It’s a part of just about any wedding reception. You’re opening gifts with your new spouse, delighting in all the thoughtful ways that your loved ones have helped you start your wedding off with excellent gifts. Then you open one that has you exchanging furtive, understanding looks with your spouse. Some gifts are going to be duds but what can you do with the gifts you have no time or use for and what can you do to prevent them in the first place?
Welcome gift cards
Sometimes, you might have no idea as to what, exactly, you want, and your guests aren’t going to have a clue if you don’t. Instead of simply letting them go wild, you can offer them an easy out by recommending gift cards. A lot of people like to avoid giving gift cards because they don’t have the sentimental or immediate value that a wrapped-up gift might have. However, if you offer that out, you can be sure some desperate wedding attendees are going to take it. It’s a way for them to avoid handing over cash directly, which some people don’t like, and still, offers you plenty of versatility in what you eventually end up using it for. Gift cards deserve more appreciation!
Make cash an option
You might have no qualms about asking your closest friends or family members to consider cash instead of giving a physical gift. Some might worry it looks a little tacky, but few gifts are quite so comprehensive in their appeal or quite as versatile. However, if you’re putting together a list of suggestions or registry, you could phrase it more diplomatically. For instance, you can phrase it as “help pay for the honeymoon” or “new home fund”, showing your loved ones the value of money as a gift, rather than just a pure dollar value.
Don’t be shy about what you want
Online registries make it all the simpler to list out exactly what you need or want, taking the stress out of choosing for your loved ones. When creating registries, it’s important to manage your expectations of how much you can expect people to give and to include gifts in all price ranges so that they have options. Seeing a registry full of triple-digit figures can be imposing and even a little insulting to some. You can also set up an online wishing well for cash gifts. They’re even more secure than physical wedding wishing wells as, unfortunately, we’ve all heard stories about the wedding funds going missing due to a few imposters or even opportunists lurking amongst the guests.
Suggest some alternatives
You should always manage your expectations on who you can expect gifts from and how much they’re willing or able to give. Traditional wedding etiquette goes out the window if someone doesn’t have the budget for a lavish gift, so instead of being bogged down with low-cost knick-knacks, recommend some alternative gifts that cost nothing you would appreciate if someone lets you know they might not able to splash the cash. You could ask them to bake something for you if that’s their talent, or for a free babysitting session so you and your spouse can have a date in the future. You can be mindful of their trouble with buying gifts while still making it feel like they are appreciated for what they can offer.
Turn your gifts into cash
The tips above can all help you mitigate the likelihood of being buried by a pile of unwanted gifts but, realistically, you should expect at least a couple of duds along the way. If you don’t know what to do with a gift, then you can always consider having it converted into cash. Some people are aware of the risk of having given an unwanted gift and will include a receipt, but that isn’t super common. Some stores may allow returns without a receipt, so finding out where it came from and making a request could still help. Otherwise, you could always sell it online. You might not get as much as its full value in return, but it’s better than getting nothing but a gift you don’t know what to do with hanging around, taking up space. If you can’t get cash for it, you can always check online swapping sites to see if you can at least get some value out of it through a different item in return.
You can always donate
If everything else fails, then you shouldn’t let a gift simply go to waste. For some unwanted items, like those that are unfortunately personalized in some way, it can be harder to get rid of them, but most items will have a good home waiting for them. Online donation sites are connecting people more directly with those who really need them. Even if you feel a little bad about simply giving away a gift that someone put thought or money into, you can rest well knowing that you’ve done a good deed.
Unwanted gifts are unfortunate. But those who make a point of addressing them are nothing short of a disaster. Be kind to your guests, even if you have reason to suspect there is some ill-will behind a misbegotten gift. Don’t hold it against them, don’t call them out, and don’t insult their gift. Send them a thank you note as genuine as you would for anyone else. If someone does discover that you have since disposed of an unwanted gift, it can be a little tricky, but it should still be handled with understanding. Regardless of what the gift might be and how unwanted it may be, it still took some thought and investment, so don’t forget to show your gratitude.
Navigating unwanted wedding gifts can be tricky but, hopefully, some of the tips above show you a way to do it without losing your friends and family. At the end of the day, try not to worry about it too much. They’re only going to occupy your mind if you fixate on them.