Since finding out my fiancé and I were expecting a baby boy this coming summer, we’ve pivoted our wedding, stag/stagette and shower plans into baby plans. The wedding, and peripheral celebrations will wait until the summer of 2020. And, because of the volume of major life events happening to me at the moment, I’ve become a pro at understanding the financial etiquette involved with becoming a bride, or groom, or parent.
It boils down to being financially considerate and not offending people.
Making a gift registry for your wedding or baby shower isn’t greedy. It’s helpful for guests to know that what they’re giving you is what you actually want. The rules to follow when building a registry are to be registered at least two places where both in-store and online purchases can be made, add a large variety of differently priced items, and include the option to buy gift cards.
If there are some mega items on your registry, such as a $4,000 sofa or $2,000 stroller, it can turn people off; especially if the items are sorted from most to least expensive on your guests’ internet browser. So, consider taking those items offline and/or give the option for guests to pool money toward those larger items.
And whatever you do, within three months of the big event, make sure you send out a thank-you note to those who have given you gifts. These notes should be personalized and acknowledge the actual gift. Whether you send an electronic or handwritten card is up to you. Just avoid blanket emails to all of your attendees.
Stags and stagettes
It’s not uncommon for a maid of honour or best man to host a night out, or sometimes a weekend away, to celebrate the bride or groom. But, if you’re thinking of stag scenes from Crazy Rich Asians, stop! That’s not a reality for most. If the events are local, and limited to a night out, it’s customary for the host to pick up the tab for the bride or groom, and to cover the costs of any “props”. If travel is involved, the group splits the costs for the bride or groom and the rest of the attendees cover their own expenses. As a group organizer, it’s your job to be conscious about costs as you plan, but remember that you can’t please everyone.
If you’re asking for people to travel, the trick is to give attendees enough notice of at least 12 months whenever there are big costs involved; such as airline or event tickets, hotels, car rentals and more. Advance notice allows guests to get their finances in order. You’ll also need to be crystal clear with your guests about what they are paying for, and what is complimentary — such as a shuttle to the venue. Last, if people are shelling out big bucks to come to your special event, you shouldn’t make attendees pay for their own food and drinks. So, work that into your budget upfront.
If you’ve been selected as a godparent, or you attend a baby dedication, it’s yet another gifting occasion. Keep your gift on point by asking the parents what would be most meaningful for the child, and in many cases you’ll find they’ll be keen to get a head start on their child’s RESP rather than have another fluffy stuffed animal added to the baby’s toy chest.
As the centre of many celebrations of late, I’m mindful that it’s customary to thank my hosts in a meaningful way. For me, that means a memorable gift, which I’ve worked into my budget and wrapped in a lot of love.
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