Usually I write my blog from the perspective of the bride. Having been a destination wedding bride, I often refer to my own experiences, coupled with experiences I have shared with the other wedding couples I have worked with over the years. However, this blog entry is from the dual perspective of a destination wedding guest and a destination wedding bride. I have had the pleasure of traveling to many of my friends destination weddings and am often asked, “did you get the wedding couple a gift?”
Many guests who book into our group weddings also ask if it is customary to bring a wedding gift to a destination wedding. Guests often assume that the expense of going to a destination wedding usually infers that they won’t be purchasing a gift or giving a monetary gift either.
Is there any sort of etiquette for destination wedding guests when it comes to gifts?
Here are some general rules that have been widely accepted for destination weddings:
- For my wedding, we made it very well known that we didn’t want any gifts. I also put in my invitations, “in lieu of gifts”, and this let the guests free from guessing. Destination wedding couples who clearly do not want gifts should put the word out to their guests! Most wedding couple feel an enormous amount of guilt throughout this whole process concerning their guests paying to come to their wedding and they do not want to burden their guests with other costs.
- If the bride/groom stated that they didn’t want any gifts from guests attending their wedding, this doesn’t mean you should not bring a congratulatory card. From the bride’s perspective, reading the cards following the wedding meant so very much to us. I have kept those cards and cherish them.
- The general rule in etiquette would also tell the invitee that if they couldn’t attend (due to financial reasons or other obligations) that a gift/card should be sent to the wedding couple.
- If the bride/groom are financially helping guests attend, than the guests should reciprocate with a gift. This is even the case if the bride/groom state, “in lieu of gifts”. If the bride/groom paid for your stay, as a guest, you are not off the hook for a gift.
- Should you decide to purchase a gift, you do not have to bring that gift with you to the destination wedding. In the card that you bring, simply state that you have a gift at home for the guests.
- If the wedding couple is having an at home reception following the wedding, and you can’t attend the destination wedding, then you are supposed to bring a gift to the reception.
- If you are in the bridal party, and spent a lot of money to travel to the destination wedding, you may feel financially strapped about the responsibilities that usually go into being in the bridal party and can’t even consider a gift. Discuss this with the other bridal party members, and have a one to one conversation with the bride. Hurt feelings can be spared with good communication.
A very cute way the bride/groom can convey to their guests that they do not want gifts is by simply stating, “ your presence is the best present you could give us”.
Remember, the memories made during a destination wedding are “priceless”.