Although just about anything goes with regard to tying the knot, some basic factors still govern wedding gift etiquette.
As a rule, a guest should always consider the couple’s wishes, their relationship with them, and their own personal budget in selecting a wedding gift.
We have compiled the following outdated and long-held myths that have complicated wedding gift-giving for far too long.
1. Registry Required. While a registry is super-convenient and ensures the couple will enjoy the gift – it is a suggestion, not a decree.
➤ Guests are free to buy from the registry or choose a more personal gift, as they wish.
2. No Rush. This rumor suggests that it’s perfectly acceptable to send a wedding gift up to one year post-event.
➤ A gift should be sent shortly after receiving the invitation, or within three months following the wedding (at the latest).
3. Tit for Tat. Another unfortunate falsehood is that the cost of the wedding gift should match or exceed the price-per-plate.
➤ Guests decide what to spend on based on the couple’s preferences, their closeness to the couple and their own financial situation. Period.
4. Cash is Crass. Not so. A monetary gift is often the right choice for older people with existing households, or when the couple has requested honeymoon funds or deposits to specific accounts.
➤ Money can be sent directly to the couple with a personal note, or straight into the institution indicated.
5. Go It Alone. Group gift-giving is not only acceptable, sometimes it is the best idea.
➤ Big ticket registry items can be out of reach for just one person, but perfect for a combined effort. These are things the couple may not be able to afford, and therefore very much appreciated.
Despite the myriad of ways couples can fulfill their wedding day dreams, wedding gift etiquette hasn’t changed much. It is still defined by the requests of the couple, the degree of friendship, and the guest’s budget.
By taking these factors into account, a guest can rest easy knowing they will give an appropriate gift – whether the event takes place in a centuries-old cathedral or on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
If your curious about how much the average person spends on a wedding gift, Brides.com has run the numbers and their experts weigh in with some stats that you might find interesting.
Click here to see what they have to say.
Toasting is a nearly universal practice, but where it originated is a point of contention. Experts from the International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture cite the roots of this tradition in “ancient sacrificial libations” wherein a goblet was raised up to the gods. Other “Toastologists” point to the medieval custom of clinking glasses and splashing the liquids together as a gesture to show that no poisoning has taken place. The somewhat dark history of the toast may be one shrouded in mystery, but the secrets to giving one are not.
At the start of your toast, stand and explain your connection to the person of honor. It makes your speech all the more meaningful when you clue your audience into the relationship you share. Just make sure to keep the emphasis on your honoree rather than on the role that you play in their life.
Even though your toast recipients are likely to be well-loved by those in attendance, no one wants to listen to directionless anecdotal rambling about them. Limit yourself to no more than 3 minutes; if you want to tell a funny story, stay focused on getting to a point. Try to link the humorous tale to a defining characteristic of your recipients.
Connect with your Audience!
Though you direct your toast at one person or couple, don’t forget to include the rest of your listeners. Make eye contact with members of the audience - use your eyes to make them feel included! If you want to create a more intimate atmosphere, let your emotions show. Nervous public speakers will often use stoicism to feign confidence in the spotlight. But if you want to look comfortable in front of an audience, you’ll need to feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to laugh or shed a tear; it makes you relatable. Keep it genuine, but moderated – save the bawling for your next viewing of Titanic.
Inflection, Inflection, Inflection.
You may have written a terrific toast, but a monotone voice can kill even the strongest of speeches. Read your speech aloud and note good places to pause or vary your speaking style. Practice it over and over using the same inflection every time. Try to see public speaking as a piece of music: use measures of rest to give both your mouth and your audience’s ears a break and allow your voice to rise and fall in pitch as if constructing a melody. An effective tactic for improving your speaking is to draw from your own experience as an audience member. Identify and avoid the elements that bored, annoyed or distracted you.
A toast can be entertaining, but keep your purpose in mind: allot time to be serious. For this section, drop the jokes and be sincere! Express your gratitude to your hosts and tell your honoree exactly why they’re so deserving of your toast. Utilize your humorous stories and pithy comments to build up to a touching end – leave the audience with a good impression of both your honoree and you. Cheers!
Summer is right around the corner which means June through October begins the biggest wedding season. Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts on how to be a great wedding guest.
1. Do RSVP: When you receive a wedding invitation, always respond by the deadline with whether or not you will attend. The RSVP’s are time sensitive because the bride and groom or their families plan catering and seating around the attendance. RSVP’s = Money.
2. Don’t Keep Your Phone On: Before the ceremony begins, do a quick check to make sure that your phone is on silent and will not cause any disruptions. You do not want to be the person responsible for having your phone ring as the bride walks down the aisle or the happy couple is saying their vows.
3. Do be Early: Arrive 20-30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start time to make sure that you have a seat. Weddings are meant to start on time and it is rude to disrupt the festivities by coming in late.
4. Don’t Assume a Plus One: Some couples have a strict budget and it is not possible for them to let their attendees bring guests. You will always know whether you can bring a guest or your children by the way the invitation envelope is address. Unless the invitation specifies that you may bring a date never assume that you can. Remember your envelope tells all. Please don’t call the bride and groom and ask them if it’s ok for you to bring someone. That puts them on the spot. Extra guests add to the party cost.
5. Do Follow Dress Code: If the invitation specifies black tie then a man wears a tuxedo and a woman may wear a long gown. If the wedding is in the evening, and black tie is not specified, then a man wears a dark suit and a woman wears a cocktail dress or basic black, decorated with rhinestone earrings. The location of the wedding (picnic, beach, bowling alley) will always add clues to what you need to wear.
6. Don’t Get Wasted: Many weddings have a variety of cocktails and an open bar. Even though there is an endless amount of booze be careful and think before you drink in excess. You do not want to do or say anything that you would regret the next day. Have a great time and let loose but make sure that your thoughts and head are clear.
7. Don’t Talk Forever: This a very busy day for the wedding couple. Everyone at the wedding is there to celebrate them. Congratulate the wedding couple and then move on . . . they have many other guests and family members to attend to.
The next time you are an invited guest at a wedding, remember that even though the day is about the wedding party, YOU still play a vital role.