AD – This is a collaborative post // Everyone’s taste is different, which is why most stores allow couples to create a wish list from which friends and family can purchase gifts. This makes things easier for everyone as there are no hard feelings and no need to return unwanted items.

Photo by Kelly Jean on Unsplash

While this is a widely known and accepted practice, some guests choose to go rogue with their own gift ideas that may not suit your taste. What’s a newlywed to do? Here are several tips to help you delicately deal with unwanted wedding gifts:

1. Always Send a Thank You Card

You’re never required to keep any gifts you receive that you can’t use or don’t want, but you should always say thank you for every gift you receive. Whether you get one of the cool induction cookware sets you had listed on your registry or you receive The Bellamy Brothers Greatest Hits on CD (and you don’t even like country music), it costs nothing to be polite and thank the giver for thinking of you on your big day.

2. Return the Gift

Hopefully, the gift giver had the presence of mind to get a gift receipt when they purchased the item. This makes it super-easy to return unwanted gifts to the store for a refund or exchange.

Even if you don’t have a receipt, you should still be able to return the item to the store (assuming you know where it came from) for an exchange or store credit. Simply explain the situation – you don’t have a receipt because it was a gift – and you’ll soon be on your way to owning something that’s more your style.

3. The Re-Gift

Many people think re-gifting is in poor taste, but if you don’t have to tell anyone, so who’s going to know? Perhaps you couldn’t use a waffle maker, but maybe your Uncle Jack could. Just wrap it up and slap his name on it, and that’s one Christmas gift you won’t have to worry about this year.

4. Sell the Gift

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so why not see if someone else can use that extra Keurig you got as a wedding gift?

You can try the big sites like eBay or Craigslist for selling your unwanted gifts, but small local groups on Facebook’s marketplace often garner better results. Just be careful with the latter suggestion. If the giver is a friend of yours on Facebook, the For Sale post might show up in their newsfeed, which could result in a very awkward moment.

5. Donate the Gift

While this tip won’t make you any money or earn you an item you can actually use, charity is its own reward. If you can’t sell the item or you don’t want to take the time to return it, you can always donate your unwanted items to a thrift store. There, the item will likely be snapped up on the cheap by someone more than happy to have it in their home.

Before you haul all the unwanted spoils from your wedding to your nearest Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul, give them a call first to see if they can use the items you intend to get rid of. It’s possible the store may not want another food processor since they already have a dozen or so sitting on the shelf.

With every wedding comes at least one or two unwanted gifts from well-meaning guests. Use the suggestions above to delicately deal with these items.

12 Comments

  1. Great tips! I’m in the early stages of wedding planning and have seen quite a few nasty messages about gifts received in some of the wedding Facebook groups. I think a lot of people need a reminder that gifts are not mandatory – but simply nice things people get us because they love us. And as you point out, there are lots of options if you receive a gift you didn’t want.

  2. Back home, couples asked for money, so that they could you use it for their honeymoon or to buy themselves whatever they needed, which I always found useful and would avoid an unwanted present. Will have to save this post for later down the road for sure! I think that sending a thank you card to show gratitude no matter the present is the best tip to keep in mind. thanks for sharing x

  3. I think it’s helpful if those getting married have a gift or some ideas already so a lot of gifts don’t go to waste, but you’re so right in selling or rehoming it if it’s not needed – nothing wrong with that x

  4. You are so right about the thank you card! Whatever the gift, an expression of gratitude is important. Donating an item to charity is a kind gesture; what a find for someone who really is in need of that item! A wedding is such a celebration of joy. Gifting something you do not want is a gesture that extends that joy. Chances are that the wedding couple received many gifts that they loved. Starting a marriage with gratitude in your hearts is very important. As a couple, you know that you have plenty to share; you are already so very blessed with so much. Sharing your bliss with others is a symbol of your love…your hearts and lives are already full!

  5. I think I made a wise decision to not have a gift list when we got married, we married abroad and didn’t have a family party either, but I’ve seen friends end up with some hilarious gifts x

  6. These days I’ve seen that people ask for money instead of gifts, so I would opt for this or if not I am no stranger towards gift re-use, if it means the item is more likely to be used by someone better suited to it 🙂

  7. Here in South Africa, a lot of people say on the wedding invitation that they want money instead of other presents. Seems to work – and I’m going to do the same thing one day.

    All the best, Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

  8. We asked for cash and most people gave cash. There were a few that didn’t, but their items were usable. Thankfully, we didn’t need to return anything or re-gift the items. I couldn’t imagine what a headache it would be to have to deal with an abundance of wedding gifts.

    We gave thank you notes to our guests and I highly recommend doing this. Someone complained that my notes were typed, but honestly hand-written wasn’t working. The ink kept smearing! I printed the notes on sticker printer poster and stuck them to the customized thank-you cards. Each one was personalized.

  9. I always love it when people have a gift list or ask for cash as a wedding present. I’d much rather give them something they want rather than try to guess their taste and needs myself. You’ve given some great ideas for how people can deal with unwanted gifts in the nicest possible way. I totally agree with a thank you note for every gift, even if you’ve got no intention of keeping it x

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