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Gift Registry Etiquette for Weddings

Whether you're the giver or the giftee, you may be wondering how much to spend or how to let people know what you want

Gift registries have been around forever. This is a time when the bride and groom choose a range of things they need and, in reality, make it much easier on the giver to avoid duplicating a gift or choose something that will go unwanted or even hated.

For those who may balk at the thought of the happy couple knowing how much was spent, an internet search will probably divulge a price tag on even the most unusual object. However, gift-givers should not feel obligated to choose from the registry list, especially if you know the bride and groom well and want to choose a more individualized piece.

The bride and groom will probably choose two, three, or more stores and compile a list that is as diverse as tools and hiking gear. If they're savvy, they will also select a range of items that are affordable for every budget. Much of the registry process can be accomplished on-line but for more expensive pieces, a store visit may be a better option.

Place settings remain popular and experts advise requesting more than the typical service for eight. Patterns may be discontinued, plus the couple will be able to serve larger gatherings if so inclined.

How much should a person spend?

If you're a best friend, sister, or brother, expect to spend a minimum of $100. Other good friends or families who are close to the parents of the bride and groom should spend within a range of $50-$75. If you're a distant relative or work with either the bride or groom, $25 is a minimum and $50 is the most that should be expected. You can always spend as much or as little as your budget and heart allows, however. Resources may also be pooled among acquaintances, but the gift should be more elaborate as a result.

Do not expect to deliver the gift to the wedding or reception location. Some brides may have a friend assigned to handle such things, but that's not the ideal delivery point. Not only will the gifts be in danger of disappearing, they could easily be damaged by passing through so many hands. Good manners dictate that you have the gift mailed or delivered before the wedding to the home of the bride and groom or of the bride's parents.

How do you let people know what you really want?

You can't tell them personally and should never include a registry listing in a wedding invitation. Sometimes, stores will offer special cards imprinted with your wish list. You may pass these along to the person who is hosting your bridal shower; it is perfectly proper for the hostess to include your notice in the invitation. Also, the shower hostess is able to mention the registry locations when she follows up on RSVPs or speaks with the shower attendees.

If you do receive a duplicate gift, write your thank-you note and without further ado, make an exchange if it's allowed. The giver should never be informed of a return or exchange. If, however, the gift arrives damaged, you have two choices. If it is replaceable, go ahead and do so without sharing the information. On the other hand, if it is irreplaceable or a receipt is required, alert the giver so they can handle the matter.

No matter how close the person is to you and regardless of how profusely you have thanked the giver in person as you open the gift before their very eyes, send a hand-written personal note of thanks. It is not only proper bridal etiquette, but it is also one of the nicest things you could possibly do.

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