In an uncertain economy, more brides and grooms and parents-to-be are absolving their guests of buying gifts.
Americans are aware of the duress high inflation and mounting job losses is creating for some — so when hosts say their friends’ presence is enough, it’s likely they actually mean it.
“More hosts are recognizing the financial strain that their attendees might be under and they’re saying, just because I want this $1,000 stroller for my new baby, doesn’t necessary mean that my friends want to pitch in for it,” Wall Street Journal consumer trend reporter Rachel Wolfe told CBS News. “So hosts are trying to be a little bit more cognizant of giving people more options.”
Some people celebrating their specials days are even going out of their way to assure guests that the “no gifts” request is real.
“These days, your presence is actually the present,” Wolfe said. For example, engaged couples are mindful that their friends and family are “having to pay for more expensive airfare, hotels, potentially childcare to be here.”
Some couples are even afraid guests won’t attend their weddings over the cost in the current economic environment, and are hoping that doing away with gifts will help ease the financial burden that comes with spending on airfare, lodging and sometimes attire.
On average, guests spent $160 on a wedding gift in 2022, according to a 1,000-person survey by wedding planning site the Knot.
According to social planning website Evite, 33,000 invitations sent through the platform this year have called for guests to show up empty-handed — an increase of 18% over the same period in 2022.
Some event planners are even stationing assistants at event entrances to intercept gifts from people who don’t follow the rules, Wolfe said.
Changing norms around marriage are also driving the no-gift trend. “It used to be the case that people were helping a married couple get settled into a new home,” Wolfe said. “They were helping them build a home together. But now, with so many more people living together before getting married, they already have a blender and dish towels so they don’t need more of these things.”