My Wedding Is Postponed—What Do I Do About My Registry Gifts?

In the case of a postponed wedding, it can be tricky to know what to do with wedding gifts. We have some thoughts and reassurance to help guide you through the process.

By McCall Minnor

lgbt couple exits wedding
Photo by Kathi Littwin Photography

Planning A Wedding During A Pandemic: Every wedding planning journey has its twists and turns. To make sure your path is as smooth as possible and to help you keep an eye out for tiny potholes and giant roadblocks, always follow the advice of your local health guidelines and the recommendations set forth by the CDC. The state of the pandemic can change quickly, but by staying informed, you can make it to your destination—wedded bliss—without a hitch.

If you’re one of the many, many couples forced to make the decision to postpone your wedding due to the coronavirus outbreak, first of all, we’re so sorry. We understand—you’ve poured your energy and heart (and, not to mention, funds) into this day and things not going as planned can be heartbreaking. Before you do anything else, take some time to allow yourself to be upset and mourn. When you’re ready to tackle the logistics, we’ll be here to help.

Something that may come up as you update guests is the topic of wedding gifts. Whether you’ve already received some, they’re on their way, or they were given in the form of cash funds, it can be difficult to know what to do with them (as well as your entire Zola wedding registry) in the meantime. Don’t fret. While there’s no one way you need to handle this, we have some thoughts and reassurance that can help guide you.

Should I return my registry gifts?

If you’ve decided to postpone your wedding to a later date, but have already received some gifts from your registry, it’s OK for you to keep them. Regardless of when your wedding actually takes place, your guests want to celebrate you. This includes sending you gifts.

In fact, those who can’t see you in person will be glad they were able to reach you in this way for the time being. So, it’s totally fine to keep your gifts, enjoy them, and reach out with a thank you to those who purchased.

However, if you feel uncomfortable keeping them and want to return any items to us, you can. Likewise, if something hasn’t been shipped yet you can cancel the order for a refund.

Can I keep my registry and update it when I have a new date?

Yes! If you’d like to keep your Zola wedding registry active, you can do so. We recommend it, actually. Updating your registry to have a note about the unforeseen changes (and a new date, when available) will help clear confusion with those who continue to visit the site. Let guests know if you’d be happy to receive gifts now or later, or have no preference.

You can also take this as an opportunity to evaluate what you’ve already received, check to see if you forgot anything you’d like to add, and update your items.

Do I need to give the money back I received via cash funds?

In short, no. Cash funds can be dedicated to a number of things—your honeymoon, home renovations, date nights, and more. In any case, don’t feel pressured to return the money you’ve already been gifted. Just like physical gifts, your guests contributed to your cash fund, because they want to celebrate you and your wedding (plus whatever it is your fund is for). It doesn’t matter if your wedding is next week or next year, this still applies.

Whether or not you decide to use the money before your new wedding date is entirely situational. For example, if you have a housing project underway and created a cash fund to help move that along, don’t feel any guilt in cashing out. If you got a kitchen appliance as a gift, you wouldn’t just let it sit there when it could be used, right? On the other hand, if you have something along the lines of a honeymoon fund, keep the funds in a safe place and put them towards your trip when the time comes around.

Regardless, send one thank you now and another whenever you decide to use the funds. A postcard from your trip or a photo of your renovated kitchen/bathroom/backyard/etc. is perfect.

Of course, if you would prefer to return the funds, you can—so long as they haven’t already been transferred to your bank account. Reach out to our customer support and we can help you out.

Should I thank my guests now or later?

If you plan on keeping gifts, we highly suggest personally thanking anyone who’s sent them now. Not only does this show your guests your appreciation, but lets them know that it got to you safely. It also gives you the opportunity to touch base and provide any updates to your situation, whether that’s a new date or simply a "thanks for hanging in there, I’ll let you know when we have more details."

After your new official wedding date, you can send out thank you notes to all your guests, including those who you've already thanked for gifts.

How else do I talk to my guests regarding gifts?

At the end of the day, be open and honest with your guests. Bringing up your gifting situation isn’t materialistic or greedy—it’s informative and productive. With your wedding being pushed back, let your guests know whether or not you’d prefer to receive gifts as planned or wait until you’re closer to your new date.

Thank those who have already purchased and reassure them that you’re delighted to receive what they’ve sent. And if you’ve chosen to return items and cash funds, for the time being, let them know that it has nothing to do with the gifts and everything to do with the situation at hand. In any case, don’t be ashamed or uncomfortable talking about it.

Be it now or in a few months, your guests want to celebrate your wedding. Despite your situation, their love and excitement hold true. So, there’s no guilt to be had in receiving your gifts. Take a deep breath, make a few phone calls, and ultimately do what’s best for you. As always, we’re here to help as much as we can.

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