While we rightfully tend to associate most of the stress of a wedding with the happy couple, buying a wedding present can be a stress generator for wedding guests too. Even with a gift list guests can end up wringing their hands about what to do.
We’ve put together a list of tips on what guests can do to make sure they can be confident, happy with their gift, and know they’re giving someone they care about the right gift.
Recognise the value of the wedding gift list
The wedding gift list is assembled for the benefit of the guests, but it can be really tempting for them to think they know their loved ones better and give them a surprise. You can’t go wrong sticking to the list.
It’s okay to pool your resources
Not all guests are going to be in the same income bracket, so it’s totally fine if you and some other guests want to chip in together for one the bigger-ticket items on their wedding gift list.
Don’t feel obligated to meet a price point
Some people like to say you should be covering the cost of the meal you were served, or you have to spend a minimum of £75-£100, but don’t pay too much attention to this. You don’t know what your meal cost, and you accepted an invite to a wedding not a charity dinner.
You absolutely can spend too much
It’s possible for massive donations to swamp charities, and it’s possible for you to create a situation whereby the couple is encumbered with the responsibility of a gift. Dealing with a massive gift like a car or piece of elaborate furniture, can be a burden. Especially right before they jet off for a honeymoon.
Stray from the list if you have to but don’t substitute
Buying outside the gift list can be acceptable, especially if the assembled list prices you out of the items they’re interested in. However, don’t try to be clever and substitute items; it’s better to buy something off the list than to try and outsmart the wedding list and saddle the couple with a gift they don’t really want.
We’ve heard a few stories about guests at weddings getting an irate email or text message a few weeks after the ceremony complaining about the lack of perceived gift value. It’s a wedding not a financial transaction, try to ignore these complaints if you can.
Don’t worry too much
It’s natural to stress a bit about what you’re going to bring to someone else’s special day, but remember: they invited you, not the gift. Their priorities are going to be having a great wedding, the gift is just a part of that.
Bridesmaids still buy gifts
Being part of the wedding party, whether it’s the best man, a bridesmaid or the maid of honour, doesn’t mean the happy couple won’t expect you to chip in with a gift. Sorry.
What to give if you’re not going
You don’t have to buy a gift if you’re not going to the wedding, but it might still be nice to send a token of your goodwill to the newlyweds. The same goes if you’re invited to the wedding reception but not the ceremony, you’re not obligated but it always goes down well to make a gesture.
Whether you’re trying to stop your guests stressing about their gifts, or anxious about picking up a gift for your family, take a breather and remember our advice.