Give Wedding Gifts in a Timely Manner
When I was in my 20s, money was tight, and invitations to weddings were plentiful, so I fully embraced the idea that a wedding guest has up to a year to send a wedding gift. Given my penchant for procrastination, I really stretched the limits of this. Now that I'm older and wiser--and, perhaps a bit more financially responsible--I'd like to encourage good wedding guests to not adhere to this rule. Sending your gift very close to the time of the wedding is really the best idea for many reasons. Here are a few that come to mind:
- It's something [out of the] blue. While it's kind of fun for a couple to suddenly get a surprise gift in the mail a year after the wedding, it also means they'll need to locate their thank you cards again, find their list of addresses, and generally get back into wedding mode. This can be awkward since they now may be involved in common newlywed activities, such as settling into a new home or starting a family.
- You'll make more work for yourself. As the a guest and gift-giver, do you really want to have to remember when your year is up? I remember that when I used to float for a year, my weekly to-do list always had a line for "buy wedding gift" and it would carry from week to week, and with it came the guilt that often accompanies procrastination. It made the gift less of a true expression of my good wishes and congratulations, and more of a chore and source of stress for me.
- It will be slim pickings. By the time a year draws near, the registry will have been fully picked through, and the bride and groom may have already started buying things for themselves to fill in the gaps of incomplete place settings and the like. So, by that time, your well-meaning gift may be redundant or you may not be able to find anything at all that suits them.
My advice: Try to give the gift within a month before or after the wedding day. If you're giving cash, certainly try to bring that the day of the wedding or close to the wedding date - it's easy to show up to the wedding with a card and cash, and drop it in to the box or other vessel usually created for collecting such gifts.
If you like to give a gift besides money, if it's very small in size, then by all means, bring it to the wedding. Otherwise, shipping directly to the address on the registry or the couple's new address together is the way to go, so that the couple doesn't have to figure out a way to get your gift home from the reception site.
I have even more to say on this topic about giving cash versus giving gifts from the registry or other places, but I'll save that for another post. In the meantime, here are some other gift ideas for you to peruse - just promise me you'll send it to your own newly wedded couple friends soon!