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A polite way to say no to traditional wedding gifts

How do you tell guests that you won't

How do you tell guests that you won't be registering for traditional wedding gifts? The Wedding Helper explains your options. Credit: Fotolia

My partner and I are an older couple who are planning to marry in April. We’ve combined two homes and don’t need any traditional items, like glassware, appliances and other home goods that are usually gifted to younger couples. Consequently, we do not plan on creating a gift registry. Is there an appropriate way to let our wedding guests know this? 

Also, do you have any specific advice that you could offer related to same-sex weddings, and how the wedding itself may be conducted differently, especially with respect to the traditional bridal party component? – Paul, Holtsville

Many couples seem to be in a similar predicament when it comes to receiving gifts. Because couples are now, more than ever, likely to move in together before marriage, traditional items that a guest would give on a couple's wedding day have already been purchased. All that's left for guests to give the couple is cold, hard cash, and some people may still find that distasteful. 

The big rule when it comes to asking for money is to make it seem as if you’re not, well, asking for money, and to never write it on a wedding invitation. However, there is a small loophole. Go online and make a wedding website that shares all the details of your wedding day. There is typically a section within a wedding website that shows the couple’s registry, and there you can write that you don’t need any boxed gifts. Instead, ask that your guests donate to a specific fund for the two of you, so they know that their money will be going toward something big, like a honeymoon, and not on something that will be spent frivolously.  

The key is how to graciously phrase that you have everything you’ll need in life but that their monetary gift will be going toward something meaningful. Keep in mind that some guests may still prefer purchasing you something -- so accepting the gift kindly is your best option.

As far as the traditional bridal party component in a same-sex wedding, there is very little difference. No matter what kind of wedding it is, the bridal party is a select group of people who are there for the couple and, most importantly, support them as a couple. If you’re not comfortable calling this group of people a "bridal party," the term "honor attendants" can be used instead. 

Talk with your partner and see who you’d like to have in your group of honor attendants. Two grooms can have two best men — or two maids of honor, for that matter. Figure out who means the most to you, and be sure to include them in your wedding day. That is one tradition that will always be timeless.

If you have a wedding question, email The Wedding Helper at and your question could be featured!

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