Etiquette: Can I Only Give The Groom or Bride A Gift? You Asked

Q. My question is what if I know the groom very well as a long time friend but really know nothing about his new bride? Can I buy something I know he will like and has wanted for some time? Can I let all the other guests take care of the bride?

A. This is a question many are grappling with right about now. The short and direct answer is no. Standard and, I think very wise, etiquette on wedding gifts dictates that your gift should be something that both the bride and groom will get good use out of. This is why many wedding presents are very much like the gifts typically seen for hostesses and housewarmings. When you think about it, the bride and groom may be setting up a new home and transitioning into another phase of life filled with dinners together and parties for recently acquired friends and relatives (i.e. entertaining!).

Classic western wedding gifts have often times included place settings, picture frames, kitchen appliances, candles, stationery and so on. Using this traditional backbone (remember tradition usually has a pretty good track record of usability and satisfaction) try to seek out examples that are a tad unique and modern. Personalize your gift with the new couples monograms or seek out regional designers so that what you give will end up being a wise investment and appreciating in value.

Leave any individual, personal gifts for another time such as a bachelor party or your friends birthday. Giving joint gifts will not only be less expensive in the long run but they will also prevent any potential hurt feelings or suspicions that someone has designs on their new mate.


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