– Ask Cheryl – Invited but Barely Know the Couple, Do I Still Need to Give a Wedding Gift?

Today’s question comes from a reader who feels she has an out when it comes to the etiquette rule that you should send a gift if you are invited to the wedding, and I might agree . . .

Hi Cheryl,

My husband and I recently received invitations to two weddings from couples we hardly know. We are not planning to attend either wedding. Do we still need to give a gift?


Bride and groom with wedding presents

Hi Margarita,

Traditionally, etiquette states that if you are invited to a wedding, you should send a gift, whether or not you are able to attend. However, since the wedding gift is a token of affection and support of the couple getting married, the above etiquette “rule” assumes that you have some type of relationship with the couple, or their parents. It also assumes that they want you to share in their special day. Since you hardly know them, it begs the question, “Why were you invited in the first place?”

Is this someone from work or from your church that invited you out of a perceived obligation? Will you see these couples again on a regular basis?

If you do not anticipate seeing these couples or continuing a relationship with them, then I don’t think you should feel obligated to give a gift. Gifting is always at the discretion of the gift giver so you should not feel pressured. Make sure you RSVP your regrets, and then possibly send a card or note of congratulations. However, if you feel that you will continue some type of relationship with these couples, then I would also send a token gift, in the $50 price range. Perhaps these couples feel a fondness to you or your husband and genuinely want you to share in their special day.

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

Emails in this column are received from readers. Emails may be edited for spelling, length 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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