M
Savvy November 2014

Thank you Etiquette- guests who didn't bring a gift

Michele, on November 14, 2014 at 11:32 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 17
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What is the etiquette for guests who didn't bring a gift (or even a card)? Let me be clear: I do not expect a gift from each guest nor do I want this to turn into some attack on me about being a spoiled brat (as I've seen on other threads). I simply want to know: did you send thank yous to guests that attended that didn't leave a card and what did you say? I had 200 people at my wedding last weekend and I'd say at least a third didn't sign the guest book or at least leave a card to let me know they showed up. What do I say? Does sending a "thank you for celebrating with us" note sound like I'm fishing for more?

17 Comments

Latest activity by heidi, on November 16, 2014 at 7:31 PM
  • B
    Master December 2015
    BunnyLove ·
    • Flag

    Send them a card thanking them for attending. Example:

    “Dear Sally,

    Thank you for attending our wedding. You made a great day more special by being a part of it. Once we get settled into married life we’d love to have you over.

    Sincerely,

    Mr. & Mrs. Smith

    • Reply
  • M
    Savvy November 2014
    Michele ·
    • Flag

    @Miss to Mrs.- you are right. Unfortunately not many people signed the guest book at all- it wasn't in a great spot at the ceremony, so not many people saw it. I have people that I THINK came (confirming with my mom and MIL), but am not 100% sure... apparently people grabbed the place cards of people who weren't there and put them on tables anyway, so I have no way of confirming who was and wasn't actually at the reception. Thanks for the note @Bunnylove- I'll probably use something like that for the ones that I can confirm were actually in attendance!

    • Reply
  • B
    Master December 2015
    BunnyLove ·
    • Flag

    Thanks Miss to Mrs. Michele, I understand you predicament. You don't want to send a card to someone who did not attend, but more importantly, you don't want to not send a card to someone who did but didn't bring a gift and didn't sign the guest book. However, IMO, it's better to send to everyone who RSVP'd. Send a thank you acknowledging the gift to those who gave one, and use the generic response to those who didn't and/or you're not sure attended.

    • Reply
  • Kemmie
    VIP May 2015
    Kemmie ·
    • Flag

    Michele did you not make rounds to greet and thank people for coming at the wedding? You can use that to gauge who came?

    • Reply
  • Emily
    Master May 2014
    Emily ·
    • Flag

    Disagree with BunnyLove. The correct etiquette is not to send a thank you note to those who didn't bring a gift because the note can bring attention to the fact that they didn't bring anything, and make them feel badly, and that is not polite. You thank everyone for coming AT the wedding in addition to giving them food, drinks and favors as a thank you. As well, the added complication of not knowing exactly who attended makes sending a thank you difficult. Sending a note to someone who didn't attend is awkward.

    Yes, this question has been asked many times and you will get different opinions.

    • Reply
  • OldFashionedBride
    Super November 2014
    OldFashionedBride ·
    • Flag

    Another thing to consider is if they ordered gifts but they have not been sent to you yet. We have gotten a few more gifts in the mail/UPS the last couple of days.

    There is an ongoing debate here on WW that if you send a thank you for people who just attended, it sounds like you are hinting for a gift. I'm having that same dilemma....I know there are people who came and probably aren't going to give us anything (esp some who travelled), but then there are some that I wonder....are they going to send us anything? You'd think people would at least give you a card.

    • Reply
  • B
    Master December 2015
    BunnyLove ·
    • Flag

    Disagree with Emily. The correct etiquette is do what you're comfortable doing. Whether our guests give a gift or not, they will be acknowledged at the reception and with a thank you card. However, some people believe that a guest should not be acknowledged if they do not bring a gift.

    • Reply
  • Kimberly
    Super September 2014
    Kimberly ·
    • Flag

    I wouldn't worry about it. We chose not to thank those who attended and didn't gift. We thanked them at the reception. We didn't want to make them feel like we were trying for gifts especially since over half were from OOT and spent so much money to travel to celebrate with us.

    • Reply
  • Nancy Taussig
    Nancy Taussig ·
    • Flag

    Look through photos and video to see who attended.

    • Reply
  • 2d Bride
    Champion October 2009
    2d Bride ·
    • Flag

    You don't owe a thank-you note to anyone who didn't bring a gift. Miss Manners had a column on it some time back, in which she basically said that sending a thank-you note to someone who didn't bring a gift might even be taken as fishing for a gift.

    • Reply
  • Lauren
    Super October 2014
    Lauren ·
    • Flag

    I'm with Emily S. and 2d bride Just send thank yous for those who gave you a gift. The reception itself is already a thank you to your guests for attending the ceremony and a further written thank you isn't necessary. We are in a similar situation. We had multiple people attend who didn't bring a gift or card. We greeted and thanked them in person at the reception. A thank you card in addition isn't necessary and kind of comes across as if you are trying to point out the lack of a gift.

    • Reply
  • Emily
    Master May 2014
    Emily ·
    • Flag

    Exactly, 2d bride and Lauren. Some people either don't know how to read or believe that thanking them in person at the wedding, along with providing food, drink and favors means they have NOT been acknowledged, LOL.

    • Reply
  • AndixLyn
    Master June 2015
    AndixLyn ·
    • Flag

    I plan to send a thank you to each invited guests that attends. Gift givers first to be sure they are done quickly then the non gifters. We have only 75 guests on the list including +1s. Thank you cards are just something that are so simple to do a rend can mean a lot. It isn't fishing for gifts. I don't even need gifts. But the small group that is invited are our absolute favorite people and having them there means a lot. They are the only kind of family I have.

    Giant guest list of random family and semi friends I can see skipping some cards though.

    • Reply
  • Jenn...Mrs. F!
    VIP September 2014
    Jenn...Mrs. F! ·
    • Flag

    I'm still working on thank yous. I'm a bit behind! (I've been married for 71 days and been out of the country or state for almost 35 of those days) We are sending them to everyone regardless of gift or not. They took the time and effort to come so it's my way of acknowledging them, since we didn't get a chance to talk to everyone of them at the wedding. We are still getting gifts in the mail too!! I don't see it as phishing for more gifts at all and I don't think our guests will either. I had most sign out guest book. But our photographer also took pics of each table so I'm comparing to make sure I don't miss anyone!

    • Reply
  • Celia Milton
    Celia Milton ·
    • Flag

    Essentially, the entire wedding is a thank you for attending. I'd send notes to the gifters and call it a day.

    • Reply
  • Andrea
    Expert June 2015
    Andrea ·
    • Flag

    I asked The Knot in preparation for guests that would do this, they said if they didn't bring a gift, you're not obligated to send a thank you note. It's only if guests give gifts, then they absolutely should get a thank you note, according to etiquette.

    • Reply
  • heidi
    VIP October 2014
    heidi ·
    • Flag

    We sent thank yous to those who gave gifts and to those who didn't give a gift but traveled a long way.

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