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Expert June 2021

Return/refund gifts if we cancelled reception due to covid?

Allie, on March 16, 2021 at 6:14 PM Posted in Registry 0 14
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Hi brides and grooms!

I'd really like your input, please.

Background: I got legally married in a backyard minimony in September of 2019 (with only immediate family present, plus officiant and photographer) and was planning to have a wedding celebration / reception / vow renewal / whatever ya wanna call it in May 2020. We were super open and honest about having legally married in September 2019 with everyone (in conversation, on social media, on wedding website, and on "celebration" invitations). When the pandemic hit, we postponed the May 2020 celebration to June 2021, and we recently cancelled it altogether.

Side note: ideally we'd love to have a vow renewal / anniversary party / whatever in September 2022 if possible, and we actually managed to secure our vendors for a Sept'22 date, but we decided to communicate an outright cancellation to our guests. Rationale: we truly don't know if large indoor, international (a very key component for us) gatherings will be totally safe and carefree by then, and we don't want to keep ourselves (or our guests) on the hamster wheel of "are we planning a wedding, or aren't we?" We figure we will either lose the deposits or be able to put them towards some type of celebration, but we realize it may not look like the wedding we originally planned.

Question: There were a few people who sent us gifts in the Jan/Feb/Mar 2020 timeframe, either for the couples' shower (scheduled for end of March 2020) or for the wedding celebration (scheduled for May 2020)....and both of those events were initially postponed and are now cancelled. We are still married and all, but we have cancelled the "wedding" where we would have hosted these friends and family members. I, personally, feel the need to refund our guests for the gifts that were clearly in anticipation of the wedding celebration we wanted to host (please note: they did not send us the gifts after our Sept'19 backyard wedding, but rather a few months before the May'20 reception was to occur). Of course it's not our fault that a pandemic upended our plans, but it's not their fault either. We have used the non-cash gifts since since then, of course, but my intent would be to refund them (either return the cash amount to them in the case of cash gifts, or look up the price of the item on the registry if non-cash). I want to be very careful to not offend anyone, though. So I'm reaching out to the WeddingWire community!

TLDR: Would you be offended if a bride & groom refunded you for gifts for a reception they've had to cancel due to covid? Or would you understand and think it's considerate?

Thank you for reading my post, and thank you in advance for your input!

Allie

14 Comments

Latest activity by Zara, on March 27, 2021 at 9:11 PM
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
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    The tradition is to give a gift on the occasion of marriage. It is not a ticket to a wedding show. A gift is customarily kept if the couple ended up married, and no deception was involved, and the gift is returned if no marriage results, or if the marriage is promptly annulled. ...Keep the gifts.
    • Reply
  • A
    Expert June 2021
    Allie ·
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    That's great insight! Thank you Judith!

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar December 2022
    Michelle ·
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    It is uncommon/nontraditional to have a reception/vow renewal following the the legal ceremony. Unless the legal ceremony was cancelled, which is the main event, you keep any and all gifts given. If you called off the wedding and never got married at all (legally), that is the only time gifts are returned.

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  • A
    Savvy June 2021
    Annie ·
    • Flag
    I would definitely keep the gift! If I was the one giving it, I would want the bride and groom to have it. Don't forget a nice thank you!
    • Reply
  • MK
    Expert September 2021
    MK ·
    • Flag

    I think you are totally okay to keep your gifts! You and your husband were given them as congratulatory gifts for your marriage, not as "thank you"s for including them in your celebration. Thoughtful of you to think of returning them, but you're more than okay to keep them!

    • Reply
  • Samantha
    Expert October 2021
    Samantha ·
    • Flag
    I always give gifts out of my desire to do so without any obligation. Keep the gifts and perhaps write extra special thank you cards.
    • Reply
  • Hannah
    Master July 2019
    Hannah ·
    • Flag
    People gave you gifts as a way to celebrate your marriage, not because you invited them to a party. As Judith said, the only time a couple is to return the gifts is if they do not go through with the marriage or annul shortly after.
    • Reply
  • A
    Expert September 2020
    Amanda ·
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    Keep the gifts! You’re married and they were wedding gifts !
    • Reply
  • A
    Expert June 2021
    Allie ·
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    Thank you for your insight, Michelle!

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  • A
    Expert June 2021
    Allie ·
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    Thank you very much for your insight, Annie! And an excellent point about the thank you note - I was sure to send nice thank you notes within a week or so of receiving the gifts Smiley smile Sorry, I should have included that in my original post. Excellent point! Thank you again!

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  • A
    Expert June 2021
    Allie ·
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    Thank you very much, Morgan! That's really helpful advice Smiley smile

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  • A
    Expert June 2021
    Allie ·
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    That's really helpful perspective - it's hard for me to think of the perspective on the other side of the situation, ya know? So it is extra helpful to read your message. Thank you, Samantha!!

    • Reply
  • A
    Expert June 2021
    Allie ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Thank you, Hannah! I appreciate your perspective!

    • Reply
  • A
    Expert June 2021
    Allie ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Thank you, Amanda! I appreciate your short and sweet reply and insight Smiley smile

    • Reply

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