– Ask Cheryl – To Send a Gift or Not to Send a Gift?

This reader questions if she should send a wedding gift to someone with whom she no longer has a relationship. Find out the answer below . . .

 Hi Cheryl,
I just finished reading your Huffington Post article “How Long Do I Have to Send a Wedding Gift?” Great advice!

I have a situation that I’m really struggling with whether or not to send a gift. I worked with Megan for about nine months; we became work-friends who would lunch together and chat about our personal lives. We only socialized outside of work hours once, after I had given my notice that I’d be taking a new job closer to home. We texted from time to time, but haven’t seen each other since I left, despite my inviting her to various parties or offering to drive an hour to meet up with her. In April I received an invitation to “Michelle’s” wedding. I’d never met her fiancé and our conversations had pretty much stopped by that time, so I was surprised to receive the invite.

The date of the wedding conflicted with some travel I had to do for work, so I thanked my lucky stars I had a valid “out.” I sent my regrets and promptly forgot about it until I saw pictures on Facebook. Then, forgot about it again until I was cleaning up and found the invitation.

I realize that it’s pretty late now, but as your article states, it’s better late than never… but my question is: do I really need to send a gift to someone I knew for a short time and will probably never see again? If I do, what would be an appropriate value?

Dear Jen,
There is a long-standing tradition in our country of extending well wishes to a wedding couple with a wedding gift. Etiquette states that if you receive a wedding invitation, you should send a gift whether or not you can attend the wedding. However, there are exceptions to this rule. The tradition assumes that those who receive the invitations are close to the couple or their families. I have advised others that if you receive an invitation from someone with which you have not had contact in years, and you don’t anticipate renewing the relationship, you can simply send a card or letter of congratulations.

Your situation is somewhere in the middle of the above two scenarios. Since you were not friends for a long period of time and you have not continued the friendship, I think it is fine that you did not send a gift. However, since it seems you originally intended to send a gift, and you are struggling with what to do, you may want to send a gift just to ease your mind. It is possible that the bride felt close to you and valued your friendship, even if she didn’t make the effort to keep it going. If you think you will come in contact with her again in the future (you never know, if you work in the same field, it might happen somewhere down the road) or you think you will regret the decision not to send a gift, then go ahead and send something. I recommend a gift card to one of the stores where she was registered, as you know she likes that store. You can simply let them know in the card that you wish them the best and apologize for the late gift. As far as an amount goes, that can vary greatly and is determined by your budget, your closeness to the couple, and where you live. As an average, I think $50 would be a good amount since you were work friends and now acquaintances.

If you are fine with the decision not to send a gift – and don’t feel it will bother you – then there is nothing wrong with not sending one. After all, gifting is a choice and never mandatory. To gift or not to gift? — In your situation either is acceptable.

If you have questions or comments about gift giving or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [email protected].

Emails in this column are received from readers. Emails may be edited for spelling and grammar, or to remove sensitive information, however, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.

Cheryl Seidel is the founder and President of RegistryFinder.com, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more.

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