Etiquette

Is it ok to add, "no gifts, please" on a engagement party invitation?

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Re: Is it ok to add, "no gifts, please" on a engagement party invitation?

  • KDM323KDM323
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
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    What is the rationale behind the widely-accepted logic that it's rude to decline gifts in print but perfectly acceptable to do the same verbally?
    By writing on an invitation "no gifts" it is presuming/assuming that the person invited WOULD give a gift.

    Verbally, if the invited mentions giving a gift first, they can be politely informed that gifts aren't expected and the couple would love to just see them.

    You would never say first "no gift" but could respond if asked (ie. if asked where they are registered, etc)
    *** Fairy Tales Do Come True *** Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • What is the rationale behind the widely-accepted logic that it's rude to decline gifts in print but perfectly acceptable to do the same verbally?
    Seriously? About 10 people have previously stated the reason in this thread.
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    coopergirl15
  • edited July 2013
    Seriously.

    If it helps, read it thus: "What is the rationale behind the widely-accepted logic that while it's rude to decline gifts in print, it's perfectly acceptable to do the same verbally?"

    Forgive the ambiguity.
  • manateehuggermanateehugger
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    edited July 2013
    Seriously.

    If it helps, read it thus: "What is the rationale behind the widely-accepted logic that while it's rude to decline gifts in print, it's perfectly acceptable to do the same verbally?"

    I take full responsibility for the lack of clarity.

    Gocha.

    It's not really different in that case. It would be equally presumptious to verbally tell a guest "I'm excited you're coming to our party. Please don't bring a gift." However, if a guest calls to say "I'm excited to come to your party; what should I bring you?" then you are welcome to say "Oh, no gifts please!"

    The idea is you're allowed to guide guests after they inquire (e.g. form a registry), but not bring up the topic yourself. It's the same basic reason you don't send out registry info with invitations.

    When people say word-of-mouth on The Knot, they mean to let immediate family and a few very close friends (usually just the bridal party) know that the couple isn't looking for gifts (or wants just cash or where they are registered). That way when guests inquire, people can tell them that the couple would just like the pleasure of their company - those guests tell other guests, and so forth.

    Edited for clarity.

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  • It is always presumptious for any host or guest of honor to mention gifts, first. It's not an issue of verbal vs written.
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  • edited July 2013
    Thanks, drexelkathy, but as I hopefully clarified in my follow up, my question was NOT about the former part, but about the latter, and the idea that it was okay to do so verbally, (although not in writing).  I understand your specific rationale about *responding* to an inquiry about gifts rather than raising the issue oneself, but that's not what I've being reading about generally - I've been reading people saying that it's ok to *proactively* disseminate word that gifts are not desired, as long as it's done verbally and not in writing, and that's what I was asking about.  Thanks.
  • @leojbramble
    It is always presumptious for any host or guest of honor to mention gifts, first. It's not an issue of verbal vs written.
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  • @ Simple Fated, sorry my question continues to be unclear.  For *some*, verbal is ok,  I'm seeking explanations for *that* logic.  Thanks.
    AroundTheBlock
  • @ Simple Fated, sorry my question continues to be unclear.  For *some*, verbal is ok,  I'm seeking explanations for *that* logic.  Thanks.
    It boils down to presumptuousness. So printing "no gifts" on the invitation or offering the information to someone verbally "hey, in case you were shopping for Sally, don't. She doesn't want any gifts" is one in the same and is faux pas because it presumes that the invitee was going to bring a gift, but now you are telling them not to.

    On the flip side, it's fine for the hosts to answer a guest's inquiry. Guest says, "hey, I'd like to bring a gift. what do Sally and Joe want?" Host says (verbally), "that is very thoughtful of you, but they'd prefer no gifts. We are looking forward to seeing you!"
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  • edited July 2013
    @jss0302, your question was not directed at me, but I can relate to why one might ask an etiquette question only to ultimately decide not to confirm: for me, it's important to understand the rationale behind a rule of etiquette, to determine whether it's just archaic and followed blindly out of habit/tradition, or whether there are practical reasons that apply to the present day and/or my own sensibilities.

    AroundTheBlock
  • @leojbramble let us be clear: it would NEVER be okay to run around saying "No gifts" unless the subject came up first by the would-be giver.  When we say it's okay to spread the word of no-gifts by word of mouth I think everyone means "by word of mouth when asked."  

    It goes without saying that it would be in response to a question about where they are registered, etc.    I mean, who on earth runs around saying "Hi Aunt Jo.  Remember not to bring a gift to Cousin Jen's shower.  Have you seen Is This the End yet?"

    southernbelle0915
  • Again, I'm asking for the logic of those who advocate proactively spreading word about no gifts. Some do it verbally in the same way that some so it in writing.  Often, the same person thinks it's not acceptable to do it in writing, but to do the SAME THING verbally.  I'm just questioning what seems to be the inconsistency in logic.  I get that you think it's tacky for people to do so verbally just as you think it's tacky to do so in writing.  That's not my issue.  I'm questioning the logic of those (and they exist aplenty) who think it's fine to do verbally what is not okay to do in writing.  This is now the third time I've tried to explain this rather simple inquiry.
    AroundTheBlock
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
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    I have had a headache for 29 hours, so forgive me if I am not reading correctly, but I could swear people HAVE answered your question, but let me try. When someone sends an invitation and includes info about gifts, it is tacky and presumptuous that the receiver was even thinking of giving a gift. If the receiver approaches the sender to inquire about gifts, however, then THEY initiated the talk of gifts, so to RESPOND is not the same as INITIATING the topic of gifts.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    southernbelle0915NOLAbridealmostcoopergirl15
  • Again, I'm asking for the logic of those who advocate proactively spreading word about no gifts. Some do it verbally in the same way that some so it in writing.  Often, the same person thinks it's not acceptable to do it in writing, but to do the SAME THING verbally.  I'm just questioning what seems to be the inconsistency in logic.  I get that you think it's tacky for people to do so verbally just as you think it's tacky to do so in writing.  That's not my issue.  I'm questioning the logic of those (and they exist aplenty) who think it's fine to do verbally what is not okay to do in writing.  This is now the third time I've tried to explain this rather simple inquiry.

    @leojbramble Can you point me to the post that said it was ok to do the bolded?

    And apparently, whoever did say the bolded isn't coming back to answer your question.

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  • @ Simple Fated, sorry my question continues to be unclear.  For *some*, verbal is ok,  I'm seeking explanations for *that* logic.  Thanks.

    Please point out someone on these forums who has used that logic.
    There is no logic behind it. You should never walk up to someone and randomly tell them whether or not they should bring a gift.
    It's not a tradition to do so. It's not an archaic rule of etiquette. It's absolute common sense and beyond.
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  • Dreamergirl8812Dreamergirl8812 your closet
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
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    When my friend got engaged she called/texted a bunch of us and we all met at a bar and grill for mimosas and food to celebrate. It didn't even occur to me to bring a gift. I brought a TK magazine for ideas and she got a few cards, but it was not a hosted event and that was made evident by the informal invites.

    No invites, no host, no presents, no awkwardness.



    Anniversary
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  • Again, I'm asking for the logic of those who advocate proactively spreading word about no gifts. Some do it verbally in the same way that some so it in writing.  Often, the same person thinks it's not acceptable to do it in writing, but to do the SAME THING verbally.  I'm just questioning what seems to be the inconsistency in logic.  I get that you think it's tacky for people to do so verbally just as you think it's tacky to do so in writing.  That's not my issue.  I'm questioning the logic of those (and they exist aplenty) who think it's fine to do verbally what is not okay to do in writing.  This is now the third time I've tried to explain this rather simple inquiry.
    And again, we're telling you that that's not acceptable either.  No one should proactively spread the word via word of mouth.  It's only okay to do it if you're already asked about gifts first.  Think of it like this: You send an invitation to a guest. They send back an RSVP card with "where are you registered?" written on it.  You write a letter back saying "We aren't registered, please don't bring a gift!"  Perfectly acceptable because they guest solicited the response.  Whether its verbal or written has nothing to do with it.   I think we've made that quite clear.
  • edited July 2013
    Thanks!, excalygirl  Not sure that's what been meant in *all* of the references I've seen, but maybe that's what's meant much of the time, and it's not always made clear.  That at least makes sense.  Much appreciated.

    Why are people being so defensive and claiming that I'm mis-stating what "we" say or advocate? I'm not talking about some "official" theknot.com policy. 
  • edited July 2013
    @Simply Fated, this is one example:

    "Nope, even despite your circumstances, it is NOT appropriate to make any mention of gifts whatsoever in print, whether you want them or don't want them. Use word of mouth (your parents and siblings) to spread the reasons why you would not like gifts, but do/say nothing yourself about gifts."

    So the critical distinction I missed is that (in some people's minds anyway), it's okay to proactively tell your friends and family that you don't want gifts, and to ask them to spread the word, but it's inappropriate to directly tell anyone else.  Honestly, still leaves me a little puzzled about the logic, but I won't beat a dead horse.  It just is, I guess.
  • Ah, I get it.  Then strictly speaking, it's more a matter of *social delicacy* than politeness.  Indirect communication of an impolite request is often easier and less uncomfortable, but I would personally tend to disagree that it somehow makes it more polite; in fact, I'm inclined to feel that more often than not, it's quite a bit *less* polite than being direct.  But then again, politeness and *consideration* do not necessarily overlap  -  not that codes of etiquette aren't concerned with both to varying degrees.   But thank you for the clarification.  
  • Yah, it's like, you wouldn't put "No Kids" or "Adults Only" on an invite, but word would spread that babysitters are available and the party is for adults.
  • fungrl97 said:
    Can you change the name of the party? As in "engagement party" means bring a gift (among my family and friends) but a "family get together bbq" does not.
    So on the actual invite - we are calling it a family bbq not an engagement party - but it's also clear that the reason for the family bbq is celebrating our engagement (because that is what my parents want to do and they're actually the ones throwing the party).  I'm not sure if there is any real difference there, but I don't get a say in that.  My parents are fine with putting no gifts (she's with me on thinking gifts are not needed at engagement parties - but she also brings gifts to engagement parties because she thinks that it is expected.)  I was just hesitant because I know it technically is not good etiquette to think about gifts at all.  But I've decided that not having an awkward moment where half of the people bring gifts and half of the people don't is more important.  If one or two people bring something, that's cool, I won't make a big deal about it either way and will send out a thank you card; I just think it will be very noticeable in a bad way if all the people from one side of the family bring gifts and all the people from the other side of the family don't.
    I have went to an engagement party and the hostess had on there " Please Bring Only Your Happiness, The couple wants only your love and support " I understand what you are saying on the whole gifts thing. What happens now with engagement parties is not the same as years ago. I think a lot of people have got it in there mind that it is part of a wedding type party and that it is mandatory to bring a gift. I think that if you can find a cute, clear way to say it, then it will not be a sort of sore thumb type not sure how to say it right (i guess some can say its tacky idk). But It sounds like it is mainly family,(?) and well Family is Family, I am sure you saying that wont hurt them. Congrats! I wish you and your future husband Happiness, Wonderful Times, and all the Strengths you will ever need in your life.

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