Is It Rude Not To Give A Wedding Gift (And How To Handle It)

If you’re writing your thank you notes and suddenly realize that a friend or family member hasn’t gifted you anything for your wedding, several questions might start running through your mind: Firstly, is it rude?

And secondly, if it’s unlike them not to give a gift, has the gift simply gotten lost somewhere between the venue and your home? Plus, how do you even confront a guest about this? Do you confront them at all? How do you find out if the gift simply got lost or not? 

While it’s standard wedding etiquette to give a wedding gift and would therefore be pretty rude not to give one, it would be equally rude to confront somebody for not giving one. If you haven’t received a wedding gift from a guest, here’s our advice for handling it the right way: 

Say nothing

Our first tip is to say nothing. While you might be feeling irritated that a guest hasn’t gifted you anything, or concerned that the gift got lost, it’s best not to say anything. There’s no way to approach this subject without it seeming like you’re simply fishing for a gift. 

Moreover, if the guest did send a gift, and they didn’t receive a thank you note, it’s then on them to check whether or not you received it. 

How close you are to the person can also affect how you react in this situation.

For example, if it’s someone you’re close to, you may feel comfortable gently asking them if they got you a gift or if it got lost, whereas If it’s a distant relative, someone young or someone you know is low on funds, then it’s probably best to just let it go. After all, a gift is not worth making you both feel uncomfortable.

Be Patient 

There’s some confusion when it comes to wedding gift etiquette, and therefore it may not always be intentional if you find yourself without a gift from one of your guests.

According to experts, guests have three months from the wedding date to give a gift, yet many people think it’s a year, which was an old etiquette standard. So, if you’re missing a gift from someone who you’d expect to receive one from, it may be worth waiting for a little while before jumping to conclusions. 


When it comes to writing thank you notes to your guests, this is your one and only opportunity to send a subtle message to them that you didn’t receive a gift. Do this by neglecting to mention any gift, but thanking them for attending the wedding, which will hint that there was no gift to thank them for.

Any observant guest will use this message as a cue to make contact with you if they did send a gift and they’re afraid that you never received it. 

Remember what’s important 

While it’s generally considered poor etiquette to attend a wedding empty-handed – unless the host has made it absolutely clear that gifts aren’t necessary – you should never let gifts become the focus of your special day. 

What a guest chooses to give as a wedding present should be based on two things: their budget and their comfort level. Don’t be swept into notions of ‘matching gifts’ ie. you give somebody what they gave you on your wedding day, and vice versa, or ‘covering your plate.’

What a host spends on their guests shouldn’t be an excuse to expect more extravagant gifts, and the cost of dinner is none of the guests’ business. While etiquette is still important to many couples, the bottom line is that gifts aren’t everything, and you shouldn’t get swept up in the rather complex etiquette of wedding gifts. 

Other potential wedding gift dilemmas 

You don’t like the gift 

If somebody got you something you didn’t ask for, or you simply don’t like it, don’t despair, it happens. However, they still went to the trouble of getting you a gift, and they may have spent a lot of money on it. 

If it’s a distant relative or someone you don’t see too often, this won’t really matter.

However, if it’s a close family member you may have to suck it up and either display the gift for a while so they can see that you’ve used and appreciated it, or if you’re comfortable enough, and they ask where the gift is, just admit that it’s not quite to your taste in the most polite way possible. 

They’ve spent too much 

You might feel awkward if someone spends a lot of money on you, but the truth is that unless there’s some family drama preventing you from accepting the gift, there’s no reason to refuse it just because it cost a lot.

If you’re close with the person, you can consider asking them if they’re sure they want to spend that much money, and the likelihood is that they’ll appreciate you asking and will only stress how much they want you to have it. Many guests – particularly older ones – see a wedding gift as an opportunity to help you out as you enter married life. 

You forgot to send a thank you note 

It’s really important to thank your guests for their gifts, and if for some reason you’ve left it a good few months – or longer – before sending a thank you note, you should do this as soon as possible.

After all, it’s better late than never. Simply explain to your guests that you got caught up in married life and the honey moon, and express your gratitude for their lovely gift. 

The gift got lost in shipping 

If a guest shipped your item and it got lost somewhere along the way, this situation is easy – simply let them know what happened and wash your hands of it. If your guest is able to chase up the package and track it down, great, but it shouldn’t be up to you to do this.

Of course, you can work with them if they need any information from you, but don’t let them rope you into tracking down the parcel yourself.