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How late is too late?
April 16, 2012 6:41 AM   Subscribe

What's the etiquette for late wedding gifts?

Two close friends are getting hitched this weekend (yeah!!), but I will not be able to make the wedding, as I live on the other side of the Pacific and cannot afford the plane ticket (boo!!).

I have been planning for some time now to send them some very nice local alcohol and beautifully crafted custom scotch glasses as a wedding gift. But, between an extremely busy couple of recent months at work and my habit of being a generally poor planner for stuff like this, I haven't even purchased the gifts yet, let alone shipped them to the states. I suspect that it will take three weeks at the earliest for the gifts to get the gifts to my newlywed friends.

So, trusted fellow MeFites, what do you think? What is the etiquette for late wedding gifts in a situation like this? How late is too late? Should I rush a card out for now so it arrives in time for the ceremony and send the rest of the gift when it's ready? Or should I just send an email on their wedding day congratulating them and telling them that a little something is on its way?
posted by Kevtaro to Human Relations (6 answers total)
Etiquette in the States is: you have a year after the wedding to send a gift.

You're fine.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:46 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

As J. Wilson says, the formal US etiquette is that gifts are welcome any time in the first year of marriage. And it's kind of fun to get a little stream of gifts after the big burst of gifts right at the wedding, to be honest. So you're totally cool. Especially where you live so far away.

The email is a nice touch. Nobody ever has so many congratulations and well-wishes that one more isn't delightful.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:49 AM on April 16, 2012

So the above etiquette is fine for the gift part (you have a year), but I think you're on to something suggesting that you send them an email on or just before their wedding day congratulating them and telling them that you wish you could be there in person to celebrate with the. It honestly IS the thought that counts, and it will be nice for them to know that friends far and wide are thinking of them on their special day.

I favor email for a couple reasons: First, it is instantaneous. It will get to them immediately, so that the warm feelings can be enjoyed by them on their day of celebration. A card will probably go into the pile with all 4,000 other cards that they receive as a result of getting married - to be opened later, sometime down the road. That's fine, but if you can't be there, I think it is nicer to be able to let them know that you're there with them in spirit as they're celebrating. Second, email is just as polite as a card because it doesn't require an interruption like a phone call would during a very busy time. Cards are also not disruptive, but possibly too much so.

Send the gift within the next year. Send the email before the weekend.
posted by jph at 6:59 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks folks. Ya'all are amazing.
posted by Kevtaro at 7:41 AM on April 16, 2012

Recently. (Google)
posted by John Cohen at 8:39 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dear Friends, I'm so happy to have been included in your wedding, and so happy for you both. Mazel tov! love, Kev

It's too late if they get divorced, or one of them dies. People like getting presents more than not getting presents, so you win.
posted by theora55 at 11:51 AM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

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