(Closed) What is the big deal with gifts?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
3671 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

We registered but only because we knew people would ask us what we wanted.  We’d like the stuff we registered for and we did a honeymoon registry, but honestly, the wedding and being with everyone is all we wanted.


On the flip side I had a friend get engaged after six months of dating someone and they decided to only have a three week engagement (it may have been less actually, about a week and a half to two weeks).  She told me the only thing she didn’t like is that it’d be a super small (15 or less people) wedding and she wouldn’t get presents.  

Post # 4
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

In the scenario you described, for me the gifts aren’t the issue. It’s the being excluded from the whole point of the wedding (to witness the ceremony) that is the problem. I would be offended if I was not invited to the ceremony and I probably would decline to attend the reception.

Post # 5
875 posts
Busy bee

I think that there is a way to make a reception only event work!  If you opt for a small ceremony and then the reception is later in the day that can work.  I had a friend marry in a small ceremony with a larger reception.  She was already pregnant, and it was a very quickly planned wedding, but I don’t think that anyone was offended that we were only invited to the reception.  It definitely was a little ceremony though… just the parents, grandparents and siblings.  I think delaying the reception significantly does make it seem more about gifts than about celebrating a marriage. 

Post # 6
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

If you are worried about people judging you, you could always put something on the wedding website that says “your presence is our gift”, or something to that effect. I think if the ceremony is obviously small and intimate, you should be fine. And if people are just going to be cranky/judgemental, they’ll find something to pick on, regardless of how hard you try to make people happy! Just do what you want to do, and try to block out the naysayers. You’ll come up against resistance while planning…it’s inevitable! Hang in there!

Post # 7
14494 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I have been to several receptions lately where only the family was at the wedding.  I really think it is getting more common.  I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

Post # 8
654 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I don’t see how this is that much different from someone formally eloping or having a small destination wedding and then a reception back at home.  Therefore, I don’t understand why anyone would be offended. 

Post # 9
1871 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Yeah, I had that levied on me by one person. The rest of my friends seem to be pretty enthusiastic. We’re having a rather casual reception and we did put a registry up–joyfully so because there are things we need and a lot of our friends have asked about it–but we’d never expect gifts. Anyone who thinks that of us either doesn’t know us very well, or I’ve chosen to believe is looking for something to complain about. If you’re very uncomfortable about it, do a small registry and use the word-of-mouth method. That way, only the people who are really interested in giving you something will worry about the registry.

@FreeRangeMom: I’d be genuinely interested to hear your thoughts on this. I had a private ceremony–9 people in attendance: my parents, DH’s parents, and my 2 siblings and their spouses and my grandmother in NYC where Darling Husband and I live (NO ONE in our families lives in NY and most of our friends don’t live in NY either) I’m having a brunch reception weekend in February for our extended family and friends in CA where we’re from and the majority of family members/friends are. We’re not going to re-hash the ceremony, but Darling Husband and I will probably make a toast in which we’ll repeat a snippet or two from our vows and maybe have a slide show of the big day at some point. Would you feel offended if you were invited to my reception? I’m just asking because I like knowing how some people might feel–ultimately there’s not much I can do about it because I’m not changing my plans, but it’d make me feel better just to know.

Post # 10
192 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012



I love that both of you are having a small ceremony. I really feel that the ceremony is something that is a special moment between the bride, groom, families and VERY close friends. I am having a destination wedding and a ceremony back home with a slideshow of the wedding so we can all reminisce. I think the issue with presents is that people have come to expect them and don’t enjoy the fact that people have gone out of their way to give them.

Post # 11
2 posts

I don’t think that that’s offensive at all – keep in mind, you’re not paying for people to go to the ceremony, but you’ll be forking out a lot of money for them to eat and such at the reception!!!
I would find it offensive if you invited me to the wedding ceremony but not the reception.
Also, it’s your day.  Do what you want, what you feel comfortable with.  My boyfriend would MUCH rather be invited to the reception (read: party) than the ceremony.  They’re a lot more fun for some people (:

Post # 12
4137 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

this is totally fine!

some people will be offended NO MATTER WHAT you do, so don’t worry about them too much. inviting people to the ceremony but not reception is a huge no-no, but this scenario is totally acceptable and a good solution.

Post # 14
3219 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

we are having a very small Destination Wedding and having a reception when we get back. I have seen people (on other forums) say having receptions when you get back or big reception & small ceremony whatever are gift grabby. But Im spending a hell of a lot more money on my reception then i could ever get in gifts so I just dont get it.

I think its perfectly fine.


Post # 15
1871 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

@mishelleez: “But Im spending a hell of a lot more money on my reception then i could ever get in gifts so I just dont get it.” I totally don’t get that either. I mean, I’m not one to say the gift should equate the cost of the food or stuff like that, but I sort of feel like telling people, “You know, if we really cared about the stuff, then we’d save ourselves the $10K, buy it all up and still have about $4K left for a honeymoon.”

FallBride, it’s too bad people feel obligated to send you a gift. I know that for me, when I give a gift, it’s not an obligation at alll–I’m truly excited and happy to do it because i love and care about the people i’m giving it to. I’m sure that your friends and (most of) your family members feel the same way.

Post # 16
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I think it’s more rude for people to assume you’re doing it for the gifts than it is for you to have a private ceremony. Gifts shouldn’t be expected, and it’s not like you are forcing people to bring you anything. Thier attendence, i’m assuming, is far more important to you.


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