Present Politeness: When to open your wedding gifts

by epi on July 25, 2012

Q: I have a quick question about present opening. I would like to open presents the day after the wedding at our apartment and serve bagels and juice so it is informal and it would be our way of thanking our guests. My fiance’s mother would like to have brunch at their condo. Is there a traditional morning after brunch routine? Is there a proper way to do this? Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

A: It is not uncommon for the bride’s or groom’s parents to host a brunch the day following the wedding for out-of-town guests.  It generally is a low-key affair.  It is unusual for the bride and groom to host this type of brunch since they are in all likelihood soon to leave on their honeymoon but there is no “rule” that says they can’t.  It is also unusual for the couple to open all their presents at such a brunch.  It is not a shower where the main entertainment is opening the gifts.  There’s nothing entertaining about watching the couple open gifts of cash, a common wedding gift.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Alicia July 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

Aso it is very common for gift to be sent to arrive after the wedding when the couple gets back from the honeymoon so it is likely noty all your gifts will be there the day after and make folks feel uncomfortable if they sent it to arrive after you get back.
Open gifts the next morning but do it with just you and your new spouse and let new mother in law host a brunch that you attend and socialize with your guest not open gifts.

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Joanna July 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

Nothing personal, but I cannot imagine anyone wanting to go spend a couple of hours simply watching someone open gifts (and no, bagels and juice do NOT make this a “party,” in my opinion). Not only would it be dull, but it also smacks of showing off to me.

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Courtney D August 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Sorry, but I agree that this doesn’t sound fun. I personally don’t like opening gifts in front of people but that is expected at a shower. Plus you want people to know you are grateful!

What about receiving gifts by mail prior to the wedding? Do you send a thank you note right away? Or do you wait until after the wedding? Obviously, the shower gifts get notes right away, but I am referring to the wedding gifts. Thanks!

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Winifred Rosenburg August 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Yes, you should send a thank-you note as soon as possible after receiving the gift. That means, if time allows, you should send thank yous for gifts received before the wedding before the wedding. Of course, I can’t imagine qnyone being offended if you wait until after the wedding because you were busy with last-minute wedding planning. :)

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Jeremiah Isenberg November 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Shortly after my wedding, my stepmom (who subscribes to the Emily Post etiquette mantra) requested to see the list of gifts that my wife and I received . Although my wife and I (and everyone we mentioned it to) were a little surprised by the request, my wife and I, reasoned that considering their assistance with the DJ, flowers and rehearsal dinner (the standard list of Groom’s parent’s contributions), that we should give it to her.

We ended up giving her a list that included just her family and friends. Now, we find out that she wants the complete list that includes all of the gifts from the Brides side of the wedding too. My wife and I don’t exactly feel comfortable with this. Are we wrong, whats the etiquette on parents (or anyone else) requesting “the list”?

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Elizabeth November 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Your stepmother sounds like a very nosy person. Why do you think she wants this information? My sister’s MIL wanted to know about her side because she comes from a culture that values reciprocity very highly, and she said she needed to know how generous to be for future events. Is this information your MIL would hold against you later somehow? I would just ignore her request. If she persists, ask her why she wants to see it. Then just reassure whatever concern she brings up. “Oh, Stepmom, you don’t have to worry, everyone was very generous. But thanks for your concern.” If she continues, just say that the gifts are between you, your wife, and the gift-givers, and it’s no one else’s business. Giving her or anyone else that information opens people up to comparison and judgment, which is exactly the opposite of the gratitude that you should show/feel to each one of your guests.

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