The etiquette for "no gifts please" on wedding invitations

Updated July 20, 2017

There are times when a bride and groom may not want to receive gifts, such as in the case of a remarriage. Writing "No gifts, please" on an invitation is considered to be a breach in etiquette, since mentioning gifts at all indicates an expectation of one. This can also cause confusion, as guests might think you don't want presents, but want money instead. There are other ways a couple can handle this situation without offending or confusing guests.

Spread the word

Instead of writing "No gifts, please" on the invitation, tell your family and friends about your wishes. Enlist the help of your parents of bridal party to spread the word as well. If a guest asks what you would like, tell them you have everything you need and request only their presence and well wishes.

Request a Charitable Donation

If you'd rather help others than have guests give you money or gifts you don't need, The Knot suggests creating a charity registry. Set one up through The I Do Foundation or Just Give, where guests can make a donation to your requested charity through the website. Keep in mind that registry information of any kind should not be included on your wedding invitation. It would be appropriate to include the link to your charity registry on your wedding website, if you have one. Also, ask friends and family to tell others about your registry and/or mention the charity registry link in a bridal shower invitation.

Create a Small Registry

Emily Post suggests creating a registry of a few inexpensive items, even if you would rather not receive gifts. Although guests should respect your wishes, there will be well-meaning family members who won't be able to accept the fact that you don't want anything, and traditionalists who insist on buying you a present anyway. If you'd rather not register, create a short list of gifts that you would like and share it with your bridal party and families. Ask them to spread the word that you don't need gifts, but if the guest insists on bringing one or won't give up the subject, to tell them you would appreciate a gift card to a certain store, hotel or restaurant.

Accept Gifts

No matter how many times you tell guests that you don't want gifts, there will be people who insist on bringing one. Accept the gift graciously, and make no mention of your "no gifts" request. Don't make the guest feel uncomfortable or awkward. Send a thank you note to acknowledge their present; this should be sent no later than three months after the wedding, according to Emily Post. Guests, however, should respect the couple's wishes and not a bring a gift if they know of this request in advance.

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About the Author

Based in Philadelphia, Eliza London has been a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in business and retail trade magazines, as well as on numerous websites. London holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Susquehanna University.