Gift-Giving Can Be Tricky, says Edmonton Wedding Planner
The average Canadian bride and groom live together before marriage so they usually have all the kitchen gadgets and other housewares they need. What many really want for a wedding gift is money, but it’s uncouth to say so on the invitation.
There are ways to tell if that’s what they want, but if it is, how much should you give? And if you do decide to give a gift, how much should you spend? Do you have to buy a gift if you’re already missing work and forking over big bucks to attend a destination wedding?
With the I-Do season in full swing, we asked Edmonton certified wedding planner Christina Frizzell of Sweet Bliss Weddings about some common gift etiquette quandaries.
How do you know a couple wants money?
If they’re not registered for gifts anywhere, you can assume they’re looking for money. If you want to be sure, ask one of their parents or anyone in the bridal party.
How much should money should I give?
“If your budget allows, and you’re a generous person by nature, or if you’re very close to the couple, I would say the absolute minimum would be to cover the cost of you attending their wedding, but it’s always good to put in a little extra so the couple actually comes out with something as opposed to coming out even at the end,” Frizzell says.
An afternoon wedding or brunch, for example, costs less than a wedding with a cocktail hour, dinner and dance. The style of wedding invitation and venue will also give you a clue as to how formal or expensive a wedding is.
Frizzell would spend $100 to $150 (closer to $200 if she was buying a gift with her husband) on a close friend or relative; $100 on a casual friend or relative; and $75 to $100 on a co-worker or distant relative.
“But again, you have to use your own personal discretion on does this meet my budget? Is this something I can afford?”
Do you have to give a gift?
Unless the invitation specifically says ‘No Gifts Please,’ yes you do.
What should you buy if you have no idea what to buy?
Let the couple’s gift registry be your guide. If only big ticket items are left, consider splitting the cost with another guest or another couple.
What if you have an idea for a gift that’s not on the registry?
If you’re close to the couple and have an idea that’s out-of-the-box that you think they’d like such as a cooking class if they love to cook or a gift certificate for horseback riding, if that’s a favourite activity, they would probably appreciate it. But run it past the couple’s parents or someone in the bridal party just to be on the safe side.
If you can’t attend the wedding do you still need to buy a gift?
If a close family member is getting married, yes. If it’s a friend or acquaintance, “I don’t think you’re obligated,” Frizzell says.
If you’re already missing work and paying to attend a destination wedding, do you have to buy a gift too?
Unless the invitation says no gifts, you should buy one. But present it to the couple either before the wedding or after they return, because some gifts — an expensive bottle of port or wine — may not get through customs, or they may have to prove they didn’t buy that jewelry where they got married.
What about making a donation to a charity in the couple’s name instead of buying a gift?
It’s been done, but it’s not a big trend, as of yet.
If you’re already spending quite a bit of money for a bridal shower gift do you have to spend a lot on a wedding gift?
The shower gift and wedding gift are two separate things. The bridal shower gift is a gift for the bride, or a household item. The wedding gift is for the couple. The cost of one should not influence the cost of the other.
If someone didn’t give you a wedding gift are you obligated to buy them one?
According to wedding etiquette, a guest has up to one year to give you a wedding gift, so don’t jump the gun. “Take the high road,” Frizzell advises, and buy them a gift even if they didn’t buy you one.
Photo courtesy of Ed Kaiser, The Edmonton Journal
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