Metro-East Living

Do you have to buy a wedding gift off the couple’s registry?


Q: I have a niece getting married later this year. I’m getting informal feedback from her family, that she wants nothing except the items she is placing on “gift registries” at many different stores. Is that a proper thing to tell invited guests to your wedding? I’d rather make my own decision as to what I give her and her husband for their wedding.

A: While wedding gift registries are helpful to those invited guests who do not have any idea of the type of gift they want to give to the bride and groom, it should not be made mandatory or even suggested the bridal gift registries contain only those gifts desired by the bride and groom. To do so is very improper. Should the bride or groom, or their immediate family members, or the maid of honor, or best man be asked for ideas of what kind of gift the couple may appreciate, information about various wedding gift registries may be provided, but not in a manner to exclude the option of giving other gifts.

Q: Shouldn’t grandchildren write personal thank-you notes to their grandparents for Valentine gifts received. I’m referring to really nice gifts.

A: Yes, grandchildren should write personal thank-you notes to their grandparents for the Valentine gifts they receive. Estimated value, size or content should not be factors as to whether a note is written or not.

Q: I remember reading an article in a magazine many years ago about some specific gaffes or manner faux pas instances of some of our older former presidents. It was a funny article. If you are aware of some of these gaffes, would you share in your column on Presidents Day.

A: I doubt if there is anyone, president or not, who has not experienced an embarrassing, regrettable “gaffe” or “faux pas” in their professional or personal life. Since I would not appreciate someone telling others about my embarrassing moments, I choose not to repeat those of any past president, whether documented in history books or whether seemingly funny. On Presidents Day, I would recommend, instead, to refer to all the wonderful, positive stories about our past presidents.

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Dianne Isbell at Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to