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How to Say ‘No’ to Gifts

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Maybe you and your fiancé have lived together for ages and already own enough dishes, wine glasses and linens to satisfy Louis XIV. How do you tell your guests that you simply don’t need any gifts?

According to Sharon Naylor, author of “Your Wedding, Your Way: Break with Tradition and Create a One-of-a-Kind Celebration You’ll Never Forget!” (Adams Media, 2009), there isn’t actually a proper or truly effective way to say “No Gifts.” “Most people wouldn’t dream of going to a wedding without bringing something, so when a couple puts ‘No Gifts’ on their wedding website – you never write anything about gifts on an invitation – it usually backfires and you end up with a lot of ugly vases.”

However, if you’re willing to take the risk, post a note like “Your presence on our wedding day is all the gift we need,” suggests Elise Mac Adam, author of “Something New: Wedding Etiquette for Rule Breakers, Traditionalists, and Everyone In Between” (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2008). You can also inform guests in person, if they happen to ask.

Yet another option is to offer guests the opportunity to support a favorite charity, in honor of your union. In the registry section of your website, write “In lieu of gifts, we’d be thrilled if you’d make a donation to X,” says Mac Adam. Provide guests with a few options so they can choose one that they also like or is meaningful to them.

But even if your intentions are good, many guests end up stressing about being the only ones to show up with nothing, warns Naylor. Thus, even if you include the charitable donation option, she advises sucking it up and setting up a small registry. Consider this the moment to get that fabulous tea set you always wanted. And really, who couldn’t use more wooden spoons?

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