The tricky business of wedding gift-buying etiquette
The wedding season is upon us. You have the hat, but what about the gift? And what do you get the couple who already has everything? They have been together for years and certainly have no need for another dinner service or a pair of crystal swans.
Buying the right gift can be a headache. In years gone by, things were simpler, with a department store list to which you had to strictly adhere, or risk being crossed off the happy couple’s Christmas card list forever.
Turning up with a random present is generally frowned upon these days. Almost half of guests are now asked to donate hard cash in place of gifts. But what will that cash to be used for? Some couples choose a charity that is close to their hearts, but more likely, the funds will be used to contribute to a dream honeymoon or a flat screen TV.
After much research, we’ve come up with ten top tips for wedding gift buying:
1. If you’re invited to the wedding ceremony, you should always give the bride and groom a gift (and please stick to the list!) Reception only? A bottle of fizz will do.
2. What if the bride and groom specify ‘no gifts’? Dilemma: did they really mean it? If in doubt, make a generous donation to charity (and be sure to let the happy couple know), or give gift vouchers for a popular store (in our experience, M&S vouchers are always gratefully received).
3. We know attending a wedding costs a lot, but buying a new outfit, travelling to Portsmouth and staying overnight in a Travelodge does not count as a gift. Be flattered you were invited (and choose the cheapest thing on the gift list).
4. But really, how much should you spend on a gift? Ultimately, you should give what you can afford, but a recent poll suggested the average spend should be between £40 and £59.
5. To save hassle for the bride and groom, consider giving the pressie a few days before the wedding. If it’s not too large, bring it with you, but never give it after the big day.
6. Are you the bride and groom? Always send thank you notes within three months.…
7. If you didn’t receive a gift from the about-to-be-weds when you got married, do you really have to give them a gift? Unfortunately the answer is yes.
8. Even if the event is a second marriage or renewal of vows, you should still bring a gift.
9. If the bride jilts the groom at the altar, or vice versa, should the gift be returned? If you’ve chosen your gift well, you won’t want to part with it (and hopefully no one will ever notice).
We have gifts galore for discerning guests at www.shimu.co.uk, ranging from embroidered cushions starting at under £20, right up to a gorgeous antique wedding cabinet at almost £2,000. Be inspired, but please, remember the rules!