Wedding Reception Q&As

Answers to your questions about toasting, timing, and traditional reception rites and rituals.

Q: I've been told that it's the custom to have wedding gifts opened at the reception, but I would rather spend time with my guests than open gifts. What should I do? 

A: Do exactly what you prefer to do — spend time at your reception mingling with family and friends, eating, drinking, dancing and enjoying the party you planned so carefully. It's really not customary to open gifts at the reception (you've been misinformed!) for a number of reasons: It's too time-consuming, cards can easily be lost, and your other guests might feel uncomfortable if they did not bring a gift to the reception. The only time gifts are opened with guests present is at the bridal shower. Any presents received at the reception should be left unopened until all of the festivities are over.

Some couples set aside a separate table to display their gifts or you can make arrangements with your reception-site manager to have gifts safely stowed in a locked room. And remember to ask that cards be secured to the gift boxes so that you can identify the giver later. (Don't forget those thank-you notes!) You'll also want to designate a friend or relative to transport the gifts to your home after the reception, so you and your husband can enjoy opening the cards and presents at your leisure.

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