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What Exactly Is The Gift Exchange On The Wedding Day Between Bride & Groom?

There are lots and lots of wedding customs out there, so it's all about incorporating what speaks to your relationship and your one-of-a-kind celebration. Interested in a present exchange with your future spouse? We're here to walk you through this special bride and groom gift tradition. Get answers to all your questions below, like "Do I have to buy my partner something?" and "What am I supposed to get?" (Sneak peak: There are no real rules, so don't stress—we'll help you make the ritual your own!)

Bride and Groom Wedding Day Gift Exchange

What is the wedding day gift exchange?

A gift exchange is simply one more opportunity to celebrate the big day together. The tradition gives partners an extra chance to honor and bond with one another. Some swear it also does wonders for combatting wedding-related stress. Long story short: The couple's gift exchange is meant to be fun, festive and heartwarming. It's a way to get each other even more excited about this new chapter in your lives. Not to mention, you go home with yet another great keepsake from the celebration.

A lot of people have no idea that there is a tradition of the bride and groom exchanging wedding gifts.  To be fair, it's not a tradition that every couple adheres to.  Still, it's one that you and your spouse should definitely talk about and be on the same page.

Origins of Wedding Day Gift Exchange?

The origins of the bride and groom gift exchange aren't entirely clear, but traditions surrounding wedding gifts have gone through many permutations over the centuries.  It most likely began with the tradition of the dowry, thousands of years ago.  In those days, a dowry was paid for the bride to compensate for the cost of the wedding and make it easier for the bride and groom to start their lives together.  Of course, many dowries went to the parents of the bride rather than to the couple getting married.  

Modern gift-giving at weddings caught on in the United States with the introduction of the bridal registry in the 1920s.  Marshall Field's department store in Chicago introduced the first bridal registry in 1924 and the idea of giving wedding presents became more of a modern tradition.  Somewhere along the line, the bride and groom gift exchange became an idea.

Should You Honor Wedding Day Gift Exchange Tradition?

One of the sweetest wedding day traditions is the gift exchange between the bride and groom. It’s an opportunity to put a smile your soon to be wife or husband’s face, and make them feel even more special. Love letters, flowers, and jewelry are the most common gifts for a couple to exchange on their wedding day. You should think about the kinds of gifts your partner enjoys and give them something that will make them feel appreciated and valued.

Exchanging gifts is completely optional, so our best tip is to talk the idea out with your future spouse.  Is the ritual important to you?  What about your partner?  It's nice to be on the same page to level expectations and avoid an unintentionally awkward situation.

Bride and Groom Wedding Day Gift Exchange

How Much Should A Wedding Day Bride & Groom Gift Exchange Cost?

It should go without saying, but bride and groom gifts don't have to be big or expensive to be meaningful. Establish a budget with your fiancé and respectfully stick to it. You aren't beholden to a certain price point, other than the one that feels comfortable to you both. 

When & How To Do The Gift Exchange?

Once you discuss with your partner that you are exchanging gifts, the only thing left to decide is when and how you'll give it to them.  If you're more traditional, you might want to make sure that you don't see your fiance before your wedding ceremony, so how can you give them your gift?

One common way to exchange gifts on your wedding day is by having it delivered.  You can have a member of the bridal party deliver it to your fiance while they are getting ready.  If you want to have the moment photographed or filmed, you will want to make sure the wedding photographer knows when the delivery will be made.  You'll also likely want to schedule this toward the end of the "getting ready" time to make sure your soon to be bride or groom feels and looks their best.

Another option is to give your fiancé their gift without seeing them is to work it into the pre-wedding photo sessions. After you’re dressed and ready for pictures, have your photographer set up a shot where each of you is on opposite sides of a wall. Then, you can open your gifts simultaneously and have this heartfelt moment captured on film. This way, you won’t see your partner but you can still share the moment with them. And you’ll be able to see their reaction to your gift in your wedding photos!

If you’re less traditional and plan on having a first look moment before the ceremony, that’s a fantastic time to exchange gifts. After you soak in the moment of seeing your fiancé for the first time in their wedding attire, you can enjoy watching them open their gift. And, since it’s common today to have first looks photographed, you can easily photograph the gift exchange too and remember the moment forever.

 

Bride and Groom Wedding Day Gift Exchange

What If My Partner Did Not Get Me A Gift?

In some cases, your partner might forget about the gift exchange.  The main thing to focus on is that this is your wedding day and as cliche as it sounds the thing about gift giving is to bring happiness to the other.  Your partner might very well have been so consumed with the wedding, and it could of just slipped their mind.  Maybe, they just didn't bring the gift, it might be because they plan to have a surprise later.  One example, is if your spouse plans something for the day after the wedding or perhaps arranges for massages.  If the gift exchange doesn't happen at the same time, it is not an issue.  Again, communication is key and hopefully this will already be discussed and decided prior to the wedding day on if you will participate in the tradition, when you will exchange and how you plan on exchanging the gifts. 

There really is no gift greater than love.  Looking for gift ideas for your wedding day gift exchange?  You can find beautiful options at Always Essential Gifts.

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