. Wedding Gift Giving

Today, because celebrations are ever present in our lives, I would like to address gift giving, especially at weddings.  There are several issues we need to address:

Close Friends and Family

We will be emotionally attached to our closest family and friends and also probably feel generous towards their children.  These gifts, of course, will tend to be more expensive and more elaborate.  It is likely they can be hand delivered.

Good Friends and Family

We will want to give nice gifts to good friends and family that live close or far away.  We probably won’t spend as much time choosing these gifts nor will we spend as much money on these gifts, but we will still care about their quality and appearance.

Obligatory Gifts

Then there will be gifts for children of people we have known or have been good friends with sometime ago, maybe business associates, and others to whom we have less emotional ties.  It is appropriate for us to give but even less money and less emotional energy will most likely be spent.

When I work with families, I try to help people see that if they make choices about these three levels of wedding gift giving, there will be less on their mind as they decide what they will give in these different situations. This will simplify and organize their gift giving substantially.


Then there must be a decision about the financial impact of wedding gift giving, i.e., how much will be spent for gifts for close friends and family?  How much for good friends and family, and how much will be spent for obligatory gifts?


Finally, there are the dynamics when the wedding will be farther away than you can or will personally attend, i.e., there will some expense to mailing a package and/or card.

When I work with people, I have found there are usually certain gifts they did not receive on their own wedding day which they very much wished they had received.  This item might be an item that they could start giving.  For instance, my husband and I did not get a hose for our wedding and it’s been more or less a tradition for us to give hoses as wedding gifts to close friends and family.  Good friends and family might get a gift card from a home improvement store with a card encouraging them to buy a hose.  We give a smaller amounts in a gift card to those to whom we have obligations and/or need to send a gift through the mail.  By thus more or less have standardizing our gift giving, it’s become a tradition such that everyone anticipates a “hose” in some form or other from us.

I suggest you consider doing the same thing:  try organizing wedding gift giving with the idea that you will be doing this for the next 20 years or so.  It will simplify your life, it will help your budget, and it definitely makes life easier all the way around!

Find more helpful ideas in my House of Order Handbook.

Photo used from sxc.hu, permission by Hilde Vanstraelen.


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