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Question: Should a bride expect a wedding gift from her bridesmaid?

Here’s an interesting etiquette question from the website A Practical Wedding: A bride was peeved because she didn’t get a wedding gift from one of her bridesmaids. She was trying to figure out the best way to confront the offender, saying:

It wouldn’t bother me so much except that she is my best friend from growing up, a bridesmaid in our small wedding party, and she brought her boyfriend to our wedding. Maybe she thought that she didn’t have to give us a wedding gift because she was a bridesmaid. I know I should confront her but I don’t know where to begin.

The advice from Liz Moorhead, Editor at  A Practical Wedding:

Yeah, it is really likely that she assumed she didn’t have to bring a gift since she was a bridesmaid. That’s a common thought from what I’ve seen, and not off-base when you consider that your wedding party has invested quite a bit (whether money or time or emotional energy) into your wedding day otherwise.

Maybe wedding gift just didn’t factor into whatever financial decisions she was making this month. Or maybe she forgot. Or maybe she really sucks at gifts. There could be any number of reasons that your friend didn’t give you something.

But zero of those are reason to approach her about it. And it makes me really nervous that you use that word “confront.” People choose not to bring gifts to weddings for all sorts of reasons, and addressing her about that choice won’t do much more than make for an awkward situation. Besides, there are very very very few times when it’s a good idea to ask someone why they haven’t given you a gift (and most of those times, we’re talking strictly about your partner). That’s just not how gifts work.

I get it. It can sting when it feels like very close friends don’t make you a priority. But it sounds like this particular friend is wonderful to you in other ways—otherwise, why would you have chosen her as a bridesmaid? At the worst, gift-giving may be an unfortunate blindspot for her. That’s easier to forgive than confront.

This bride seems like she’s getting into Bridezilla territory here with her resentment. I hear my wife’s friends complain all the time about how much they have to spend when they have the “honor” of being somebody’s bridesmaid: The shower, the bachelorette weekend out of town, another shower, the dress, the time spent helping the bride shop for her dress, the cost of traveling to a destination wedding, or maybe even just a hotel if the wedding’s in town  . . . you know how it goes. A bridesmaid winds up spending a ton for the privilege of being there for her bestie. Isn’t that a gift in itself? I say let it go. But hey, I got married in 2012 and we still haven’t sent thank you notes, so what do I know about wedding etiquette?

How about you? What do you think? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

(You can read the full Q&A here.)

AboutJohn Fisher

John is a Midwest native who started his Northwest radio career in 1992 after moving to Seattle from Chicago. He’s an avid cyclist, painter, traveler, foodie, and dog lover (Hazel and Gizmo, both shelter dogs.) He’s worked with various animal organizations including PAWS, Seattle Humane Society and Seattle Animal Shelter. John got a late start on fatherhood – he and his wife have a 5-year-old son named Dawson who already has a crush on Katy Perry.