Expert advice on wedding gift etiquette rules

There is a certain way to gift a married couple, an expert stressed. Picture: Instagram.

There is a certain way to gift a married couple, an expert stressed. Picture: Instagram.

Published Jun 25, 2024


Weddings are one of the most important days in a couples life.

It is also a momentous occasion for friends, family and other loved ones.

But Matt Jones, the CEO of wedding gifts retailer, WonderDays, stressed that there is a certain etiquette that guests should abide by when it comes to gifting a married couple.

He explained that when it comes to selecting wedding gifts, you should look beyond mere material possessions.

“Consider experiences, personalised keepsakes, or charitable donations that align with the couple's values,” he said.

Stressing quality over quantity, Jones added: “A well-crafted, meaningful gift holds enduring significance, irrespective of its price.”

He also advocates for gifts that contribute to the couple's future together.

“Invest in items that enrich their shared life journey, whether it’s a cherished piece of artwork for their home, or a subscription to simplify their busy schedules.”

And while wedding gifting etiquette may seem daunting, Jones has provided the following wedding gift etiquette guide.

“Armed with these principles, one can approach the task with confidence and grace, recognising that the essence of gift-giving lies in the love, thoughtfulness and personal connection behind each gesture,” he believes.

1. Know your relationship

The first rule of wedding gifting etiquette is to consider your relationship with the couple, as the nature of your connection should dictate the level of thought and investment you put into their gift.

“Personalisation is key and tailoring the gift to reflect your relationship shows sincerity and thoughtfulness,” he believes.

2. Try to stick to the wedding registry

Wedding registries are a common feature in many parts of the world and are being increasingly incorporated into weddings in South Africa.

Jones advised that while it might be tempting to stray from the registry in pursuit of a unique or extravagant gift, it is often generally best to adhere to the couple’s wishes, Jones advised.

“Registries are a roadmap to the couple's desires.”

But if you have a deeply personal or sentimental gift in mind, ensure it complements rather than contradicts their registry choices, the gifting expert added.

3. Budget wisely

Determining how much to spend on a wedding gift can be a challenging ordeal and for this reason, Jones advised the consideration of your budget in relation to your relationship with the couple.

“It’s not about the monetary value of the gift, but the thought and effort put into selecting it as a well-chosen gift, regardless of price, speaks volumes.”

4. Group gifting etiquette

During these modern times, group gifting has risen in prominence and coordinating with others to purchase a larger, more extravagant gift has become commonplace.

But Jones has stressed that: “Communication is key,” when it comes to group gifting.

“Ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the budget and gift choice to avoid any misunderstandings or discrepancies.”

5. Timing is everything

Jones cautioned against procrastinating when it comes to wedding gifts and instead, aim to purchase or send your gift well in advance of the wedding date.

“Ideally, gifts should be sent before the wedding or within a few weeks afterwards,” he believes.

“This ensures the couple can fully enjoy and appreciate your gesture without the chaos of the wedding day.”

6. Consider their lifestyle

When selecting a wedding gift, it is vital to take the couple’s lifestyle into account.

Aspects, such as if they are avid travellers, aspiring chefs, or homebodies, should be considered.

“A thoughtful gift enhances the couple’s life together,” Jones noted.

“Consider practicality, longevity and how the gift aligns with their interests and hobbies.”

7. Handwritten notes matter

At a time when most of our communication is digital, a handwritten note accompanying your gift can carry significant weight, Jones believes.

“A heartfelt message adds a personal touch and demonstrates your genuine affection for the couple,” he said.

“It’s a timeless gesture that will be cherished long after the wedding day.”