Is it customary for guests to bring gifts to a destination wedding?


Small gift box with yellow bow, gifts behind it

Is it customary for guests to bring gifts to a destination wedding?

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When the bride and groom decide to say their “I do’s” in a faraway space, should they expect their traveling loved ones to bring a gift too? In this article we break down:

  • Wedding gift etiquette
  • What to expect from your guests at your destination wedding
  • Any exceptions to the rules

The Question: Is it customary for guests to bring gifts to a destination wedding?

“My cousin is having a destination wedding and we’re already having to foot the bill for all of our travel expenses. Am I expected to bring a gift too?”

Our Answer

We know that destination weddings present extra challenges for all of those attending, but it’s still appropriate for the guests to give something special to the happy couple.

Many guests would rather send a nice gift than incur all of the travel expenses that go along with their RSVP. And others decide to directly send the bride and groom a gift before they fly to the event, as to not deal with the extra package while traveling. Gift certificates and cash gifts are also appropriate for this kind of celebration.

Another viable gift option is to purchase gifts from the couple’s honeymoon registry. If they’re working with a destination wedding specialist, it’s very likely they’ve created such a registry. This allows attendees to purchase fun things for the honeymoon, such as snorkeling activities, drinks on the beach, special dinners, spa treatments, etc.

Other Expert Answers

“Every wedding invitation carries the obligation to give a gift. Ideally you should send your gift before the wedding, to either the couple (if they live together) or to the bride. You can also mail it to the newlyweds within a month after they return from their honeymoon. (It’s a myth that you have up to a year to give a wedding present.) If you’re spending a lot to attend the event, you may opt for a less expensive item or something you’ve made yourself—often the most meaningful presents cost very little. But do get the couple something. While your attendance at a wedding so far from home is a wonderful gift in itself, a small yet heartfelt token is always appropriate. The one exception is if the couple states, “your presence is your present”—in which case, it’s okay to take them at their word or send a gift, as you like.” – Emily Post

“Generally, if you’re spending a good amount of money to get to the wedding, then it’s okay to gift less than you normally would. But make sure that you do give a gift. Although a destination wedding can be extra-expensive for guests, you should give something. The couple will understand you’ve spent a lot between the travel and hotel, so don’t feel pressure to give an overly generous gift.” – Style Caster

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