Can I Return Unwanted Wedding Gifts?
We’ve all received unwanted gifts – like that ill-fitting sweater or unnecessary kitchen gadget – and had to quietly return them. But the process gets a little thornier when the presents are from wedding guests. So, what’s the protocol for exchanging wedding gifts? Here are a seven do’s and don’ts according to etiquette experts.
1. DO Feel Free to Return Gifts
“If you receive a gift that you cannot use or have received duplicates of, you may return the gift without feeling guilt,” says Diane Gottsman, founder of The Protocol School of Texas and author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life. The only exceptions are personalized or especially meaningful (i.e. family heirlooms) presents.
2. DON’T Wait to Go Through Gifts
After your wedding, you deserve a reprieve from the chaos and excitement – whether on your honeymoon or just relaxing together at home. But, be sure to also make time to open and categorize your gifts into keep and return stacks. Waiting too long can mean missing the chance to return items since many stores have a time limit and/or receipt policy for getting a full refund versus store credit.
3. DO Send a Thank You Note
Even if you end up returning a gift, a card expressing your gratitude is still not optional says Gottsman. “It’s imperative to send a thank you note. You can thank them for their ‘thoughtful gesture’ and mention the gift.”
4. DON’T Announce Your Returns
In many ways, it really is the thought that counts, so try to avoid telling guests if you don’t end up keeping their gift – unless you have to ask for a gift receipt.
5. DO Register for Different Price Points
The best way to save your and your soon-to-be spouse the headache of returning a bunch of items is to have a readily accessible online registry. Be sure to select gifts at a wide range of price points to ensure there’s something for everyone’s budget.
Couples should also be wary of asking for “gifts that are outrageous in price or appear to be over the top,” advises Gottsman. She also says that it’s “in bad taste to say ‘cash only,’” so, if you’re setting up a honeymoon fund or donation drive, also register for a few tangible presents as well.
6. DON’T Rule Out Donating or Selling
Unable to return a gift? You can try selling it online via Ebay, Facebook Marketplace or similar sites. Even gift cards can be swapped using services such as Cardpool. You can even get a tax break by donating unwanted items to a qualifying charity or fundraiser.
7. DO Be Careful When Re-Gifting
Another option for un-returnable items: re-gifting. Just approach this course with caution. The last thing you want is to accidentally give the item back to the original gift-giver.
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