From Ask Lutz

Befuddled in Rockport

Dear Lisa,

A friend of mine is getting married in the fall. I have already started worrying about what to get him & his betrothed.

My first thought was to make a really special handmade gift, but then I realized, I have never gotten a wedding gift for anyone and I really have no clue what the etiquette is. (Can you believe I'm 28 an I've only been to one wedding in my life--and it was for someone I didn't even know!)

Do I wait and see if they "register" somewhere? Do I ask what they need? Or do I go for it and spend months working on a wedding quilt or some other type of handmade gift??

~Befuddled in Rockport


Dear Befuddled,

First let me thank you for the question and for your fine usage of the word ‘betrothed’, which gets so little play nowadays. I have been to more than one wedding (approximately 3) and am quite happy to share my wealth of knowledge with you.

Most people, when they decide to marry in a place other than Vegas, will register at various stores and choose specific items that they want/need, ultimately depriving their guests/gift givers of their free will. Yes, you do have a choice among the items that they have chosen. But occasionally, if you wait until the last minute, you’re left with the option of a ceramic giraffe or two forks. Therefore, if you do choose the registry route, I highly recommend starting early.

Of course, you can always ask the couple what they desire most and I have seen homemade wedding gifts given and go over quite well. But here’s a little hint: If you start working on a home made gift now, your deadline is one year AFTER the wedding date—this is no lie. Therefore, you have a year and half to complete your spectacular, home-made gift. But remember, expectations rise the longer you take. You must first ask yourself: Can I handle the pressure?

Although I know an awful lot about wedding etiquette, I must say that the thing I know the best is what one should NOT get the happy couple on their wedding day. What follows is a brief list for quick/easy reference:

Lingerie (okay for Wedding Showers, however)
Pound Cake
Malt Liquor
Tuesdays with Morrie
The Oxford English Dictionary

I hope I have been helpful, Befuddled. Please, Ask Lutz again, should you have any other problems or concerns.

Best Wishes,


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