Engagement Gift Etiquette

Tips On Engagement Gift Etiquette

Engagement gift etiquette is just one of the many tricky details when it comes to all things weddings. What type of gift is appropriate? Should the couple register? What if they call off the wedding? These are among the most common engagement gift etiquette questions, and they are answered below.

What to Give

There is no right or wrong gift when it comes to giving an engagement gift. Of course, some things are more practical, but a gift is just that – a gift. When given from the heart it should be appreciated by the couple who receives it.

For a couple who is setting up house for the first time, household items make the most sense. Of course, that is not the norm anymore. Most couples have already lived on their own before getting engaged, and a good number already live together.

Others choose to give a gift that will become a lasting token of the engagement. Some examples include a piece of pottery or artwork.

Monetary gifts are always appreciated. No matter the age of the couple, getting married is usually an expensive adventure!

To Register or Not

One hot point about engagement gift etiquette is whether or not the couple should register for gifts. Some people think it is horrifically rude to ask for a certain gift in any way shape or form. This includes registering. Others think that registering is merely a practical way for the couple to get gifts that they can actually use.

Whichever side of the fence you fall on, one thing is certain: information about where the couple is registered should not be included in invitations to the wedding or any bridal showers or engagement parties.

If a guest wishes to know where the couple has registered, they can ask the couple or a family member.

Also, any mention of gifts in any invitations is rude. Some people actually write “cash gifts are preferred”. You should never tell anyone what to give you for a gift!

What if the Wedding is Canceled

This is an easy one. If the wedding is canceled, all gifts, including money, should be immediately returned.

Thank You Notes

Thank you notes should be sent as soon as possible after the receipt of any gift. The note should not be generic, but should instead mention the exact gift that was given.

While many engagement gift etiquette books say that you have up to one year to send thank you notes, they should be sent sooner rather than later.

Email thank you notes are not acceptable. Instead, the notes should be hand written and should address each gift giver by name.

Who Should Give an Engagement Gift?

Many people want to know if they are even obligated to give an engagement gift in addition to the wedding and shower gift. The short answer is no. You are not obligated to give any gifts.  In fact, most couples today do not even expect engagement gifts.  Still, if you are very close to the bride or groom, you may want to give an engagement gift, even if it is just a small token of you congratulations.