A wedding guest has no obligation to send the couple a gift, nor should the couple feel that every present donor should be ‘rewarded’ with an invitation to the wedding. In practice most guests do send presents and the donors do get invited to the wedding party.
It is in order to send wedding presents as soon as news of the impending wedding is received, either via a newspaper announcement or a personal letter — indeed it is better form to dispatch a gift at this stage than to wait until the invitation is received.
To avoid duplication of gifts most couples prepare a gift list. It is important that this list includes items at all price levels so that guests do not feel morally obliged into spending more than they can afford. A good way to make a wedding list price sensitive is for the couple to decide on a particular pattern of china or cutlery, providing a wide range of alternative ideas which are still within the basic décor scheme they plan, or have in their home.
Traditionally, bed linen for the bridal couple’s new home is given as part of the trousseau by her parents.
Gifts for the home are still the favourite form of wedding present and all presents should be something that both bride and groom can use and enjoy in their future life together, rather than personalised gifts such as jewellery to either party.
Whenever possible gifts should be posted or otherwise delivered well before the date of the wedding itself. If gifts are taken to the church or reception then they should not be opened by the bridal couple at the time, as during the excitement it is common for gift tags indicating the donor to be lost or fragile objects to be broken.
As the gifts come in, the bride should make a list of them and ideally acknowledge each present on arrival. Needless to say the couple without sounding too gushing should suggest that each gift was just what they wanted even if it was the most hideous vase they had ever seen or the eighth toaster to date.
At the wedding reception all the presents should be laid out for the guests inspection. Where a present is too large to be easily displayed then a card describing it should be placed on the table instead. e.g. ‘A dining room suite from Mr & Mrs Smith’. Where the gift is money the amount is not quoted, ‘Cheque from Uncle Jones’ is sufficient.