Author Topic: No gifts - better left unsaid?  (Read 3741 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Eve_Eire

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
No gifts - better left unsaid?
« on: March 05, 2014, 09:50:13 AM »
Hi all

I'm getting married this summer and have been coming up against a problem regarding registering for gifts.  My parents seem to think we should be registering as it makes buying gifts easier for the guests.  We don't want to do that for a multitude of reasons.

I'm worried that our lack of registering is going to be seen as the equivalent of asking for money - which we don't want either.  What we would really like is just for everyone to come and enjoy themselves and not bother themselves with getting us gifts or money.

So to avoid looking like we're asking for money by not registering for gifts, is there any wording we can use to discourage people from gifting us?  Or is the etiquette approved way just to say nothing at all and let the chips fall where they may, expect nothing but be sure to be appreciative if anyone does decide to gift us anything.

My plan is just to let it be known by word of mouth that we want nothing but the pleasure of our guests company (and sincerely mean it, as opposed to "your presence is our present BUT if you really want to give us a present...") but I wasn't sure if there is any etiquette approved way of conveying this in the invite?

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6284
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 10:49:58 AM »
I think your plan of word-of-mouthing your wishes makes sense.  I wouldn't worry about not registering "looking" any particular way - the people you have invited presumably know you and like you and will either get you something because they want to or take you at your word and simpy enjoy your wedding.

Zizi-K

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 804
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 12:31:21 PM »
It is never correct to mention gifts on an invitation, even if it is to say "no gifts."

Personally, I would recommend registering for some inexpensive items. A lot of people are loathe to attend an event like a wedding without some kind of gift. Like or or not, it is usual and generally expected that a couple will receive gifts for their wedding. (There are lots of caveats to this, second weddings, etc. And it's true that the couple themselves should not expect gifts, or a certain level of gift.) But it is the usual course of things to mark an occasion as a guest by bringing a gift. If you register for some inexpensive things, those that feel they must bring a gift will choose one, feel as though they have done their duty, and they will not have spent very much. I suppose what I'm saying registering may be a way for you to make your guests more comfortable as opposed to it being something you do for yourself.

If you are adamantly against it, though, I do agree that word of mouth or just not saying anything is the best way to go.

lofty

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 65
    • My blog and shops
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 12:47:05 PM »
POD the above; one of my favorite parts about being invited to a wedding is choosing a gift. It may be off the registry, it may be handmade, but I love the time and thought I get to put into finding something special for the happy couple.

If you are really, truly opposed to gifts of any kind then word of mouth is the only way to go. Please, PLEASE do not put anything about "no gifts" on your invitations; I've had to explain to brides why that's just as large a faux pas as including the registry information. While you are not demanding gifts, it appears that you expect your guests to be giving them. Definite etiquette no-no.
Coffee and paper make everything better, hence why my blog is www.CaffeinatedPapercuts.com

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4165
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 12:49:26 PM »
It's funny how registries have come to be so expected that some people consider it somehow rude or neglectful not to have one. That's crazy! I just don't get the idea of registering for things you don't necessarily want, or even when you want nothing at all, just to appease your guests who think you must have one.

In addition to that, if you don't want gifts and say you don't want gifts but register nonetheless, it is like saying, "we do want gifts but want to act like we don't."

Word of mouth is the way to go. But keep in mind is that you will get some gifts. When people ask what you want or where you are registered, you simply reply that you'd prefer no gifts (and have your parents do the same). Some people will get you something anyway. Some will take you at your word. And some will get you something without asking about your registry.

As far as people thinking you want money, well, I dunno. People think what they think. If you register for expensive stuff they'll think you are being greedy. If you register for inexpensive stuff they'll think you didn't give then enough choices. Or enough credit for wanting to spend a goodly amount. Etc. You have to do what works for you and not worry about what they think.

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5791
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 12:55:45 PM »
From my experience you will get gifts. We tried to request no gifts ( so many people needed to travel that I thought that them showing up was enough of a gift) and we were ignored. The only person who complied was my bridesmaid and as she had decorated the entire three tier wedding cake over a two day period, that seemed like more than enough gift for anybody.

So people will get you gifts and if you say you don't want gifts will likely get you money (though I did get a couple donations to charity as well). This doesn't mean you need to set up a registry, but you should think about what you would like (charity donation, homemade gfts, something from their home town etc...)

HannahGrace

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 504
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 01:26:34 PM »
As I posted in another thread, I'm in exactly the same position - first wedding, we just don't want to register and do not expect or want gifts and we definitely do not want money.  I don't have any advice to offer but I'm glad to know we aren't alone and now you know you aren't either :)

sparksals

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17395
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 01:37:30 PM »
Never mention gifts.  Just like one doesn't mention where they are registered on a wedding invitation, the no gifts spreads by word of mouth too. 


Keep in mind, no registering will still illicit gifts.  It might make more sense to register for a small number of items to curtail receiving gifts you don't need or want.  At least you will get things you can use if you do register. 

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31774
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 01:39:27 PM »
Treat this the way you would an actual registry.

First, you inform everyone close to you about your (non)registry. And the reasons behind it.

Second, you set up a wedding website (even if it isn't elaborate), and have a discreet link on it that says "Registry" that takes you to another page.
    On that other page, you write something like, "We are asking our guests to not give us wedding presents; we have everything that we need, and we are simply looking forward to spending time with you on this important day."
     If it's less that you have what you need and more than you couldn't fit another thing into your home, say that: "We're actually trying to streamline our possessions, so gifts would actually be a burden."


And be prepared for the fact that you will frustrate many people who love you, and for whom that feeling makes them want to *act!* (sort of like the positive version of the "fight or flight" adrenalin response).
  Another thing that fuels the gift-giving idea is that, in my family at least, there's a sense of "what goes around, comes around" / fund-raising / evening things out. They've given presents to other family members; their familiy members may have -received- gifts from the collective community. They figure it's your turn. That's part of how they justify receiving such generous presents--that when the time comes, they'll give.

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4165
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 03:13:25 PM »
I'm not sure I'd say anything about gifts being a burden for the very reason that regardless of what you say, there are some people who will really want to give you a gift and you don't want to sort of put a damper on their pleasure. Not that you are responsible for how they feel about giving a gift but just as a gracious host, you want to make your guests comfortable and happy, and some people will be uncomfortable or unhappy not being able to share your joy by giving you a gift. So just as you wouldn't make a demeaning comment if someone did give you a gift after you requested none, I just don't think I'd make any kind of disparaging comment in advance either.

Because, the reality is that although you don't want gifts, surely you won't find it annoying or offensive if some people ignore that request. It's inevitable after all, and of course, you'll receive them graciously.

Additionally, I'd leave off the "we have everything we need" type of comments as well. Because that might be interpreted as "they don't want things they would need such as dishes & towels, but how about things they don't need such as a decorative vase or some such.

I like the wording Toots used, but with the part about having everything we need omitted.

We are asking our guests to not give us wedding presents. We are simply looking forward to the pleasure of spending time with you on this important day.

Edited to fix a typo.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 04:03:34 PM by lowspark »

gellchom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2371
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 03:58:08 PM »
I agree with the general consensus.  Say nothing.  When asked, or perhaps on a website, as Toots suggests, I would say something like, "What we would appreciate the most is if you would give a gift to your favorite charity in our honor." 

Note: THEIR favorite charity, not yours.  Otherwise it's like making your wedding a fundraiser. If they want to give to yours, they will ask what you like.  They will probably try to guess something you would like anyway.

I like this better than the formula of "your presence is what matters to us."  Because to me that is slightly self-congratulatory or smug -- as if couples who do register or don't say they don't want gifts are materialistic or value their guests' presence less than you do.

And yes, some people will still give you gifts, because they want to.  Around here, although we know it's against the rule, people giving parties for their own birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. typically write "No gifts, please."  And what invariably happens is that your very closest friends give you a gift or a donation in your name anyway, the same as they would have done if there had been no party at all, and everyone else will give you some sort of hostess-gift size token, the same as they would have done if it had been a non-occasion party.  That would be okay with you, I assume.

Basically, the less of anything at all you say about gifts in your direction, the better.

HannahGrace

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 504
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2014, 04:08:50 PM »
I agree with the general consensus.  Say nothing.  When asked, or perhaps on a website, as Toots suggests, I would say something like, "What we would appreciate the most is if you would give a gift to your favorite charity in our honor." 

Note: THEIR favorite charity, not yours.  Otherwise it's like making your wedding a fundraiser. If they want to give to yours, they will ask what you like.  They will probably try to guess something you would like anyway.

I like this better than the formula of "your presence is what matters to us."  Because to me that is slightly self-congratulatory or smug -- as if couples who do register or don't say they don't want gifts are materialistic or value their guests' presence less than you do.

And yes, some people will still give you gifts, because they want to.  Around here, although we know it's against the rule, people giving parties for their own birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. typically write "No gifts, please."  And what invariably happens is that your very closest friends give you a gift or a donation in your name anyway, the same as they would have done if there had been no party at all, and everyone else will give you some sort of hostess-gift size token, the same as they would have done if it had been a non-occasion party.  That would be okay with you, I assume.

Basically, the less of anything at all you say about gifts in your direction, the better.

Well, here's the thing though - for some of us, the presence IS what matters.  I wouldn't put it on a wedding website or, heaven forbid, in an actual invitation, but I don't think it's smug.  In some cases it's just what's true and it doesn't make those of us who feel that way better or worse than anyone else.  At this stage in my life, my friends are all insanely busy so the only thing I want for my wedding is for them to make what I know is a sacrifice to spend a few hours with us.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31774
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 04:16:37 PM »
I agree with the general consensus.  Say nothing.  When asked, or perhaps on a website, as Toots suggests, I would say something like, "What we would appreciate the most is if you would give a gift to your favorite charity in our honor." 

Note: THEIR favorite charity, not yours.  Otherwise it's like making your wedding a fundraiser. If they want to give to yours, they will ask what you like.  They will probably try to guess something you would like anyway.

Hmmm.

As a gift-giver, I wouldn't consider a gift to -my- favorite charity to be of any meaning to my bride&groom cousins.

Just as I don't consider a donation to their fave charity to be in any way a gift [favor] to me.

The idea of a charity donation being a gift is this:
     "This cause is so deeply important to me that any effort you do that supports them, I will interpret as a personal favor or gift to me--that's how much I care about it."

So if you put a charity on, I think it needs to be one you *do* care about. Perhaps a guest may not approve of that charity--you do not need to accommodate or consider that. (Just as, I don't like buying cookware, but you don't need to pay any attention to me when you are suggesting physical gifts in your registry.)
   I can give you something else if I don't like the suggestion you have given me. (same thing w/ Christmas lists--if there isn't something on there that I'm interested in giving you, then I have to do the work of picking something out myself.)

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5706
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 04:32:48 PM »
The thing is, people look at gifts for weddings in so many different ways (as illustrated by this thread). Definitely, pass it around through word of mouth (including your parents and attendants, if any) that you seriously don't want gifts. But, be prepared for people to want to get you something anyway--because they truly want to get you something as much as you truly don't want anything; because they like buying and giving gifts in general; because they feel a family/social obligation to gift you; etc..

I think it depends on your social circle/guest list, too. If you're going to be bugged about it a lot, and get gifts from people anyway no matter what you say, it might be prudent to direct the gift-giving in some way. This could be registering for small items, or asking people to donate to their favorite charity, or asking people for the small household item they've found most useful over the years, or asking people to bring you a card/note with marriage advice or memories of you written in it. Or you could get even more creative and, say, ask people to send your sister old family photos and stories so she can scan them and compile them into a book for you, or copy them and use them as centerpieces at the reception.

Sometimes it seems like there is a genuine outpouring of goodwill and if you give it nowhere to go, people get frustrated, or you end up with strange and unwanted stuff you feel obligated to keep. So maybe instead of saying, "No gifts," full stop, you could try saying, "No gifts, but it would be really great if you could..." write a nice note/bring photos/donate to charity/etc..
~Lynn2000

gellchom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2371
Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 05:52:57 PM »
Well, here's the thing though - for some of us, the presence IS what matters.  I wouldn't put it on a wedding website or, heaven forbid, in an actual invitation, but I don't think it's smug.  In some cases it's just what's true and it doesn't make those of us who feel that way better or worse than anyone else.  At this stage in my life, my friends are all insanely busy so the only thing I want for my wedding is for them to make what I know is a sacrifice to spend a few hours with us.

I didn't put this very well, did I?  Of course their presence is what matters to you!  My point is just that when people say so explicitly, it implies that it is NOT what matters to others, or at least that it matters less to others.  That's the part that feels vaguely self-congratulatory to me.  I've seen posters on eHell saying suggesting wording like "We value people more than possessions, so no gifts, please" -- much more extreme, to the point of real preening, but maybe helpful in illustrating the point.  And I suppose that some people could take "we already have everything we need" to be bragging or at least insensitive to those who don't.  I don't mind "no gifts, please," and leaving it at that.  There really isn't any need to state a reason.

Toots, this is a rare instance in which we disagree, although actually only partly.  I do agree with your points.  But the way I see it playing out is that the incipient recipient  :) says "your favorite charity," which means "any charity, we're not designating a specific one unless you ask us," and then the guests either ask them or someone close to them, or choose one they are confident they will like.

What I was trying to find wording for was the thought "We are already so blessed, and charities, including your favorite, need your generosity more than we do, so that's what would please us most."  But talk about sounding smug and self-congratulatory!

Maybe you could write, "What we would appreciate most is a gift in our honor to the XYZ Fund or to your favorite charity."  or "What we would appreciate most is a gift to your favorite charity or to ours, the XYZ Fund."

For a wedding I would choose a cause that helps the needy (for a birthday I might pick arts, animals, environment, public radio, or whatever they love best).  Probably that is a relic of the Jewish custom of feeding the poor when you are giving a feast -- usually done these days by a contribution by the hosts and/or guests of honor of an amount equal to some percentage of the catering costs to an anti-hunger organization or food bank.  So I guess that's why I see it as an apt choice for a guest, too, just extending the idea of sharing good fortune at a time of celebration with those not so lucky.