Engagement announcements are often accompanied by gifts and money from the close friends and relatives.

The etiquette of returning engagement gifts. Photo by Jordi Cassú
Photo by Jordi Cassú

However, it is good manner to return all the gifts and money to the gift-givers in case the wedding is called off.  For your ease, there are some of the tips and recommendations that could be useful if you are planning on calling off your wedding.


Notify the Guests

It is important to notify your family and friends, once our decision of wedding cancellation is finalized. Informing your guests is important because they might be planning to purchase gifts for you, and many shops have a no return policy when it comes to wedding gifts. Also, this might save their effort of going through travel plan and personal shopping. 

It is also important to notify the guests yourself and not rely on our family members to inform the guests about the change in plans. Keeping a guest list would help you to inform them individually with a well-written note.

Returning the Gifts

Along with the brief note outlining the cancellation of your wedding, you should send the engagement or wedding shower gifts back as well. This rule doesn’t apply to the weddings that end up in divorce soon after the marriage, so even if it’s a whole year after the marriage, the guests must not expect to receive their gifts back.

As far as the wedding gifts sent to the couple after the engagement announcement are concerned, it is better to return the gifts including the money given to you by your friends and relatives. However, it is sometimes not possible to return the gifts as it is. For instance, some couples use some of the gifts before their wedding day owing to the smaller storage space or the need of the things. In such a case, it is somewhat rude to return a used item. A similar situation can occur with personalized items with engravings of the names of the couple. These kinds of gifts cannot be returned; however, the couple must send out a thank you note to the gift givers along with a brief notification of wedding cancellation. The thank you note must explain why they couldn’t send the gift back and must show gratitude for their gift and its value to the receivers. Compensations for the gifts can also be made if the couple affords to do so. All the other gift items including money should be returned with a short message containing gratitude for the thoughtfulness they put into their gift. There is no need to put the details and reasons behind the cancellation of your wedding.

The ring must be returned to the giver

In Spain, engagement is not considered as a legally binding contract between two people (according to Article 43); therefore, there are no legalities involved in returning of the engagement ring. However, etiquette demands that the ring must be returned to the giver. The givers gifts must also follow the basic etiquettes and must not ask the things back in haste as it may put the already struggling couple into a harder situation.




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  1. Thank you for sharing such a fantastic blog!
    Best regards,
    Abildgaard Schneider

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