Wedding Etiquette – The 8 Do’s & Don’ts for Gift Giving

Valentine's Day Couple Rings


As we near the end of August and step into the early months of fall, more and more weddings have been penned in to my schedule for the autumn social calendar! And I definitely don’t blame the couples! There’s no season more perfect for weddings than autumn with slightly chilled early fall breezes, vibrant yet soft sunsets, and orangey-red leaves! I mean, it literally sounds like perfection already, doesn’t it?

That being said, though, attending weddings always manage to bring about just a bit of stress in me. Aside from figuring out what to wear (what’s too formal, too casual, etc…), the number one panic-inducing thing about weddings is… gift giving!

There are just so many factors to consider, such as what the best gift is, how much to spend, what’s appropriate as a wedding gift, and so much more, that my head just starts spinning.

This past year, though, I’ve already been to at least three or four weddings, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m nearing that age where a lot of my friends are starting to tie the knot, but at this point, I’ve got wedding etiquette down to almost a science, and that, of course, includes wedding gift giving!

That’s why I’ve come up with some tips today to guide you through some wedding gift giving etiquette to make sure you simply enjoy the wedding reception and ceremony without any feelings of stress or panic!

In our modern day and age, registries are almost essential for every wedding, not only for the couple to ensure that they receive gifts that they really want and need, but they’re also so helpful for guests because it helps steer them in the right direction in terms of gifting.

If you’re not familiar with it already, Zola is an amazing universal registry that offers a free suite of wedding planning tools, including wedding websites, a checklist, a guest list, and most importantly, a wedding registry!

For couples who are just starting to plan their weddings, Zola also offers amazing services to help you through every step of the wedding registry process with their Registry Planner Tools, which cover aspects such as how many gifts are recommended at each price range, to how to keep track of items, to how to group guests into different lists, etc.

For guests who don’t know where to start in terms of gifting, with features like group gifting, popular gift suggestions, control shipping, experiences, and cash/honeymoon funds, Zola has really perfected wedding gift giving, not only for couples who will need their services, but also for wedding guests who enjoy the simplicity of getting gifts for the newlyweds directly from the registry.

Of course, not all gifts have to be from the registry, which is why I’m sharing some tips to help your gift giving process! So on that note, let’s get started on some wedding gift giving etiquette! I’ve broken it all down in to do’s and don’ts to ensure that your wedding experience be as stress free as possible! So without further ado, let’s get started!


1. DO Consider Cash Gifts

This is my #1 because I come from an Asian American family. While it may seem a bit impersonal in some other cultures to give cash gifts, in Asian cultures, cash gifts are almost always preferred because it allows the couple to use it for whatever they need or want. In the situation where you’re unsure about this, though, it’s always a good idea to ask the bride or groom’s family members or close friends 😉

2. DO Stick to the Registry

If you attend a wedding where there is a registry, it’s always a good idea to stick to it (if you’re not going to give a cash gift). It takes a lot of time to actually register for gifts, and if a couple took the time out of their already-packed-wedding-planning-schedules to pick out things, then the items in their registry are definitely the ones that they really want or need.

3. DO Ship It, if You Got the Couple a Physical Gift

In the case that you choose to get the couple a gift from the registry, do consider shipping it instead of bringing it to the wedding. First of all, bringing the gift can be a hassle, especially since weddings can be kind of hectic for all parties involved already. The couple will definitely not have time to even look at the gift, and the wedding party will also be too busy to really keep track of everything.

Secondly, most home appliances, no matter how small they are, are kind of bulky in packaging, so it’ll definitely be a task in and of itself to bring it to the wedding. That’s why shipping it to the couple (preferably before the wedding) is the best idea 😉

4. DO Bring It, if You Went for the Cash Gift

If you’re opting for the cash gift, though, DO bring it to the wedding. For couples that come from Asian families, there will always be a member from the wedding party or the bride and groom’s family sitting at a table at the entrance of the reception, and that is where you’re expected to drop the red envelope in to a box that the newlywed couple takes home after the wedding.

5. DO Send a Gift if You’re Invited, but Don’t Attend the Wedding

If you were invited, but can’t attend the wedding, it’s still customary to give a gift.

This also lightly touches on the topic of destination weddings, since a lot of guests aren’t able to attend due to obligations at work, budgeting, etc. In a situation like this, sending a gift to the couple is still considered necessary.


1. DO NOT Underspend

In terms of gift giving, there’s never really a “right amount to spend” on a newlywed couple, since that’s more of a personal decision, but the general rules of thumb are to be generous and don’t underspend. Also keep in mind – if you’re bringing a guest, you are expected to spend a little more.

Another aspect that I factor in is my relationship with the bride and groom. In particular, if I can envision one day inviting the couple to my own (far in the future) wedding, I would definitely want to spend a little more to get the couple a thoughtful gift.

2. DO NOT Wait a Year

When I was growing up, I never actually knew about this rule, and didn’t find out about it until recently. Although this old belief denotes that you have a year to give the couple their wedding gift, I highly advise against that. It just seems a little outdated and rude to wait a year, especially in the fast-paced day and age that we live in. I know that some people think it’s okay to wait a couple months too, but in my personal opinion, it’s just poor etiquette. Either get the couple their gift before the wedding, or the day of, but anything else just seems a bit disrespectful.

3. DO NOT Sweat It

And most importantly, just remember to not sweat it! Yes, gifts are important, but at the end of the day, weddings are more about so much more than registries and gifts. What weddings should really be about is the couple and the celebration of their lifelong commitment. As long as you’re sincere and make note to not commit any of the above faux pas, then you should definitely be good to go!

At the end of the day, wedding gift giving etiquette is just like any etiquette – just exercise common sense and good manners! With that said, pick out an amazing gift using the above guide, get that party outfit on, and get ready to make some moves on the dance floor as you witness one of the most important and epic moments of the couples’ lives!

What are some of your favorite wedding gift giving do’s and don’ts? 🙂 Do you love attending weddings as much as I do?


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16 thoughts on “Wedding Etiquette – The 8 Do’s & Don’ts for Gift Giving

  1. Pingback: Wedding Etiquette: How to Dress as a Wedding Guest | CLOTHES TO YOUUU

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