Let's Be Real: How Late Is Actually Too Late To Send A Wedding Gift?

Photographed by Megan Madden.
There are all kinds of reasons you might delay sending a wedding gift. Some of them are financial: Attending weddings is not kind to the wallet (to the tune of an average of $888 spent per guest) and not everyone has the disposable income to be able to afford a gift, or several, per wedding season. You might be out of a job or still in school. (Don't worry, you do not need to spend a fortune.) Maybe weddings are just starting to crop up on your calendar, the costs and duties are piling up, and you're totally over it.
Then again, maybe you just got lazy. Or forgot. Or didn't find the time. Maybe you've had a lot to deal with at work or have been traveling nonstop — perhaps to weddings and all their many peripheral events.
Either way, you may be finding yourself in a conundrum: Uh oh, did I miss the deadline to send them a gift? Will it look tacky if I send it late? Or, if it's not "too late" yet, you may be wondering how long you could get away with waiting.
We're here to settle this debate once and for all! First, the uncomfortable truth: While there's a popular myth that you have up to one year to send the couple a gift, most etiquette experts agree that's too long.
"Think about it; if you got married and didn’t receive a gift after a few months, wouldn’t you assume it wasn’t coming?" Cheryl Seidel, an etiquette expert and the founder and president of RegistryFinder.com, wrote on HuffPo.
Seidel says that for this reason, it's best to send a gift within one month after the wedding, two months tops. Peggy Post, director of the Emily Post Institute, agrees: "One year is actually really long. Try sending the gift as close to the wedding as possible. It’s good manners," she told HuffPo. Sorry, procrastinators.
But what if you've already passed the deadline, or you're flat broke, or have other extenuating circumstances? In these cases, it's better late than never.
"It’s better to gift late than never to gift at all," says Jacqueline Strum, founder of ThirstyNest, the first wedding registry for wine and spirits. "Even a tardy gift can still be a super-thoughtful one depending on where the couple is in their post-nuptials timeline."
If you're coming up on the one-year mark, consider just sending something easy and small. Strum suggests gifting the couple a bottle of Champagne for their one-year anniversary or some cocktail tools to recreate their signature wedding cocktails or honeymoon drinks. Booze is cheaper than that rice cooker or coffeemaker, but gifting drinks could prove to be a more thoughtful gesture; an indication that you understand the couple's tastes.
And if you know they wouldn't enjoy alcohol, there are plenty of other ways to save on a wedding gift while making the couple feel special: You could, for example, frame a copy of their wedding invitation (something lots of newlyweds don't think to do, but always appreciate!).
To recap: You should send a gift as soon as you can, but if you're not exactly making it rain these days, feel free to keep it simple.
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