may or may not wish to continue a close relationship. So in contrast to modern materialism, gift-giving etiquette states that:

  • No-one should ever assume that a gift will be acceptable, but an invitation can be taken as an indicator that it will be acceptable. So technically, those people who sent you gifts even though they were not invited were in the wrong. They could, however, have sent you a note of congratulations with perfect propriety.
  • Gifts are never required, but notes are. So those guests who came to the wedding but did not give a gift, were acting with perfect propriety. However, a note of congratulations is required and should always be sent to a friend or close acquaintance upon hearing of his or her engagement. People who accept an invitation are also supposed to send a note of thanks to their hostess on the day after the party. Notes are most properly written on good quality white personalized stationery, but nowadays it is more common to send them inside a commercial greeting card. Not better, just more common.
  • Gifts should never be brought to a formal party. Gifts and notes should be sent to the bride’s home prior to the wedding, or if necessary any time after the wedding up to one year.
  • Gifts should never be treated as (or even seem to be intended as) recompense or payback for hosting. Think about it: imagine that after a night of beautiful love-making with your fiance he hands you a diamond watch and says “I would never make love to a woman without giving her something in return.” Would that not make you feel, well, professionalized into a role that is lovely when given freely and cheap when paid for? Hospitality is also a beautiful generous gift, that when paid for throws the hostess into the role of common inkeeper. You cannot pay for true hospitality.  
  • Instead, gifts should be prompted by your high regard for the recipient. Whether or not you attend the wedding should not affect your love for the people getting married. If you love them enough to consider accepting their invitation, then you love them enough to send a present whether or not you have a scheduling conflict.
  • A gift should always be valuable for something other than mere costliness. It should express the time and care you put into selecting it, or your deep insight into the couple’s values and tastes, or carry some emotional value.

Post # 6
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@sommertime:  Etiquette only requires you to send the couple your well wishes, so a letter congratulating them or a card would suffice.

Post # 7
1252 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I don’t know what the etiquette says, but I would still give a gift even if not attending. 

Post # 8
2809 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

i would send something. we’ve been invited to a wedding this summer that we, sadly, cannot attend due to finances. we will most definitely be sending a gift. i feel that it’s the polite thing to do.

Post # 9
8151 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

a gift is a gift and should not be expected by the receiver.

if i declined an invitation, i would still send a gift.


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