In the excitement of your engagement, and the whirlwind of parties to celebrate the news, friends and relatives likely showered you with gifts. If you have to call the wedding off, it's only right that the gift-givers get their gifts back, with a note of thanks. This includes personalized gifts such as monogrammed or engraved items.
Give Them Back
Hopefully you've kept a list of who gave which gifts, which you can refer to in sending the gifts back. You can return gifts in person, or ship them back if the person lives far away. If you've already used the gift, you shouldn't return it, but should still tactfully mention your gratitude to the giver. Monetary gifts should be returned as well, but if you've already spent the money, you would have to admit this to the giver. You might say, "I know I should give you back the money, but I already spent it on kitchen supplies. I'll return it when I have the money again." In many cases, the giver will say that repayment isn't necessary. You should keep any gift if the giver insists you do.
Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.