Who Gets Gifts at a Wedding?

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Gifts from the Bride and Groom – Giving Guidelines

Aside from receiving gifts on your wedding day, proper wedding etiquette requires that give a few gifts, too. So who gets gifts at a wedding? Put your most gracious foot forward to ensure that you don’t overlook anyone who should be on your gift list with our clear-cut guide to who gets gifts at  weddings.

As your wedding draws near, you’ve undoubtedly felt a glimmer of anticipation about  the mountain of gifts you are likely to receive from guests and well-wishers on your wedding day. Kind of makes you feel like a kid at Christmas time, no?

But what about all those fine folks to whom you, as the bride and groom, need to give gifts? Yes, that’s right – in case you’ve forgotten, apart from being the recipient of gifts as your wedding approaches, proper etiquette requires that you’ll need to give a few, too.

Put your most gracious foot forward and show your appreciation to every individual who deserves it with our clear-cut gift giving guide. Read on to ensure that you don’t overlook anyone who should be on your gift list. And if you start feeling a little frustrated and exhausted at the mere thought of having to shop for gifts, worry not — we’ve got some excellent tips and ideas which will take the guess work out of gift giving, making it much easier than you likely ever imagined it could be.

Who Gets a Gift?


Tradition requires that you acknowledge each of your bridal party attendants with a thoughtful gift of appreciation for their time, effort, and participation. This means you will need to purchase gifts for the bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, honor attendants, flower girl, ring bearer, page boys if you have them, junior bridesmaids, and anyone else who is part of the bridal party. Remember that the members of your bridal party incur costs, invest time, and sometimes even work hard to be a part of your wedding – a gracious bride and groom knows to treat them with kindness and gratitude.


Unfortunately, in this busy hustle bustle world, more and more couples are forgetting about a very special set of people who are very deserving of gifts of love and appreciation on the wedding day – their parents! Children of all ages sometimes have a habit of taking their parents for granted and failing to appreciate them. Regrettably, many couples make this same mistake even at a time as special as a wedding. It is traditional to present your parents with a gift of appreciation on, or very near, your wedding day – and it is also an important show of consideration and respect. Don’t be neglectful – honor them with a gift which communicates the affection you feel for them, and let’s them know that they remain an important part of your world, even now, that you are all grown up and starting a brand new life as a married person.

Hosts / Hostesses of Parties & Showers

Good manners require you to present a gift of appreciation to any individual who has been thoughtful, gracious, and generous enough to host a celebration in your honor. This includes events like engagement parties and bridal showers, as well as any other gathering at which you are the honored guests. You can approach this in one of two ways: Bring along a gift to present to the host/hostess either when you arrive at the event, at some point during the festivities, or at the conclusion of the celebration; or, send a gift, along with a note of thanks, immediately following the party or shower (no later than one week after). Either way, be sure to verbally thank your host/hostess for his or her hospitality and kindness on the day of the event as well.

Special Helpers

At any wedding, there are bound to be people who have gone out of their way to provide their assistance, or who have given generously of themselves, either at your request, or without ever being asked. Of course, we are not referring to hired service providers who are being paid, but rather, to Aunt Sally who insisted on baking your wedding cake. Or your crafty cousin Katie who enthusiastically agreed to help make your bouquets and floral decorations. Or your mother’s best friend Maimie who offered to arrive at the reception hall hours before the event in order to put her decorating talents to good use. These helpful souls are all well deserving of an expression of your appreciation, so select a special gift to let them know their effort and kindness has not gone unnoticed.

Special Guests

You may have certain extra-special guests at your wedding who have earned this title either because they have put in considerable effort to be in attendance, or because they hold a very special place in your life or in your heart. It may be fitting to express your fondness for them by honoring them on this very special day, just as you will do for your parents. Your old room mate and her husband from Detroit, who have driven 2000 miles in sweltering July heat, may be worthy of a welcome gift when they arrive. Think along the lines of a gift basket or a bottle of wine. A childhood nanny who holds a special spot in your heart, a special aunt or uncle, Godparent, or grandparent…. All of precious people may be worthy of a gift which says “you matter” on this important right of passage in your life.

Wedding Guests

Wedding guests get gifts too? You bet! They’re called favors, and they are small token gifts traditionally given by the bride and groom to say “thanks for taking the time out of your busy lives to be here on our wedding day!”.

Last But Not Least…
Each other!

Had you thought of that? Don’t feel bad if it hadn’t occurred to you – sometimes we are all so oblivious to the obvious! It’s not uncommon for couples to get so caught up in all of the “ins and outs” of wedding planning, that they forget this is a gift-giving occasion to be shared by the two of them!

But then, the big question… What in heaven’s name do you get for the love of your life on this most important of all occasions? Many brides and grooms struggle with this very dilemma. Of course, it has to be something extra special… and very romantic… but somehow the ideas just don’t seem to flow.

Your gifts to one another should be of a very long lasting nature – something with solid ‘keepsake’ value. A pair of socks or some kitchen gadget may be fine beneath the Christmas tree, but you’ll want to shoot for something with a little more impact on your wedding day.

If you really want to make a statement with your gift to your beloved, here is a unique idea which will aptly demonstrate the magnitude of your affection for them…

You can have a star named after your sweetheart as a wedding gift for them. Yes, an actual star in the sky. “Sure”, you’re thinking, “If your last name happens to be Rockefeller”. You would indeed think that something as ‘out of this world’ as this would cost a minor fortune to accomplish, so it might surprise you to learn that it can be done for a mere $48. For years, The International Star Registry has been naming stars for celebrities and dignitaries across the world – the likes of which your sweetheart can now be counted among! Perhaps you may recall an episode of the NBC television show “Cheers!” which actually featured one of these Star Registry certificates. Now you can have this done for the person you love as a unique and utterly unforgettable gift.

So what do they receive to prove that there is really a star in the sky which will bear their name from this day until the end of time? A 12″ x 16″ parchment certificate, available framed or unframed, which includes the name of the person you have named a star after, the dedication date, and the telescopic coordinates of the star. They’ll also receive an informative booklet with charts of the constellations plus a larger, more detailed chart featuring the star you’ve named for them, encircled in red. Because these star names are copyrighted with their telescopic coordinates in the book, “Your Place in the Cosmos,” future generations will be able to identify the star in the directory, and using a telescope, locate the actual star in the sky! What could be more perfect for the person who is the star in the story of your life?

Its important to add that as perfect as this gift is for the one you are marrying, it really is the gift of a lifetime for anyone you think the world of. You might consider naming a star after each of your attendants, or honoring your parents by naming stars after them. Imagine how thrilled they will be when they find out about this on your wedding day.

Regardless of who you have deemed lucky enough to name a star for, if it is in honor of the occasion of your wedding, you might want to consider having the master of ceremonies announce this during the speeches and toasts at your reception – then just wait for the impressed and astonished gasps of delight and approval, the “Wow!”s, “Ooohs”, and “Ahhhhs” from everyone in attendance. It truly makes for a remarkable moment.

Such a special and unique idea! If you want more ideas to really make your wedding personalized, memorable and unique, check out our Wedding Ideas section.

If you have other wedding etiquette questions, or just want to make sure you aren’t above to accidentally make an embarrassing etiquette faus pas, check out our Wedding Etiquette section.


~ by Linda Kevich, PWP

Linda Kevich is a recognized wedding expert, and the creator and editor of SuperWeddings.com. She has been a professional wedding consultant for over ten years, and now teaches the business of wedding consulting through a Wedding Planner Certification program she developed and administers. Since the year 1999, she has trained and mentored hundreds of wedding planners around the world in successfully entering the wedding planing profession, and is setting a standard for excellence in the industry.

2 thoughts on “Who Gets Gifts at a Wedding?

  1. Edward Kowalski says:

    Do you offer favors to guest that only attend the reception?

    1. Editorial Team says:

      Yes, absolutely – favors are given out at the reception, so all guests at the reception should receive a favor, regardless of whether or not they were at the ceremony 🙂

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