We all know the situation – we are invited to an event and told not to bring a thing, just yourself. This is an age-old question that can bring all kinds of anxiety. Do I? Don’t I?
A colleague once mentioned they were told not to bring anything to a wedding so they didn’t and everyone else did. From all accounts, the bride and groom didn’t mind but it can leave guests feeling awkward. It can be difficult to read between the lines.
Social etiquette or not there is no doubt in your friends mind your presence is the present but if you do feel you have to bring something here are some ideas for various events.
There is always so much meat and bread something lighter will be appreciated. Maybe a platter with fresh sliced fruits such as watermelon, strawberries and if they’re in season, cherries!
Not everyone drinks alcohol so some alcohol-free drinks could be great. There are various alcohol-free beers and wine these days or a delicious alcohol-free punch!
Often mothers-to-be do love to receive anything for their bundle of joy however they could have specific requests and as they are nesting and it’s their baby, this is fair. You can however give them some flowers or a small low maintenance plant (they’re about to have a baby after all!)
They may also appreciate something for themselves such as a pedicure voucher or a foot massage.
Depending on how close you are to the mother-to-be, you could offer a family heirloom or a knitted item. Mothers-to-be LOVE kitted clothing and accessories, especially when made out of a natural wool.
This is a little trickier to navigate. Generally, couple have everything they need prior to getting married. These days and it can be difficult to choose something that may be needed or even in the ever-changing styles. Many couples these days will ask for money to be put forward to a honeymoon or even house deposit or renovations.
If you would really like to get them a gift (because present shopping can also be fun!) check with the mother of the bride or groom and something small such as tea towels, a mug set or a small inside plant.
Never spend more than you can afford too – if you’re unsure ask another guest what they’re doing too!
Another angle is perhaps you’re a wonderful baker, you could make the wedding cake or even wedding favours. You could loan them a special knife even from your wedding, hand out orders of service or deliver the flowers the day of the wedding. Little things can help. Remember though your offer may be met with a polite decline and accept this if that is the case.
SOMEONE MOVING OVERSEAS
This is a tricky one as if someone is moving overseas or out of town, generally they are trying to downsize as opposed to collect anything further. If it is a party, some light snacks could be appreciated (although they may also be trying to use up some food!).
Another option is a small amount of cash – I knew someone moving overseas recently and gave them some money in local currency. I wrote in the card that it was for them to buy themselves a local delicacy when they arrive.
BABY’S / KID’S BIRTHDAY
Some families are doing ‘fiver’ parties these days. This is to minimise cheap plastic toys which are often poor quality and end up in landfill. The idea is to give the birthday boy / girl $5 and they can put the money together and buy a ‘bigger ticket item’ themselves.
When it comes to kids though, they do love presents so do check with the parents ahead of time if you are really unsure.
DINNER / LUNCH
This is always a tricky one and depending on the hosts organisation, they may have already organised a menu so adding to that is tricky and you could step on their toes. The best thing is some wine as this does not necessarily need to be opened that evening. You can also bring some special sparkling water if you prefer not to drink. This is also something a host may have overlooked and could be appreciated.
But really, the best thing you can bring is of course yourself. If you are invited to an event, the hosts want you there. Arrive on time, be polite, enjoy the food and festivities and chat to others. Enjoy yourself!
Do you have any ideas from previous events you have been at? We’d love to hear how you got around all of this!