Tacky or Tactful: “No Gifts, Please” listed on a wedding invitation?

According to EmilyPost.com, it is not proper wedding etiquette to list “No gifts, please” on a wedding invitation.

They state, “The moment you mention gifts, you put an emphasis on gifts, which is the opposite of your intent.”

At Hitch Design Studio in Brookings, South Dakota, we respectfully disagree. The rules for South Dakota wedding etiquette are often different than those on the coasts.

In the occasion you do not need any gifts, we believe that an informed guest is a happy guest! Not addressing this subject is omitting information that all your guests are wondering.

We suggests the following Midwest-friendly wordings for your invitation:

  • “No gifts, please. Your presence is the best gift you could bring.”
  • “Your presence is a gift in itself.”

Rather than directly making the statement on the invitation, EmilyPost.com suggests the following solutions, “The best way to assure them that you don’t need a thing, but care deeply about their presence, is to tell them.”

This may be a solution if the guest list is small, for example, 30-50 people. However, Midwestern weddings are commonly 200-350 person affairs – it is simply not practical to tell each guest that you are not in need of gifts.

Secondly, EmilyPost.com suggests, “You can also solicit the help of your attendants, parents, siblings, and other close friends by asking them to pass this message along to anyone who asks what you would like.”

If you have a large guest list, this is an unnecessary burden to place on your wedding party and family members – who are already busy helping you with a number of other important wedding-related tasks.

Midwestern bride, Sally Thomas, was remarried in 2012. The new couple decided to list “No gifts, please” in their wedding invitations. The couple had a family-only ceremony with about forty people in attendance, but then invited about 250 people to their reception. (Their reception had a live country-western band & barbecue!)

Sally explained, “We were both in our late 40s and we had everything we needed. We were in the process of combining two homes; we truly had more than enough. I felt that it was a good idea not to ask for gifts because many of the people we invited had already given us a gift at our first weddings.”

As a result of directly stating their intentions on the wedding invitations, the new couple’s guests were confident and certain of what the new couple intended.

“Instead of gifts, we received lots of nice cards wishing us well.” Sally said, “There were maybe 15 gifts, which were gift cards to restaurants and department stores and a few picture frames. Those gifts were from close friends and immediate family only.”

At Hitch Design Studio, we have the South Dakota couple in mind. Confidently lead your guests in the direction you want them to go. Give them options. Don’t make them guess.

And remember, it is not rude. It is hospitable to fill in the gaps for your guests!

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