We’re regularly asked questions about wedding gift etiquette, particularly around how much you should give the couple, and when a wedding gift is (and isn’t!) expected. This wedding gift question is sort of a mash-up of both topics, it’s about the wedding after-party, or The Afters, as it’s called in Ireland. In some parts of the world, its common to invite extra guests to the wedding reception after dinner, to join the party for a few drinks and a dance. Officially speaking, these guests aren’t wedding guests, in that you aren’t paying for their meal, so should they still arrange a gift for the couple? It’s about time we shared the answer!
But First, What is a Wedding After-Party?
A wedding after-party, known as The Afters in Ireland, usually refers to the post-dinner portion of the evening reception. In some parts of the world, it’s common for the couple to invite extra guests along to this part of the wedding, to have a couple of drinks and enjoy the band. Now that small family weddings followed by a bigger day two party is becoming a popular format, the after-party could also be the next day, but the same principles apply.
Should I Give the Couple a Gift if I Only Attend the Afters?
Generally speaking, there’s no need to give the couple a wedding gift if you’re only attending the after-party. While every couple and social circle is different, in our experience, the couple won’t be expecting a gift in this case. A hand-written card is a perfectly acceptable way to express your congratulations, buying the couple a drink is a nice touch, too. If you really want to show your gratitude, a donation to a charity in their name, or a bottle of bubbly sent to their home in advance of the wedding, would be lovely. The couple will likely be pleasantly surprised, and appreciate the gesture. You’ll find more information on choosing a gift below.
I’ve Decided to Give the Couple a Gift Anyway. How Much Should I Give?
Our advice here is not to go overboard – if your gift is very generous, the couple may feel bad about not inviting you to the full wedding day. You should also take into account your relationship with the couple, how much your presence might be costing them (for example, if there’s an open bar), and how much you can afford to spend. Most couples, although not expecting anything, would really appreciate a small cash contribution of around €50/£50/$50 towards their honeymoon, or a foolproof gift of similar value, for example a nice bottle of wine. We’ve got more alternative gift ideas for when you’re not attending the wedding here.
Got another question that needs answering? Check out our wedding FAQ page!