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Present the Pleasure of Wedding Gift Realization

What’s appropriate to give as a wedding present? Maybe it’s $150 if you go alone or more if you bring a date.  Maybe you should purchase something from the couple’s wedding registry.

Whatever the present, there’s psychology behind giving and receiving.  An overly generous gift may create tension between a friendship and a gift-giving faux pas may result in a lost connection or feelings of resentment.

psychology of wedding gifts

What Are You Giving Them?

Regardless of what you give as a physical present, it affects the receiver.

What you give influences what kinds of thoughts they have and feelings they experience.

There’s intimacy in receiving, much like a sentimental moment or loving exchange, the receiver may feel repulsed in the moment of vulnerability, in receiving something physical yet sharing something emotional.

Those who give are in control of the emotion of the moment, receiving power through giving.  Those who like to be in control don’t always like getting presents for this reason.

Parents who show love through physical tokens of affection sometimes raise kids to feel like ‘strings are attached’ to gestures from others.  “What do I owe them in return?” becomes a focus of the exchange rather than the enjoyment of receiving.

Pressure to reciprocate a grand gesture or price tag may follow the giving process.  The receiver may feel obligated to repay the giver in a certain amount of time or feel the need to ‘trump’ the latter’s gift.

What Your Gift Says About You

You may feel stressed about choosing a gift, or no matter what you pick, it won’t be good enough.  How you approach the giving process and the subsequent purchase or gift decision may reveal things about you.

If you feel nervous about finding that perfect gift, it’s usually a reflection of how you value the relationship.  You want your gift to symbolize how you feel about them and your relationship with the couple.

Sometimes, we choose gifts that we believe the recipient would like because we are (psychologically) buying it for ourselves.  There’s a bit of selfishness involved in the act of giving.  If you have a reputation for giving ‘bad gifts’ with good intent, then you may be too focused on your tastes rather than that of the receiver.

Different personalities have varied associations to gifts.  A very sentimental person may value a hand-me-down token while someone else may think such an emotionally charged gift was reason to spend zero money.  Don’t assume the recipient will view the gift in the same manner as you intend.  Know the person to understand what’s a ‘good gift.’

A gift-card or wad of cash may equal that in value of another’s gift but it does relay the sentiment of laziness and detachment.  A gift card may be appropriate for the second-cousin of your aunt whom you never see but giving a wad of cash as the best man may send impersonal messages despite you intimate role.

awful wedding gifts

Making the Gift of Giving Right

While gifts like pizza in that it’s difficult to get it wrong, there are some things you should keep in mind this wedding season to assure your gift does not result in soured relations.

Let the gift be consistent with the relationship and emotional distance.  It’s not a chance to prove you are a better friend or opportunity to win someone over.  Relationships are built through time and not tokens.

The card is where you want to say something about how you feel.  Some people find it difficult to find the words but any written sentiment is better than letting a present speak for you.  That opens opportunity for assumptions and possible resentment.

Even if you are better friends with one half of the couple, or hardly speak to your friend’s fiancé, give a gift that both parties will enjoy.  Getting your friend a ‘beer of the month’ membership shows that you only thought of half the couple (unless they both love beer!).

Think of what the recipient will enjoy as a gift rather than what you believe is a good gift.  The gesture is about them and has nothing to do with you.  The best givers are good at being empathetic toward the receiver.