Wedding Etiquette Forum

S/O: Bringing gifts to the wedding

I've seen on here that people mention you should know better than to bring gifts to the actual wedding.  While I understand the point, that is NOT customary in general with most of the people I know. 

FI's family gives almost exclusively cash, and they take that to the wedding.  My family generally gives gifts, and if the wedding is local, they take them to the wedding.  If it requires them to travel, they ship gifts.  Whether the wedding is local for the B&G is not part of that equation.

And, I find that this holds true for many of my friends as well (when to take things to the wedding).  In fact, some people think it looks really sad for there to NOT be an overflowing gift table at the wedding. 

Thoughts?  What do you do?  What have you seen?  Do you think it's regional?
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Re: S/O: Bringing gifts to the wedding

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
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    both our families are cash/check gift givers.  My card box was overflowing.  I only had 1 gift on the gift table.  I only received 8 or so more in the mail.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I think it's regional. We had several wedding gifts brought to the wedding, and I wasn't bothered. We anticipated it and DH's parents brought a large vehicle to the wedding to accomodate it all.
  • bbyckesbbyckes member
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    edited February 2010

    In my family we take gifts to the reception.  I wasn't aware that you should not take gifts to the wedding until I moved to the south.  I like to see gifts on the table. 

  • All of the weddings I've been to have been local, so most people bring the gift to the wedding itself if they don't do cash or check.  The couple usually doesn't live more than a half an hour from the reception, so they all just get loaded into mom or dad's truck at the end of the night.
  • My mother's family ships (always out-of-town for the guests). My father's family brings (everyone has always lived in the same part of Iowa, pretty much since it became a state, except my dad). I've only been to a "if you must give a gift, donations to the school where we were teaching in Thailand" wedding on FI's side. His mother bought them a salad bowl and brought it to the wedding.

    I've been thinking about this, wondering if I even need a gift table or a card box. Most of the Toronto stores just keep your gifts for pick-up by B&G. (They also call or send you a letter telling you what someone has bought for you, which bothers me a lot.)
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  • Of all the weddings I've been to, I've only taken a gift with me to one of them.
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  • I've had/seen/done both. First wedding, I had gifts at the reception. I've taken gifts to a reception, and when J and I got married we got cash/checks/gift cards at the small reception we had.
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  • We actually got more gifts than checks at the actual wedding, although we are getting cards in the mail every couple days, so maybe it is evening out. 
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  • If it is local for me I will bring a gift, if I travel I bring cash or gift card. Most wedding I've been to have had a nice sized gift table.

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  • I realize in my above post I sound like I'm assuming everyone will naturally give us registry gifts, which is certainly not required... but I think most people will mail them if they aren't on the registry. I don't know if we really have card-givers in the family; maybe I should ask my cousins and FMIL.
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  • In my area, you bring gifts to the reception and put them on a gift table.  I had never even heard that was poor etiquette, or at least not generally accepted, until coming to the Knot.
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  • Our families tend to give boxed gifts. Most were good about having them shipped to us, but there were a few brought to the wedding. A few older family members had trouble accessing the online registries, so they gave checks or gift cards with cards saying, "I hope you use this for that flatware you wanted" or something to that effect.
  • I'd never seen a boxed gift at a wedding until I went to a wedding in MO with FI.

    In Chicago, it's all birdcages/card boxes full of cards/checks.  With FI's family, it's all boxed gifts, brought to the wedding and not shipped.  I am hoping that since most of them have to travel and are intelligent, they will at least ship them to us, but who knows.
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  • We've only taken cash/checks to weddings. For OOT weddings we send gifts through the registry. For our wedding, half of our guests were OOT and most sent theirs ahead of time. Our card box was pretty full though. I actually caught one of my friends (he's my procrastination buddy) writing out our wedding card at an empty table in the cocktail area. That was funny. :)



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  • In both MA and CT I rarely see gifts being brought to weddings. We generally see gift tables, and I guess they are "sad" looking in retrospect, but no one thinks much about it. I know for my own wedding, those who chose to give gifts mailed them before the wedding or dropped them by my parent's house when we were honeymooning.
  • In my family, we give a check and always bring it to the wedding. That's also mostly what I experienced with weddings in NYC. For work friends in the city, though, I'd give an actual gift (that came to less than the cash I would hav given) and sent it ahead of time. I don't think I ever saw a gift or gift table at a wedding in NY or Philly.

    In Dh's crowd, it's different. The first time we went to a wedding around here, I asked him and a few other people, and everyone assured me the gift table was alive and well and gifts were expected to be brought to the wedding. So that's what we did. There always seems to be a gift table around here with lots of gifts on it. I think they would find it weird to send a gift ahead of time.

    Like everything else, gotta know your own crowd and their norms.
  • For me personally, it depends a lot on the couple.  If I know there's something they really want, I'll go out of my way to get it.  The occasion that this was a grill NOT on their registry, we drove it 5 hours to the wedding.  They had their SUV with them for bringing gifts back.  If they are a little older and have their household together for the most part, I'll give cash.  For friends who are really hoping to get dishes and such on their registry, I give a card at the wedding and try to finish out some portion of the registry.  It makes for weird gift combos (1 plate, 7 cups, and a serving dish), but I feel like it's useful.  And that I always just have shipped.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_bringing-gifts-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:375509c1-f326-4938-a2d5-5d4686af7586Post:2e1a4af1-44ce-44ec-bdad-5df917cf4712">Re: S/O: Bringing gifts to the wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]In my area, you bring gifts to the reception and put them on a gift table.  I had never even heard that was poor etiquette, or at least not generally accepted, until coming to the Knot.
    Posted by danieliza1127[/QUOTE]

    Me too. Every wedding I've been to has had a gift table at the reception.

    In regards to gifts vs money, we got more gifts than money.

    I will say that I personally usually send the gift in the mail to make things easier on the couple.
  • Also, at our wedding, I would say 90% of our gifts were at the reception.  The only ones we received at our house were from people who declined the invitation but send gifts anyway, and that was only a couple cards with cash and maybe one boxed gift.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_bringing-gifts-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:375509c1-f326-4938-a2d5-5d4686af7586Post:8bb1c6bd-ea16-4c27-a346-1e316d3cb73a">Re: S/O: Bringing gifts to the wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]For me personally, it depends a lot on the couple.  If I know there's something they really want, I'll go out of my way to get it.  The occasion that this was a grill NOT on their registry, we drove it 5 hours to the wedding.  They had their SUV with them for bringing gifts back.  If they are a little older and have their household together for the most part, I'll give cash.  For friends who are really hoping to get dishes and such on their registry, I give a card at the wedding and try to finish out some portion of the registry. <strong> It makes for weird gift combos (1 plate, 7 cups, and a serving dish), but I feel like it's useful.</strong>  And that I always just have shipped.
    Posted by squirrly[/QUOTE]

    I've done this several times. I once gave a gift that included a bath mat, spatulas, wash cloths, dish towels and I think S&P shakers. I just bought a little basket and packaged it sort of cute---the bride really appreciated it.

    I like to buy the little $2-10 items that everyone skips and then make a big package out of it all.
  • edited February 2010
    My family mainly gives cash, but if I were to give a boxed gift, I would ship it. You can usually have it mailed when you go buy it off the registry anyway. I've never seen a gift table with more than a few boxes on it.

    ETA: This is mainly in upstate NY for family weddings. I haven't been to weddings in LA and FI's circle is a little different. However, when we attend OOT weddings for FI's friends and family, he'll ship a gift. For my friends and family, we'll bring a check.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_bringing-gifts-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:375509c1-f326-4938-a2d5-5d4686af7586Post:b8dffbb3-fa92-4f5f-b102-09257eba94c7">Re: S/O: Bringing gifts to the wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: S/O: Bringing gifts to the wedding :I like to buy the little $2-10 items that everyone skips and then make a big package out of it all.
    Posted by JessAndTrav[/QUOTE]

    I like to do that too, especially for bridal and baby showers. 
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  • I was raised to never bring gifts to a wedding.

    We may bring a card with a check in it, but no boxed gifts.  If we're going to give anything that's in wrapping paper, that's not brought to the reception.

  • Banana, do you know the history on the "no boxed gifts" rule? 
  • If I and/or the B&G are not local, I ship to them as a courtesy. Most of the weddings I have been to, everyone is local, so its not an issue. They all bring them to the reception.
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  • I'm the first one out of my immediate and slightly extended family and the first of my local group of friends to get married so I have no idea what to expect, haha.

    As a result, I've only ever been to 2 weddings in my life and for one I was a youngin' so I wasn't in charge of a gift and for the second I was the MOH and I brought my gift to the wedding with me.  It was a small boxed gift.  I didn't know about the etiquette of wedding gift bringing.
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  • If I am driving to the wedding, I'll usually bring a gift. Otherwise I'll have it shipped to them.
    My family pretty much always gave boxed gifts, although I know plenty of people in my area who just give cash as well. I don't mind either - I have a small SUV so I am bringing that to the reception just in case we get some large boxes.
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  • One of FI's soldiers got married on post last fall, and the gift table was overrun.  Card box was empty.  FI was horrified.
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  • Oh, FI says his family likes to give boxed gifts, but all his family is OOT (so is mine) so I'm hoping they will send them. Fingers crossed. At least the wedding is local for us.
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  • At our wedding, we got mostly cash/cards, but some guests did bring gifts. I don't think it's such a big deal, seeing as it was a local wedding and we just had to load the gifts into my parents' van. If it was a DW, then I would think that guests should know better than to bring big gifts.

    I personally give gifts at showers and would give cash at the actual wedding.
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