1. Karen

    We are attending a family event, staying with our hosts (my husband’s brother & wife). I have a gift for our hosts and wonder when is the best time to give it to them? When we arrive? As we are leaving?

    • Personally, I always give host gifts upon arrival. Chances are, they’ve seen you walk in the door with it – what better time? In addition, it starts the visit off on the right foot. :)

    • Nina

      Oh, good, I have a similar question to piggyback on this one. I will be travelling and staying with several different couples for one night each. They are not close friends, but people I know a little who offered to let me stay with them because they know I am on a very tight budget. I know the most appropriate way to repay their generosity is with a gift, but the above-mentioned budget will not allow for very much. And my usual inexpensive-but-thoughtful gift, homemade cookies, does not travel very well. Any suggestions on something appropriate would be sincerely appreciated.

      • Country Girl

        I think it would be lovely to get them something small from your hometown. (small jar of special jam, fun magnets, bag of nuts, etc.) You could even purchase a couple of cheap hometown post cards to use as your thank you notes.

        If not that then you might choose to assemble a small jar of your dry homemade cookie mix, a spatula, and your recipe. That would be a great way to make your homemade cookies travel well with you! =)

        Happy traveling!

  2. Stephanie

    Attending the bridal shower this weekend. What type of gift and is necessary?
    I gave the couple a bottle of fine champagne upon hearing the engagement.
    Gave them some money at their engagement party.
    I will purchase and send gift from store they registered to the bride to be for their wedding.

    What is the suggested for bridal shower???

    Thank you

  3. Pam

    Just Laura…this is for you! Last night I posted about how I am now in the club of people who have received invitations in which they are told where “gifts may be sent” and encouraged to make a “contribution” to a honeymoon registry. Is this a wedding which you would probably decline? I know I cannot decline because my boyfriend definitely wants to go..he’s a really easy going person who would say “we just don’t acknowledge the registry and write the check we were originally going to write.” I don’t see why a honeymoon registry is necessary when many people write checks with the thought that it will probably go toward the honeymoon or new furniture or whatever they choose. This stuff drives me nuts!!!

    • While a honeymoon registry is acceptable (according to Peter Post in this Wall Street Journal article), including gift information in the invitation always gets my proverbial goat. Honeymoon registry information is no different. You’re right – most people today write checks, and the couple may use that money however they please. Using it for the honeymoon seems the logical course of action.

      I would definitely consider not attending, but if my significant other were very good friends with the person, I’d suck it up and go (and wear a smile the whole time). Glad you’re thinking of me, Pam, but I’m sorry it was suck a vexing issue that put me in mind. 😉

      • Country Girl

        I agree, and I don’t know what guests would want to contribute to a honeymoon registry anyway in light of the fact that nearly all sites take a cut of your monetary gift for themselves! Ugh, even though Mr. Post has given it an etiquette stamp of approval, I’m not so sure I think asking your guests to essentially pay for a service allowing them to make a monetary gift to your honeymoon is such a thoughtful choice.

    • Lin

      I certainly wouldn’t decline attending the wedding; be the bigger person and go. The little card(s) indicating where to send/buy gifts can always be “lost” in the mail, or you forgot, or you found this beautiful thing you thought they could use, and you get them what you think would be best (with the receipt attached). I recently received an invitation to a wedding with the registry info, and if it weren’t for the fact that I have some substantial coupons for the store I would probably have shopped somewhere else for the shower and wedding gifts (that and I know the bride is having a very difficult time planning this wedding due to intense family issues from both sides).

  4. Country Girl

    My fiance and I have recently bought a house, and I would love to create a sort of stationary guest gift basket for our guest room. I’d like to make things like toothbrushes, bottles of lotion,books, small snacks, etc available to guests who come to stay with us. I would like to create a large basket with a number of various items and a sign of “Guests please help yourself!” or some such thing.

    In the effort of saving some money instead of making a basket like this for each guest, I am wondering if guests would feel comfortble helping themselves to whatever items they need, or if this sort of open offering is a hosting no-no.

    • Alicia

      I have the guest box which is similar. It is lined in paper that matches my guest bedroom and has a pretty little sign that says Guests. I put it on the bottom of the bed along with fresh towels when people come visit. When you open it up the lid says “Please write in the guest journal and help yourself to any other contents of this box” The guest journal has a place for guests to write name, date, where from, reason for visit, and comment. It is slowly getting to be a fun thing to read. Also in the box I keep sample sized toiletries, a few local maps, a few books, and any other random things I get for free or really really cheap I think a guest might appreciate (local football team mascot shapped mints for example i just added to the guest box.)
      Every single guests since I bought my house has loved it .

    • aw

      Country Girl– can I just congratulate you on the proper usage of the word, “stationary?” I work in the stationery business, and have been reading the wrong spelling of the word in emails all day long. Sheesh!!

      • Country Girl

        Haha! I work in advertising and you’d be surprised at how many clients spell it advertizing. May I join you in an eyeroll? =)

    • Lin

      While it has been some time since I’ve stayed at someone’s home (most of my family/friends are in this area), I think it would be a wonderful gesture! If you get a lot of out-of-town guests not familiar with the area, it might not be a bad idea to include things that only locals would really know (phone numbers for weather/traffic/time, TV channels if there is a TV in the guest room, etc.)

      • Country Girl

        Great ideas! I was already thinking of some local food-type items, but your suggestions are very useful and practical items to add since my fiance’s family is from different areas and time zones!

  5. Ina Pickle

    Dear Emily Post –

    I am in a predicament! My boyfriend, John, has a lifelong friend, Chris, who is getting married next summer. Chris’ fiance, Ali, asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding six months ago. I’ve known Ali for a few years, and she is a friend of mine but we aren’t very close. We email occasionally, but primarily spend time together when John and Chris plan activities. Frankly, I was surprised that Ali asked me to be in her wedding; I think that she may have needed one more bridesmaid to even out with the groomsmen, and I was an easy choice as John will be a groomsman.

    I found out yesterday that my brother is graduating from college on the same day as Ali and Chris’ wedding. My family is very close, and I can’t imagine missing such an important family moment. However, I’ve made a commitment to Ali that I would be in her wedding – I’ve already bought the bridesmaid dress, and I think it would really upset her if I dropped out of her wedding.

    I was wondering if you have any suggestions of what to do? My brother’s graduation is on the east coast, and Ali and Chris are getting married in the Midwest. If I did try to “do both”, it would mean flying in to the wedding early Saturday morning and missing the pre-wedding preparations.

    Thank you very much!
    – Samantha

    • Alicia

      You have made a commitment to Ali and Chris. You skip your brothers college graduation. Call him that day to say congrats and then take your brother out to dinner to celebrate a week or two later. Brother will understand and you can congratulate him on the phone and then in person a week or two later.

      • Pam

        I agree with Alicia that you have made a commitment to Ali & Chris and will have to follow through with the wedding. However, I’m wondering why you didn’t check with your brother about his graduation date when you were asked to be in the wedding. Are you close enough with him where if Ali & Chris said “we are getting married on May 15th” you may have realized that your brother would be graduating in May and could have nipped this in the bud?

  6. Jodi Blackwood

    Hello Ina Pickle,
    While you have made a commitment to Ali for her wedding, I see nothing wrong with having a conversation with her about your dilemma. Ask her to coffee/lunch and simply explain that while you would love to be at both events, you are torn between keeping to your commitment to her (also let her know how honored you are to be included in such a special way, etc., etc.) and seeing your brother graduate from college. Ask for her input and advice … Who knows, given that she asked you six months ago and the wedding is next summer, she may understand completely and feel that you should be with your family. There is time for her to replace you in the wedding and your dress can either be returned, made available to the “new” bridesmaid, or a new addition to your closet.

    Handle the conversation respectfully, with obvious consideration for her feelings, and see where it goes. It won’t hurt and she may surprise you.

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