ASK THE EXPERT: Should I Fib While Thanking?

Wedding planner and etiquette expert Mark Kingsdorf helps you navigate those issues with guests — and their gifts

Question: A few of our guests gave us items that weren’t on our registry that really don’t work for us, so I was planning on returning or exchanging them for something we do need. Do I just pretend that’s not happening in my thank-you notes, and tell them what they gave us is great, anyway? What if I do that and then they find out I returned it?

Answer: If you find yourself in this situation, it’s good to be specific in your thank you note, says Mark Kingsdorf, owner of Philly’s The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants, but not too specific. “Saying, ‘Thank you so much for the gift …’ is fine, but when you start saying “Thank you very much for the beautiful bowl — we’ll cherish it forever!’ is where you start to lie, so just try to avoid being too detailed from the start.”

Plus, Kingsdorf makes a good point: In most cases, guests who give you gifts that aren’t on your registry probably don’t know you well enough to even care if you return or exchange it, he says. “They’re not the people who are going to be over for dinner and ask, ‘Where is that vase we gave you?’ So it’s not something you’ll probably have to worry about — and if they do find out, you just deal with it and tell them the truth.”

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