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20-40-60 Etiquette---Question from Kentucky!

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YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!

By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace

QUESTION: I sent gifts from a couple’s bridal registry totaling about $150 to the daughter of a cousin to whom I am not especially close and who lives about a 10-hour drive from me.

I sent the gifts several weeks ahead of the wedding, along with notes expressing regret that I would not be able to attend the wedding, both to my cousin and his wife, and to their daughter the bride and her fiance. The wedding itself was nearly two months ago.

I haven’t heard anything at all, and do sort of wonder if they ever received them — the items were from a store (Williams and Sonoma and Crate and Barrel) that would wrap and deliver them.

How long should I wait before I check with them to be sure they received the items?

 

CALLIE’S ANSWER: Early wedding gifts should be acknowledged before the wedding day. It is good manners to respond promptly, I know it is hard.

If you start falling behind, consider calling the people who sent the gifts by mail to assure them the gift arrived. Then you can follow up with a written note as soon as you can.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: I know we’ve had this question before, but this issue comes up often and the person who asked it this time is from Kentucky, so we are tackling it again. (Hello, out-of-state readers, and thank you).

Now that is out of the way, you have several choices. You can check with the stores to see if they received it, or with your cousin, or write the bride and groom directly. Or you can wait and hope that eventually they will write.

Yes, they should acknowledge gifts promptly, and yes, people fall short of this ideal sometimes, and yes, it breaks all kinds of etiquette rules when they don’t thank people for gifts. That is a generous gift, and I understand why you want to make sure it arrived. Use your resources to find out that they got it, and then decide whether you want to let the issue go or call it to their attention.

Even if the purpose of a gift is to honor somebody else and not for our own gratification, it is nice to know the other person appreciates the effort. I hope by now you have received that thank-you. But try not to hold it against the couple forever if they fall short.

HELEN’S ANSWER: Since the store sent the gifts, you might check with them first to see if they were sent to the couple. I think if you have not heard anything after three months, you should politely call the bride or the groom and ask if the items arrived.

The couple certainly appreciates the expense and thought that went into the gift, so usually a thank you is forthcoming. Readers: This question keeps coming up. People really do want to know if their gifts arrived and were appreciated.

GUEST’S ANSWER: Kathy Walker, local community leader: This scenario is such a dilemma — “to call or not to call” the bride. Perhaps the plan of action would be to contact the two stores and ask whether they would give you a tracking number for the items that were delivered to the bride. If the gifts were documented as having been delivered, then you have three options.

The first option is to write or call the bride and ask whether she received your wedding gifts, as you had been notified by the store that the delivery was made.

The second option is to wait for an acknowledgement from the bride, as it could come at a date within the near future. The third option is to do nothing.

Yes, we all know it is best to send a thank-you note within a reasonably short period of time after receiving wedding and shower gifts. However, sometimes brides and grooms are overwhelmed with adjusting to the production of a wedding, married life, work, families and new responsibilities. It could take them a long period of time to write to the gift giver. Some may not write at all.

Only you can determine whether or not you want to contact the bride. If it is going to bother you for your remaining life on this earth, then by all means do something about it. Rather than calling, perhaps you could write to her to inquire about the gifts. I would assume that you would then receive a written note of response and appreciation.

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