What To Do When You’re Invited To A Wedding—But The Couple Stiffed You At Yours

Are you expected to be the bigger person, or should it be an eye for an eye?

Updated 06/24/17

Sean Locke

While no wedding is about the gifts you’ll get in return, you will probably never forget who (if anyone) attended your wedding but left you empty handed. Fast forward, and now you’re invited to theirs. What’s a scorned couple to do? You pretty much have four options. Here’s what they are.

Open the Lines of Communication

This is certainly the most cringe-worthy option, but one that most etiquette and communication experts would recommend. Instead of enacting an “eye for an eye” mentality, or avoiding a wedding you’d otherwise love to celebrate, communicating with the couple-to-be can not only help you to move forward, but help smooth things over, too. Plan a time to speak with them, preferably in person, about your dilemma. Perhaps they weren’t aware you never received a gift (envelopes unfortunately can go missing, or forgotten) and will be relieved to know you’ve cleared the air.

As long as you explain this is coming from a place of genuine concern for the friendship, and are clear that you didn’t want it to hinder your celebration of their wedding now that it’s their turn, it can really only work in your favor. You just need to have the guts to do it.

Politely Decline

If communicating is not an option, or you feel too uncomfortable bringing up the topic, you have every opportunity to decline the invitation. Perhaps not receiving a gift from the couple is a sign that you’re not that close, or perhaps it was an oversight. You may never really know without communication, but if the whole situation left you uncomfortable or you’ve grown apart, you’re under no obligation. It’s important, however, to remember that if you would have wanted to go and the only thing holding you back is the gift situation, there are other better and more constructive solutions than simply saying “no thanks.” Sometimes in life it’s worth a tough conversation to ensure things work out for the best.

“Tit for Tat”

Perhaps the easiest option is to RSVP yes and celebrate the couple without giving a gift yourselves. To some, it reeks of retaliation and to others it may seem only natural, given that they’ve done the same to you. If you chose this option, it’s important to remember that it may lead to a sticky situation down the road. Even though you let it go, they may even call you out on your lack of giving, in which your reply would be, “Well you didn’t give us one when it was our wedding!” This is not only a lame excuse (think of toddlers yelling, “but SHE did it first!) but they also may be completely oblivious which will only add fuel to the fire.

Before doing this, strongly consider the option of a tough conversation, first.

Be The Bigger Person

Here’s a true test of character. As difficult as it may be, rising above by not only attending, but also by giving whatever you would give regardless of what they didn’t is a truly classy move. As long as you’re at peace with moving on gift-less from them, this option eliminates any drama or ill will, as well as any awkward moments. As painful as it may be to write that check (and see it withdrawn from your account) you’ll be able to rest assured knowing you took the high road, all while having a fun night out celebrating love.

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