Pre-registration (when do you wedding gift?)
February 22, 2018 6:43 AM   Subscribe

People I know seem to be increasingly having their weddings in increments. City Hall. Then a religious ceremony a few months later with a small reception. Then a big bash even later. Question: which of these is best attached to the wedding gift? Specifics within.

My dear friend's August wedding is going to be a lovely event. But months earlier, they'll be getting married on the low-down at city hall. And I'm going to be their witness at the city hall wedding.
This event is not widespread knowledge. The church wedding in August will for all extents and purposes be THE wedding. That's the one they'll probably register for gifts.
But I am going to be there at city hall as the witness. So do I give them a gift at that time? A small gift, a bottle of champagne? And then a regular gift later? I don't want to have to split my gift budget so much between the two events that I can't get them any one really nice thing.
posted by velveeta underground to Society & Culture (10 answers total)
Honestly, do what you want. If you are the only guest at their "first" wedding, obviously they value your presence more than any gift. If you want to bring something, do. Or if you want to spend your whole budget, go ahead and give it to them then. Otherwise, the rule is you have a year in which to do it. I think that's a bit extreme, but at least six months — which in this case sounds like it might carry you to the end of their last bash.
posted by ubiquity at 6:52 AM on February 22, 2018

At my small ceremony I expected no gifts and received none, except a joke present that was very funny but we had to hide from the rest of the group because explaining it wouldn’t have gone down well. Being their witness is gift enough, a gift at their big wedding will be perfect.
posted by lepus at 6:52 AM on February 22, 2018

A small gift, a bottle of champagne? And then a regular gift later?

This is exactly what I would do! Something small like champagne or other edible to mark the city hall wedding, and then a bigger gift for the August wedding.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 7:14 AM on February 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

Yes, I'd get them a card in which I wrote a lovely note for the city hall wedding, and then maybe some wine or champagne. Real gift for the August event.

Also, with online registries and people moving and being able to directly ship to their home instead of schlepping things to the event and having to schlep them all home, I often buy wedding gifts 3-6 months in advance and have them shipped, and just bring a card to the event. While weddings have spread out their timelines quite a bit, so has the gift-giving part, and I don't think anybody minds if you send the gift early, or wait to see what on their registry needs completion, or whatever.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:21 AM on February 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Honestly I would be surprised if they register for the vow renewal unless you've heard otherwise. I've never seen it done; I would gift at the wedding.
posted by ftm at 7:24 AM on February 22, 2018

we had a courthouse wedding with family, and they got us gifts then. We had a reception party months later, and the people who attended only that got us gifts then. No one gave us gifts at both occasions. If I were in your shoes, I’d give the big gift at the legal wedding that you’ve been entrusted to take part in.
posted by obfuscation at 7:40 AM on February 22, 2018

I've been in this situation a couple times and yes, a card/champagne at the court house ceremony, real gift at the wedding.
posted by greta simone at 7:55 AM on February 22, 2018

I got married at City Hall and then had a big bash one year later. Our friend and witness gave us a nice bottle of champagne and two lovely champagne flutes (which couldn't have been too expensive), and I thought that was a lovely gift, and still remember it to this day. I don't think she gave anything else for the bigger wedding, nor was that expected.

I am going to a little celebration tomorrow night for a friend getting married at city hall (today!) and will be doing the same (champagne + glasses).
posted by something_witty at 8:04 AM on February 22, 2018

I got married at City Hall, had a big, informal party at a bar that night, and had a very small religious wedding and reception a few months later. We requested no gifts at the bar party, but some people gave us small gifts then. We got a lot of checks at the formal wedding a few months later (we didn't register anywhere). Very few people came to both events though, so maybe it's a little different.
posted by millipede at 9:19 AM on February 22, 2018

My friend did the same thing - she got married at City Hall in September, and the reception is in August. For the City Hall ceremony I got them a nice bottle of wine, and monogrammed glasses (they weren't expensive at all.) We'll get them a big, fancy gift to match the big, fancy wedding in August.
posted by Everydayville at 12:22 PM on February 22, 2018

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