Although the days of bringing envelopes of money and wrapped wedding gifts to the reception (instead of shipping them directly from the wedding registry to the couple's home) may seem over, they are, in fact not. Any wedding planner will tell you that more often than not, a handful of guests will end up bringing wedding gifts to the reception, only to end up wandering around haplessly trying to figure out where to leave them. To keep the confusion to a minimum and help streamline gift-giving, we asked wedding planner and registry expert extraordinaire Jung Lee who guests should give their wedding gifts to at the reception.
Firstly, Lee suggests choosing a designated person in charge of collecting the wedding gifts, as not planning ahead of time can spell trouble. "When people bring gifts to weddings and there isn’t someone specific who is responsible for it like a planner, gifts and cards usually get lost or, even worse, stolen," says Lee. "Couples prefer gifts sent to them before or after the wedding. But with that said, we know there are guests who prefer to and will bring gifts to weddings."
Instead of decorating a box or birdcage for a gift table, Lee suggests finding a separate room in which to store the gifts and cards, and one trusted person to take them from guests and store them there. "To me, it seems in poor taste to have a box since it's perceived as asking for money. But another issue with this approach is that it signals to anyone who is an opportunist where all the money is. Sadly, you have to think that way sometimes, even at a joyous occasion like a wedding!"
"Most venues have a safe room for the couple or bridal party to keep all their personal items. If not, gifts can be with coat check as that’s usually safe, or ask your catering director if they can offer a private office or other room to hold the gifts." Usually, your wedding planner or coordinator should be available to collect your guests' presents and store them in this space (just be sure to confirm with them beforehand!). But if you haven't hired one, designate either the maid of honor or best man as the Keeper of the Gifts. Ahead of the ceremony, ask them to take all the cards and gifts as they arrive and put them in the safe room. As guests give cards to you or your partner, simply pass them back to this wedding party member who can then take them to the safe storage area.
A tip for the person collecting all of the wedding gifts? "I like all cards to all go in a single bag or container which is then placed in another larger bag which remains closed," explains Lee. "That way all cards are consolidated at the end of the night."
Now that's one less thing you have to worry about!