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Wedding etiquette: gift or no gift?

77 replies

Wherethewildthymeblows · 03/06/2023 18:00

I am particularly interested to hear from people in their 20s. If you were invited to a wedding of a school friend, would you expect to attend with a gift, even if the bride and groom have (supposedly) said they dont want a gift? In my day, it would be inconceivable that a guest, assuming they are financially able, would attend empty handed but maybe I am out of date.

This isnt for me btw. I would still buy a gift, or perhaps money in a card though I like that concept less, if I were invited to a wedding despite what the bride and groom say because I come from that era. The guest in this case is my son and the b&g are school friends of his. Mid 20s. I really dont want my son to be that guest who turns up empty handed when everyone else comes with something, but maybe this is normal nowadays?

What does anyone think?

OP posts:
Greenbeanmcgee · 03/06/2023 18:00

If they say that they don't want a gift they're usually hoping for money ime.

Haveallthesongsbeenwritten · 03/06/2023 18:01

it invited to a wedding then yes, a card and a little something. I’d never turn up without a present. I am early 30s and have been to wedding in 20s and always got something.

Haveallthesongsbeenwritten · 03/06/2023 18:01


HappyPie82 · 03/06/2023 18:02

I’m just into my 30s and stick cash in a card for all weddings. My friends have all lived with their partners for years and don’t need more clutter for the house. Cash can go towards honeymoon or house deposits!

Wherethewildthymeblows · 03/06/2023 18:02

Greenbeanmcgee · 03/06/2023 18:00

If they say that they don't want a gift they're usually hoping for money ime.

Yes, I can see that, though not sure my son would interpret it that way. So is it the done thing to put cash in a card?

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PlayingGrownUp · 03/06/2023 18:02

Yeah if they say they don’t want gifts then they mean physical gifts so no toasters, China sets etc but I’d still be bringing money in a card (if I know them well however much I like them and if I don’t what I guesstimate the meal to be worth)

TedMullins · 03/06/2023 18:02

If someone said they don’t want a gift I would obey that. I also generally wouldn’t get a gift or give money for a wedding unless they were really super close to me.

Knotted1 · 03/06/2023 18:03

Most people gift cash these days, for a single guest I would give about £40 for the evening or £80 for the day. If I couldn’t afford cash or had spent a lot on attending the wedding would give a gift, maybe some champagne or a nice photo frame. Definitely a card.

Mojitosaremyfavourite · 03/06/2023 18:04

I really wouldn’t go empty handed. I just wouldn’t. Even if they said they never wanted anything I’d feel mean.
We had three guests that never even gave us so much as a card on our wedding day . We never forget who they were because whilst we never asked for a thing - to us it just felt mean.

Horses for courses and all that. Other posters may disagree.

OttilieKnackered · 03/06/2023 18:04

I would just always give cash but nowhere near what a previous poster suggested. I would probably give £20 for an evening and £50 for a day. Most weddings I know of evening guests are all but free.

Star0Fire · 03/06/2023 18:04

I'd definitely take a card at bare minimum. Ideally add in cash or a gift card

TheSnowyOwl · 03/06/2023 18:05

No gift means they want money and yes, you would need to give them some money and a card.

Timeforchangeithink · 03/06/2023 18:05

No, if they say they don't want gifts then they don't want gifts. A card yes but gifts no.

acuppatea · 03/06/2023 18:06

If they had a gift registry I'd buy something from that.
If they said no gifts I'd give cash.
Although I did once attend a wedding of a very wealthy couple who had no gift registry and cash seemed like a weird gift given their circumstances so we got them an expensive bottle of champagne.

Wherethewildthymeblows · 03/06/2023 18:06

I totally agree I would never go empty handed. At my wedding, a gift tag went missing and I was left with a gift and 2 friends. I still dont know to this day which one have us the gift and which gave us nothing. I'm not saying minded either way, but it certainly stood out in my.mind because it was so unusual not to receive something from everyone.

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Wherethewildthymeblows · 03/06/2023 18:07

Sorry for typos.

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Thebigblueballoon · 03/06/2023 18:07

I’d also think that the request of ‘no gifts’ is meant to hint to give them a monetary gift in a card. If you don’t like the idea of giving cash, I think a voucher for one of their favourite restaurants is a nice alternative.

Chocolatepeanutbuttercupsandicecream · 03/06/2023 18:10

I would go money in a card. Or some kind of gift card.. the twenty-somethings I know seem to appreciate just eat ones, kinda like get a takeaway on me sort of thing.

FinallyMrsE · 03/06/2023 18:11

I got married in my 30’s and we had 4 children and had lived together for a few years, we said no gifts and it never occurred to me that people would think we wanted cash, we genuinely meant bring nothing. I would say 50% of guests gave money and the rest just sent a card.

TedMullins · 03/06/2023 18:12

Honestly we need to normalise going empty handed! I think it’s rude if someone says no gifts to decide you know better than them and bring one anyway. If I said no gifts I genuinely would mean NO GIFTS and wouldn’t expect money. I don’t want cards either as they’re a waste of paper.

reluctantbrit · 03/06/2023 18:16

If there is no gift list then it's cash in a card. Nobody wants tons of personalised photo frames or dust catching knick knacks when they explicit say no to gifts.

For an evening only a bottle of decent wine or champagne is also good.

bravotango · 03/06/2023 18:16

Cash in a card, or a John Lewis voucher - I'd say £40-50. An old school friend gave us a £25 John Lewis voucher in a beautiful card that had our wedding venue on it, and included some photos from our school days in the card which was fab and really thoughtful/memorable

Wherethewildthymeblows · 03/06/2023 18:18

The thing is, there wasnt a formal invitation card or letter with the words no gifts written on it. I think in that circumstance I might understand and comply. This was just my son verbally asking and being told not to give a gift. To me, that sounds like the b&g are polite individuals who dont want to appear grabby or make their less well off guests anxious. DS is well off, and an all day guest at a traditional church wedding. He was originally going to buy them an exceptionally generous gift which was his own idea.

I like the idea of restaurant vouchers or maybe something like John Lewis? Or even just the expensive champagne.

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DappledThings · 03/06/2023 18:37

If they said no gifts that means no gifts. I would give a card, not one with cash in. If they want cash they could have politely said gifts not necessary but if you really want to get us something a some vouchers or cash would be much appreciated.

If they said nothing I would respect them and give nothing. If they actually meant cash and are bring coy about it more fool them.

Isitisit · 03/06/2023 18:49

We said are in our 30s but said no gifts were needed - most people got us a token gift, a voucher or a small amount of cash but some didn’t. We were happy with just cards.

Basically, we felt weddings are expensive even just to attend if you aren’t local, there’s a cost of living crisis on. We didn’t want our wedding to be a source of stress for anyone and so we’re happy to remove that obligation.

Other friends have done similar, some people ask for contributions towards honeymoon but don’t really mind how much (ie token amount is fine). Gifts are less useful nowadays when couples have generally already lived together for years and already set up home anyway.

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