Etiquette on Gift Giving, Announcements and Celebration After a Wedding

Wedding gifts

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For some couples, the excitement and chaos of a wedding does not end with the Big Day. In this modern era of destination weddings, elopements and far-flung families, gift-giving, making announcements and post-event parties can stretch out months after the wedding ceremony has actually taken place. It is important to navigate these issues with care to avoid confusion and hurt feelings among loved ones.

Announcing Your Marriage

Wedding announcements, traditionally sent by the bride's parents, should be sent out after the wedding to anyone who wasn't invited to the ceremony, but who might like to hear the news nevertheless. If a couple has had a small, private ceremony or has eloped, they may also wish to send out announcements to the friends and family members whom they would have otherwise invited. People who receive such announcements are not obligated to send a gift.

Post-Wedding Receptions

Couples who elope, have small, private ceremonies or destination weddings may wish to throw a reception several months later so they can celebrate their union with family and friends who could not be at the ceremony. Couples with family in different parts of the world may also choose to have a second reception. On the invitations, couples should make it clear that they are already married and wish to have a celebration simply to share their happiness with loved ones. Some couples may choose to announce their marriage and invite guests to a reception at the same time.

Gifts and Thank-Yous

For traditional weddings, most guests give gifts before the couple is married, but it is acceptable for guests to give gifts up to three months after the wedding. Couples should send a thank-you card within three months of receiving a gift. If a couple has a post-wedding reception, guests may or may not choose to give gifts. Couples may want to register in case guests inquire, but it is always in bad taste to mention a registry to guests unless they ask about one specifically.

Resentment and Hurt Feelings

In situations where friends or family members cannot attend or are not invited to a wedding ceremony, there may be a bit of resentment. Careful, positive wording on announcements and invitations to post-wedding celebrations can help soothe hurt feelings. Couples should let friends know how much they are loved and cherished and how excited the couple is to celebrate with them. When a stubborn holdout still refuses to join in the celebration, try not to hold a grudge.