Wediquette Wednesday: Is it OK to buy a gift for a couple requesting charity donations?

Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. This week, we’re discussing what to do when someone doesn’t have a registry.


Question: My aunt is getting married in a few months. She’s 34, hasn’t been married before and has her own, fully stocked house. Her husband-to-be is in the same position. They plan to merge households after the wedding and have decided since they already have everything they could possibly need or want, they are going to forego a registry and for the small, family-only wedding, they have requested via word-of-mouth that people donate to a favorite charity (the individual’s, not my aunt’s or her fiancé). I think all of this is great — and so like the beautiful person she is inside and out — but my aunt and I are very close and in addition to a charitable contribution, I want to give them a small gift as a token of my affection for both her and her fiancé. Is it OK to buy a gift for a couple requesting charity donations?


Answer: Your aunt sounds like a practical and giving person. Charitable contributions are a wonderful plan for two people who want for nothing. Since you are planning to fulfill the couple’s wishes with a donation, I see no reason why you can’t also give them a small keepsake. I recommend a set of monogrammed, white linen napkins, because they are practical and timeless. Give the gift to them sometime prior to the wedding and when none of the other family members are present (lest you set off a chain reaction). Perhaps you could invite them to lunch or coffee (whichever your budget permits) and explain your plan to donate, but your desire to gift them with a small token of your affection, because they are both so dear to you. Who could argue with that?


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email


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