I don’t know if someone got us a wedding gift… should I send a thank you card?

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By: Virginia L.CC BY 2.0


Now that the wedding is over, we have a list of 10 couples who came to the wedding, and did not give anything. It concerns me, because I am hoping that nothing got lost. It just seems odd.

I just don't want to mess something up, etiquette-wise. And I don't want to ASK these people if they gave something, in case they didn't. But the WORST would be not thanking them if they did give something but we just didn't receive it.

What do you do when you don't know if someone got you a wedding gift? -P

I totally get this. I remember being very concerned with getting my “thank you” on. I had an Excel spreadsheet to keep very detailed notes on all gifts received from every wedding event. I was even known to stop EVERYTHING I was doing to write a Thank You card seconds after opening newly-delivered wedding gift packages.

Now I know that wedding etiquette states that guests have up to a year after the wedding to give the couple a gift. But I totally remember seeing the blank spots on that Excel sheet and having moments of panic — trying to remember if I had failed to document something in a moment of excitement, if I had lost a card while tipsy at the wedding, or if I was stressing all for naught. There was no way I was just going to wait around for a year to find out what was what.

What's a newlywed to do!? As P mentioned, you can't be rude and ask, “Yo, did you get us a gift? Or are you planning to get us one in the future?” You also can't be rude and not thank someone for a kindness! No worries: Here's my fail-safe plan for navigating that tricky wedding dance of mystery gifting and thanks…

Send a general “thank you” note to the people for whom you have no specific gift info

For example, if you don't know if they gave you a gift, but you do know they came to your wedding:

Thanks so much for coming to our wedding! We had a blast partying all night with you. Let's make non-wedding-related plans to hang out soon.
All our love,
The Newlyweds

Maybe you have no gift info for a person who was truly active in your wedding:

Thank you so much for everything you've done on this crazy road to the wedding day! I don't know what I would have done without your help with X, Y, and Z. Once all the wedding craziness dies down, I owe you a thank-you drink of your choice.
All our love,
The Newlyweds

After that it's up to them to (hopefully) realize you aren't thanking them for a specific gift. Which then will leave it open for them to (hopefully) respond with “Oh hey, did you guys happen to get my gift of X?” And then y'all can figure it out from there.

Ultimately, even if they don't notice you didn't mention their gift, at least you've sent some kind of thanks. That may be enough for them to feel loved and appreciated. Thereby skipping any kind of drama and hurt feelings.

If there was never a gift or a lost card, no worries! Getting gifts is not what weddings are about anyway. Your guests' support and presence at your wedding was totally gift enough, and by sending a “thank-you” for coming, they have been thanked for that.

So what do you do if you don't know if someone got you a gift? Bluntly ask? Vaguely thank them anyway? Wait and see?

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Comments on I don’t know if someone got us a wedding gift… should I send a thank you card?

  1. I live in the land of stationery etiquette and would say precisely the same thing – just thank them for being there or any helpful actions that you might have noticed and go from there.

  2. Wonderful advice! I hate that etiquette rule- who REALLY waits a whole year to give a gift? Makes things confusing. I’ve even heard the rule that newlyweds also have a year to send out thank you notes, which in my opinion is even worse. Definitely get those notes out as quickly as you can!

    • My friends have been known to send the gift 6 months after the wedding. Life happens, it’s the thought that counts. However, the same slack is not extended to newlyweds. If I remember correctly, the etiquette books I read gave newlyweds 2-3 months tops to send their thank-you cards.

      • We didn’t even HAVE our thank you cards by 2 months after the wedding! It’s my understanding that it’s customary to include a wedding picture in the thank you cards, and in our case that picture was the card itself. The photographer contracts we read even gave a window of 12 months just to get the proofs back! Though most of them said we should expect them in 4-8 weeks. Since our thank you card is made from a wedding picture, we not only had to wait the 4-8 weeks, but then select some options for the cards, get proofs, make a final selection, get them printed and shipped to us, and by the time we did all that it was Christmas AND we’re in the middle of moving. (I’m resisting the urge to include thanks for the Christmas presents in the wedding cards, but believe me it’s tough.) I mean I guess if a new wife had nothing but time on her hands after her honeymoon then 2-3 months would be plenty of time, but in reality land where such sexist expectations were tossed on our way through the glass ceiling, thank you notes are a project my partner and I are doing together which requires a little more flexibility on the timeframe.

  3. Thank You notes aren’t only given to those who gave presents, but they’re a thank you for attending your special day.
    There’s also no requirement to buy someone a wedding present if you attend their wedding, so I’d focus on thanking them for attending your special day.

  4. This happened to us (complete with Excel spreadsheet!), and one of guests did exactly that: we received a text that said “thank you for the card, did you get the voucher I gave you?” Unfortunately the voucher had gone missing, but we were still able to thank him for his presence and the kind thought by sending him a general thank you card 🙂

  5. This is brillant!! So far, we’ve been receiving gifts one or two at a time, so I’ve been able to send thank yous almost immediately. However, I can totally see this happening to us after the wedding, haha. It’s an excellent way to solve a sticky situation!

  6. I also had the Excel spreadsheet! We needed it, with about 150 guests attending. 😀

  7. Why not put a cute sign on the gift table with some blank cards asking guests to be sure they leave a card so you can keep track.

    • Someone did this at a baby shower I went to once. They had a little book and asked everyone to write their name and what they brought as a gift inside, and they also had blank envelopes at every place setting that everyone was asked to self-address to make thank-you writing easier for the mom-to-be. A bit unorthodox but very clever – and I’m sure it lightened her load in the final weeks before her baby was due!

      • I don’t mean to rain on the parade of what seems like a good idea but this is frowned upon among the Emily Posts and Judith Martins of the world (i.e. asking that guests address their own thank-you cards). Then again, etiquette is changing every day and it does solve the problem of wondering if someone gave you a gift.

      • I would have to disagree with this idea. It could embarrass people who couldn’t afford a gift or could only buy a small gift to have it listed in the book for everyone to see. It’s way better to have a friend write in each card as the gift is opened ,what was given.

  8. We’re going to send thank you cards to everyone on our guest list, even if they didn’t come. Even if they can’t make it they are still special to us and part of our community family and I want to thank them for being part of our lives. So I totally agree with the idea of sending cards even if they didn’t give gifts or you don’t remember if they did.

  9. We thanked everyone who came to our wedding, gift or no gift, card or no card! We did change the wording slightly if we knew there was a gift, but wanted to make sure everyone knew we were glad they came. We got a gift after the fact from one couple, so we just thanked them again!

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