When Is the Best Time to Give Wedding Gifts to Parents?

Pick a time to give them those thoughtfully chosen presents

Updated 12/01/19

Photo by Samm Blake

We love time-honored wedding traditions, including thoughtfully choosing wedding gifts for parents. They've done so much to get you this far, so it's important to honor them in some way—whether it's a sweet memento, a frame, or a more substantial gift to thank them for their contribution. When you should give them their gifts, however, is a little tricky. After all, your wedding day will likely have a very tight timeline. There's also a chance, with everything going on, that you may just totally forget about them on the day of your wedding.

For that reason, it's best to plan out when to give wedding gifts to your parents, so you're not scrambling to make time for the special moment on the big day. Here are a few times to consider honoring your parents for all they've done for you.

The Rehearsal Dinner

Many couples choose to give their parents gifts during the rehearsal dinner, and with good reason. You're with a smaller group, so you can focus a little more on one another, and your parents will be heading back to their room shortly so they can make sure their gifts make it back safely. If you're also planning to give gifts to your bridesmaids and groomsmen at this time, bring the gifts for your parents along and present them all at once.

The Morning of the Wedding

Did you pick out something special for each of your parents? You could also choose to present these gifts the morning of your wedding. If you're wondering when to give the mother of the bride gift in particular, this is an ideal time—she'll probably be with you as you're getting ready, and it will be a great opportunity for a sweet (and non-chaotic) moment to give her a gift. Just give it to her before she's gotten her makeup done (to avoid runny mascara).

And what about Dad? If you're doing first look photos with him, that's another ideal time. Bring your gift for him along so the two of you can have a little time in private. This can, however, be a little bit of a challenge for your partner, especially if their mom is getting ready with you and your bridesmaids. They may opt to give the gifts the day before, or bring them to family photos. Just make sure someone knows that their gifts need to be sent back to their parents' room so they don't get lost.

The Wedding Reception

If you can carve out a time during the wedding reception to sit down privately with your parents, go for it. Just make sure to plan when you'll have time to do this (at least in your head). You'll likely be pulled in a million directions during your reception, with guests wanting to dance with you, congratulate you, share a toast, etc. Set a time during your reception to talk to your parents and then stick to it—there's never going to be a lull in activity when this moment will come naturally.

Morning-After Brunch

If the wedding day itself is too much of a whirlwind, don't worry about it. Similar to the rehearsal dinner plan, you could also choose to wait and distribute presents at the morning-after brunch. A smaller crowd and a more relaxed atmosphere make this a great time to pull your parents aside.

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