TORONTO – When wedding invitations hit mailboxes and inboxes during a pre-pandemic year, they often sparked a sticky situation for guests, who had to decide how much to give or spend on a gift.

But in the days of COVID-19, that decision became even more difficult.

Couples are reducing guest lists, postponing events, moving them online, or having small gatherings but promise larger ones in the future, when restrictions are lifted.

“People wonder how much am I giving? Am I giving something? What if I don’t go? Should I give a gift? Said Julie Blais Comeau, an etiquette expert in Gatineau, Que.

An EBates Canada survey of 1,000 Canadians found that the average guest spent $ 146 on a wedding gift in 2016.

Men spent an average of $ 179 and women spent over $ 117. The survey also found that people attending weddings alone spent 24% more on average than their married counterparts.

While many take the cost of a meal and add a little extra cash, Nicole-Natassha Goulding said the method is outdated and people should instead focus on their relationship with the couple, cultural and religious customs. and their budget to guide their gifts.

“With your sister or brother or an immediate family member, you are likely going to give a lot more than you would with a colleague or distant cousin,” said the founder of Chic by Nicole, an organizing company. luxury weddings based in Montreal and Toronto.

The pandemic, she added, shouldn’t change your giveaway strategy.

“The rules remain the same,” she said.

“If someone decides to have a virtual wedding, you should still send the same gift you would if you were attending the wedding.”

If a couple decides to have a small ceremony now and a larger one in the future, when COVID-19 has subsided, Goulding recommends giving a gift at the event you’re invited to.

If you’re making the guest list for both, she suggests dividing the giveaway between events.

If a wedding you’ve been invited to is postponed due to the pandemic and health measures, but you’ve already sent a gift, Blais Comeau said you don’t have to give another.

“You could give another token gift, but it doesn’t have to be,” she said.

Shannon Kennedy, owner of Kennedy Event Planning of Ottawa, agreed.

She said many wedding gift traditions have not disappeared amid COVID-19, although people may be confused about pandemic situations.

For example, many people have not been invited to a wedding due to capacity limitations or decide not to go because they are still not comfortable with gatherings or traveling.

“If they’re not actually present or if they’re not invited due to social restrictions, the rule of thumb is always to give some kind of gift, whether it’s as small as a greeting card or most standard $ 100 per person. “Kennedy said.

Blais Comeau says anyone unsure of how to approach gifting during a pandemic should contact a member of the wedding party, the couple’s family members, or even the bride or groom.

She said to tell them if this was your first pandemic or virtual wedding, how grateful you are to be invited and how sorry you are that some of their plans may have changed due to the crisis. sanitary.

Then she recommends saying, “I have no idea what to give as a gift, can you give me some information on what would make you happy?”

“Sometimes it just helps to name that elephant in the room, that uneasiness, that awkwardness,” she said.

“It shows that in fact someone is confident enough to admit that they don’t know and that is perfectly, perfectly fine.”

Kennedy believes there is a burden on the couple as well, especially if they already live together, own a house, or have been married before and may not need the typical linens or kitchen utensils.

“What you can do for your guests is give them a little bit of advice … in a polite and creative way,” she said.

“You can say ‘we will gladly accept your monetary gifts’ or ‘we would like you to help us’ or something like that, because everyone already has a toaster and a coffee maker. They don’t need one. third and fourth.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 14, 2021.


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