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How to Politely Say No to Gifts on Invitations

Updated February 21, 2017

If you would prefer that guests not bring gifts to your party, one way to make this especially clear is to include a request for no gifts on the invitation. This might be the case when you are having a baby shower for a second child and already have everything you need, or if you would prefer that your child not receive gifts at his birthday party. However, etiquette rules can make it tricky to even mention gifts on the invitation, so tread carefully.

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  1. Write a line at the very bottom of the invitation, saying, "No gifts please." Change the size and potentially the font of this text so it is smaller than the rest of the invitation text and looks discreet. This is the clearest way to politely decline gifts.

  2. Write a line that lets guests know that you would really just like them to come celebrate with you rather than bringing a gift. A couple of ways to say this include, "May your good wishes be your only gift to us," "May the presence of your company be your only gift to us" or "Your presence is present enough." Again, change the size and font to make it look discreet.

  3. Spread information about declining wedding gifts by word of mouth rather than mentioning it on the invitation. In some circles, mentioning gifts at all on an invitation, even to request that they not be given, is considered a breach of etiquette. Your close friends, parents and wedding party can help you pass on the memo that you would prefer that guests not give you anything.

  4. Tip

    If you receive an invitation that includes a request for no gifts, the best thing to do is to honour the request. If you choose to give a gift anyway, mail it ahead of time rather than bringing it to the party. Another idea is to make a donation to a charity in that person's name.

    Warning

    Set gifts aside and open them later if people bring gifts to the party anyway. Opening gifts at the party can cause those who did not bring gifts to feel embarrassed.

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About the Author

Kristen May
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