The engagement is a crucial step towards marriage. It is an especially exciting occasion because it often comes with gifts (ok the fact that you are promising your life to another is pretty amazing but also…GIFTS). The tricky question is can you return an engagement gift and what is the right way to do it? The answer to this question all comes down to the reason you are returning. Read on to find out more:
The marriage is off
This reason people spend time engaged is to really get to understand what life is like as one whole instead of two individuals. Marriage isn’t easy and engagement gives you a good introduction of what life may be like. With that in mind, it is no surprise that so many relationships that make it to engagement, don’t make it to marriage. If this happens, then it is not only ok to return the gifts but it is good etiquette to do so. While the breakup may be a traumatic time for you and you don’t want to deal with anyone or the subject of the engagement at all the gifts must still be returned. Take as long as you need to heal and then start sending the gifts back with a note explaining what has happened. If the gifts are small then it may not be necessary to return it, instead take a friend to lunch, explain what happened and offer to pay for their meal.
You just don’t like the gift.
If you just don’t like the gift, you should really still accept it. They gave you the gift as a symbol of how much they care about you and the amazing step you are making in life. To return the gift because it is not your taste almost misses the point. If the gift is very expensive then it would be a shame for it to go to waste. If you are very close to someone you could tell them the truth, but treat very carefully. After discussions in our office, we vote, swallow your pride for a few years and then try and swap it discreetly yourself for something you do want.
You already have one.
This is similar to not liking the gift, but a far better excuse. If you have the same item already or if two people got you the same engagement gift then it can be ok to explain this. Try to explain to the person who amazing the gift is and how you love it so much (that is why you already have one). Say you would love to exchange it for something else if that is ok with them. Most people will be understanding.
As a general rule when the marriage is still on, keep the gift and learn to love it. Look at it not as the ugly art you were bought but as a memento of a beautiful occasion. If that doesn’t work then someday you accidentally slip and break into a thousand pieces – problem solved.