Any ideas on how to word an invitation requesting no gifts?

xamsxApril 13, 2005

My fiancée and I will be getting married next year. We are fortunate enough to not need gifts (we are not young, this is my second marriage and he also has a full household) and truly feel the pleasure of our friends and familyÂs company is gift enough.

How can we word this? Is it tacky? Should we allow this sentiment to be dropped casually in a conversation rather than on the invitation? Ask a few friends and relatives to casually spread the word in their conversations?

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I know Emily Post discusses this. I will get back to you.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 11:21PM
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Your last option is the best. Suggesting ANYTHING on the invitation regarding gifts ("no gifts", "cash gifts", "we are registered at --") is considered to be in poor taste. Even to say "No gifts please", because it dictates to the wedding guests how they should or shouldn't spend their money. Some people really love to give gifts and would be quite hurt to be told not to. If someone wants to give you a gift, they will, and you can only accept graciously.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 1:00AM
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I just rec'd an invite with "your presence is the only present we need". (like? --something like that) Anyhow, I thought it was nice to tell me that they weren't expecting gifts and didn't find it tacky at all.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 3:43PM
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Thanks for the replies! :-)

sheilajoyce, if you do find the Emily Post dicussion, I'd love to read it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 3:52PM
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My daughter gave me the Emily Post wedding etiquette book when she got engaged. Both sets of parents eloped, so we all felt we needed some expert advice. Here is what Emily says about including "no gifts" in the invitation:

"The inclusion of 'No Gifts.' Often a second-time bride or groom or an older couple feels that they have everything they need and prefer that their guests not give them a gift. Regardless, the joy and happiness a wedding represents include the giving of gifts to celebrate that happiness, and the printing of 'No Gifts Please' on the invitation is not acceptable. Again, family members and attendants can share this information with guests or can provide the name of a favorite charity to which guests may contribute in lieu of giving a nuptial gift."

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 11:01PM
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Thanks Sheliajoyce. Looks like casually dropping the word in conversation is the way to go.

I wonder why "no gifts" is unacceptable, but directing guests to donate to charity is acceptable? After all, you are telling people what to give or what to not give in both instances.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 7:36AM
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the practice of donating to charities is an exception to most etiquette rules because of the nature of the gift- it's seen as a humble request, rather than a directive.

beyond that exception, telling people that you don't need gifts- is bragging- and for those of us who put more thought and love than money into gifts... it's telling people that you don't need their consideration.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 10:03AM
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If you look at the Emily Post wording, it does not suggest that the suggestion of a donation to charity be printed on the invitation:
"Again, family members and attendants can share this information with guests or can provide the name of a favorite charity to which guests may contribute in lieu of giving a nuptial gift."
_Family members and attendants_ can spread the word "no gifts please" or "A donation to x charity is a good idea" or even "the bride is registered at Y".

Usually this word is spread at the direct request of the indending gift giver: "Hi Mother of Bride, I'd like to give Bride and Groom something they really need for a wedding gift. Are they registered anywhere or do you have any ideas?" "Oh, they really have about everything they need, since they'll be combining two households' worth of stuff as it is. They told me they really just wanted all their friends to come share the joy, but if you feel you want to give them a gift I know they support Well Known Charity- maybe you could make a donation in their name."

It is not spread in this manner: "Hi, Invited Guest, this is Mother of Bride. Bride asked me to tell everyone they've got enough stuff, so not to get her and Groom any gifts, or if they feel they must give something, then they should make a donation to Well Known Charity."

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 1:02PM
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Colleen has it right. That is the Emily Post advice.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 1:45PM
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IMHO, Miss Manners is a much better guide than Emily Post in every way.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 3:28PM
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the practice of donating to charities is an exception to most etiquette rules because of the nature of the gift- it's seen as a humble request, rather than a directive.
Thanks for the clarification, chinacat_sunflower.

Thanks CollenOz.

cloudy_christine, what does Miss Manners have to say on the subject?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 6:03PM
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In this case, Miss Manners says the same as Emily Post - no mention of gifts at all on the invitation, and no mention whatsoever unless asked by the guests.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 6:22PM
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My hubby (then DF) *insisted* on something saying "no gifts" on our wedding announcements, even though I tried to tell him it was completely rude. So this is what we compromised on - and it didn't seem to offend anyone (those who wanted to send gifts still did, and we thanked them graciously).

"May your good wishes be your only gift to us."

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 6:49PM
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When I got married we did not want or need gifts. But we did not write that on the invitation. When asked we said we really don't want anything. When pushed, we said, "you know, something fun to do that we normally wouldn;t do would be nice." So we received gift certificates to restaurants we normally may not think of on our own, roller skating, ice skating, laser tag, horseback riding, dance lessons, and such. We had a very fun using all those certificates and it was much appreciated.

Now, for my birthday invitations that just went out, I wrote, "No gifts, please" under the dress code instructions. But if people insist, I will tell them the same thing, "things to do will be great."

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 7:57PM
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Miss Manners said this to a couple who wanted to wanted to direct gifts to charity or write "no gifts please":

"... there is no tasteful way -- not even any moderately decent way -- of directing present giving when you are on the receiving end. Contrary to general belief, present givign is never required. ... You must pretend that you invite people because you want to celebrate important occasions with them, and you must seem pleasantly surprised when they give you something. To act as if it is such standard payment that you can acknowledge your expectations is rude-rude-rude."

and elsewhere she wrote:

"Any suggestions from you, unless specifically requested by an individual guest, are improper. This includes a ban on stating 'No gifts' because, although less greedy than the attempt to pick one's own present, this also assumes some sort of payment is taken for granted."

So your instinct is right -- just let Mom and Dad let guests WHO ASK know that you are really hoping that they will just make a donation to their favorite charity in your honor. If anyone gives you gifts anyway, and many will, you are -- after thanking the givers, of course -- completely free to donate them (or the proceeds of their sale) to a good cause. You don't have to tell people that is what you are doing (and I wouldn't).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 7:08PM
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My son is getting married in Mar. to a wonderful woman, but they are combining two houses into one and they don't need can we say on the invitations that they would rather have cash towards the honeymoon???

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 9:08PM
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You can't dictate to people what form their gifts will take. Expecting the guests to pay for the honeymoon is well, "crass" is a little harsh but it's in that neighbourhood. One would hope their friends have an inkling of their "stuff" status and will ask what would be a good gift, whereupon which you might say, "Oh, they have two whole houses worth of stuff, cash would be good because they can put it towards some particular project."

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 2:06AM
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ColleenOz is exactly right. Please don't put anything at all about gifts -- and absolutely nothing about wanting cash, whether for a honeymoon or anything else -- on the invitation. It will look greedy and mercenary.

Search this forum -- or any etiquette forum -- to find out what people think about requests for cash. Read a few of those, and then ask yourself if that's what you want people to think or say about you or your son.

IF people ASK you what they might like for a wedding gift, THEN you can tell them something like what ColleenOz or one of the earlier posters suggested.

But if they decide they prefer to give them a candy dish or a vase, they aren't being rude.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Pam - read what the other posters said...

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 5:11PM
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I need help. Im getting married this june and im leaving the country my family is throwing me a farewell bridal shower but I have lots of luggage weight and basically i cant take anything else with me, i know my family and friends would like to get me house gifts but since my home is not in the country they cant,but if i get a cash gift i can use that money to buy things for my new house so i dont know how to word on the invitation that i would rather have cash in order for me to buy house stuff over there. I know its usually not appropiate to mention gift ideas on a invitation but i have about 60 people showing up they are probably going to bring something and i cant take anything with me.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 5:11PM
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Your situation is unique, but I still wouldn't ask for cash on the invitation. You might mention to close friends and family that you can't take gifts with you. Not only do you have the issue of weight, but possibly of having to pay duty on the items as well. Your friends can then remind those who mention gifts that receiving them would be a problem.

You can also say something at your shower, and it would be appropriate for a shower host to mention on the invitation to please not bring large, bulky or heavy items because you will be going overseas. That should alert people to the issue, and then you can tell those who inquire that gifts are not needed, but if they would like to give something, money would be preferred.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 8:44PM
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I'm sorry, Ally -- I do see your concern -- but there's no "usually" about it: it's never appropriate to mention gifts in a wedding invitation -- including yours.

If you are talking about a shower invitation, not the wedding invitation, you have a little more leeway: shower invitations often refer to gifts, often by theme and even by including registry info (I am not crazy about the latter, but it does seem to be common now).

But specifying cash for a shower? Not okay, sorry. Search this thread. Search any etiquette or bridal forum. Consult any etiquette book or authority. You will not find even one approving a "cash shower." Even though your reasoning is the difficulty of transporting gifts, don't take the risk of looking mercenary and crass.

Try to envision a cash shower: the guests sit and watch the bride open envelope after envelope of cash or checks. Does that sound entertaining? To me, it sounds embarrassing at best. And do you announce how much each guest gave you?

Now envision someone opening an invitation to a shower with a notation to bring a cash gift. Even if you understand that the couple is moving overseas and "thing" gifts might be harder to transport, how would that look to you? True, the invitation comes from the host, not from you, but everyone knows you provided the guest list and presumably approved an idea like a request for cash. How is this any different from "Please come to a party and fork over some money"?

If I were your friend or relative, I wouldn't say a word to you. But I'd be really, really put off.

Your situation is unusual -- but it's not "unique." I have been to more than one wedding just in the last year where the couple lived far away, including one overseas. It's no more inconvenient, and only a little more expensive, to ship things overseas (use the items before you go if necessary to avoid paying duty, at least to some countries). If you won't be overseas for more than a few years, then leave things you won't need for a while with your parents or in storage.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:27PM
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I meant to add that as your shower guests presumably know that you will be living overseas, they will know not to bring you gifts that are difficult to transport.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:29PM
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We are getting married in June, and we already live together and have pretty much everything we need. However no matter how much stuff you have, some people will want to give gifts, and I think these should e graciously accepted regardless. We plan to register for a few items we still need (ie a nice set of pots and pans, new coffee maker) and add this info to our wedding website. That way, you can leave any mention of gifts off the invitation, while still directing people to your site. We'll also have maps, lodging info, and other helpful stuff on the site, so people will probably go looking there anyway if they feel the need to give a gift.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 3:47PM
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