Is it OK to say “Please No Gifts” in a birthday party invitation?

1. Respect their wishes

Seriously. Don’t bring a gift. It doesn’t matter how awesome or not awesome the gift you were considering is. Just don’t bring one. Most parents aren’t thinking “I am going to ask for no gifts just to be convenient for other parents”. They are truly wanting what’s best for their child and their family.

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The personalised note

When you have to deliver some rules that are non-negotiable, it’s a good idea to send the guest a personalised note either alongside the invitation, or separately, but posted at the same time. For a concept such as ‘No gifts, please’, this may be overzealous…unless you have a family member that always insists on buying you things that are hideous and bulky.

Rules such as ‘no children, please’ require a little more delicate handling. If you’re on a budget, or the location really isn’t suitable for kids, just be gentle, but clear. Address this from the get-go, to mitigate the chance of an awkward phone call later on. Even though this is your day, it’s best to explain your reasons. Because chances are, they’re entirely reasonable, or necessary.

For example:

Dear ____&_____, ____ and I are really hoping that you two can make it to the wedding. While we would love to have the whole family there, unfortunately, we feel the venue isn’t suitable for little ___ and ___. We want you to have the best day possible, and to not have to worry about their whereabouts. We understand getting a babysitter can be difficult, but we’d really love it if you could both be a part of our day. Xx

Pros: Who doesn’t like a personalised note? If you’re denying your guest something (such as a plus-one, or for their kids to be present), a personalised note demonstrates that you’ve really considered their position, and that you value their presence at your wedding.

Cons: Can be time consuming if you’ve got a bunch of friends with requests.

4. Take a card

When an invitation asks to not bring gifts, it doesn’t mean you have to show up empty-handed to the party or without a card. You can write a heartfelt note to the child that can be read in years to come. And if you’re really pushing the envelope on no gifts, you might include something like a sheet of stickers, a coloring sheet, or something else that fits inside the envelope.

No Gifts Birthday Party Etiquette

Hosting a no gifts birthday party for a child also requires you to follow some etiquettes to make the event easier on guests as well. So here’s –How to Host A No Gift Birthday Party.

Avoid Gift Opening Ceremony If Some Attendees Still Bring Gifts

Don’t trust people to truly listen. No matter what you do, there would be some people who would still show up with a gift. It is better to skip the gift opening ceremony in front of everyone to avoid the risk of making other guests feel embarrassed for following the ‘No Gift’ request.

You can’t ask them to take back the gift, all you can do is say ‘you didn’t have to’ but keep the gift away from the party area, away from other guest’s eyes.

You want to ever so gently hint you were serious about the no gift request.

Nobody wants to be the one to walk into a party with an extensive gift opening ceremony without a gift in hand. It is mortifying.

To avoid this from happening, maybe mention in the invitation that guests should only bring a gift for a donation to the local charity.

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