Wedding Etiquette Forum

How to politely ask for no gifts?

A little background info - this is my second wedding, my FI's first. He's turning 40 next week and owns a house. Between the two of us, we have more than enough stuff. We're paying for the wedding and honeymoon ourselves.I'm not having a shower and I'm not registering. We don't want any gifts at all, including cash. We live in NY, where it's pretty common that people show up to weddings with an envelope with a check or cash. It's tacky to have "No gifts, please" printed on our wedding invites, right? Are we better off trying to spread the word by mouth? Either way, I just feel uncomfortable broaching the subject, you know? Help!

Re: How to politely ask for no gifts?

  • Don't register. If anyone asks you what you'd like, say you don't want anything. I don't think there's anyway around having guests show up with a check though. Spread the word by mouth.

    It's poor form to write "no gifts, please" on your invites. 
    Anniversary
  • You are correct that putting anything about gifts on the invite is tacky and rude.  The best approach is by word of mouth.  Be warned some poeple will give regardless!
    CLoGreenEyesBlue_Bird
  • We spread it word of mouth that we did not want any gifts.  We also made it known that anything we did receive would be donated to the Hope Lodge.  It worked out very well.
    CLoGreenEyes
  • I wouldn't tell people unprompted that you don't want gifts. If someone asks what you'd like (people likely will, since you're not registered), tell him or her that you'd prefer not to receive gifts. And you will receive some anyway - personalized, vases, gift cards, money. There's really no polite way to stop it. Just accept them and be gracious. You don't have to keep them. Secretly donate the money if you really don't want it.

  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We spread it word of mouth that we did not want any gifts.  We also made it known that anything we did receive would be donated to the Hope Lodge.  It worked out very well.
    I like the idea of donating any gifts received. Thanks!

    antibride2013
  • Yeah I would just plan to donate.  Frankly, I can't imagine showing up to a wedding without a gift, despite the number of marriages or the age of the couple.  It's just not done in my circle.

    I think spreading the word might reduce the influx a bit, but be prepared for at least some guests to ignore you.
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  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I know what you mean. I'm the kind of person that will always bring something to someone's house when I'm invited over. I just can't go empty-handed. 

  • scribe95 said:
    Hhhmm. I'm trying to imagine how I would feel as a guest if I knew my gift was donated. It's rubbing me the wrong way for some reaons.
    If you spread the word ahead of time that you don't want gifts and any gifts will be donating, this shouldn't be an issue.
  • scribe95 said:
    Hhhmm. I'm trying to imagine how I would feel as a guest if I knew my gift was donated. It's rubbing me the wrong way for some reaons.


    I was thinking this, too. It's kind of presumptuous/uppity to say that you're donating any and all gifts upfront.

    Accept the gifts graciously, and quietly donate the cash to charity and any physical items to a local shelter (or whatever). You might be surprised that you may actually want to USE some of the cash or gifts...

  • Donating your gifts is really rude. I would be so put off if I was your guest. People like the celebrate and be generous. Say thank you and move on. 

  • We did not do it to be rude, we stated that we sincerely did not want any gifts.  By mentioning that we would donate, everyone respected our wishes and did not give any gifts.  We did however get the most BEAUTIFUL cards and well wishes.  Also helped that we only had 50 guests, almost all family and very very close friends. 
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Eh, I liked the suggestion of donating. 

    My family all gave me gifts for my first wedding in 2004. I would feel really weird accepting any gifts from them, big or small. My FI also feels uncomfortable accepting gifts from anyone. We've already been asked about engagement gifts and we had to tell our parents that we didn't want anything. I definitely don't want to offend anyone though. 

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    IMHO - If I gave you money as a present I would not be offended if you donated it, it is your money to do what you want with it. I gave the gift freely and would accept how you choose to use it. If I gave you a physical gift I would be no more offended if you donated it than if you returned it - once I give it to you it is yours to choose what to do with it. It is a gift, not an obligation to use it as I assumed you would. I have been to wedding that when asked they said don't need anything and if we wanted we could donate to X charity. I was touched by their selflessness and gave accordingly.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    You can't convey this on invitations or bring it up.

    What you can do is not register, decline all offers of showers, donate any gifts you do receive (don't let the givers know), and mention to anyone who asks, "Thanks so much for the thought, but we have everything we need."
  • KeptInStitchesKeptInStitches the Northern Plains member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    IMHO, photokitty, there's a difference between the couple donating any gifts and the couple asking people to make donations in lieu of gifts. Many charities can be controversial, even those you wouldn't think are, and it can set people's teeth on edge to be asked to donate to a charity whose mission they don't agree with.
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I don't think you should mention anything about gifts vs. no gifts whether on the invites or while talking to your guests.  If one of them asks, you can say "Oh, thank you but we really don't need anything".  If someone shows up with a present or gives you a card/envelope with money in it, just accept it and say thank you otherwise you are being rude to them.
    As for donating, if you wanted to do that, I would only say anything about that if someone asks.  Something like "Since FI Name and I don't need anything we have decided to 'register' at the ASPCA because it is an organization we really care about" or something like that.  Again, it is the guests' choice whether or not they want to do that or if they want to get you anything or not.
    image
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Thanks for the input, everyone!

  • A little background info - this is my second wedding, my FI's first. He's turning 40 next week and owns a house. Between the two of us, we have more than enough stuff. We're paying for the wedding and honeymoon ourselves.I'm not having a shower and I'm not registering. We don't want any gifts at all, including cash. We live in NY, where it's pretty common that people show up to weddings with an envelope with a check or cash. It's tacky to have "No gifts, please" printed on our wedding invites, right? Are we better off trying to spread the word by mouth? Either way, I just feel uncomfortable broaching the subject, you know? Help!
    It is rude to put it on the invitations.  Honestly, I think the best thing to do is just accept any gifts given graciously and make sure you are hosting your guests properly at the wedding.

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    misssunshine17
  • We spread it word of mouth that we did not want any gifts.  We also made it known that anything we did receive would be donated to the Hope Lodge.  It worked out very well.
    I like the idea of donating any gifts received. Thanks!
    I actually don't like this idea.  I mean, yes, once it's yours, it's yours to do with as you please, but it obviously isn't the intent of the giver.  If I knew a couple gave away what I gave them, I would be upset.  Just my $.02.

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    misssunshine17
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