Share “20-40-60 Etiquette: Thanks, but no thanks”

20-40-60 Etiquette: Thanks, but no thanks

20-40-60 Etiquette: Expensive gifts with no word of thanks prompt one reader to ask for etiquette advice.
Oklahoman Published: December 30, 2013

QUESTION: A friend and I decided to go together and purchase a really nice bridal shower gift and do the same for the wedding gift. The friend and I had delivered the shower gift together, and neither of us received a thank-you.

For the wedding, we purchased an online gift from a bridal registry from the two of us again, and according to an email that I have received, the wedding gift was delivered to the bride's home on a certain date. This month, they will have been married for a year, and neither of us have received a thank-you for either of the gifts. Together, we spent $200 on the gifts.

We both know and respect the parents of the groom, and his mother would be mortified if she knew we did not receive a thank-you for either gift. Now they are expecting a baby, and we both have decided we will not be giving gifts for any baby showers.

So, should we say something to the bride and groom (whom we do not know well) or mention it to our friend — his mother? Or should we just let it go and not say anything to anybody? I don't want her to think we are complainers. Are we wrong in not wanting to go to another shower for this couple and then not receive a thank-you again?

I have sent many wedding gifts and sent many online and have usually received thank-yous for my efforts. What do you think?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: I think you have every right to ask your friend or even ask the bride or groom. “Did (insert names) receive our gift from the wedding? I haven't received a note, and I just want to make sure it wasn't lost in translation.” Thank-you notes are appreciated and expected. Shame on them for not thanking you both! I would give a baby gift, though; you don't want to be spiteful. Be excited for them and their growing family!

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: Yes, the bride and groom should have written thank-you notes to you. You are absolutely correct in that, if that affirmation helps any, and receiving one now would be better late than never. But you can't control what they do or compel them to write one, so you're stuck with figuring out what you should be doing next. Also, to determine what to do about the baby shower, it would help understand why you wanted to give them a gift in the first place. Typically, we don't give gifts in order to receive thank-you notes — but in order to celebrate happy occasions with people we care about. It is important that receivers acknowledge that effort in some way, but for whatever reasons and breaches of etiquette, sometimes they fall short. Before boycotting the baby shower, determine why you would or wouldn't give a gift; in this case, even a congratulatory card would be nice.

If you know the parents of the couple well, I think it's OK to ask out of concern if the not-so-newlyweds ever received the gifts you sent. You can also ask the couple themselves. After all, you could say, maybe you had the wrong address when you sent it or the card fell off. Your question might be enough to get the ball rolling. Maybe the couple didn't get to the notes right away, and then they feel guilty that they didn't and don't know what to do. Or maybe your gift got overlooked inadvertently. Don't assume the worst. By kindly and casually mentioning it to their parents, it opens the door for them to write you. And if they don't, scale back the next gift or effort and focus your friendship on the parents that you know. But don't keep score about this. It isn't worth the mental time it takes to be mad, nor is it worth withholding joy for a new occasion (if you normally would want to celebrate it) in order to teach an etiquette lesson.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
+ show more

by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
+ show more

by Callie Gordon
Freelance Writer
Callie Gordon, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, is working at Chesapeake Energy in the Environment, Health, and Safety Department. She was previously an event coordinator for Chesapeake Energy.
+ show more

Trending Now


  1. 1
    Defendant in jailer groping case pleads guilty to lesser charge
  2. 2
    OSU basketball: Cowboys celebrate 20th anniversary of 1995 Final Four team
  3. 3
    Free Coffee at Chick-fil-A for Entire Month of February
  4. 4
    Missy Elliott Will Join Katy Perry's Super Bowl Halftime Show
  5. 5
    Snapchat is premiering its own Web series tomorrow
+ show more