To ask an etiquette question, please email Helen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace
QUESTION: If the invitation requests "no gifts, please," is it bad manners if I bring a small gift anyway?
CALLIE'S ANSWER: No, it’s never bad manners to bring a gift.
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: This is a tough call, as there's a reason hosts put that on the invitation, usually at the request of the honoree. But then again, it often feels weird not to bring something for the occasion. I don't think it's horrible etiquette to take a small gift anyway, but I would try to respect the initial wishes of not bringing gifts.
If you feel like bringing something, what about writing the honoree a card? Or you can acknowledge the occasion in a different way, at a different time, if you are close enough to the person being honored.
HELEN'S ANSWER: Sometimes it is hard to honor the "no gifts" request, but if the host requests that, you probably should not take a gift. It is polite to honor the host's wishes.