Gift Guidance: Telling your guests what to give

Q: My fiance and I are getting married and I need a little advice. Being that we already are living together, we do not need any gifts. we have already paid for our honeymoon completely. Instead of the gift/bridal registry as the norm, we wanted to include that monetary gifts would be the preference for us. How should this be worded?

A: You may not ask for money in writing on your invitation. You can, however, use the word-of-mouth system for letting people know your preference. Tell you parents, attendants and a few close relatives that if anyone asks them, they may tell them that your most appreciated gift would be money. You may also say that to people who ask you directly.


  1. Teresa

    Here is my question. My Niece is having a destination wedding, with only 60 people invited. Now, she would like for her Aunt and I (I am an Aunt also) to give her a shower in August. It seems rude to me to invited people to a shower that are not invited to the wedding. Am I wrong in thinking this?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      Alicia is right. It is also rude for your niece to ask for a shower. She should have a shower if someone offers to throw her one and not have a shower if no one offers.

  2. Alicia

    No only those invited to the wedding may be invited to any of the prewedding parties. So you must limit the shower invites to only those invited to the wedding which means those 60 people. Even if only women invited that gives you around 30 people and honestly some of the most lovely showers are the small ones with only a dozen or so close friends and family.

  3. Paige

    We have several friends who have gotten married over the past few months and my husband and I have been happy to serve as hosts/hostesses for showers for them. If we pay for a shower and contribute to a hostess gift, are we then still expected to purchase a separate wedding gift?

    • Elizabeth

      I don’t know that there’s an etiquette answer for this question that is true 100% of the time. Sometimes people do give showers, shower gifts, AND a wedding present, and sometimes they don’t. Further – what people ought to expect and what they do expect can be two different things. If one is very entitled, then one may expect all manner of things, you know? If you spent your whole budget for a friend’s wedding on hosting the shower and chipping in for a shower gift (I assume you meant shower rather than hostess gift), then all you need do is write your well wishes in a card for the wedding. (It’s better to include a card specifically for the wedding than to do nothing, because then they may be unsure whether you meant to give a gift and it got lost, etc.)

  4. Julie

    I am a co-hostess for a friend’s daughter’s wedding shower. The other hostess got together with the MOB and decided they would ask the guests to give money ahead of time for a gift the bride wants. I am against telling the guests what to give the bride. I said if they wanted we could include a note saying the bride really wants this expensive gift and, if the guest wishes to contribute, they can bring a gift card which the bride can apply. They want the bride to open the gift at the shower so they aren’t willing to do this compromise. What is correct and what are my options?

    • Elizabeth

      You are correct that guests should not be instructed to purchase only one gift. Many people prefer to buy their own gifts, they prefer to make items, or to choose from a long and varied registry. Many guests will chafe at being told that they can only contribute one kind of gift (cash) for one pre-determined item. However, it sounds like your cohosts are already decided on the matter. You can bring up your objections, you can warn that it will not go over well, but ultimately it sounds like its out of your hands. I would not withdraw as a hostess over this.

    • Alicia

      I would withdraw as a co hostess of the shower. A cohostess is responsible for the party and as such I would not want to be responsible for this train wreck.

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