What’s a bride to do with the mystery gifts?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 | etiquette, media, Q&A, weddings



Q. We just got married a couple of weeks ago and there are a couple of things we’re a bit concerned about: there were a few gifts that seemed to have lost their cards (we can “sort of” figure out who they are from based on some cards that weren’t attached to anything) and a couple of guests who normally always observe stringent rules of etiquette but didn’t give us anything – and we’re worried that maybe it got lost. Should we actually ask them (what if they actually didn’t buy us a gift – then it would be weird, wouldn’t it?)?

A. There always seem to be a few gifts that manage to lose their cards, and a few guests that amazingly seem to attend a wedding without giving a gift.

As for the guests with no gifts – this is both cheap and tacky (always a marvelous combination). Ideally, wedding guests arrange for the couple to receive their gift before the wedding – so someone doesn’t have to be responsible for getting all the gifts home from the reception.

Attention all wedding guests: although it is completely appropriate to give the newlyweds their gift anytime in the first year of marriage – if you plan to wait, whatever the reason, tell them (“We’re very sorry your gift is not here – it will be arriving at your door in six to eight months – it’s being delivered by pack mule from Argentina!”). This will save the poor couple from worrying that your gift got lost (or from deciding you’re a big cheapskate).

As for the etiquette sticklers that did not give you a gift or mention the absence of one…this is a sticky situation. Perhaps just tell them you’re worried that their gift went missing and were curious if they left it on the gift table at the reception (who knows, maybe they forgot it in the trunk of their car, or it is sitting carefully in a closet at their house).

Now…where Emily Post dictates a wedding guest has a year to give a gift – it is quite the opposite on the thank you card front. Everyone knows you’re very busy – but don’t make your guests wait forever for their thank you cards. You absolutely must send them within three months of your wedding day…no slacking! If there are a couple of cards that were not attached to anything – and a couple of gifts with no cards – simply thank them for the “lovely gift”.

So all you wedding guests out there – if you attend the wedding – give them a gift – and if it will be coming some time in the future – tell them! If you do bring the gift to the reception – make sure you’re actually putting it on the gift table…and get friendly with the scotch tape – don’t make them guess which gift is from you because the card fell off (you don’t want credit for a set of plastic mixing bowls when you actually bought them a silver gravy boat).

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