Mind Your Manners: A Guide to Wedding Gift Etiquette
21 June 2015

Mind Your Manners: A Guide to Wedding Gift Etiquette

Gift Registry Ideas

Etiquette rules are continually evolving, making weddings exceedingly difficult to navigate for today’s brides and grooms. Emotions run high – it’s one of the reasons weddings are so wonderful but also why they cause so much angst.  The reality is no matter what you do, there’s always going to be Great Aunt Ethel or possibly someone even closer to home – your darling mother – who will make it clear you’ve done something they don’t approve of.

But here at GiftSpaces we want to try and make your life that little bit easier when planning your big day, or any other momentous life moment for that matter. So here’s our guide to wedding gift etiquette and some simple rules to live by.

The two principle rules that apply to every aspect of your wedding:

  1. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. There are always going to be people that just don’t quite understand your style and choices, and we say GREAT. The more your wedding reflects you, the better.

  2. It’s first and foremost a celebration of love and life – two beautiful things that should remain the focus. The vows, the celebration and memory-making with the people you love will evoke way more warm fuzzy wedding flashbacks when you’re sitting in Monday morning traffic than the dress, canapés and gifts.

But people coming to your wedding still want to give you something that celebrates your marriage and helps set you up for your future. So how do you navigate the wedding gift gauntlet and ensure both you and your guests come out in good shape?


"We don’t blame you if you find it a strain to get jazzed about moving from a two-slice toaster into a four-slice. We all dream bigger than that."

It’s 2015 and co-habitation before marriage is not a new phenomenon – it’s been on a steep rise the last few decades – meaning the nesting hype has likely been and gone for most by the time they’re engaged. You’re set up with your appliances, kitchen utensils and towels. Sure, many could possibly do with an upgrade, but we don’t blame you if you find it a strain to get jazzed about moving from a two-slice toaster into a four-slice. We all dream bigger than that.

We’ve heard numerous stories of people asking for “no gifts” in the hope people would give them money instead. Unfortunately they generally end up with three sets of wine glasses they don’t need and not a lot else.

Your guests need, and more importantly want, to be told what to get you.

Wedding gift shopping is challenging. People are after a quick and easy solution, but they also want to give a gift with meaning that you’ll love and remember.


"We think asking for money is completely okay, as long as it’s done in the right way – that’s what makes all the difference."

In many cultures handing over money is the norm. And for the remainder, while many of today's couples would much rather reject traditional gifts in favour of cash, their families are not always receptive. As far as we’ve come, just blatantly asking for money or putting your bank account details on your wedding website is still going to throw a few people from their chair. But call us reckless, we think asking for money is completely okay, as long as it’s done in the right way – that’s what makes all the difference.


"Make It Clear What You Want"

The solution – ditch the subtext and make it clear what you want, but do it with meaning. Sit with your beloved and think about what lies ahead for you both. What are the things that you’d really love to do, see, achieve and create as a couple. Get pumped about your plans together. You’re standing on the edge of one of the most exciting times in your lives and having your friends and family contribute towards your plans and dreams as a couple is perfectly fitting.

In fact, most guests will think it’s great to contribute to a larger goal – something that’s going to be a big help or amazing experience. Explaining that you’re working towards your first home and would love a hand with the deposit is not at all unreasonable. Or maybe this is your second marriage and the best gift anyone could give you is some husband and wife time on a tropical island, without the kids! Or you’re avid hikers and the trip of a lifetime would be to fly to New Zealand and hike the Milford Track.

Any number of reasons can add up to asking for monetary gifts. With a polite explanation and a link to somewhere to lay out your vision for your guests (hint, hint), we don’t think it’s rude at all, quite the opposite in fact. It gives you and your guests complete control and avoids endless hassle with double-ups, returned gifts and ‘space-fillers’ on your registry that end up in your home. Not to mention, if a cash-based registry simplifies the process and means one less thing that you need to worry about, then that is just the icing on the three-tiered wedding cake.


If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like:

  1. Modern Gifting: The New Rules of Wedding Registries
  2. Alternative Gift Registry Ideas for the Modern Couple


*Here at GiftSpaces, we're dedicated to helping brides-to-be, new parents, honeymooners and all those celebrating life's special moments turn their visions into reality through the power of community.
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