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Beautiful Wedding GiftsMany wedding etiquette guides specify how newlyweds should approach receiving their wedding presents, but what about guests who wish to bestow gifts upon the happy couple? If you’re stuck on what to give and you need guidance, you’re not alone. Observing some sage wisdom should help you select items that your recipients will love. Not only that, a few guidelines on when and how to give should also aid in your planning and shopping efforts.

How Much Should You Spend?

Money is already a sensitive subject, but the variety of advice you'll hear regarding how much to drop on a wedding present can cause further confusion. Some insist that you shouldn’t pay less than $50 and recommend spending more if you live in upscale metropolitan areas. However, such suggestions ignore the financial realities faced by many millennials and other cash-strapped individuals.

Thankfully, others have more forgiving gift-giving guidelines. Writer Lisa Bonos elaborates in a June 2017 Washington Post article that the idea of "paying for one's plate" no longer applies. In other words, your present isn't an "entrance ticket" for the wedding. Meanwhile, the Emily Post Institute encourages guests to pay attention to their budgets and select items that they discern the couple would like. Many guides even agree that chipping in for a group gift is appropriate, especially for invitees on tight budgets.

A Few Words About Wedding Registries

Gift registries are a recent invention, first devised by American retailers in the 1920s. Southern Living writer Patricia S. York explains that a couple usually creates a registry to aid their guests in selecting their presents. While these also come with benefits such as gift wrapping and shipping services, you aren’t limited to purchasing items from the registry. You can choose other alternatives, including distinctive mementos that the newlyweds will treasure.

Is Money Ever an Appropriate Gift?

It was once considered gauche for newlyweds to ask for cash, but that rule is slowly fading away as well. Your soon-to-be-wed friends will likely appreciate the money, as it can fund major household essentials, little odds and ends or even a much-needed night out together. The Knot contributor Tracy Guth reveals that requesting money has become more common, so don’t be surprised if your friends establish a digital cash registry along with or in lieu of a traditional one. If they don’t, you can simply give them cash, a check or even gift cards from their favorite stores.

Debunking the “One Year” Myth

You’ve probably heard that guests have up to a year after a wedding to send their gifts, but most experts agree that this really isn’t true. In an August 2016 Brides article, contributor Jaimie Mackey clarifies that you have up to three months after the ceremony to ship your presents. Truthfully, gifts can arrive at any time before the big day, and many invitees simply bring their beautifully wrapped tokens with them to the event.

Nevertheless, it's wise to note any detailed instructions that your friends spell out regarding gifts. This is especially true if they’re having a destination wedding, since shipping extra stuff home or carting them onto an airplane can eat up time and money. In those cases, giving cash or sending items to them ahead of time may be your best bets.

Gift Giving Needn’t Be Stressful

It’s one thing to deliberate over what sort of gift to give your marrying friends, but it can be easy to let yourself spiral into anxiety over the prospect. Fortunately, many long-held “etiquette conventions” have gone the way of the dinosaur. New guidelines have developed in sync with the realities of modern life, paving the way to present a token of your affection while doing so in a timely manner and honoring your budget. 

Category: Marriage

weddings culture receptions money

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