Keeping Track of Shower and Wedding Gifts

Keeping Track of Shower and Wedding Gifts
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Often times when a couple starts to receive gifts, they think they will surely remember who gave each and every gift. Big mistake! Simply put, you must know exactly who gave you what.

Listen to the advice of millions of brides and grooms and carefully keep track of your gifts. Then you’ll be in good shape to make sure each person receives a thank you note.

Create a gift list

Have one place where you log in each present you receive. Use a computer, iPad, notebook, wedding keepsake book or other tracking device. (If you’re using an electronic device, back up often.)

Have just one list. Individual lists at the bride’s house, the groom’s car, the parent’s house, etc. can cause your note writing task to be a burden as you try to sort things out.

Make an entry on your list each time you receive a gift at home, at a shower or elsewhere. Without fail! Even if you’re immediately writing a thank you note, you will still want one complete record of all gifts.

Resist the urge to assign this task to anyone else, even if you have an eager volunteer (such as Mom). You’re the ones who will be writing the thank you note so it will be most helpful if you make the entry.

As gifts begin to arrive, start immediately to keep a list of the gifts and their senders. Be specific, right from the start. Don’t write “serving dish from Aunt Monica.” By the time you receive all your gifts, you might have a half-dozen serving dishes. Instead, enter “white porcelain serving platter trimmed in black.” Such detail will pay off when it’s time to write your note and you need to recall the precise gift.

Also, mark down exactly you gave you the gift. Don’t write “from the Johnsons” because you might receive another gift from other Johnsons. And when it’s time to write the note, you’ll want to know the coffee grinder was from “Greg and Lucy Johnson and their son Mike.” Be careful to note all names on the gift card because that will determine to whom you write the note.

Many brides and grooms also specify on their list:

  • the date the gift arrives
  • the store where it was purchased (if known)
  • the date the thank you note was sent

Your list then becomes a one-stop handy reference tool.

Shower gifts

Before the shower takes please, ask a person who’s going to be a guest at the shower if she’ll make a list of the gifts you receive as you’re opening them. You probably know an ideal person for this List Maker job, someone who:

  • will pay attention
  • writes neatly and carefully
  • would be happy to help with this

Never ask the hostess to do this job. She’s far too busy. Also, never ask the mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-the-groom to be the List Maker. These special ladies should be able to just sit back and enjoy your shower.

Ask your List Maker to write down a description of each item and the person’s name who gave it to you. Gently ask the person to be specific in describing each item, such as “a set of blue-flowered sheets,” and to clearly say who gave the gift because it might be more than one person.

When you get home, transfer the gift information to your gift log, so all presents are listed in one place.

Wedding gifts

Most of the gifts you receive will probably be arriving before the wedding to your home or your parents’ home. Keep adding to your list each of the gifts you receive. A smart bride or groom will do it every time a gift arrives.

Even though it violates most etiquette guidelines, alas, some guests will be bringing their gifts to your wedding or reception.

Many mix-ups happen with these gifts, and upset brides and grooms can have a hard time matching-up cards to gifts. Make provisions in advance.

Assign someone the task of organizing the gifts at the wedding. Don’t ask your mother, a bridesmaid or any member of the wedding party. Many times a close friend or neighbor is the ideal person. Stress to your Organizer the importance of the job, to help you properly thank the right people for the gifts. Give this person at least two rolls of cellophane tape and a notebook to take to the wedding or reception.

If you’re planning on opening some or all of the gifts at the reception, ask your Organizer to stand by and tape the gift card to the gift after you’ve opened it. Also, the Organizer should make a list of the gifts in the notebook as you open then, giving as complete a description as possible.

Most gifts aren’t opened at the reception and each needs an extra measure of protection as they will be transported to your home later. Look out! A card that is merely tucked into the ribbon or fragilely attached can be easily separated from the gift.

Ask your Organizer to tape each card to its gift soon after it arrives. Tell the Organizer to be extra generous with the tape – not just a tab at the top of the envelope. Rather, make a giant “X” over the card, securing it to the gift.

When you return from your honeymoon and open these gifts, make the entries on your list of each gift and its sender.

Gifts will continue to arrive after the wedding. Continue to make note of every gift received on your master list, to have a final and complete record.

Emily Easton is a note-writing expert, and loves to help brides and grooms craft the perfect note. Her website on Wedding Thank You Notes, with wording for over 60 notes, can be found at

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