Receiving Gifts at A Celebration of Marriage Party/Reception

First, I would like to thank you for this website; it has been extremely insightful. For instance, I now know that it is improper to add registry information on an wedding invitation and that only people invited to the ceremony are required to give gifts, and not those invited to the reception. What I am still am unclear about though is what if no one was at the ceremony, what then?

Back story – we decided to get married while on an already planned vacation. The decision was made just a month prior to leaving. Because of this, the ceremony was kept a secret until after we returned home. We are now planning our reception/celebration of marriage party. (we were married on the 17th of February and the ‘reception’ is end of May/beginning of June)

Our families and friends are expecting to give us gifts and we would like to register at a couple places to give them some ideas. Our idea is to add the store registries to our wedding website and the wedding website address onto the invitations. But now I am unsure how to handle this as it seems this is in bad taste.

Are there not new etiquette rules for these type of situations?
What do people who dont have showers or people at their ceremony do for gifts?


Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites,

Congratulations on your recent marriage.

Gifts are only expected from wedding guests, the wedding being the ceremony. Even though some guests will want to send gifts if invited to the reception, it’s not obligatory. Go ahead and post your registry on your wedding website and, if asked, be sure to tell where you’re registered. Let close family and friends know too since they will most likely be the contact your guests will go to for that sort of question. But we still don’t add registry information to wedding invitations. It changes the focus of the invitation from, Please come and be my guest, to, we’re getting married so please send one of these gifts we suggest. I’m sure that’s not the message you want to send. The only time registry information in an invitation is acceptable is in the case of the bridal shower, since the entire focus of that party is showering the bride with gifts.

You asked, “What do people who don’t have showers or people at their ceremony do for gifts?”

Most couples have no need for showers since the idea of the shower was to get the young bride and groom set up in their new home since they are typically older and more established. The bridal shower is quickly becoming an outdated event and, if hosted, is many times held without gifts just for the fun of it. As your question title suggests, this is a celebration of your marriage, so try to focus on celebrating with your friends and family rather than gifts. Trust me, the memories of the day will last much longer than most gifts, especially the monetary gifts.

This may not be the answer you were hoping for, so I hope you still appreciate the website and the insight. 🙂

Nancy Tucker

Well said. Enjoy the party and don’t think about the gift part of it.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Let’s make it three. Bravo. Great advice.

Be careful about listing your wedding website on the reception invitations. Your wedding has passed, so to emphasize the wedding (the main reason for having a site) may be insulting to those who were not invited. Plus, you will be including a registry on the site. The registry shouldn’t be the focus of the site and somewhat buried.

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites,

Right, but since they had a private wedding and no one was invited, having a wedding website would be acceptable (IMO) as a way of sharing the wedding information with everyone and the reception plans with those invited.

Are there any etiquette experts writing about wedding websites yet?

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Most experts, me included, write about wedding websites. But, there really isn’t much to write about. These just shouldn’t focus on registries. And, these shouldn’t be listed on wedding invitations because of the registry. So, there’s not much to write about 😀

The site would be fine for the two of you. But, to be honest, most people use these to keep those close to the couple apprised of the wedding plans and to post pictures of the wedding afterward. So, for those who don’t include guests, there might (might) be an issue with some people feeling put off that they weren’t invited. Plus, there is a small chance that some just might wonder if the couple is reminding everyone about the wedding and to send a gift. People do think these things.

Just a thought.