Depending on your age or the economic realities of your social circle, it may come to pass that you find yourself invited to a wedding where the couple is older, well-established, and successful. In other words, they have everything they want and can easily buy anything they want but don’t yet have. You may receive a wedding invitation with a note like “May your presence at our wedding be your only gift to us” or hear through the grapevine that the bride and groom have stated that they really, truly, for real this time do not want any gifts.
Now we all know by now that traditional etiquette frowns upon any mention of gifts in an invitation, because it’s simply not nice to tell people how they should spend or not spend their money and the guests of honor should be focusing on the presence of guests rather than the presence of presents. So let’s just say that our hypothetical bride and groom have let family members or the bridal party spread the word that they’d rather not get wedding gifts.
What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?!
You could abide by the bride and groom’s wishes, though we all know that’s not going to happen. Because, yeah, showing up for a wedding empty handed or knowing that you’ve bought nothing ahead of time (other than a snazzy new dress) to mark the occasion can feel a little weird. Guilt-inducing, even. My suggestion will always be skip the tea towels or the candle stand. In fact, skip anything that’s not either consumable or small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. Why? Because a lot of brides and grooms who specifically ask that their wedding guests not give them wedding gifts do so because they’d rather not deal with more stuff in their lives.
So think small or edible or drinkable if you simply must buy our hypothetical couple a gift… try a nice bottle of champagne or wine of some meaningful vintage or chocolates — but do be sure the recipients will enjoy consuming your gift — or an ornament marking the year they are marrying or gift certificates to local restaurants or hotspots so their honeymoon can last that much longer. It’s win-win this way. You can satisfy your overwhelming urge to give and the bride and groom won’t have to sift through that much more stuff.
(On the flip side, if you ARE the bride or the groom and don’t want wedding presents, spread the word in a mannerly way by asking your mom, dad, sister, brother, best friend, maid of honor, and bridesmaids to let everyone know that you’d prefer other guests not give gifts. And when the inevitable gifts do roll in, be a sweetie-pie and accept them graciously and with gratitude.)