I've been invited to a wedding....

A friend from college is getting married and invited me and, presumably, a lot of the other people who all graduated together. The wedding is in a week.

I’ve never been to a wedding(at least that I can remember). I presume I’m supposed to bring a gift. The problem is, I don’t really know what to get him/them(I’ve never met the bride). I probably should get a “Safe” gift, not too expensive, because I don’t know much about what you get someone for their wedding?

I don’t know about “proper” gifts. I can tell you that when I got married I had already been living with the ex for two years and we had all the house stuff. Cash and gift certificates (to places like Home Depot) will most definitely be appreicated - maybe even more than those stupid little crystal geegaws they’ll inevitably receive. :stuck_out_tongue:

Are they registered anywhere? Isn’t that the normal way to find out what they want?

Ask them if they’re registered somewhere, or if there’s anything they’d especially like, and go from there. You’re not limited to the registry, of course; some of our best gifts were things people just thought we ought to have, like the quilt his grandmother made and the quilt rack my dad made to hang it on.

The only real rule about buying a wedding present is to get something you think they’ll like and that you can afford. If that’s a place setting of her dinnerware, great. If that’s a goofy picture album filled with snapshots from the wedding, or of them through their courtship, that’s also great. If it’s cash for them to spend on the honeymoon, that’s great, too.

My standard wedding presents are a picnic basket, or a hand-crank ice cream maker (promotes good bonding time…it’s hard to continue an argument when you’re working together in close proximity to create something wonderful). Where I work, the most commonly purchased wedding gift for people you are not close to is an photo album engraved with their names and wedding date…under $40, and great for all those candids people give you after the wedding.

Send the gift ahead if you can, or take it with you to the reception. Be sure to tuck a small card into the gift with who it’s from, in case the large card you stick on the outside gets separated from your gift in the bundling up process.

I usually give a check for $100 - $200.

It’s really better to mail your gift to the couple rather than bring it to the wedding:

  • It’s proper from an etiquette standpoint

  • It ensures that your gift actually makes it to the couple’s home, rather than accidentally winding up at a relative or bridal party member’s house for who knows how long

  • It ensures that your card/identifying information are not separated from the gift, so that the couple can write a thank-you card

  • It’s one less item for the bridal party to watch over and pack away when the reception ends

I’m sure you’ll find something they’ll appreciate. Have fun at the wedding!

Two safe options are picture frames and clocks - with either, it doesn’t matter if they receive more than one :smiley:
(And is there really an etiquette expectation to send the gift rather than bring it? I’ve never come across that idea before.)

A portrait of Ben Franklin is usually appreciated.

Yep, back in the day it was considered polite and normal to send the gifts to the bride’s house. It is still considered polite and normal to do it today, although the gift table at the reception is getting more and more common.
If you must take you gift into the reception, at least don’t take it into the church.

Unfortunatly, the wedding is saturday, so I don’t think I’ll have the time to do that.

OK. But it is acceptable for your gift to arrive after the wedding, so you don’t have to view the reception as the drop-dead date, if you don’t want to. It’s not a big deal either way, just something to consider.

Don’t worry about your gift not getting there until after the wedding. The bride and groom will probably head straight off to a honeymoon right afterwards and not get mailed gifts until later anyway.

IMHO, it’s only good to give something from the registry or cash. That way you know it’s something they want. I’m at that age where I’m going to 3-4 weddings a year and every single one I’ve been to is registered somewhere.

However, due to foolish (IMO) rules of etiquette it’s not proper to send info on where they are registered with the invitation. So, you must ask around until you find out.

I usually bring cash to the wedding, or mail a check to them afterwards: $200.

Make sure that you give them enough to cover the cost of your meal at least. When still in college and not making money yet, folks usually pay $50.

This is all with my circle of friends and could be completely different for other groups, so YMMV.

Try searching for their names in the registry sections of The Knot and The Wedding Channel. I’ve found lots of people’s registries that way, without having to ask them.

You can also try looking online at Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, or major department stores in their area.

I suggest mailing the gift and taking a nice card to the wedding.

Find out if they’re registered at any stores with online registries. Crate and Barrel, Target, William-Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. Online registries are awesome – you buy it online, the store mails it to the couple’s address, and marks the item as purchased so they don’t get duplicates. It couldn’t be easier, for both you and the couple.

As a frequent wedding invitee (probably 20ish weddings in 3 years…), here’s my general wedding gift strategy:

  1. on the day of the wedding, swing by Target on the way to the wedding. Everybody registers at Target.
  2. Print out the wedding registry.
  3. wander around for 10-15 minutes, looking at potential gifts that haven’t already been purchased by someone with more foresight then myself. Pick up a card (any card will probably do, they won’t read the pre-printed wording anyway)
  4. Write them a check. Sign the card with something to the effect of “I’m not the kind of guy who can give someone a cheese grater, so take this money and spend it on something you really want. Or spend it on toilet paper and shampoo. Either way, congradulations to you both” (yes, I have a strange sense of humor)

I’ve done this for all but one wedding that I’ve attended. And the exception was when I went in with a friend of mine for a wedding gift just after graduating from college.