Gifting at Weddings – Guide for the Wedding Guests

Not surprisingly, my most popular post on this blog is the one about “No Boxed Gifts” and the other about “How to Ask for No Boxed Gifts” – guests are confused by our South Asian cultures.  I am so happy to help people figure out what this means and just hope that people come away from the idea that it’s wrong of us to request this.  I actually prefer to gift cash for gifts.

Let me explain this little South Asian girl’s response to her very first non-Indian/Pakistani wedding invitation.  

I’m still pretty was appalled that people think we are nasty/uncultured/rude/greedy (all those have been said in comments on my blog) for asking for no boxed gifts.  I am sorry, but it’s not rude.  I don’t find asking for fine china or crystal items rude, but it’s definitely strange to me.  Strange to me that I’m buying items that a couple scanned at a store specifically for their wedding and anticipate that their guests buy this stuff for them as gifts, yet people find the concept of requesting to bring cash or a gift card to a wedding “rude”.  (this couple is awesome so I’m not knocking them, we love them!)  It’s jut that in my mind, the concept is no different than asking for cash.  

It’s kind of funny because one of my husband’s groomsmen thought our “No Boxed Gifts” thing was odd – but to me the registry is equally as odd.  I’d prefer to gift them a gift card or cash (so much easier!!) but we will oblige with the custom and get a gift off the registry.

My next step is to find out proper gifting cultures – my husband probably won’t have the pointers I need for gift buying (and we know that I’ll be doing most of the buying!).

– I figured that people send gifts in advanced of the wedding, so I should order my gift now

-I was also invited to the bridal shower, do I bring another gift personally there?  I think so.

So it looks like my summer wedding couple’s registry is looking a bit sparse to me at the moment as all the cool items are taken.  We have to order a gift like ASAP!  

When do you start shopping for gifts off someone’s wedding registry?  


How to Ask for “No Boxed Gifts”

One of the most popular posts on this blog is the one where I explain No Boxed Gifts and what this phrase  means.  It was something my non-South Asian guests surely were puzzled with at first, and was awkward to bring up to them.

Now, while many people might have no idea what this phrase means, you’re welcome to see this post here to get a quick explanation on what this phrase means and how to approach it.  To surmise:  it simply means that the couple prefer cash or gift cards over traditional gifts.  They have opted not to register for whatever reason.

There are some great ways to approach this and to spread the word among your guests.

On your wedding website, you can create a brief explanation such as “Having lived on our own so long, we’ve amassed everything we could possibly need for our home.  As such, we kindly request no boxed gifts.”


As we are planning on moving across the country, we kindly request no boxed gifts.”

I have seen this on both wedding websites and on inserts.  Now if you’re not moving across the country or you haven’t lived on your own… there are other options!

If you do not want to create a wedding website, you can opt instead to place a variation of the following sayings in your wedding card ensemble:

-The Bride and Groom Kindly Request No Boxed Gifts

-We Kindly Request No Boxed Gifts

-While we appreciate your love and prayers above all, we kindly request no boxed gifts.

These are just some ideas you are more than welcome to borrow if you choose to ask for “No Boxed Gifts.”

Now, on the other end of the spectrum I’ve seen it done very distastefully, so I urge all brides and grooms to AVOID these:

-NO BOXED GIFTS (written in all caps as if they are truly trying to make a point!)

-No Boxed Gifts (where’s the please?)

-Cash Only, Please (are you a merchant requesting payment?)

I took a page from my super proper cousin’s book in which she included an insert with her invitation card.  Mine had information regarding our valet parking, wedding website, and at the bottom “The Bride and Groom Kindly Request No Boxed Gifts.”  While adding an insert certainly adds to the cost of a card ensemble, I personally don’t see anything wrong with putting this information at the bottom of your wedding invitation card instead.  Some people balk at the idea of placing any gift information on the card whatsoever (ask the bridal party to spread the word instead, they suggest) so if you truly want to follow wedding etiquette but don’t wish to spend money for an extra insert, perhaps place your wedding website address at the bottom of the card and be sure to include a tab explaining gifts to wedding guests.

How has asking for “No Boxed Gifts” worked for you?  Did any guests make any comments regarding this, or were they happy to oblige?  Have you seen it any worst than what I’ve written here?  Sound off in the comments, I’d love to hear what people thought!