Post # 1
I was talking with my Future Mother-In-Law today and she brought something to my attention that I never thought of: when wedding gifts that arrive before the wedding should be opened.
She said that if you receive gifts early, you should wait until after the wedding to open them. Pretty much all of our gifts will be arriving early as almost everyone, including myself and FH, are traveling from across the country for the celebration. Also, our registry shoots me an email when a gift has been ordered for us, so we know ahead of time what’s coming and from whom. Our wedding is in 2-1/2 months, and these are definitely wedding gifts, not shower gifts.
So, what’s the consensus? Are you waiting to open gifts that are mailed to you, or tearing into them and putting them to use right away? Are there regional and/or cultural practices? (FMIL is British.)
Post # 3
There have been a couple of discussions on the boards and the blog about this:
When are you supposed to open gifts?
Most people think that if you get a gift before the wedding, you should open it when you receive it and send a thank you note immediately. This alerts the sender that you actually received it (something that they can’t be absolutely sure of if it was shipped). However, some think that you should wait to use the gift until after the wedding. Maybe this is what your Future Mother-In-Law was thinking of?
Post # 4
My opinion: open it up, write a thank you and look like a super prepared and responsible couple. 🙂 Then you don’t have to do it after the wedding.
Post # 5
We are waiting – our wedding is in 3 weeks and it’s out of town. People from the town we live in have been giving us gifts or mailing them to us so that they don’t have to cart them there, and we don’t have to cart them back. We are keeping them in our spare room with the door shut so we don’t temp ourselves. I’ve just been emailing them to let them know the gift came in the mail that day and to casually thank them. When we open the gifts officially after our honeymoon, we’ll make a big giant list of who, what the gift is, etc, and I’ll do all the thank you’s then. 🙂 Hope that helps. I’m glad you asked, because I’ve been wondering if there’s some kind of formal policy for that one, too. My Mom said to wait.
Post # 6
Based on everything I have heard, your Future Mother-In-Law is wrong. You should open the gift when it is received, and send a thank you note ASAP. Otherwise people are left wondering, after their credit card has been charged, whether the gift was ever delivered. This isn’t so much a problem if the gifts come right before the wedding, but we started getting gifts about 3 months before!! If it was me, I would sure want to know that it arrived. Also, for gifts delivered by mail/UPS/FedEx, you want to make sure that the item is not broken. If you have to submit a claim to the shipping agency, there is a time period within which that has to be done (for FedEx I believe that damage has to be reported within 5 days of delivery). Obviously if you have let the damaged item sit around for a month before you open it, you’re going to have problems.
You are supposed to wait to use the gifts until after the wedding – this is, I believe, because if the wedding gets called off you are supposed to return the gifts. That’s a little harder if you have used them already.
Post # 7
Also – if you wait to open gifts, then often you won’t be able to return them before the return policy has expired (this can be as short as 30 days!).
Not that you’d return gifts… but just a note that there are practical considerations regarding returns and exchanges to keep in mind.
Post # 8
I use my copy of the Peggy Post’s wedding etiquette book when I’m in doubt for things like this. The book says to open early gifts and send the thank-you card immediately, but you do NOT use the item(s) until after the wedding. I hope that helps! I also appreciate the practiality of the above suggestions regarding returning items.
Post # 9
Too funny MrBee. We are actually returning quite a few things. We had a few guests who obviously pulled up the registry but then didn’t refer to it as they shopped, as we have way more of a few things than we asked for. And, mysteriously, we have three (3) Nespresso machines – a pretty spendy gift – which we DID NOT register for. OF COURSE you’re going to return stuff. Try hard not to feel bad about it. People return at least some of the stuff you give them too.
Post # 10
Definitely open them before! And send a thank-you note within two weeks. People will want to know their gift arrived. A lot of times you can’t tell who the gift is actually from on the package. For example: my future in laws ordered me a birthday gift from Crate and Barrel and the box had C+B’s return address not theirs. I had no idea who it was from.