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The University of Alabama

UA Matters: Wedding Gift Etiquette

Dr. Kimberly Boyle

Kimberly Boyle

The tradition of giving gifts to the newly married couple is as old as the institution of marriage itself.

Early gifts consisted of food, such as meats, cheeses, cakes and ale. Later, money and household items entered the scene as a more popular way to help the happy couple begin their new life.

Companies soon began to capitalize on the gift giving tradition, and stores, such as Marshal Fields, began the first bridal registry in 1924.

So, now that we are in the year 2015, what are the do’s and don’ts of bridal registry and gift giving?

The University of Alabama’s Kimberly Boyle offers a few suggestions on how engaged couples can navigate the sometimes tricky art of receiving gifts.

  • To start, select three registries to have the right balance of wanted items (department, big box and a specialty/boutique store).
  • At the registry appointment, select and scan a variety of merchandise to give your guests a variety of items and prices from which to choose. Items should include dinnerware, glassware, flatware, linens, kitchen equipment and pots/pans starting at $25 on up.
  • Set up a main mailing address so guests know where to mail the wedding gift. Etiquette says one should mail the present to the bride’s or bride’s parents’ home, and do NOT bring it to the wedding.
  • Displaying your gifts is an old southern tradition, but decide if showing off your gifts to friends and family is right for you.
  • As gifts arrive, be sure to have a recording system in place, and write thank you notes as soon as possible.
  • Guests have up to a year to purchase a wedding gift, so keep the gift registry open as long as possible.
  • Alternative gift-giving ideas include requesting a donation to a favorite charity or setting up a honeymoon website to help pay for the big trip.

Boyle is an assistant professor in UA’s College of Human Environmental Sciences restaurant, hotel and meetings management program.uamatters_logo-thumb

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UA Matters is a weekly posting that offers information and tips on consumer issues facing Alabamians. The information is available to reprint in your publication free of charge. Also, access to subject matter experts is available upon request. For more information, contact Kim Eaton at 205/348-8325 or>.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.