Etiquette Question: How Long Do You Have to Send a Wedding Gift?

Some of the most often asked etiquette questions are centered on the wedding gift; and one of those questions is how long do I have to send a gift?


Giving gifts to the wedding couple is a longstanding tradition, which serves as a tangible representation of your love and support. If you’re invited to a wedding, you should send a gift, whether or not you are able to attend.

With that established, “When should I send a gift?” is the next question. It’s traditional and the best practice to send the wedding gift before the wedding. The gift is typically sent to the bride’s home, whether she lives with her parents, on her own, or with her fiancé. If you purchase from the couple’s wedding gift registry, the gift will be sent to the address the couple provides, so you don’t have to worry about where to send it.

In some areas it may still be the tradition to take a wedding gift to the wedding reception, but we strongly discourage this practice. It creates extra work for the family, attached cards are lost, and it’s sad to say, but there are increasing reports of gifts being stolen from wedding receptions.

If you aren’t able to send the gift before the wedding or you just didn’t get around to it, how long after the wedding do you have to send the gift?

It would be best to send the gift within a month after the wedding. There is a popular myth that you have up to one year to send the couple a gift. But think about it; if you got married and didn’t receive a gift after a few months, you would assume it wasn’t coming.

Peggy Post, Director of the Emily Post Institute says, “One year is actually really long. Try sending the gift as close to the wedding as possible. It’s good manners.”

Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances. For example, if you spend more money than anticipated on attending the wedding and find yourself in a situation where you need some time to save up for a wedding gift, it’s understandable. “Better late than never” perfectly applies to this situation. The answer is always — send your gift as soon as you can.

Do you have questions or comments about gift-giving or wedding etiquette? Please email us at We will personally respond to your questions and may also use them as the subject of a future blog.

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