Should You Give a Gift If You Don’t Go To The Wedding?

Should You Give a Gift If You Don’t Go To The Wedding?

Should you give a gift if you don’t go to the wedding? We put this question to Instagram and the jury was firmly divided. 52% were shocked at the suggestion of a gift, and 48% of you said it would be rude not to get a present.

The half and half split means there’s no strict wedding gift etiquette or expectation if you turn down a wedding invitation. Obviously it’s always appreciated if you give a gift, but it probably isn’t such a faux pas if you don’t (depending on the circles you move in of course!). We’ve put together a few tips to help you work out if you should buy a gift if you’re not going to the wedding – and if so, what that gift should be.

Photo by Molly Carr Photography via One Fab Day

How to Turn Down a Wedding Invitation

First things first, if you get an invitation to a wedding and you’re not going to attend, for whatever reason, RSVP promptly to let the couple know. They will be waiting on final tallies to tell their venue or caterer, and your decline might make room for them to ask someone else. Use whatever method of communication was indicated in the invitation, whether it’s an RSVP card, an email, or a text. You can always follow up with a call if you need to explain further.

Buying a Gift Depends on Why You’re Turning Down the Invite

Sometimes you’ll turn down an invitation because you’re away or otherwise booked. Other times it’s because you don’t know the couple well, it will be too expensive to attend, or you simply aren’t into the idea of going.

If it’s for financial reasons, you will of course save money by not attending, but if cash is tight, or perhaps you have a lot of other weddings coming up, don’t feel pressured to send a gift – a nice card is completely fine.

If it’s a couple you love and you’re genuinely upset about not being able to attend, sending a gift in your absence is a good way of showing how much you care and wish you could have made it. If it’s someone you’re not close to or whose wedding you were surprised to even be invited to, it might be less important to make the gesture.

Photo by Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography via Marigold & Grey

Sending a Gift If You Weren’t Invited to the Wedding

All of us married folk in the office remembered the people who had sent us gifts who hadn’t even been invited to the wedding. It’s by no means expected, but it’s so thoughtful and generous!

Often these gift-givers were older people like great-aunts or friends or neighbours of our parents, but also some work colleagues and friends. The rule of thumb here though is to not go overboard. A group gift is a great idea, likewise a voucher, a bottle of bubbly or a small gift. That way you’re expressing your congratulations without making the couple feel guilty for not asking you to the main event.

Photo by Taylor Kinzie

What Wedding Present To Buy a Couple If You’re Not Attending the Wedding

Customarily in Ireland, whether you give a physical present or a cash gift, the consensus is that you ‘cover the cost of your meal’, (typically about €80 to €150 per person). In the UK, cash gifts are not as common and the value of gifts has a broader range. If you’re not attending the wedding however, you don’t need to conform to spending a set amount, simply whatever you can afford and feel is appropriate.

Cash gifts are always appreciated, but generally if you’re not going to a wedding, a physical gift is more suitable as a gesture – particularly if you’re spending a little less. If the couple has a gift registry, your job is easy, you can purchase something directly from that, and your work is done!

Photo by Award Weddings via One Fab Day

If they don’t have a registry, a practical keepsake is always a safe bet, think glass or barware, a beautiful bowl, cutlery, a cake slice, a blanket, a picnic basket or an oven dish. Coffee table books or art prints are a more contemporary choice. You can always go for something a bit novel too.

An experience gift is thoughtful too, it’s easy to personalise to each couple, and gives them a ready-made post wedding date night. A restaurant voucher, cinema membership, a cooking class, day excursion or afternoon tea are all lovely ideas.

Get ideas for how to make your wedding less expensive for your guests

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