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20-40-60 Etiquette: Is invite a vow to gift something on list?

[Metro Creative Connection]
[Metro Creative Connection]

QUESTION: We are invited to a spring wedding and the bride has registered her choice of gifts at several local stores. Are we obligated to select gifts from this list? Most of them are way out of our price range. What should we do?

CALLIE’S ANSWER: Yes, the couple took the time to register at those stores. If there are gifts out of your price range, a gift card with the amount you’re willing to spend is perfectly fine. Enjoy the wedding!

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: How nice it is when someone gives us a gift that is exactly what we want. And how nice it is when someone takes the time to think about what we might like or gives a personal gift that they think would mean something to us, even if we haven’t requested it. Really, how nice it is when someone takes the time and spends the money to give a gift to us at all. I don’t think you are obligated to select gifts from a list, especially if they are out of your price range. If you need to, use the bride’s registry to show you what their tastes and colors are. Or give a gift card to the store so they can purchase the things they need. Registries are really helpful, but they shouldn’t turn gift-receiving into a demand for specific wedding gifts. Give what you can afford and hope that the bride and groom are gracious in receiving it — and that they feel gratitude for the people who want to celebrate their wedding. Some of my favorite wedding gifts were unusual ones that people picked out on their own. Not every gift hits home, but in case yours doesn’t, include the gift receipt so they can return it and don’t worry about it.

HELEN’S ANSWER: You should be aware of a couple’s registry because they have listed things they really love. You can get ideas of their taste even if you plan to purchase something else. You are not obligated to use the list, particularly if the items listed are too expensive for you. The couple will be thrilled to have anything and particularly want to see you at their wedding!

GUEST’S ANSWER: Patti Leeman, community volunteer: Being invited to a spring wedding by your friends gives you something joyful to look forward to. You are not required to gift the couple with an item listed on a bridal registry.

In fact, your ONLY obligation as an invited guest is to respond to the invitation whether you can or cannot attend.

Being a friend of the couple, you will likely want to send them something you have selected to celebrate their nuptials, whether it is a kitchen gadget, linens for the bedroom or a personal note that you are sending prayers and best wishes for a long and loving marriage.

Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is 40-plus, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email helen.wallace@cox.net.