We've all seen them: Gravy boats decorated in a goose pattern, or abstract art that looks as if it's the work of a two-year-old gone amuck with a paint brush. But what happens when you're on the receiving end of one of these gifts gone rogue from your wedding registry?
"There aren't very many circumstances where it's appropriate to tell the sender that you do not like the gift," says etiquette expert Diane Gottsman. So suck it up and send a sincere thank-you note. "A thank-you note thanks the giver for their thoughtfulness and kindness, not just the present itself," Gottsman says. As you would with any hand-written thank you, be sure to mention the gift by name and express gratitude for the giver's efforts.
After that, you're under no obligation to display the gift or, in some circumstances, even keep it. "If you know the store it came from, you can exchange it for something else you might use," suggests Gottsman. "You can donate it to charity, or save it and use it another time." Just beware re-gifting it, as the new recipient could ask for a gift receipt.
In the case of custom presents or family heirlooms, it's best to keep the gift stored somewhere out of sight, bringing it out only when you know the giver will visit. "If they drop in unexpectedly and catch you with the gift not on display, you can explain that you rotate your [things] with the seasons to give each piece a chance to be in the spotlight," suggests Gottsman.
Finally, if the gift is of substantial value or size, such as an expensive piece of artwork that doesn't match your tastes, Gottsman says to be honest by saying, "This is such a generous gift. We truly appreciate the gesture, but we won't be able to use it — or, it's much too big for our small, one-bedroom apartment — and we would like for you to find someone that truly can use this generous offer."
What did you do with your bad wedding gifts? Tell us on Twitter at @BRIDES!