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Do You Have to Tell Your Guests If You Return Their Wedding Gifts?

It happens more often than you'd think.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

The wedding's over, the gifts have all been opened, and the two of you are over the moon thanks to all of the thoughtful, practical, special presents that you received. Well, for the most part. For any number of reasons, you might decide to make good on that gift receipt and return or exchange one (or more) of your wedding gifts. But do you have to tell the gift-giver? Here's how to best handle this situation with class and grace.

 

For starters, try to be as accurate and organized as possible when creating your wedding registry. Avoid duplicates, erroneous entries, things you and your fiancé actually already have, or spontaneous additions to ensure you're asking for items you really, really want. (Odds are, if you hadn't thought about adding something before you're standing in front of it in the store, you probably don't need it right this second.)

 

Related: Your Wedding Registry Etiquette Questions Answered

 

That being said, returns and exchanges do happen, even if you do think twice before adding an item to your registry. In writing your thank-you notes, be gracious, thanking the gift-giver for their attendance and the present, but don't feel obligated to disclose the fact that you returned the item. If you're chatting with the friend or family member and the topic of their gift comes up, you need to be honest and explain what happened and why—whether you received duplicate gifts, you realized that your spouse already owned that kitchen item once you moved in together, or you exchanged it for a different make, model, or color. They'll be understanding and will be happy that the spirit of their gift still has a place in your home.

 

Whatever your response, always take into consideration the gift-giver's feelings and the money they spent. The answer should be polite and tactful, never "we didn't like it" or "we changed our minds," which can sound rude and disrespectful. Keep the conversation going by recalling a memory from the wedding, thanking them again for attending, and letting them know how much that meant to you.