When do I need to send a gift? What guidelines can I use? Our brides ask us lots of questions and these are some we hear frequently. There are lots of activities surrounding a wedding and questions for those events.
Engagement Parties: There is no gift required. Friends and families may give presents if they choose, but guests may find the announcement a surprise and come without a gift. Since not everyone will bring a gift, the ones that come should be opened after - not during the party.
Bachelorette Parties: No gift required. Female attendants and close friends usually chip in to cover the bride's expenses for the fun night out. If you have been invited to one, be sure to ask the hostess how much attendees might be expected to contribute.
Bridal Showers: Gift required if you attend. No gift is expected or required if you do not attend, although sometimes a gift is sent along with a friend who is attending. When in doubt, send the gift ahead of time to the hostess of the shower. She will then present it to the bride at the event. If the invitation does not indicate a shower theme, ask the hostess when you R.S.V.P. In all cases, spend less on a shower gift than you would on a wedding gift.
Weddings: Gift required for sure if you attend. If you do not attend, the question of whether to gift or not depends. This is the usual solution: if you are friends with the couple it is appropriate to give a modest gift when you decline the invitation. If you are attending or have decided to send a gift even though you've declined the invitation, plan to send it to the bride or groom ahead of the wedding so that they don't have to lug it home from the reception. Base your spending decisions on how well you know the couple and on local customs.
Second Weddings: No gift required - especially if you went to the first wedding of the bride or groom and gave a gift then. Close friends and family members may gift the couple. However, most couples in second weddings will make it known that they prefer no gifts. They may include that message on the informal party or reception invitations that are sent to guests following a small family-only ceremony.