Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Manners Monday" - Wedding Gift Protocols

This week's "Manners Monday" has gone royal. With the big event just around the corner, we have been asked by the Los Angeles Times Ministry of Gossip to weigh in on a couple of subjects related to the etiquette's and protocols associated with attending a royal wedding. Most recently, we contributed our two cents on the appropriate amount to gift a royal couple, especially when extensive travel is involved. This got us thinking about wedding gifts in general and all of the little rules one must consider when purchasing and presenting the gift.

The above hilarious clip from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is a prime example of a wedding faux pas. Technically, Larry David was actually correct and the married couple was in the wrong. Read below to find out why and enjoy a few other helpful pointers for wedding gift purchasing that will hold you in the best light.

1. If you receive a wedding invitation, you send a gift. Everyone who receives a wedding invitation should send a gift regardless of whether they will be attending the wedding or not. Gifts are usually sent by mail or delivery service. Do some research to find out where the happy couple will be receiving gifts (e.g., the bride's home, her parent's home, the couple's home or the groom's parents home).

2. Try to keep the time frame close to the wedding date. The best time to send a gift is when the wedding invitation arrives. Most gifts are sent prior to the wedding, however, gifts may arrive afterward as well. Typically, guests send them within three months of the wedding. There is a myth that you only have up to one year to send a wedding gift and this is simply not true. Couples should graciously accept all gifts that are sent after the wedding has occurred with no time limit attached.

3. What is the suggested amount to spend? Unfortunately, there is no exact formula to use to calculate the appropriate amount to spend on a gift. There has been discussion that it should equal the price per person at the reception and, again this is a fabrication. The suggested amount is completely up to the gift-giver's discretion and should reflect the affection that they have for the couple or the relationship that is connecting them to the couple. Once these factors are taken into consideration, then the gift giver's individual financial capabilities become the marker.

4. Should you buy off the registry? Yes, it is always most appreciated! Most couples will register for gifts, especially if it is their first marriage. The point of registering is to help provide the happy couple with items that they truly love and will use. Typically they will register at 3 or 4 stores providing plenty of options for their guests at a variety of price ranges. If the wedding couple has taken the time to register, then guests should show their respect by purchasing gifts at these outlets.

5. What are good gift choices? The answer is whatever the wedding couple's heart desires. The first thing to keep in mind is that the gift should reflect the couple's sentiments and values. Some newlyweds request Eco-friendly items only, others may prefer a donation made to their favorite charity in lieu of gifts and a few discourage gifts altogether in favor of funds towards a fabulous honeymoon (although we are not fond of this choice as it seems a bit self-serving.) The bottom line is that as guests, it is up to us to honor the wedding couple's wishes without question or judgment.

Have any crazy stories to share regarding wedding gift purchasing or gift-giving? Has a wedding couple ever snubbed your gift? Have you ever received a wedding gift re-gift? We'd love to hear from you!

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