by: Christie A Brogan {10.3.17}

What are the “Dos and Donts” for buying wedding gifts? Ay-yi-yi…is there really a right answer to this question? Wedding gift giving comes with so many rules – some spoken, some not. Suffice it to say, times have changed and long-held norms like buying a gift equivalent to the “cost of your plate” at the wedding reception, thankfully, no longer apply. (I can tell you from real wedding experience…the general public has no idea how much a wedding costs or any idea how to determine just how much the bride and groom is spending per person.)

The rules have changed in part because the modern couple has changed…maybe they’re a little bit older, probably paying for some – if not all – of the wedding themselves, maybe combining two existing households or already living together, maybe diehard fans of “tiny house living”, or maybe the resident travel + leisure influencer of your college crew. Plainly said, the desires and needs of modern newlyweds is different than it once was.  And, along with everything else, the modern registry has changed too.

More so than ever, the wedding registry can be your best bet when it comes to wedding gift selections.  Gone are the days of fancy china that never gets used. Instead you find a home renovation fund, wine country experience, or cash in high demand. (Engaged myself, I can tell you my Future Mr. and I are far more interested in renovations for our recent home purchase or a killer honeymoon over china and dishtowels.) Today’s modern wedding registry is in part thanks to companies like Zola who provide a central location for the registry and an easy way for couple’s to request those non-traditional items. Until recently, there really wasn’t a nice way to ask for cash for the home reno fund or a special life experience as a wedding gift. (And, can you think of a better present for the newlyweds than an adventure to kick off the next chapter of their lives together?) So what to buy? And, how much to spend? Below are some helpful tips to answer those pressing questions and get you started on buying the right present for your favorite couple.

Here are a few more additional thoughts…

  1. You do have a year to purchase a wedding gift, but – let’s be honest – if you don’t do it in advance (or at the least the day of the wedding), you probably won’t do it at all.
  2. Yes, you can bring the gift to the wedding…no one will scowl at you if “come bearing gifts”, but transporting gifts home from the reception does come with it’s own headaches for the couple…especially if it’s a destination wedding.
  3. If you don’t buy from the registry, do buy something that can be returned or exchanged easily. Seriously.
  4. Don’t let your funds (or lack thereof) stop you from attending the wedding. At the end of the day, your presence at this milestone celebration is far more important than any material object.
  5. And, if you’re the one getting married…do your part…you need a wedding registry. The reality is that some guests will buy you a gift no matter how emphatically you state you don’t want one…it should at least be something you want or need.

And, just like that, the wedding gift giving dilemma evaporates. Happy shopping!



Christie Brogan {Co-Founder & Partner – 128 South and Bakery 105 in Wilmington, NC. Founder of SocietyWed – IG Collective. Entrepreneur, Small Business Mentor, Event Planner, Wedding Geek, Writer, Business Innovator, Idea Maker, Boot Camp Betty, Yoga Nut, Animal Lover, Avid Reader}