There are so many unsaid rules to wedding etiquette. Even if we sat down to write a manual today it would be outdated by the publish date. Who is allowed to bring a plus one is a question for another day. Today we’re talking about gift etiquette and whether or not a plus one is expected to bring their own gift. It may seem simple but the awkward conversations around wedding etiquette can be more of a headache than you would think.
If you get the invitation you get the gift. We will elaborate but we wanted to give you our quick answer. Some cultures approach gift giving differently but we’re giving general advice here. If you have the pleasure of being allowed a plus one that is a gift to you from the wedding party. Your plus one agreeing to come is a gift they are giving to you. Now there are exceptions but the general rule is if you hold the invite you buy the gift.
Now we are speaking to the Plus Ones. You may be in a tricky situation as your friend hasn’t mentioned buying a gift of any sort. It isn’t technically your responsibility but it may be nice to bring it up. Ask if the couple has a registry or if your friend has bought a gift yet. But here’s where cultural differences come in. In some Southern circles a plus one would offer one or two times to help pay for the gift and the wedding guest would be expected to refuse. The plus one may end up really insisting on contributing but it’s considered rude to immediately accept their generosity. In other cultures an offer is just that. It’s an offer. It’s these tiny little differences in decorum that can cause miscommunication in a couple. Be thoughtful in how you approach it.
To the Plus Ones. Attending a wedding is expensive and you can express that you are excited to spend time with your friend and looking forward to having a nice time but it isn’t in your budget to buy a gift. Though that answer is completely reasonable it doesn’t always mean it is easy to say. If you’re looking for a way out, offer to pay for part of the wedding gift. If that isn’t working then just bite the bullet and find something that isn’t too expensive. The thing about weddings is there are tons of “official” rules to follow but also each wedding is really personal. Feelings will get hurt and everyone is coming from a slightly different perspective.
Remember that emotions run higher around days like this. Even if you are so excited you are also in a more emotional state and are more likely to be reactionary. Give yourself and the people you are with extra grace and consideration. If a fight occurs between you and a friend and you cannot agree on who buys the gift it may just be better to do it yourself. At the end of the day it’s about being in a clear head space to celebrate a marriage and it is best to alleviate as much tension as possible. Have so much fun! That’s the best part.
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