By: Revanche

Managing the costs of wedding gifts

January 22, 2008


It’s a good thing I was so well prepared for R’s wedding gifts.

I paid for her bridal shower gifts using my hoarded Victoria’s Secret gift cards. No coupons to use there, but I did find everything on sale.

For the actual wedding gifts, I redeemed a $100 Macy’s gift card from my Thank You points last month, used a great all-purpose “11% off anything in the store” Macy’s coupon from my business trip in September, and bought three gifts from her registry for a total of $60 after coupon.

And the lady handed me back the coupon, which doesn’t expire until March 31st, back. 🙂 I have an extra one, so if anyone wants it, shoot me an email!

A few weeks ago, I read up on wedding gift etiquette, it’s a pretty hot topic on some wedding forums, and learned a few things that seemed contradictory:

1. Guests usually send upon receipt of their invitation, and have up to 1 year after the wedding to send a gift.

2. The bride and groom, however, are not supposed to talk about their registries in the invitation.

So … how do the guests who may not be very close to the bride and groom find out about the registries? I understand that it’s bad form to actively solicit gifts, but is it really preferable to send your guests on a scavenger hunt to find someone who’s in the know? And is it fair to the organizing person who is inevitably fielding a dozen wedding-related calls a day to have to return another dozen calls with a recitation of the registry stores? I can tell you I got pretty tired of getting the calls and texts asking, hey, where are they registered (again!)? There’s got to be a compromise somewhere in there.

3. The guests are not obligated to give gifts that are equal to the value of their plates.

Culturally this is a little funny for me, because that’s exactly the rule of thumb of gift giving in our community. You give at least what your plate probably cost, based on $50 increments, and much more if you’re family or close friends. And even more if you’re immediate family to either bride or groom. My parents, back in the day, gave my mom’s siblings from seven hundred dollars to a thousand dollars as their gift alone, and that doesn’t include paying for part of the wedding. Ma’s the oldest, so it was expected.

In R’s case, though, I didn’t feel obligated to calculate proper return on the cost of our plates because I’d done so much work, and spent so much on all the pre-wedding stuff, that the gift itself pales in comparison. Not to toot my own horn, but I was at that girl’s beck and call, and was darn good emotional support through some pretty tough nights! I was there for her, dangit! 🙂

I also didn’t feel awkward about being creative in financing her gifts. After all, she still got things she liked from her registry, and it doesn’t hurt her at all that I didn’t go into debt for it.

3 Responses to “Managing the costs of wedding gifts”

  1. Ms. M&P says:

    Wedding gifts and weddings in general always hurt my budget. I love giving gifts so I tend to do more than I should. And on top of that, I have to travel for most weddings, and that gets crazy expensive.

    I need to shop smarter like you. thanks for the post!

  2. One way to get around the ‘no registries specifically mentioned in the invitation’ thing is to create a website on the knot or somewhere with directions, other info, AND the registry locations…and put this on a slip of paper in the invitation. “For more information, pictures, and directions, please go to (the website).”

  3. SavingDiva says:

    I’m so ready to be done giving wedding gifts! I had to give 4 gifts last summer, 6 the summer before that, and 5 the year before that…UGH!

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