Wedding season is in full swing, and for many twenty and thirty somethings whose friends are getting hitched this summer that means they’re having to shell out some bucks for wedding gifts. If they’re included in the wedding party, that means even more expense. Tradition insists that a nice gift must be given to friends and family members who are getting married, but some of the rules have changed. To help with some timely tips on gift giving, is Zola.com, the online gift registry where engaged couples can combine all their registry items in one simple, online site. Couples can register for gifts of all kinds including travel packages and honeymoon funds, and share the site with friends and relatives across the globe. Most couples register at both large online registry sites and at least one local, specialty store for more personal or regional items.
First, if you can afford it, stick to the gift registry. Couples spend a lot of time choosing their registry for a reason. With many couples marrying later, they are often combining households, even if they’ve only been in small apartments. There are a lot of household items the couple may not want or need, and home decor should always be left to the bride and groom to decide. Many couples choose to skip traditional items such as fine china, or home appliances in favor of gifts that work with their lifestyle. Couples register for sporting equipment, outdoor living and entertaining items, home improvement tools and more. Choose something from their registry and add a small, inexpensive gift to compliment and personalize your gift. Go ahead and select the wine rack they wanted, but throw in a couple of bottles of wine that you enjoy with a handwritten note. If you absolutely can not afford to give a gift and you consider the bride or groom a very important friend, do something small and personal. Your true friends didn’t invite you to their wedding to get a gift. Your friends just want to celebrate with you. but at least bring a card and include a hand written invitation to get together after their honeymoon. Offer the bride your time and talents during her wedding planning. Take her for a drink and let her vent her frustrations with selecting table linens. Invite the couple for a home cooked meal a couple of weeks before their ceremony where they can relax, or drop off a casserole or baked item the week they return from their honeymoon.
If you are strapped for cash, check with some of your friends to see if they want to combine funds for a group gift. To avoid hurt feelings, make sure everyone in the group can afford to pay the same amount. The bride does not necessarily need another mixing bowl, but she’ll never forget the group of friends who combined their funds to buy her that fantastic Kitchen Aid mixer. Don’t worry about covering the cost of your plate at her reception. Base your gift on the level of your relationship with the bride or groom. Your best friend from college who you have drinks with once a week – at least a $100 gift. Your co-worker who you don’t really hang out with but have group lunch once a month or so – $50. Remember, your gift is a reflection of the affection you have for the couple, not a measuring stick of how generous you are.
Traditionally, you had at least a year to gift the newlyweds after their wedding. The new rule is that a gift should arrive before or immediately after the nuptials. If you aren’t attending a shower, have the gift delivered. Nobody wants to have to worry about transporting toasters and hand towels home after the wedding. If purchasing a gift isn’t an option before the ceremony, have a gift delivered 1-2 weeks after the wedding. A nice gift arriving post-honeymoon will be a special treat for the newly married couple.
Is it OK to give cash? Your grandmother would shudder at the idea of giving cash to a new couple. It used to be acceptable for the parents or grandparents of the bride or groom to give a cash gift to help a young couple start their married lives. Modern couples, especially those who have established households or who already live together, actually register for cash to help with wedding and honeymoon expenses or to address home improvement projects when they return. Unless they have actually registered for a special cash fund or you are gifting a close friend or relative, we suggest that you give cash gifts in the form of a gift card to a favorite store, restaurant, or service provider.