The NEW Wedding Etiquette Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Gifts and Registries

Etiquette, Favors & Gifts, Home & Registry
Wedding Gift Etiquette Questions

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Can you really register for a mortgage? Send digital wedding invites? Say no to a bridal shower? Many of the old wedding rules have gone the way of the dowry. No longer is Emily Post dictating every step of your journey to the altar. In fact, engaged gals around the country are re-writing the rule book when it comes to nuptial protocol, so we're here to give you the low-down on the wedding world's new etiquette guide on every aspect of your big day. You'll be the new and approved soon-to-be Mrs. Manners in no time. Read, adjust accordingly, and if Grandma gives you grief, tell her BRIDES said so! Next on our list, we're tackling all your great gift Q's, from registry reservations to asking-for-cash conundrums...

Now that we can register pretty much everywhere, is there anything we shouldn't ask for?
No Manolos... Just items you can use as a couple to build your home or life. "Register at two or three places tops, and have a good range of options, from lower end to higher," says Tamra Sanford of NYC's Ever Swoon.

How many presents should we register for?
"Have more items on your registry than wedding guests," says Allison Jackson of Pineapple Productions in Washington, D.C. "If you're planning a wedding for 200 guests, have around 250 items, with at least a quarter of those being inexpensive, a couple big-ticket items, and the rest in between." Why so many? Some invitees will want to gift you for the shower and again for the wedding.

How do we spread the word about our various online registries?
Never include the info on or with your invite — that's still considered tacky. Instead, on your save-the-date, note your wedding website, and from there link to your registries. Guests who aren't web savvy will ask someone in your family or a bridesmaid for the info, and they'll be grateful for at least one site with brick-and-mortar locations.

If we don't want gifts, can we say so on the invitation?
You saints! But no. You can announce it on your wedding website or disseminate the info through word of mouth, but never mention gifts (even the lack thereof) on the invite.

Is it really OK to register for our honeymoon?
It is. Most guests will be just as happy to contribute to your amazing 10 days in Bali as they would be to buy you a pizza stone. Still, ask for some actual stuff too for traditionalists.

What's the best way to ask for cash?
First, don't feel weird about it. 91 percent of brides say they want cash as much or more than all the other things they registered for. Use a cash gift registry like Tendr, which sends a custom e-card with the amount, or a down-payment registry like Hatch My House, and explain what you'll put the money toward (a house, a car, the honeymoon). "Never ask for cash directly," says Jackson. "On your wedding website, say something like 'Rather than china or linens, we'd love for you to help us buy our dream home.'"

I have friends coming to the shower, bachelorette, and wedding. Should they bring gifts to all?
Yes to the shower and wedding, but gifts are not expected for the bachelorette, because they'll be covering your meals, drinks, and activities.

Does the one-year rule on gifts still apply?
When anyone can ship anything anywhere in two days, that one's void. The new rule is three months, say most of our go-to planners. If you haven't received a gift by 90 days after the wedding, you can assume the guest forgot about it and shrug it off. Because there's no tactful way to say, "You owe me a toaster."

See More: Everything You Need to Register For

I'm getting presents before the wedding. Is it weird to send thank-yous ahead of the big day?
Not at all. It's a time saver that's totes acceptable. Though you technically have six months after the wedding to send your thank-you's, it's ideal to get them out within two months. Note: If you're changing your name, never use the new one (or its monogram) until after the wedding.

Is it OK to return gifts we didn't register for?
Yes. Don't worry about hurt feelings. If a friend is close enough to you to try to guess your taste in espresso machines, she should also be close enough that you can tell her, in a nice way, that she guessed wrong.

Pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here. And subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

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