As the majority of the rest of our web site is given over to gift ideas and suggestions this area concentrates on handling gifts at the party and when planning the event.
Gift requirements should not be put on an invitation, which is the same as for marriages, there is some dispute between etiquette experts on this, some say an invitation requires a gift to be given others say not.
Likewise, etiquette commentators and experts are divided on the subject of whether to put “No gifts, please” on the invitation and whether this should be honoured because of the issue of whether gifts are required or not. We, at Anniversary Ideas, tend to believe the latter, which is the same as for weddings, gifts should never be expected merely the guests attendance, if they choose to present a gift then that is always acceptable.
If you do not want gifts then possibly the best advice is to place a statement such as “No gifts please, your presence will be our cherished gift and we respectfully request no other.”
If you know the couple would like a specific gift and with no mention of gifts on an invitation then this has to be handled effectively by word of mouth. Guests will sometimes phone up for suggestions and thus can be informed at this time.
Giving of money is often considered ill-mannered as no thought has gone into the gift, this can be very true in some culture circles however if the couple are retired and living on a fixed pension some additional funds can be the most appropriate gift in these circumstances. To encourage guests to give money you could place a money tree at the event so guests can hang money on it.
If you do receive presents you have a choice of whether to open them at the celebration or not. It can sometimes be awkward to open presents and mingle with you guests and taking note of who gave you what, so unless you have free time then it may be best to leave until after. If they are opened at the party as part of the program then it would be best for another member of the immediate family or close friend to make a note of who gave what so that they can be thanked formally at a later date.
Thanking gift givers is another area of dispute by etiquette experts some say a verbal thank you at the end of the party is sufficient other say that you should send a hand-written note after the event to convey your appreciation. I’ll abstain from this area and simply say that if your social circle is informal then maybe the forma is most apt and if your circle is more formal then the latter option is the most appropriate. If in doubt send it out! e.g. send a thank you note after all no one can think worse of you if you are too kind.
Thank you notes should be sent within 1 month of the event or receiving the gift if you receive it after the event.