When to Open Wedding Presents

Know what's appropriate when it comes to unwrapping your wedding gifts

By Linda Ray

Woman Holding Gift (Wrapped in Yellow)
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While you need to acknowledge the generosity of guests with thank-you cards for the gifts they sent, wedding guests do not expect to see the couple open the gifts at the reception or anywhere else in public. Be gracious and considerate when deciding when to open wedding gifts so that guests don't feel inadequate or outdone.

Before the Wedding

When guests send gifts to your home prior to the wedding, you may open them as they arrive. In fact, it's better to open gifts as they arrive so that you can get a jump start on writing thank you notes.


Gifts that are brought to a wedding ceremony or reception should be carried to the couple's new home and opened in private after the honeymoon. Guests should not expect thank-you notes until after the couple returns.

Opening Gifts in Public

A bride and groom should not open gifts as part of the activities at the reception. However, this event is commonplace at bridal showers, when the bride is certain that every guest brought a gift and knows that the guests will enjoy watching the event. Unless your guests specifically ask you to open their gifts in front of them, it is best to wait and unwrap gifts in private.

Family Event

Open gifts at an after-wedding brunch the day after the ceremony if you're not leaving right away on a honeymoon. Include close friends and family to make it a fun gift-opening event. Including friends and relatives is also a good way to recruit help maintaining your gift list, so that oversights are avoided and thank you notes are written.


Keep cash gifts, which are common in modern weddings, private. It is in poor taste for a couple to open cards and checks in front of other guests. In fact, if you are handed a cash gift by one of your guests, it is a good idea to pass it along to a wedding planner or relative that can keep the gift safe until after the wedding. You don't want to stuff a wad of cash into a pocket of your rented tuxedo jacket -- you might forget it when you return the jacket to the tux shop.

About the Author

Linda Ray is a freelance writer and contributor to DexKnows.

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