Destination Wedding Gift Etiquette

October 2, 2017
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of

1. I’ve been to a handful of destination weddings and some couples registered and some didn’t. Now that I’m planning my own destination wedding, is it appropriate for us to create a traditional gift registry?

A traditional gift registry is perfectly acceptable for destination weddings, as well as traditional weddings. It can be a helpful tool for guests to determine what your needs are.

2. My fiancé and I have talked to our families and we already know we want to register, but we aren’t sure what type of registries are out there for destination weddings. What are our best options?

An Internet search delivers a myriad of options for different types of bridal registries, as well as the traditional store gift options. For example, you might consider a digital registry like Amazon or Newlywish, a registry geared toward earning funds for your first home like Hatch My House, or a honeymoon registry such as Honeyfund. Ultimately, it is important to remember the gifts your guests give are their choice. A gift should always be something graciously given and not an expectation from the couple.

3. After we’ve registered for our wedding, what’s the most appropriate way to let our guests know? Can we include the registry information on the invitation?

It is never acceptable to include registry information in your formal wedding invitation. It has become more en vogue to include the information on a shower invitation, since the purpose of the shower is to give gifts. If you have a website for your event, you can also mention registry information there. Letting friends and family know where you are registered through word of mouth is also appropriate. Let your parents, siblings and attendants know the sites you are registered on and they can spread the word to people who inquire.

4. I want to get a little something for each of my bridesmaids as a “thank you” on the wedding day. Do I have to get the same thing for everyone? If I do get each of them something different, is it OK to spend a little more on my maid of honor?

Appreciation gifts for people in your wedding party can vary slightly according to tastes, but should be of comparable value. Traditionally, these gifts might be presented at a rehearsal dinner with words of appreciation. If everyone is receiving their gifts at the same time, it could be awkward and cause hurt feelings if there is a discrepancy in the type or value of the gifts. The last thing you need is “girl drama” right before your wedding.

5. We’re packing light for our destination wedding to avoid heavy baggage fees and are concerned about transporting all our gifts after the wedding is over. Is it okay to ask our guests to have all gifts shipped to our house instead of bringing them to the actual wedding? If so, what’s the best way to pass along our request?

On most bridal registries you are able to designate where you would like gifts shipped and you can certainly indicate your home address. Your guests are probably just as concerned about toting extra parcels and would prefer to have gifts delivered to your home. If you are having deliveries made to your home, it would be wise to have a neighbor looking out for deliveries and holding packages until you’re back. Some registries offer set-delivery dates so you can time them with your return.

This article first appeared in Destination I Do’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue. You can order a copy here.


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