Wedding etiquette – am I alone in preferring to be told what gifts a couple wants?

Wedding etiquette – am I alone in preferring to be told what gifts a couple wants?

Wedding etiquette – am I alone in preferring to be told what gifts a couple wants?

On Tuesday I wrote my ask for wedding cash not gifts blog – exploring how gift giving as a form of social banking. I was surprised by how partisan the responses were – many people supported my idea, yet some deemed it near blasphemous. Yet it was the "you shouldn’t give any indication" comments that most intrigued me.

Much of this is culturally driven. There are many cultures when giving anything other than cash would be bizarre, (ever seen the Sopranos?) of course then there is no need to request anything as the convention is settled. Yet in the UK we have a different tradition, which is why I was surprised by comments like these two…

One shouldn’t "request" presents at a wedding! I find the whole wedding list thing totally offensive and the notion of a couple actually asking for cash totally wrong."

I don’t agree with asking for any gifts or cash when you are getting married. I invited people to my wedding because I wanted them there to witness our commitment to each other. We didn’t have a list and left it to people to decide what they wanted to do. Any gift we received was very well appreciated. Requests for cash are just plain offensive.

I simply disagree. We live in a world where giving a gift at a wedding is a cultural convention and most people want to give gifts. It’s important the couple don’t demand gifts, but whether you want cash, vouchers or have a wedding list, to give an indication for those who’d like to give of what would be preferred, is the right thing to do in my book – even if that is "no gifts please".  

I’ve two main reasons for this…

  • The gift will be appreciated and valued.

    Wedding presents can be worth a significant amount of cash, therefore I’d like a legitimate expectation that what I spend will give joy or utility to the couple. To help this there needs to be an indication and co-ordination of gifts. Co-ordination is necessary because there are a large group of people who often won’t know each other – as by definition you’re bringing two different family and friend units together.

    Doing this helps ensure that you get the couple something desired and it avoids unnecessary duplication (22 toasters really aren’t good for anyone). Also remember, by law unless it’s specified as a gift, the couple have no legal right to return it (see the consumer rights guide).

  • It’s less hassle.   

    This is a much less worthy point and I know some will say the effort is what counts. Maybe this is just the ramblings of a workaholic with little time on his hands, yet the truth is it can be a nightmare buying gifts that are suitable, especially when you are friends rather than bosom buddies (or even worse sometimes with extended family it may be someone who you actually don’t know too well).

So while some think it’s rude to give any indication of what gifts they want, in my book it’s rather thoughtless not to. Unfortunately that means it’s a Catch 22 for most couples getting married – you can’t please everyone – so do whatever makes you feel happiest, it’s your day.