Ask Cheryl: Should Adult Children Receive Their Own Wedding Invitation?

In today’s post, Jacqueline is concerned about wedding gift etiquette when it comes to adult children. However, the real issue is that the adult children should not have been included on their parent’s wedding invitation.

Hi Cheryl,

My niece is getting married in October. My sister and her husband are having a problem with what is expected regarding a wedding gift/etiquette.

They were sent an invitation to their home, and their two daughters’ names (aged 30 & 33) were added to their invitation (as opposed to sending invitations to each of the daughters, and with no guests for the daughters). Neither of the daughters live at home, and as stated, neither of them received a personal invitation; their names were added onto their parents’ invitation.

My sister was wondering if it was okay to give a family wedding gift since the wedding invitation arrived as a family invitation. Is this adequate? I can’t find any etiquette about such a unique situation. (Still can’t understand why my niece did this, as she knows her cousins are living and working away from home).

My sister’s husband has expressed concern that the daughters should also provide individual gifts instead of the gift being from the whole family. What is expected in this situation? A response would be most helpful…and less stressful.


Should Adult Children Receive Their Own Wedding Invitation?

Photo from Wedding Paper Divas®

Hi Jacqueline,

I can see why your sister is confused. The problem is that her niece did not follow proper etiquette when she mailed the invitations, and that’s probably why you can’t find an answer to your question. Maybe your nice was trying to save money on invitations, but she really should have sent individual invitations to both of the adult daughters, whether they lived with their parents or not. It’s additionally ridiculous since they are over thirty and live on their own. I will not continue to speculate on her reasoning, only say that she acted improperly. But that is water under the bridge…

Just because the bride did the wrong thing does not mean that your sister’s family should do the same. Each daughter should RSVP separately. If either of the daughters are married, engaged, or in a long-term serious relationship, then that person or persons should have been invited as well. If not, the couple does not need to allow the invited guests to bring a guest or “plus one.”

Your nieces can RSVP to their cousin by writing and sending a note, or calling. If either of them are married or engaged, then a phone call would be in order. They could simply explain that the wedding invitation was confusing and that they want to confirm that they will be bringing their spouse or fiancé.

For the wedding gift — group gifts are always acceptable, but that usually means that each person has contributed to the gift. In most situations, each of the children should purchase their own gift or they could go together and get a joint gift. I have two adult children and both are single. They have had two cousins get married recently. Each time they were invited individually, but they chose to pool their funds and buy a joint gift for their cousins. These gifts were separate from the gifts my husband and I gave.

To summarize, I recommend that your sister ignore her niece’s faux pas and act as if she had done the right thing. Your sister should only RSVP for herself and husband, asking her daughters to each RSVP individually. (It only makes sense as I’m sure she doesn’t keep their schedules.) I recommend that her daughters be responsible for their own wedding gift and either buy individually or go together for a joint gift.

I hope this was helpful and that everyone is able to enjoy the wedding and spending time with family.

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

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, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more.

2 Responses to Ask Cheryl: Should Adult Children Receive Their Own Wedding Invitation?

  1. Rose vitale October 14, 2018 at 6:03 pm #

    My sister is getting married (55 yrs old) and has invited my husband and I. She has also invited my adult sons and their girlfriends. My sons are 23 and 28, they received their own invitations. Should my sons and their girlfriends bring their own gifts?..

    • Cheryl October 18, 2018 at 3:19 pm #

      Hi Rose,

      Since your sons are adults, it is most appropriate for each of them to give their own gift, or as in the example above, they could pool their funds and buy one gift from the two of them. However, it’s also fine if you want to do a family gift – just make sure that they contribute. I have adult children so I know how that goes… always hoping Mom & Dad with pay. 🙂

      All the best to you and your sister!

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