Author Topic: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?  (Read 9582 times)

ender

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How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« on: September 28, 2013, 06:12:43 PM »
Be curious to get thoughts from others here.

My brother (about a year younger) is getting married soon. My other, youngest brother suggested we split a 50" plus TV or something which is going to run in the $600+ range. This is a lot more than I was intending on spending.

Initially I was thinking, sure - great, means I don't have to think of what to get for a wedding gift (I'm terrible at that). But after thinking about it it's basically carte blanche enabling both my brothers to live up a consumeristic lifestyle. I would much prefer to get a variety of things which I think will actually be beneficial to him and his fiancÚ.

How have other people handled weddings of family members? It seems there is such societal pressure to buy into a consumerist mindset...


shusherstache

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2013, 06:36:12 PM »
We give straight, hard cash. It can be used for many things!  It is also highly appreciated by everyone who receives it.

iamlindoro

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 06:51:52 PM »
Some friends had a wedding a year ago and their gift registry was almost like honeymoon experience crowdfunding-- You could fund them on a tour to a little town near to where they would be staying, send them wine tasting, buy them dinner, etc.  They basically set up all the stuff they were interested in and you could pick out the experience you were booking for them, add optional extras, pick an experience in line with your budget, etc.

Now, I don't expect that everyone will have their registry set up this way, but you COULD still book them a romantic night away at a bed and breakfast, book them something at or near where they'll be honeymooning, etc.  Since I personally place so much value on experiences and so little value on things, this is exactly the way I'd like to go when my GF and I get married.  It's not consumeristic and you can pick them something truly thoughtful.

Kira

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2013, 09:20:46 PM »
I would say that a TV doesn't sound very romantic :) Most wedding gifts are intended to help start a household - bath, kitchen, etc. I don't think a TV says "living a happy life together!".

I agree with buying them an experience - gift certificate to a nice restaurant or a b&b, cooking classes, hell even hang gliding lessons if they are into that kind of thing. Or put together a gift basket with a theme. My favorite is "movie night" - a couple of DVDs, popcorn, candy, fancy sodas, and put it all in a big popcorn bowl. Looks fancy and not even that expensive.

I feel a little weird about giving people my own age cash but I sure as hell appreciated it at my own wedding!

Russ

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2013, 10:39:22 PM »
I would much prefer to get a variety of things which I think will actually be beneficial to him and his fiancÚ.

You already figured out what to say, you just have to say it

msilenus

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2013, 10:50:03 PM »
Cash is usually the way to go, IMO.  Traditional wedding gifting is a throwback to when marriages were how households formed.  Today households tend to form before marriage.  If that's how things progressed with your brother and future sister-in-law, they already have a TV if they're TV watching folks.

dragoncar

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 02:32:16 PM »
I would say that a TV doesn't sound very romantic :) Most wedding gifts are intended to help start a household - bath, kitchen, etc. I don't think a TV says "living a happy life together!".

I agree with buying them an experience - gift certificate to a nice restaurant or a b&b, cooking classes, hell even hang gliding lessons if they are into that kind of thing. Or put together a gift basket with a theme. My favorite is "movie night" - a couple of DVDs, popcorn, candy, fancy sodas, and put it all in a big popcorn bowl. Looks fancy and not even that expensive.

I feel a little weird about giving people my own age cash but I sure as hell appreciated it at my own wedding!

TV + soft core porno DVD

CommonCents

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 02:45:20 PM »
Some friends had a wedding a year ago and their gift registry was almost like honeymoon experience crowdfunding-- You could fund them on a tour to a little town near to where they would be staying, send them wine tasting, buy them dinner, etc.  They basically set up all the stuff they were interested in and you could pick out the experience you were booking for them, add optional extras, pick an experience in line with your budget, etc.

Honey Funds are generally not considered proper ettiquete.  :(  People should not ask for money and should instead plan the honeymoons they can afford.  Also, they are generally not mustachian, as they often charge high fees for the services.  My friends did one too, and their provider charged 7.5% to take money from person A to give to couple B.  In the end I opted to give them cash, as they wanted, but I wrote a check to them rather than give through the Honey Fund site.  Please look into these fees before you decide to give (or request money) through these services!

oldtoyota

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 03:06:54 PM »
Some friends had a wedding a year ago and their gift registry was almost like honeymoon experience crowdfunding-- You could fund them on a tour to a little town near to where they would be staying, send them wine tasting, buy them dinner, etc.  They basically set up all the stuff they were interested in and you could pick out the experience you were booking for them, add optional extras, pick an experience in line with your budget, etc.

Yikes!

mpbaker22

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 03:11:04 PM »
Some friends had a wedding a year ago and their gift registry was almost like honeymoon experience crowdfunding-- You could fund them on a tour to a little town near to where they would be staying, send them wine tasting, buy them dinner, etc.  They basically set up all the stuff they were interested in and you could pick out the experience you were booking for them, add optional extras, pick an experience in line with your budget, etc.

Honey Funds are generally not considered proper ettiquete.  :(  People should not ask for money and should instead plan the honeymoons they can afford.  Also, they are generally not mustachian, as they often charge high fees for the services.  My friends did one too, and their provider charged 7.5% to take money from person A to give to couple B.  In the end I opted to give them cash, as they wanted, but I wrote a check to them rather than give through the Honey Fund site.  Please look into these fees before you decide to give (or request money) through these services!

In what world is it proper etiquette to have a list with ridiculous, unnecessary appliances, but not etiquette to have a honeymoon fund?  I just don't see a difference between the two.

CommonCents

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 03:30:46 PM »
In what world is it proper etiquette to have a list with ridiculous, unnecessary appliances, but not etiquette to have a honeymoon fund?  I just don't see a difference between the two.

Good question. 

First, strict sticklers for etiquette will actually politely explain (better than I) that today's modern Dear Santa List of a registry is not, in fact, very proper.  That back in the day, women would select a china pattern at an early age (e.g. 12) and register with a store, and those wishing to gift her on her wedding day were permitted to peek into her relationship with the store and would choose to send on a gift unasked.  See below, I've copied in a post from a wedding board by a well-respected authority on the subject. 

Second, many others will argue that asking for "stuff" is different than asking for money to fund your lifestyle, whether it be pay for a wedding or the honeymoon afterwards.  That there is indeed a distinction between stuff used to set up your household (and perhaps host the giver), and money which you may spend on rent, food, alcohol, drugs etc. - or as is often the case I've seen, a lavish honeymoon the couple cannot afford (without your help).

"....You are also quite right, as long as you are talking about the modern "gift" registry -- which I like to refer to as the "letter-to-the-wedding-Santa" type of registry. It really is self-serving, mercenary, and undermining to your self-reliance and self-respect, to name a list of valuables for which you think you would be the appropriate charity-recipient.

But such registries are only faking respectability, by stealing the name from the more traditional "household" (NOT "gift") registry. Traditional household-goods registries are acceptable because they are a private service offered by a department store to a housewife. They are intended to help her keep track of all the heirloom-quality goods she needs to set up a gracious traditional home in order to fulfil her traditional duties as mother, wife and hostess: linen sheets for making up the guestroom bed for overnight guests, bone china for serving birthday and Christmas dinners, crystal for toasting the future of hoped-for children at their baptisms or graduations. The registry is a place where she can list all her patterns and needs, and then acquire them over the years as her household expands.

Even in more gracious times, guests did indeed use a bride's household registry as a guide to choosing gifts for her. Once guests know her china pattern or linen-sizes, they can make their own choice of open-stock pieces in the same pattern, or linens in the same size, or they can choose something from her own long-term plans to help her complete that part of her household equipage sooner, knowing that she would have bought it for herself sooner or later. There's also a guilty pleasure for the guest to doing this, in that they are getting to "snoop" in an almost-socially-acceptable manner, into a private arrangement between the bride and her supplier. And they didn't feel that they were being dictated to, because they had to take the initiative to do the snooping.

Household registries are acceptable, because you put them together for your own convenience, not for your own material gain. Gift registries are, really, quite vulgar. Unfortunately few department stores will maintain an old-fashioned household registry any more, though there are still a few who will, and in this age of cloud computing and good database software, there are also good alternatives to managing your household planning that do not rely on department stores' defunct participation in good etiquette."

mpbaker22

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2013, 03:47:15 PM »
Quote
or as is often the case I've seen, a lavish honeymoon the couple cannot afford (without your help).

Makes sense, and I agree with most the post.  Except most items on the registry are not necessary for the household, and they are usually expensive things the couple cannot afford on their own ... so essentially the guests are paying for it just like they would be paying for the honeymoon.

I hate seeing $300 bread mixers on registries when they only get used twice a year.

dragoncar

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013, 03:49:28 PM »
As a gift giver, I'd rather get something from a registry than simply guess what the couple could use or want.  That said, cash is easiest.

daverobev

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013, 05:49:27 PM »
"Quite vulgar"?

We don't have servants that live downstairs anymore either. Times change. Having a list of the stuff you'd like to put in your house is ok - obviously it makes more sense for couples who don't already live together! And haven't lived on their own for years and hence.. actually have two lots of household stuff already.

Cash is nice. If they want/need a big TV.. why not. Do they have thousands of dollars of debt already? Then, ok, maybe give them some money and say, hey, I'd like you to invest it. Or buy them some stock. But if they are doing ok.. it's not evil to have a large TV.

If bro is a raging consumer and you don't want to do it, don't do it! Give something heartfelt, useful, and that will last.

CommonCents

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2013, 07:12:49 PM »
I hate seeing $300 bread mixers on registries when they only get used twice a year.

Yep.  Registries filled with crazy expensive presents and nothing reasonable in the first place are frustrating in general.

But I had pretzels tonight I had made with my $100 breadmaker yesterday.  So not all sit in the cabinet.  And some might even help them save money and avoid the consumerism.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 07:55:06 PM by CommonCents »

Dicey

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2013, 10:10:02 PM »
I would much prefer to get a variety of things which I think will actually be beneficial to him and his fiancÚ.
Wow! It looks like I had a totally different response to this post than everyone else. My take: Quit trying to manipulate your brother(s) to your way of thinking. Yes, you are right, but your approach is just going to piss them off and potentially cause a rift in the family. What's best for you is what's best for you, not necessarily for them. They have to live their own lives and make their own mistakes. You must wait for them to come to you if you want your message to be heard. Until then, give what you feel comfortable giving and stop trying to tell your family how to live their lives.

(That sounds harsh, but I'm on your side. I know your way is right, but change won't happen until they are ready to change. Until then, you will just seem condescending to them. You don't want to be cast in the role of bad guy or worse, know-it-all.)

SMP

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2013, 12:02:03 AM »
I had my wedding this summer. We have a house and live together since nearly 3 years.
We have everything we need in our household, why should we get some extra salad dishes or things just own another 2 times?
So we asked for money - it's a kind of impersonal - but it's the only thing we wanted to have. (In Germany this is quite normal)
So we asked for some money for the honeymoon trip, regardless, that it was totally payed in advance.
So after our honeymoon trip we took all the money to the bank and made an extra payment on the mortgage for the house.

unpolloloco

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2013, 06:57:05 AM »
I would much prefer to get a variety of things which I think will actually be beneficial to him and his fiancÚ.
Wow! It looks like I had a totally different response to this post than everyone else. My take: Quit trying to manipulate your brother(s) to your way of thinking. Yes, you are right, but your approach is just going to piss them off and potentially cause a rift in the family. What's best for you is what's best for you, not necessarily for them. They have to live their own lives and make their own mistakes. You must wait for them to come to you if you want your message to be heard. Until then, give what you feel comfortable giving and stop trying to tell your family how to live their lives.

(That sounds harsh, but I'm on your side. I know your way is right, but change won't happen until they are ready to change. Until then, you will just seem condescending to them. You don't want to be cast in the role of bad guy or worse, know-it-all.)

I agree.  That said, you can pretty easily get out of it by doing something on your own - giving something with greater meaning.  If you choose to go the TV route, however, definitely buy the TV on sale (black friday maybe?)!

CommonCents

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2013, 07:45:04 AM »
I had my wedding this summer. We have a house and live together since nearly 3 years.
We have everything we need in our household, why should we get some extra salad dishes or things just own another 2 times?
So we asked for money - it's a kind of impersonal - but it's the only thing we wanted to have. (In Germany this is quite normal)
So we asked for some money for the honeymoon trip, regardless, that it was totally payed in advance.
So after our honeymoon trip we took all the money to the bank and made an extra payment on the mortgage for the house.

Yes, I should have clarified, but other countries/cultures obviously do have different traditions.  I was just giving a US perspective, where I've read that it's the act of asking that is considered inappropriate.  (The "proper" thing to do here when you want money is to register for nothing or very little, and when asked what you want, respond that you have all the "things" you could need - and let people figure out that green is preferred.)

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2013, 08:08:46 AM »
Just tell him straight up you want to handle your own gift-giving. And if there is any emotional blackmail backlash, don't submit.

Agree with this, my brother is the king of emotional backlash. Anyway.... Cash is always appreciated to newlyweds. They'll be happy and spend it as they see fit.

MrsPete

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2013, 08:30:59 AM »
In what world is it proper etiquette to have a list with ridiculous, unnecessary appliances, but not etiquette to have a honeymoon fund?  I just don't see a difference between the two.
Ideally you'd find a gift that isn't ridiculous or unnecessary.  The issue, of course, may well be that what you consider ridiculous, someone else considers necessary.  For example, I do not drink coffee; thus, I consider even the simplest coffee maker unnecessary.  Most people would disagree with me on this topic.  In contrast, I own three slow cookers (of varying sizes) that are used frequently.  Someone else might consider them unnecessary. 

Regardless, I can think of a whole slew of things that are available for a reasonable price AND are necessary:  Towels and blankets, tableware and silverware, a nice grill, cast iron cookware, cookbooks, quality knife sets.  I've been married 23 years and still use many of the things that I received as wedding gifts. 

I never give cash.  Two reasons:  1) With careful shopping, I can give a nice gift that looks like it was expensive, but really wasn't.  When I last went to a wedding, I gave an enamel-covered cast iron Dutch oven (those things usually cost $60-80, but I found it for $45) coupled with a church cookbook (purchased from a fund raiser, and that type of book always contains great recipes).  This looked like much more than a $50 gift.  2) Cash certainly is appreciated, but it comes and goes quickly.  In contrast, a carefully chosen gift is useful and is a reminder of the giver and the wedding for years.

MrsPete

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2013, 08:35:46 AM »
I would much prefer to get a variety of things which I think will actually be beneficial to him and his fiancÚ.
Wow! It looks like I had a totally different response to this post than everyone else. My take: Quit trying to manipulate your brother(s) to your way of thinking. Yes, you are right, but your approach is just going to piss them off and potentially cause a rift in the family. What's best for you is what's best for you, not necessarily for them. They have to live their own lives and make their own mistakes. You must wait for them to come to you if you want your message to be heard. Until then, give what you feel comfortable giving and stop trying to tell your family how to live their lives.

(That sounds harsh, but I'm on your side. I know your way is right, but change won't happen until they are ready to change. Until then, you will just seem condescending to them. You don't want to be cast in the role of bad guy or worse, know-it-all.)
While it's harshly worded, I don't disagree with the sentiment.  This is your brother's wedding, not an opportunity to teach him the value of a dollar.  I would spend $300 or so on a sibling's wedding, but that's not a stretch for me financially and it's something I would want to do -- that doesn't mean in any way that you should adopt the same number. 

If the TV is something that your brother would want, would appreciate for years, then I wouldn't have a problem with it as a gift. 

MrsPete

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2013, 08:39:21 AM »
I had my wedding this summer. We have a house and live together since nearly 3 years.
We have everything we need in our household, why should we get some extra salad dishes or things just own another 2 times?
So we asked for money - it's a kind of impersonal - but it's the only thing we wanted to have. (In Germany this is quite normal)
So we asked for some money for the honeymoon trip, regardless, that it was totally payed in advance.
So after our honeymoon trip we took all the money to the bank and made an extra payment on the mortgage for the house.
We didn't live together before we were married, and we bought our first house the same month as our wedding . . . but we had both had college apartments (shared with roommates) for years, so we didn't come to the wedding with nothing. 

Still, I loved all my wedding gifts.  (Well, that used casserole dish, not so much.)  My college apartments were furnished with cast-offs from my family and Goodwill purchases.  I was glad to have "upgrades", things I'd chosen in my own colors and my own preferences, and "nice things".  Could we have kept drinking from the mismatched glasses and cooking with the old Teflon pans?  Sure, but I did appreciate the gifts, and -- as I said in a previous post -- I still use quite a few of those things today. 

Half-Borg

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2013, 08:52:58 AM »
I like cash very much at a wedding.
Wedding partys are expensive, often more than the couple can afford, so I think of it as my share, that I get to attend a great party.
If the couple sets up stuff they want, that's fine with me. They would buy it anyway, so it's as good as cash. If I buy something the might like and it just end up in a corner and never gets used, everybody just wasted money.
So if they would buy the TV anyway, it's an ok gift. Kind of expensive, but that's for you to figure out.

livetogive

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2013, 09:29:34 AM »
We give straight, hard cash. It can be used for many things!  It is also highly appreciated by everyone who receives it.

This is always the best gift.  We don't need a new vacuum and our dishes are just fine, but we'd sure love to get rid of the student loan debt.

Regarding those who find deals - that's great, but many times the item purchased for the people isn't a necessity anyway and it kind of stems from feeling bad for not spending money. IMO any gift, regardless of value, is something to be thankful for.  I'd never think someone was "cheap" because they gave me $20 instead of a blender. 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 09:37:36 AM by TurboLT »

galliver

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2013, 02:27:27 PM »
I would say that a TV doesn't sound very romantic :) Most wedding gifts are intended to help start a household - bath, kitchen, etc. I don't think a TV says "living a happy life together!".

I agree with buying them an experience - gift certificate to a nice restaurant or a b&b, cooking classes, hell even hang gliding lessons if they are into that kind of thing. Or put together a gift basket with a theme. My favorite is "movie night" - a couple of DVDs, popcorn, candy, fancy sodas, and put it all in a big popcorn bowl. Looks fancy and not even that expensive.

I feel a little weird about giving people my own age cash but I sure as hell appreciated it at my own wedding!

Anyone else see the irony in saying "Don't get a TV, that's not romantic...get them a movie night gift basket!"?

I think before declaring the gift of a TV as representative of all consumerism ever, we should consider (1) Do they already have one? (2) How new/big is it? (3) How do/would they use it?

Pretty sure the key to good gift-giving is to figure out what the recipient would want, not what you want, and give accordingly.

lifejoy

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2013, 03:37:31 PM »
I love the idea of giving a small special gift (crystal bowl, anyone?) with cash. That way you give them something tangible AND something that they actually want ($$$).

Everybody happy :D

jpo

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Re: How to not enable brother's consumerism at wedding?
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2013, 05:39:02 PM »
I gave my sister a check and beginner personal finance book. There were no complaints.