Modern Day Etiquette: Gift Giving

Let’s face it, the do’s and don’t’s of wedding etiquette can leave friends, family members, and acquaintances of the bride and groom feeling restless. And especially when it comes to the mannerisms of gift-giving, the lines can seem helplessly blurry.

As You Wish team to the rescue… Take a look at some of our “must-do’s” and “un-necessaries” of gift giving throughout the engagement and wedding process.

The key here; being aware of your budget AND your relationship to the bride and groom. Assess a maximum and minimum that you are willing and able to spend on an engagement gift, a shower gift, and a wedding gift. Then, consider the bride and/or groom’s role in your life, and your’s in theirs. Are you close friends or acquaintances? Coworkers or family members? Distant relatives or first cousins who spend every major holiday and annual vacation together?

And as far as disbursing your finances among various events, our rule of thumb is to allocate 20% on an engagement gift, 20% on a bridal shower gift, and 60% on the wedding gift. Of course, if the couple opts out of an engagement party, we run into some confusion. In this case, consider your relationship to the couple, and if it feels most appropriate, give them a lesser-scale gift and a card congratulating them on their engagement, anyways. If not, save your means for the bridal shower and the wedding, and gift them something they’re dying to have off of their registry.

 If you are invited to a bridal shower in addition to the actual wedding; and you’re debating whether or not to bring a gift to both occasions, the most sound decision is to divvy up your resources between the two. However, it is not always imperative to every bride and groom that you have a gift for them at the wedding, in the case that you’ve already purchased them a full-scale gift for their shower. Make a judgment call based on your relation to the couple and your ability to extend your finances. Our recommendation: play it safe and get a smaller scale gift for the shower, and a full scale gift for the wedding.

Another question of much debate; to shop from the registry or give cash?  Typically, picking a gift off of the couple’s registry is your safest bet. The reason for a registry, after all, is so that the bride and groom will receive items they both need and want. Keep in mind if the couple has organized a honeymoon registry, too. If so, this is a unique and efficient way to put your dollars towards the pair’s future. If their registry is extremely picked over by the time you’ve gotten online to buy the couple a gift, chances are, the bride and groom will prefer a check instead of something you thought of off the top of your head. They’d likely enjoy a cash gift just as much as a gift off their registry, even. The typical cash or check gift amount is upwards of $100-$150. Again, distant friends and coworkers tend to spend on the lesser side of that approximation, whereas close family and friends will usually spend more than that.

If they didn’t give you a gift for your wedding, should you still give them one for theirs?  Our word of advice is yes. Cut a little slack and consider the circumstance they may have been in when you were saying your own vows. And in the event that they really just forgot, it’s probable that your gift-giving will remind them. If you feel better about scaling down the expense of the gift you purchase for them, that’s fine. The bottom line is, it will likely give you a happier spirit to choose to act out of pure kindness instead of spite.

If it’s a destination wedding or requires you to travel out of town; it is acceptable to spend less on a gift. However, this does not necessarily mean it’s appropriate to skip out on a gift all together. It’s never alright to deem your attendance at the event equivalent to a gift.

If you are unable to attend the wedding; you should consider your relationship to the couple above the financial cost to send them a gift. If it is someone you feel close to or see often, a gift is probably expected even if you unfortunately can’t be there for their special day.

If you are on rocky ground financially; it’s okay to consider a thoughtful and creative gift. Something fun and lighthearted that the couple may or may not have registered for will let them know that you care for them and wish them a bright future together.

After all, it really is the thought that counts!

Photo Credits: www.huffingtonpost.com, A Guy and A Girl Photography, www.dexknows.com

 

Parents’ Gifts: Picture Something Different

They rocked you to sleep as a newborn, taught you how to ride your first bike and cheered when you walked across the stage at graduation. Now they’ll watch with pride as you exchange vows on one of the most important days of your life. Your parents love you so much. But let’s face it – they already know what you look like.

Parents’ gifts present a unique challenge for brides and grooms-to-be. While many creative options are available when it comes to showing them how you feel, the choices can be overwhelming. Often, a couple just sticks with what’s standard and safe. A framed photograph, for example, while classic and always appreciated, just doesn’t make a statement as far as we’re concerned. How about giving your folks a really special gift – something romantic, personal or downright grand?

To help you get started, we’ve created a list of our top choices for parents’ gifts. Any of these selections will surely be a hit…and you can always give them that picture next Christmas!

1. For something simple and meaningful, present a copy of The Giving Tree. This classic children’s book by beloved author Shel Silverstein makes for a heartfelt gift. Add a signed and dated inscription.

2. A cooking class would be deliciously unexpected. Check schedules at Market StreetCentral Market and the Milestone Culinary Arts Center. Give a gift certificate along with two matching monogrammed aprons.

3. Toast your parents with a vintage bottle of wine from the year they were married. Check with your favorite wine shop for recommendations and include a pair of beautiful crystal glasses.

4. How about a stylish stay-cation? Book a weekend for two at a hotel in town to give them a getaway without all the fuss. Splurge on a whirlpool suite or add in a couple of spa treatments – they’re worth it!

5. Finally, if you want to pull out all the stops, why not book a cruise to a warm, tropical destination? Cruises are great gifts! They are all-inclusive and effortlessly enjoyable. Explore your options on the CarnivalRoyal Caribbean or Princess websites.

 As you can see, the world is your oyster when it comes to giving your parents a unique gift they’ll truly treasure!

Pictures by: Onerichenvironment.com, paris-cooking-class.com, joseandmayra.com

A Taste of Texas

Most of my couples host out-of-town guests at their weddings – from across the country and around the world. And when travel-weary guests arrive, nothing conveys a warm Texas welcome like a basket overflowing with the most delicious delicacies the Lone Star State has to offer. From sweet bites for snacking to sophisticated fare that will please even the pickiest palate, all the makings for a perfect do-it-yourself gift are right here in your own back yard. Below are some of my favorite local food finds – pick a few or gather them all to help make your event a memorable Texas experience!

Dublin Dr. Pepper: Invented in Waco in 1885, Dr. Pepper has since become one of the most popular soft drinks in the world. Most folks have tried the mass-market version by now, but few can say they’ve tasted good old-fashioned Dublin Dr. Pepper. Named for the home of the world’s oldest Dr. Pepper bottling plant, this sippable treat is made with real sugar, just as it was over 100 years ago. Dublin Dr. Pepper is only available in a limited area, and we’re lucky to have a handy supply at Central Market stores here in the Metroplex.

Pecans: The pecan is the official state tree of Texas, and the nuts it bears are our unofficial favorite snack food. If you’re lucky enough to have a pecan tree at home, by all means take advantage of your crop when it comes to gifting. Those without a back yard hookup need look no further than the Texas Pecan Company. They’ve been serving the Metroplex for over 25 years, offering everything from plain pecan halves to tempting pralines to rich chocolate covered pecans. Order online or visit their factory store in Dallas (see website for details).

Wine: With over 150 wineries in Texas, there are no shortage of selections when it comes to great wine. At As you wish…, we love Llano Estacado’s Chenin Blanc and Signature Melange. Both award-winning wines are widely available and deliciously affordable!

Bottled Water: Texas Crystal Water is one of our most refreshing local favorites. Bottled from an aquifer in Central Texas, it’s available online and at area Central Market stores. The company even offers custom labeling – perfect for weddings!

Popcorn: Dallas-based Popcorn Texas is a division of Yo Pop Etc., a family owned and operated gourmet popcorn company. With over 25 flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find a favorite. We love both Jalepeno and Ranch! Order Popcorn Texas products online or visit their location on Midway Road.

Mozzarella Company Cheeses: Paula Lambert’s Mozzarella Company is a gourmet gem that’s been supplying Dallas residents and many of the area’s finest restaurants with top-quality handmade cheese since 1982. The company’s rich, creamy namesake is as popular as ever, and a wide menu of additional varieties are available to satisfy any craving. Caciotta, Crescenza and Feta are just a few of our favorites. You can find Mozzarella Company cheeses at many local retailers including Central MarketTom Thumb and Whole Foods.

Shiner Beer: Straight from the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas comes the Lone Star State’s best-loved brew! Why not share this one-of-a-kind find with your out-of-town guests? Shiner Bock’s rich, full-bodied, distinctively smooth flavor is perfection on a warm summer day. Find it for under $8 at most liquor and grocery stores, along with Shiner Blonde, Shiner Light and the rest of the Shiner lineup.

Chips and Salsa: There’s no shortage of Texas-made salsas, but we’ve narrowed the field to just two of our favorite chip-toppers today. Texas-Texas Premium Salsas come in nine delicious varieties, from basic Mild to Peach Pecan. We recommend ordering online, and they are well worth the wait! Another option when seeking out salsa is visiting a family-owned Mexican restaurant, such as Desperados, many of which offer pre-packaged hot stuff for take-home snacking. Pair your salsa with blue corn chips for a true Tex-Mex treat!

I hope you have a delicious time exploring all of these local food favorites! The items on this list can be used to fill welcome baskets or to create individual favors for your guests. Enjoy!

Charming Wedding Jewelry

Pictured:Heirloom Bracelet by Stella & Dot

Each season, we see updated versions of beautiful classic wedding jewelry.This year, there’s an emphasis on delicate, vintage, heirloom pieces in all the fashion and bridal magazines. Here are some of our new favorites!

Deco Drop Earrings, Freshwater Pearl Dangles, Glint Flower CZ, Josephine Cascade Earrings, Delicate Drop Earrings, Pearl Bouquet Earrings.

These bracelets would look fabulous on a mother of the bride!

Avery Cluster Bracelet, Grace Pearl Bauble Bracelet, Pearl Bouquet Bracelet

We love these brooches for a wedding gown, or attached to the wedding bouquet for a keepsake heirloom!

And don’t forget about your best friends! These matching earrings and cocktail rings would make a great gift for the bridesmaids!

All jewelry is by Stella & Dot and is available for online purchase here.

Ideas for the Perfect Registry

Royal Crown Derbey “Darley Abbey” dinnerware from Neiman Marcus
One thing that can be super exciting (and super stressful!) is figuring out what to put on your bridal registry list. We hope to help you out with a few tips for a smooth and stress-free registry.Try and register at least one month before your showers or engagement parties. Guests will want to buy you gifts and those who are out of town will be shipping items in advance. Although you could get by with registering completely online, be sure you visit the stores in person to ensure that you really love it! Keep an eye on seasonal or sale items, they could be here one day and gone the next. Register for more than you think you need, you’ll be surprised at how generous your friends and family are! People just love to go out of their way to make this time special for you.

As a rule of thumb, stick to two to four stores you simply love. A great suggestion is to pick one or two national chains and one or two local boutiques. Most stores will maintain your registry for up to a year, and offer a discount on any remaining items you may have left after the wedding.

These days, couples might have everything they could possibly need already. Consider registering at a local sporting goods store or home improvement store. It’s still taboo to ask for money, but there are websites out there that makes asking for cash less awkward: http://www.giftsofstock.com/, http://www.thehoneymoon.com/, (this one lets people donate to your post-wedding getaway), or register with your favorite charity at http://www.idofoundation.org/. Proceed with caution: your grandparents or more traditional folks might still prefer to give you an actual gift!

Emily Post will tell you that it’s never acceptable to include where you’ve registered on the wedding invitation. Rely on word of mouth through friends and family, and it’s always okay to list the stores of your choice on the shower invitations.

Do you need more inspiration to get you started? Don’t know the difference between a saute pan and a gratin dish? We LOVE Martha Stewart’s bridal registry checklist. Download this wonderful tool here: http://tinyurl.com/4kq8u79

P.S. Don’t forget to say thank you! For help on writing the perfect thank you note, visit our blog post on that very topic here