From the Etiquette Files: What to Do With Unwanted Wedding Gifts

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What to Do With Unwanted Wedding Gifts

Some couples aren’t that concerned about wedding gift etiquette. Case in point: The newly wedded European pair who started a war over a food basket they received. After her request for the receipt was ignored, the bride sent a note that read: “Thanks again for the $30 gift basket … you should be embarrassed for being so cheap.” Oh my. The last thing you want to do is insult your guests this way. But what do you do when you get a shower or wedding gift you don’t really want? We have some ideas that may help:

Cheesy Lingerie

Lingerie is one of the most popular gifts to give at a bridal shower, but it’s also difficult to get right. What happens when your great aunt decides to buy you an embarrassing little outfit to wear on your honeymoon? No matter what the gift, be appreciative of the thought and thank the giver—but that doesn’t mean you have to use it. As long as it’s in the original package or has the tags attached, the store it was purchased from should be willing to take it back or exchange it, and Aunt Elsie never needs to know. Use the money to get yourself something that’ll make his eyes pop, like these panties from Yumdrop.

Duplicate Items

Receiving the same gift from more than one person is common, but there’s no reason anyone has to know the gift you returned was the one they gave. Just let them know you’re enjoying it, which is technically true. If the givers come to your house and see it, they’ll never know the difference.

Homemade Gifts

Homemade gifts are not something you can return to a store, of course, but some people think it’s OK to re-gift creatively made items you truly won’t be able to use. You’ll have to let your conscience be the guide on this one, but it bears repeating: Be gracious, and thank the giver for the gesture. If it’s that hideous, just keep the item hidden and pull it out only when the giver comes for a visit.

Impractical Gifts

If the gift is something you know you’ll never use—like, say, a bread-making machine and you’re gluten-free or scented candles in a scent you can’t stand—there’s no shame in returning or exchanging it for something you can use. You could re-gift, but if you do plan on doing so, be sure to attach a note to it as a reminder not to give it to the person who gave it to you (or any members of their family or group of friends, lest word get back to them).

It’s come to our attention that more than a few newlyweds these days are choosing to auction off wedding gifts they can’t use or don’t want on eBay. That may not be such a great idea, particularly if your friends or family members are avid eBay buyers.

When All Else Fails

You could always donate the unwanted item to your local Goodwill. Someone will want it, guaranteed.


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