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Gift Registry Etiquette for Postponed Weddings

Drastic times can call for drastic measures.  Nobody wants to be in a situation where they have to postpone their wedding, but 2020 has added a lot to our plates.  With the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, many people who have planned a wedding face a difficult decision.  With that decision comes a lot of questions.  For instance, what if people have bought gifts off your registry, but you can’t hold the wedding?

The marriage couple and the guests will both have questions about gift-giving etiquette in such a situation.  Some guests may want to send a gift anyway, but others may want to wait until the new wedding date arrives.  And as a couple, will your wish list change due to the postponement?

Some industry and etiquette experts have chimed in with their answers regarding appropriate etiquette in such a situation.

Questions Couples Have

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  1. If our wedding is postponed, do we need to take our registry down?

It is not necessary to take your registry down.  It was created so that guests would know what you want or need to start your new life together.  Though the wedding date has been postponed, many guests may still wish to send a gift at this time.  They will feel your disappointment and want to send a gift to help you celebrate, even if the wedding date has been moved.

  • Should we return any of the gifts we have already received?

Gifts do not need to be returned.  Having to postpone the wedding is a very different situation than canceling it because you have decided not to get married.  If you still plan to marry, keep the gifts.  Write thank you cards and assure your guests that the gift was received and another one will not be necessary on the new wedding date.

  • What do we do with monetary gifts?

As with other gifts, money does not need to be returned.  If the intention is still to host a celebration later, it is acceptable to keep gifts of money.

Some guests may be in dire circumstances at this time, though.  If they ask for the money to be returned, it is polite to do so.  The presumption would be that they will probably bring a gift when the wedding occurs.

Along with everything else right now, finances may be tight for many people due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Questions Guests Have

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  1. The wedding has been postponed.  Should I send a gift anyway?

It is a good idea to get a gift to help the couple celebrate their marriage.  You can send the gift now or if there is a new date planned, save it for the new date.  Either way, it is a good idea to let the couple know you are thinking of them.  The postponement of their wedding is sure to be a huge disappointment for them.

  • How long do I have to send a gift if the wedding has been postponed?

Traditionally, there is a timeline of two months after the wedding to send a gift.  If you know the new wedding date, the same timeline will apply – two months after the new date.  However, it is also appropriate to send it right away regardless as a little gift may help lift the couple’s spirits.

  • Should I ask for the gift back if the wedding has been postponed?

As long as the couple still plans to get married, it is not appropriate to ask for the gift to be returned.  Circumstances are beyond their control, and they are probably not all that keen that they had to postpone their special day.

If they cancel the wedding, the etiquette may change.  But if the couple will still be married, the gift should remain theirs.

  • What if I am in a financial situation in which I need to ask for my monetary gift back?

Money is a challenging topic for some, and it is best to be prepared for the conversation that will take place.  Plan what you will say to the couple and prepare yourself for various responses.

The global pandemic has placed a financial burden on many.  If you need to ask for your monetary gift, let the couple know that a gift in kind will be given when the wedding takes place.

  • A new date was chosen for a postponed wedding, but I am unable to attend.  Should I still send a gift?

Because the couple initially invited you and you had planned to attend, a gift is in order.  Perhaps you can’t go for your reasons, or maybe the couple was forced to scale back the wedding to avoid large gatherings.  Either way, you know that they had wanted you there since you had an invite for the original date.

Ultimately, when you give the gift, it is up to you to decide how you feel and what you think is appropriate.  Keep in mind that if given a choice, most couples would not choose to postpone a wedding.  They will be feeling stress and heartache due to the situation, so at the very least, send your love.

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