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Just because you have a wedding registry doesn’t mean that everyone will stick to it, or that you’ll be able to fully prevent duplicates. In that case, you’re probably going to want to exchange some of the gifts for something else, but how do you do so without hurting your friend or family’s feelings? Here, our etiquette experts let you know how to delicately handle a wedding gift exchange.
There’s two scenarios where you’d want to exchange a gift: either someone bought you something that someone else gifted you, or you simply don’t like nor need the present they’ve given you. Exchanging a duplicate is a little less hairy than something you don’t like. Simply bring back the duplicate and pick out something you’d like instead. In your thank you note, you don’t have to let them know that you did a switch-and-bait, just graciously thank them for the gift they originally presented you.
If, on the other hand, you just don’t like the present, going about a return is a bit rockier. If the present you don’t like is from someone a bit more distant who you don’t see that often, you can exchange and not inform them of the switch. If, however, the gift is from a close friend or family member, it’s probably not worth it. If you think they’ll be ok with the exchange, thank them and let them know what you returned it for, but generally, unless they’re super cool about these things, we’d advise against doing that. It should go without saying, but you should never exchange something that’s inscribed or made especially for you.