Wedding Photographer

Wedding Gift Tips for Guests When There’s No Registry

When you receive a wedding invitation in the mail or log on to a wedding website, you will most likely find a note for guests stating the donation protocol. For the most part, there are instructions on how to access a honeymoon registry or fund to help contribute to the couple’s post-bridal vacation. However, in a few cases, there is no registry listed or even the phrase “No gifts”. In these cases, a guest may be a little confused on how to proceed.

“If there is no gift registry included, check the wedding website or you can call the bride or groom. In other words, feel free to contact to see if there is a register you may have missed or if there is something in particular they may like to receive,” says etiquette expert Diane Gottsman. “If the invitation doesn’t mention any gifts, it’s important to follow up their request.”

Still not sure if you should always give newlyweds something extra? We asked a few wedding pros for their thoughts.

Gift if you can

If a couple says there are no gifts, that doesn’t mean it’s bad form to give one. “Normally, when couples avoid registering, it means they would prefer not to gift boxed items,” shares wedding planner Nicole-Natassha Goulding. “In most cases, it’s completely acceptable to bring a monetary gift instead of a checked item. It’s always a good idea to check with the event hosts, primarily the bridal shower, if no records have been listed as to the identity of the couple’s preference.”

Event planner Nathalie Cadet-James echoes those same sentiments. “When I see the words ‘No Register’ it usually suggests that cash donations are welcome, even when it says ‘Your presence is our present’. Personally, I like the way I feel when I make a meaningful gift. My favorite gift lately is to plant trees in honor of the couple in a place that is dear to them. Which makes the roots bloom.

Don’t feel obligated

Of course, if the couple says “no gifts,” it’s not a faux pas not to bring any. If you want to do something small, even a handwritten card is a great way to give back to the newlyweds. “Gifting these days really should be about the ability to give (if you have a budget for it) and the heart behind it, and none of those depend on a registry,” shares wedding photographer Perry Vaile. “If someone is being taken from other wedding expenses, I don’t think a couple would want them to stretch their finances to buy an expensive gift. Perhaps a couple skipping the register is a way to free clients from their financial obligations. Coming from the South though, I don’t think I could show up without something, so that’s where the thoughtful or heartfelt gift would come in!”