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Returning gifts after a broken engagement

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Updated: 4/16/2007 2:29 pm
When the engagement is broken, the couple is expected to return any wedding presents they may have received. Even monogrammed gifts should be returned. If you've already started using a gift, you'll need to buy a replacement. Never send anything back used. Include a brief note with the gift, thanking them for their generosity, but saying that the wedding will not take place. No other explanation is necessary. As for the engagement ring, if the groom broke the engagement, the bride can keep the ring, if she wants. When the bride calls off the wedding, she should give the ring back, even though she's not legally required to do. However, if the ring was an heirloom from the bride's family, she's expected to keep it, no matter who broke off the engagement. Presents received at engagement parties should be returned to the senders, with the exception of small, informal gifts from the groom's family or friends. About the only time etiquette permits a prospective bride or groom to keep gifts is in the unfortunate event of their partner's death. Still, most people will feel uncomfortable with the thought of keeping such presents.
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