How long after the ceremony may a gift be sent and still not be regarded as tardy?
Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca
Wedding gifts can be sent as soon as the wedding invitation arrives and should be sent as close to the wedding date as possible. I’m certain that, no matter how long it has been since the wedding, the bridal couple will be delighted to receive a gift and welcome it without question about when it was sent. There are many circumstances that could cause a gift to be sent late such as mailing errors, illness of guest, miscommunications with the store where the gift was purchased, etc.
If you are the guest doing the sending, don’t worry, send your gift along with an apology for the lateness. If you are the groom, please accept any and all gifts, no matter how long after the wedding, with a grateful heart and mind! Don’t forget to send a thank you note too!
Thank you very much for such a quick reply; I should have more fully explained my problem:
I just received an email from my cousin, the mother of the bride, complaining that we had not sent her daughter a gift. (The wedding was about two weeks ago, and the couple has been honeymooning since.) When I asked my wife about it, she showed me her note to herself to buy and send the present, and said she believed it was proper form to send a gift as much as roughly two weeks after the wedding. Setting aside the impropriety of my cousin’s voiced complaint, we seem now to be in a no-win situation – if we do send the gift it will surely be regarded as a guilty response to the email.
Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc
Hmmm…well, this mother of the bride was obviously way off base by asking why you did not give a gift. Peggy Post specifically says, “Nor should couples ever ask why they didn’t receive a gift from an invited wedding guest”.
If you have not yet responded to your cousin’s email yet, go ahead, hit reply and, in the nicey-est, nicest, sickeningly nicest, (did I mention you should be really, really nice?), words tell her that you can appreciate her concern and that your wife has indicated that she has indeed sent a gift. Tell her you will be sure to immediately contact the couple to let them know that their mom has brought this to your attention and you will assure them that you have not forgotten them; a gift is on the way!
Now, please, run out and get the gift in the mail pronto!
When will people ever get it that this isn’t all about GIFTS…the root of most wedding issues! Have a wedding because you love someone so much that you want to stand up in the prescence of everyone you care about and profess this love…then party, party, party! If you get some gifts, awesome; it’s icing on that wonderful wedding cake. If not, so what…you have the love of your life!
Thanks again; everything you wrote makes sense to me and we’ll be certain to follow your advice.
I would still like to know if there is a recognized time frame in which to send a gift. For instance, I remember when graduating from school that the bread-and-butter notes were due within two weeks. Is there something similar regarding wedding gifts? Not a really big thing, but it would give us more moral ground.
Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca
Dear Wedding Gift Time Frame,
Actually there is no ‘written down time frame’, except as the Wedding Queen stated that the gifts could be mailed as soon as the invitations arrive. So, typically the gift should arrive before the wedding. In a number of regions it is common place to take the gift to the reception. But, there is no ‘rule’ about how long after a wedding that a gift should be sent.
I’d take a guess and say, soon.
Thanks, Rebecca. Earlier today I looked this topic up in Ms. Post’s big book. She said exactly what you wrote in your email; so, I’ll take care of it today.