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Wedding Gift Etiquette

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Today I received a great question from one of my August brides asking whether it's okay to open wedding presents that arrive before their wedding.


That is a great question!


"Traditional Wedding Etiquette" has couples wait until after their wedding to open gifts and sometimes in front of family at a post-wedding brunch. My thoughts and modern wedding etiquette states that couples should open their wedding gifts as they arrive and to send thank you notes right away. The reasoning for this is two-fold. First, it lets your guests know that you received their gift and you are "thanking" them for their generosity. Secondly, it gives you a jump start on your thank you notes.


However, I do agree with traditional wedding gift etiquette that states you do not use the gift until you after you are married as the gift is intended for your life as a married couple.


All thank you notes should be written within three months of when you receive the gift. (Ideally, a response should be written on the day you receive the wedding gift)


Emily Post's Do and Dont's of Thank You Notes


  • Do personalize your notes and make reference to the person as well as the gift.


  • Do remember that a gift should be acknowledged with the same courtesy and generous spirit in which it was given.


  • Do be enthusiastic, but don’t gush. Avoid saying a gift is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen unless you really mean it.

  • Don’t send form letters or cards with printed messages and just your signature; don’t use email or post a generic thank you on your wedding web site in lieu of a personal note.


  • Do promptly acknowledge the receipt of shipped gifts by sending a note right away or calling and following up with a written note in a day or two.


  • Don’t mention that you plan to return a gift or that you are dissatisfied in any way.


  • Don’t tailor your note to the perceived value of the gift; no one should receive a perfunctory note.


  • Do refer to the way you will use a gift of money. Mentioning the amount is optional.


  • Don’t include wedding photos or use photo cards if it will delay sending the note.

  • Don’t use being late as an excuse not to write. Even if you are still sending notes after your first anniversary, keep writing!

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