Wedding Gifts: Should I Give a Gift if I’m Out of Town?
A wedding guest wonders if she should send her niece an engagement gift if she can’t attend the party
The process of gift-giving always poses many questions: Do you have to give a gift? How much should you spend? Do you have to pick something from the couples’ bridal registry? Then, there’s this one from a guest invited to an engagement party:
Dear Wedding Guru: “My niece and her fiancé are having an engagement party. It’s out of town and I can’t attend. Do I send a gift anyway?”
(Our answer on next page)
The Wedding Guru says: Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer to your question — but I can give you some information that may help you make your decision. Etiquette says that only close family and friends should be invited to an engagement party. According to Emily Post, the consummate etiquette maven, “close friends and family usually do give the couple an engagement gift, either when the engagement is announced or at the engagement party.”
However, conventional wisdom says that you need not send a gift! Some bridal couples make it easy by putting out the word (usually through a family member) that they do not want guests to bring gifts. If you’re also unable to attend any other wedding-related party — such as the shower or bachelorette party — or you’re very close to the couple, then consider sending a gift. If you had an engagement party and received a gift from the couple, then it’s appropriate to reciprocate.
Had you asked this question if you planned to attend, I would add one more thing: Do not give a gift if your budget doesn’t allow it. Especially if you’re attending a party out of town, your mere presence should be the gift!