Author Topic: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!  (Read 22348 times)

RetiredAt63

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My DD has a friend (let's call her "Friend") who is in an awkward situation, and DD, knowing I hang out here, asked me to ask all of you what is the "new etiquette".  Weddings and gifts - my DD's circle, including Friend, is not yet into weddings (most are finishing school or have just started working), and the ones who have gotten married have not done the big wedding thing, so my DD and her friend do not have experience with this.  Friend is going nuts, and driving my DD nuts with her whinging, so I hope there are lots of opinions out there.

Situation - someone in Friend's family is getting married - the couple have been together for several years, already have a kid (of course I think they did it in the wrong order, but not my family, so no skin off my nose), and are now having a wedding.  No idea how big, fancy, etc.  Friend and Friend's parents are going to the wedding, and the desired wedding gift is apparently money - no idea if it is ear-marked for anything, but since the happy couple have been living together for a while they apparently are not planning to upgrade the quality of their "stuff".  Friend's parents think she should contribute what to her is a large sum of money ($200, she has student loans like mad and just started work, starter job = starter salary).  Friend is moaning and groaning to DD, and DD asked me what I thought.  What I thought is not printable, so I thought I would ask the younger members of the MMM community (i.e. those of you in this situation) what is the appropriate thing for Friend to do?

A. Fork over the $200, get her parents off her back, wreck her budget.  Apparently her parents' thinking is that the $ gift should match what the happy couple are spending per person on the wedding - so if the happy couple are having an elaborate bash (we all know what we think of that, so please don't bother commenting), then DD's friend is up the creek.

B.  Fork over what she can afford (which will be $100 or less, not sure, DD didn't go into detail) and have her parents and who knows who else in the family mad at her.

C. No other options, she is committed to going, has to do something.

DD will be camping with Friend this weekend and will pass on any advice then.  So thank you all in advance!

PS And given all this, I have told DD that if, when the time comes, she wants to elope or just do a super small family/close friends thing, I will be super happy about it.

gimp

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2014, 02:17:21 PM »
Oh, weddings. In before the storm!

This kind of shit is exactly the reason why so many relationships change after a wedding. Maid of honor won't talk to you, friends become not friends, family is upset at someone, blah, blah, blah. Etiquette and expectations on one side, harsh realities on the other, and people too wrapped up in the event to understand and acknowledge each others' needs and wants.

In this specific situation, I'd say 'Friend' can give what she can give, and if her parents think it's not enough, they can pay the difference. Why? Because fuck you, that's why. A gift is a gift, it's not a price paid for admission.

Generally though, communication is good. "I'd love to come but I can't afford cash to cover my cost of attending; I've been eating rice and beans all last month." "You're family, we understand, don't worry about it, we know it's not an insult or rudeness to us." Problem solved, hopefully.

I've definitely skipped a wedding because I didn't feel like paying $500+ to fly there. On the other hand, I gave my best friend and her husband a gift a bit beyond my means because I love them. Every situation is different.

Gin1984

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2014, 02:19:23 PM »
My average is about $50 per person attending the wedding, $25/person if I don't.  But that does cover the cost of the average wedding plate around here.

frugalnacho

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2014, 02:19:36 PM »
I vote for: fuck em, and give what you can afford.  If $200 is going to cause problems with the budget then don't gift it.  The notion of gifting proportionate to how much the wedding costs is ridiculous to me.  Unless you give me some control over the wedding budget, then it is none of my concern, and is 100% your problem.  The choice to have an expensive wedding was yours, and you should bear that cost, not me or your other guests.  You can always choose to have a cheaper wedding if you want, and my gift will be the same. 

netskyblue

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2014, 02:21:14 PM »
The ONLY rule of etiquette is that should you choose to give a gift, it is proper to give it within 12 months of the wedding.

Gifts are not required, anyone who expects them is rude for doing so.  She should give what she feels she can afford/wants to give, not be pressured by rude people's desires.

Carrie

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2014, 02:21:39 PM »
Why would the amount that Friend is able to, and desires, to give any one else's business?  Why would Friend's parents even know the amount?

A gift is just that --- it's not price of admission, it's something given because you want to give.  If I ever had anyone question or judge me for what I choose to give, they can suck it (and won't ever get another gift from me).

rocksinmyhead

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2014, 02:23:40 PM »
A. Fork over the $200, get her parents off her back, wreck her budget.  Apparently her parents' thinking is that the $ gift should match what the happy couple are spending per person on the wedding - so if the happy couple are having an elaborate bash (we all know what we think of that, so please don't bother commenting), then DD's friend is up the creek.

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG

man that way of thinking grosses me out beyond belief. it's not like you're buying a ticket to a concert that you get to choose to go to or something.

on the one hand, I'm close to my family and I too would be stressed out and sad if I thought that giving a reasonably/responsibly sized gift would make them "mad" at me. on the other hand, I don't think I would be that close to my family if they were so crazy!

I guess I would also be slightly influenced by what exactly my relation to the marrying family member is, how close we are, etc., but I can't really imagine a scenario in which I would give $200 if I were fresh out of school with student loans and a low-paying job.

Why would the amount that Friend is able to, and desires, to give any one else's business?  Why would Friend's parents even know the amount?

good point!

Jennifer in Ottawa

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2014, 02:24:24 PM »
It is extremely poor manners of the bride to dictate what form a 'gift' ought to take, and this new 'etiquette' needs to be discouraged by firmly being ignored. 

Furthermore, it is not up to the guests of a wedding to 'cover' the costs of their attendance.  Did they get to choose any of the aspects of the wedding?  Of course not. 

My advice is that your daughter's friend not give cash at all, but instead bring a gift within her budget.  If that angers the family, too darned bad.  Her parents can feel free to make up the difference if they want to.

okashira

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2014, 02:31:01 PM »
I was best man for a friend's wedding.

I noticed on their wedding website thing, their requested gift was CASH/money. They both have really good paying jobs and little to no debt.
I was actually offended when I read this.

My response was to get them no gift at all. I doubt they noticed with the huge pile of crap they got from other people...

frugalnacho

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2014, 02:38:19 PM »
When we got married we had a small registry of crap the wife just HAD to have, but I really tried to limit it to useful things.  Beyond that we requested cash for gifts.  Some people like okashira seemed to be offended by it, but I don't understand why.  I have all the material shit I need (and then some), why would I want more of it?  If you really want to help me and my wife just give us cash that we can pay down our debt with or invest for our future.  Either of those options is infinitely better than having an expensive kitchen gadget that won't be used and will be taking up space in my house. 

okashira

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2014, 02:41:37 PM »
When we got married we had a small registry of crap the wife just HAD to have, but I really tried to limit it to useful things.  Beyond that we requested cash for gifts.  Some people like okashira seemed to be offended by it, but I don't understand why.  I have all the material shit I need (and then some), why would I want more of it?  If you really want to help me and my wife just give us cash that we can pay down our debt with or invest for our future.  Either of those options is infinitely better than having an expensive kitchen gadget that won't be used and will be taking up space in my house.

I should add that they wanted cash to help pay for the "expensive wedding and honeymoon"...

Gin1984

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2014, 02:42:55 PM »
When we got married we had a small registry of crap the wife just HAD to have, but I really tried to limit it to useful things.  Beyond that we requested cash for gifts.  Some people like okashira seemed to be offended by it, but I don't understand why.  I have all the material shit I need (and then some), why would I want more of it?  If you really want to help me and my wife just give us cash that we can pay down our debt with or invest for our future.  Either of those options is infinitely better than having an expensive kitchen gadget that won't be used and will be taking up space in my house.

I should add that they wanted cash to help pay for the "expensive wedding and honeymoon"...
So?  If they want events not material items why does that matter? 

frugalnacho

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2014, 02:51:02 PM »
When we got married we had a small registry of crap the wife just HAD to have, but I really tried to limit it to useful things.  Beyond that we requested cash for gifts.  Some people like okashira seemed to be offended by it, but I don't understand why.  I have all the material shit I need (and then some), why would I want more of it?  If you really want to help me and my wife just give us cash that we can pay down our debt with or invest for our future.  Either of those options is infinitely better than having an expensive kitchen gadget that won't be used and will be taking up space in my house.

I should add that they wanted cash to help pay for the "expensive wedding and honeymoon"...

I had our wedding and honeymoon paid off before our wedding (it was about $12,000 - ridiculous I know, me and the wife had many a fights about the ABSOLUTE INSANITY of spending that much on a wedding, but I digress).   The money we got went towards our savings since it was already paid off, but I don't see the difference where the money comes from.  Who cares if I use that $100 gift you gave me to go towards my honeymoon, or kitchenware, or my drug dealer?  Would it make you feel better if I put that gift money into an investment account, and then cashed out an equal amount to spend on drugs and vacations?

I can see your point if I was unmustachian though (like my family).  I shudder to think of any amount of money coming into their hands because I know it will be spent most unwisely. 

RetiredAt63

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2014, 02:57:21 PM »
Wow, great replies so far!


I am fuzzy about the details, but if my DD has it right, Friend's parents were planning one cash gift from the family, and that was what they thought her share should be.  For all I know there is a registry, but they want to give cash.  What Friend is not happy with is being told what her share should be - and I am assuming that she will have other costs as the wedding is out of town.  I don't know if they can do it in one day (it is close enough, but then if it is a late afternoon or evening wedding the drive back is problematic).

I am not sure, but I don't think cash gifts are part of the culture of either member of the Happy Couple (English Ontario, French Quebec).

Personally, I appreciated my aunt's cash wedding gift, way back when - it was money specifically ear-marked for a honeymoon (we had just graduated University and were starting Grad school, even with the money our honeymoon was modest).  But that was her idea, she knew we were basically broke, we didn't' ask for it.

partgypsy

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2014, 03:00:01 PM »
This must be a cultural difference. In the culture my father is from, cash gifts for a wedding is the norm. Sure you can make an American wedding registry but all the close relationships will gift money regardless. So, I don't see it as offensive, rather as a universally useful gift for a young couple, instead of buying something ridiculous that you often see on the registries. I don't care what they spend it on that's their business.

Again it is a gift. I would feel weird to attend a wedding and not give a gift. But only give what you can afford (for us that was around $40-75 depending on situation).  If the mother is being overbearing, she should just tell her she is gifting individually, not as part of that group. Ugh. I hate that kind of peer pressure!
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 03:01:51 PM by partgypsy »

Carrie

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2014, 03:02:40 PM »
It is tacky to even make mention of a gift ---
so I would be turned off if anyone told me that they wanted cash for a gift.

When someone I know & love is getting married, I go searching out registry first (no one should ever mention on an invite where one is registered), and if there's nothing I want to give from the registry, I may give a gift of a reasonable amount of cash, or buy them something I think they might like.  I've even skipped gifts sometimes (may be tacky of me, but if I'm not close to them and do not attend the wedding..... well....)

zinnie

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2014, 03:09:16 PM »
DD's Friend should get a really nice card/envelope, slip the money inside, and seal the envelope.  If anyone ever comes back to her mentioning that she didn't give $200 (geez louise that's crazy expensive), then she knows the couple spilled the beans.

This. Friend should give what she believes is an appropriate gift, seal the envelope, and leave it at that. Unless the couple tells her parents what she spent (which is completely inappropriate!), no one will know.

Unless Friend and her parents are going in on the gift (in which case, I would think the parents could offer to cover a larger portion since they think a huge cash gift is appropriate), I don't know how what Friend gives the couple would be anyone else's business or knowledge.

mrgrump

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2014, 03:10:59 PM »
I had a similar post referring to wedding gifts about a month ago and the general consensus of the forum seemed to be don't rock the boat. Buy what you can afford and lay low. With that being said I followed the advice and purchased a few of the cheaper quality items on their list and will be sliding in Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover into the gift pile as someone bought it for us as a wedding gift. It might not be the best book for mustachians but I found it helpful 5 years ago when we got married. And these folks couldn't be further from mustachians.

What kills me is the fact we will be paying $250-$350 in incidentals for the wedding as my wife is a bridesmaid. Oh well, I fully intend on drinking, eating and having enough fun to get my money's worth.

CommonCents

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2014, 03:14:42 PM »
A. Fork over the $200, get her parents off her back, wreck her budget.  Apparently her parents' thinking is that the $ gift should match what the happy couple are spending per person on the wedding - so if the happy couple are having an elaborate bash (we all know what we think of that, so please don't bother commenting), then DD's friend is up the creek.

B.  Fork over what she can afford (which will be $100 or less, not sure, DD didn't go into detail) and have her parents and who knows who else in the family mad at her.

C. No other options, she is committed to going, has to do something.

A is actually pretty common thinking, although it actually flies in the face of all etiquette.  No gift should be asked for (particularly cash!) and wedding registries these days tromp all over that ideal.  That said, it's generally accepted by non-sticklers of etiquette that a registry is ok, and a gift expected (though one should still not ask for one).  In fact, people who believe this sometimes actually think you should give a gift PLUS the cost of your plate.  So if your plate was $200, you'd give say $300 then.  (Note, the cost of a wedding plate is MUCH higher than you'd think most of the time.)

Often the gift amount will also increase based on on whether you are bringing a guest or coming alone. 

I would suggest that the friend tell her parents whatever of the following she is comfortable with:
1) She was invited as a guest, she is an adult, the gift amount is between her and the couple and it is rude/crass etc to inquire - unless they plan to gift on her behalf?
2) She is living within her means, which includes a budget for events such as weddings.  As she is sure her parents don't want her to go into debt, she will be giving a sum with which she is comfortable.  (And if the couple cares more about the presents than her presence, she won't attend.)
3) That it's improper etiquette to request a specific gift, much less hint at cash.

If the family is one to count and remember later, I strongly suggest a personal gift that *can't* be bought in the store and tabulated.  For my sister (as college student) I made a cross-stitch with their names, wedding dates, flower, etc.  For two close friends - two lap quilts.  You could do many things - a friend offered to make us delicious handmade caramels for wedding favors for us as a wedding present which we were thrilled to accept.  Sometime people offer to DJ/take photos etc depending on the wedding.

Re amount, the standard is you should give based on what you can afford and your relationship with the couple.  Here on this board I suspect you'll get a VERY different idea of what that should be than elsewhere, so make sure the friend understands that it's not mainstream necessarily.  We're probably against the mustachian flow.  (Most mustachians will probably give much lower sums.  We believe gifts to others are important, and this is about what is done in our circle.)  As a single, newly minted college grad, I gave $50.  I've now increased that amount to $150 for weddings my husband and I attend together, more for weddings of close family or friends.  For wedding #1 this summer (good friend) I am making a queen-sized quilt.  For wedding #2, I am giving cash as requested by the couple, of $150.  (It might have been larger to $200, as we have been discussing increasing the amount, but for the fact that they couple invited us to the wedding late, which required us to pay $200pp change flight fees on top of flight/hotel costs out to them...  Some would argue I shouldn't count it though.)  I dislike giving cash, but as they noted, they are living in a small place in Hawaii, and will possibly be moving from there (with crazy shipping costs) after the bride is done with schooling.  For wedding #3 (DH best man, although they are not super close - former coworker friend), I used sales, double sales, coupons and specials to buy $465 worth of product for $160.  Part of that "product" will go for the bridal shower gift too though.

Finally, she might also consider going in on a group gift. 

So in sum: Don't feel obligated to give cash.  Give what you can afford.  If you'll be made uncomfortable by that, decline to do to the wedding.  It's between you and the couple only.  Give outside the box (check first that it'd be appreciated though) or pay close attention to deals, to keep the cost down.  Go in on a group gift.

Cpa Cat

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2014, 03:14:56 PM »
I don't care about the general etiquette of asking for money vs gifts. But holy geez $200?!? I must be a cheapskate, but that seems like a very expensive gift for what appears to be the equivalent of some cousin!

I'd buy a $200 gift for my brother - MAYBE.

But seriously - when I was fresh out of college, it'd be 20 bucks in an envelope. Even now that I'm established, $50 is pretty much my limit on wedding gifts.

But if my mom was pressuring me to give more than that, I'd tell her to suck it. I don't put up with that shit from my mom.

Villanelle

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2014, 03:18:12 PM »
$200 is too much, assuming she feels like it is too much, which clearly she does.

Also, the thing about gifts is that as the recipient, you have no say in what form the generosity of others takes.  You can have suggestions if they ask, but that's it.  If your friend wants to give something other than cash, she should.

I do think attending and not giving a gift is borderline rude.  But if she wants to spend "only" (ha!) $50-100, that's more than enough.  And I'd put it in an envelope (if I went with cash) and tell my mom, if she asked, that it was none of her business what or how much I gave.

tanhanivar

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2014, 03:18:19 PM »
Etiquette differs hugely between country/culture/region/town/family.

The main problem seems to be with Friend's parents. Do they need to *know* how much money went in the card/wishing well/etc?

Money gifts are common in my circles in Aus (and I prefer to give them).

The "cost per head" guideline is rarely discussed and I think is really for people (a) with money who (b) are loving but not close.

Give what you can and want to. Don't tell anyone who doesn't need to know.



RetiredAt63

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2014, 03:21:50 PM »
As I said, not sure if there is a registry (which would make sense, and then Friend could get them something she thinks they would like that she can afford).  So I suppose this is a tangent question, should someone in her early to mid-twenties be going in with her parents on the gift?  Or is it more appropriate for her to be doing her own gift?

Not sure which parent is doing the pressure, could just as easily be the father, it is (I think?) his side of their family.  It's a cousin, I think, obviously if it were a sibling the situation would not arise.

But if my mom was pressuring me to give more than that, I'd tell her to suck it. I don't put up with that shit from my mom.

CommonCents

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2014, 03:26:09 PM »
As I said, not sure if there is a registry (which would make sense, and then Friend could get them something she thinks they would like that she can afford).  So I suppose this is a tangent question, should someone in her early to mid-twenties be going in with her parents on the gift?  Or is it more appropriate for her to be doing her own gift?

Not sure which parent is doing the pressure, could just as easily be the father, it is (I think?) his side of their family.  It's a cousin, I think, obviously if it were a sibling the situation would not arise.

But if my mom was pressuring me to give more than that, I'd tell her to suck it. I don't put up with that shit from my mom.

If you are living on your own (college is debatable) then yes, you should give your own gift.  Now, that said, you can go in with family or others on the gift if you want. 

Issue is likely that parent thinks S/HE needs to give $200, and is thinking that applies to her too, even though he's an "older" generation (which tends to give more on the whole I observed at my own wedding than the younger "my" generation).  Also, are they considering that they will attend as a couple and she would attend alone?

ETA: She could point out that if she goes in with them, they'll assume the parents paid the whole thing, which is an injustice to her.

MayDay

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2014, 03:27:25 PM »
In mainstream US culture, it is rude to ask for cash for a gift, and it is rude to provide registry info unless asked. 

If you ask me for cash, I guarantee I will buy you a non-returnable crystal bowl and a copy of Miss Manners.

Given the situation in this post, I would first try to find a registry (ridiculously easy in the age of the internet) and buy a gift in my budget from that.  Which in the LCOL Midwest would be 50$ unless they were my best friend in the while world.  Second choice would be to individually gift the couple with a cash amount of my choice.  I wouldn't go in the family, and if pestered, I would just tell them I had my own special idea, and it is handled, and if they push keep repeating over and over that it is a surprise for the bride and groom.  Then refuse to discuss. 

Cpa Cat

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2014, 03:30:03 PM »
So I suppose this is a tangent question, should someone in her early to mid-twenties be going in with her parents on the gift?  Or is it more appropriate for her to be doing her own gift?

Not sure which parent is doing the pressure, could just as easily be the father, it is (I think?) his side of their family.  It's a cousin, I think, obviously if it were a sibling the situation would not arise.

But if my mom was pressuring me to give more than that, I'd tell her to suck it. I don't put up with that shit from my mom.

I'll qualify and say I wouldn't put up with it from my dad either.

It is, however, appropriate for someone in the 20s to go in with parents for a gift. I don't really know if it's ever inappropriate to give a family-group type gift.

Cressida

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2014, 03:38:07 PM »
It is tacky to even make mention of a gift ---

I agree.

viper155

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2014, 03:43:24 PM »
Tell your friend to watch this video....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bpwUEIE77s&feature=youtu.be

MissPeach

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2014, 03:48:47 PM »
I would just give what you can afford and it's tacky to expect a gift. I think most people gave around $50-100 (all couples) when I got married. I also asked for gifts from Bed Bath and Beyond. If you register there, they let you return anything you receive from there for cash after the wedding.

bluelion

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2014, 03:50:31 PM »
Friend could give $100. If $100 is too much, she should buy a beautiful wedding card with a voucher for 8 hours (or even more) of free baby sitting for the couple's kid.  Friend should follow up on the offer with the happy couple, so they understand she is serious.  It's like giving cash and the happy couple gets a nice break to go to a movie, etc... If she feels like it, she can even include the movie tickets.

Zamboni

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2014, 04:19:07 PM »
^This is a very good idea for a nice gift of time instead of money.

HIlarious youtube.

Both my nosy mother-in-law and my nosy mother asked us over time what (or how much in the case of money) certain people had given us as wedding gifts.  Mother-in-law was right in there asking about it for everyone she knew right after the honeymoon.  Tacky, tacky, tacky.  "How much did so and so give you?  What about so and so?"  Ugh.  My mom waited to ask gradually over time as the children of various aunts and uncles got married and she wanted her gift to match their gifts I guess.  At that point I couldn't even remember unless it was memorable, like my uncle who got us the set of 4 coffee mugs with Looney Tunes characters.

Friend should tell her parents that she has her own ideas for a gift and they should go ahead and just do as they wish.  They sound like pretty controlling parents.

Gin1984

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2014, 05:16:29 PM »
I don't care about the general etiquette of asking for money vs gifts. But holy geez $200?!? I must be a cheapskate, but that seems like a very expensive gift for what appears to be the equivalent of some cousin!

I'd buy a $200 gift for my brother - MAYBE.

But seriously - when I was fresh out of college, it'd be 20 bucks in an envelope. Even now that I'm established, $50 is pretty much my limit on wedding gifts.

But if my mom was pressuring me to give more than that, I'd tell her to suck it. I don't put up with that shit from my mom.
I had a quite a few older generation friends/family who gave a $100-150 and one couple who I did end up tell my mom about who gave $500.  Honestly, I thought they accidentally gave too much.  I was seriously shocked.  That apparently is their norm to new couples getting started.  The average for my age was $30-50 per person.  However we also had some great "gifts" of time.  We had a harpist play for us as a gift and a DJ who all we had to do was rent the equipment she normally rented (and her "dealer" as she called him gave us a break on that).

Sunnymo

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2014, 06:13:56 PM »
Hi Retired,

If Friend Is in her 20s I would imagine that she received her own invitatation (that is how I did it, adults even if living with parents got their own invite, kids were on Mom and Dad's). In this case she should give her own gift, in a sealed envelope as suggested by others.

If Friend was included on a family invite she can (but does not need to) go in on a family gift. BUT it should be at a level she is comfortable with (emphasise to parents the student loan/ financial responsibility angle). Also, the amount aunt/uncle (Friend's parents) give can be different to the amount a cousin gives. They are older, have different finances and probably a different relationship to the bride/groom than Friend had.

Sunnymo

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2014, 06:59:50 PM »
Ditto to providing her own gift, whether that be money or object, and to not discussing it with her parents. In no way is it appropriate to consider the cost of the reception. It's not like she's deciding which restaurant to go to.

surfhb

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #34 on: June 23, 2014, 07:10:54 PM »
Ah weddings!   I recently had to fork over $700 total for my cousins wedding.   This included a gift, bachelor party, tux rentals.

Honestly, this is just part of being in a family or group of friends.    I can guarantee you the couple is not thinking straight (especially her).    I would give the $200 and be done with it....its really not worth the hassle.    But, if it will "ruin" her budget there's no way she should give it....she cant, she doesnt have any money :)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 07:14:51 PM by surfhb »

gooki

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2014, 01:44:55 AM »
As I said, not sure if there is a registry (which would make sense, and then Friend could get them something she thinks they would like that she can afford).  So I suppose this is a tangent question, should someone in her early to mid-twenties be going in with her parents on the gift?  Or is it more appropriate for her to be doing her own gift?

I would definetly go in alone if she is living independently from her parents. I suspect her parents want her to front up the cash to go in together, so it reflects well on them, and not necessarily on their daughter.

I vote for cash in a card in a sealed envelope, given separately.

Nudelkopf

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2014, 02:10:04 AM »
My response was to get them no gift at all. I doubt they noticed with the huge pile of crap they got from other people...
I've never had a thank you note/text message from any wedding I've been to (so, like, 2). :( I just give $50 cash. It's a single bank note, of the highest common denomination (dunno about the US but in Australia, I don't even know how you get $100 notes), so it's the easiest.

CommonCents

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2014, 08:30:48 AM »
My response was to get them no gift at all. I doubt they noticed with the huge pile of crap they got from other people...
I've never had a thank you note/text message from any wedding I've been to (so, like, 2). :( I just give $50 cash. It's a single bank note, of the highest common denomination (dunno about the US but in Australia, I don't even know how you get $100 notes), so it's the easiest.

Serious?  That's also poor etiquette.  [ETA: It's also helpful to know the gift was received.  In one instance I followed up when a check wasn't cashed/no thank you received and discovered they had never received the check.]  (And the note should be sent promptly - NOT within 1 yr, as my husband was wont to claim.)  I had to battle him over writing thank yous and in the end, I'm still frustrated two never got written as I thought he ought to write the notes himself to his brother (best man), and good friend (groomsman) rather than me writing and handing it over to him to just sign his name.

It varies by circles, but if you're looking for some more concrete information, I went back through our records I kept for TY notes.  We got married at 32/36.  Here's what we received on average in terms of cash or gift value:
Close older (parent age) family friends: $350
Friends: $100-250; vast majority at $150. 
Note: Two gave less than $100 ($40 & $60). 
Family (non-parents/siblings/grandparents): $100-200
Most people attended as a couple (~90%)
 
We also received non-registry gifts of significant value (likely $350+): Rug from India (by a family of 4 from there), 10 bottles of (expensive) wine, handmade caramel favors for our entire wedding, transportation for our wedding party (by my cousin/bridesmaid), an engagement party (by two friends).

Friends/Family who did not attend (not all gave, just some): a few $100, with one $50, two $200, one $250.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 09:10:26 AM by CommonCents »

rujancified

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2014, 10:31:10 AM »
As I said, not sure if there is a registry (which would make sense, and then Friend could get them something she thinks they would like that she can afford).  So I suppose this is a tangent question, should someone in her early to mid-twenties be going in with her parents on the gift?  Or is it more appropriate for her to be doing her own gift?

Not sure which parent is doing the pressure, could just as easily be the father, it is (I think?) his side of their family.  It's a cousin, I think, obviously if it were a sibling the situation would not arise.

But if my mom was pressuring me to give more than that, I'd tell her to suck it. I don't put up with that shit from my mom.





I'm in my mid-30s, married, and well-enough off financially, but I often go in on gifts with my parents for wedding & baby showers. Allows us to get a larger gifts, cuts down on overall shipping costs, and it hopefully gets the couple something that they wanted (at least enough to put on the registry). But my parents would NEVER say "we bought a gift, you owe $X for it." Yikes.

I'm originally from the Northeast where cash is a common wedding gift, even if there is a registry. When we got married a few years ago, we didn't expect anything on top of people enjoying the day with us, but many people gave us money. We'd saved up for our h'moon and paid off wedding expenses as they came up, so it was a nice buffer for our down payment fund.

*Don't get me started on how as the female in my relationship, I'm expected to get more than 1 gift for close friend/family weddings.

CommonCents

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #39 on: June 24, 2014, 10:44:06 AM »
*Don't get me started on how as the female in my relationship, I'm expected to get more than 1 gift for close friend/family weddings.

Yeah that's rather annoying I must say.  My bridal shower on Sat is for DH's friend's fiancee.  I did have a bridal shower - but only invited my friends and family on both sides.  It was a very small shower.

Numbers Man

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2014, 11:25:12 AM »
Give what you can comfortably afford. A level headed Bride & Groom is not going to begrudge the lower income folks for giving less. They should be happy that all of their friends and family are sharing their joyous day.

brycedoula

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #41 on: June 24, 2014, 11:59:22 AM »
Western Canadian reponse here:

I'm getting married in a few months to a fellow Mustachian. In terms of cash gifts, here's how my fiance & I feel:

We are CHOOSING to throw ourselves a wedding reception. Our guests had NO CHOICE in where we decided to hold it, or a variety of other details. As we're throwing ourselves a party, why would we expect our guests to help pay for it? If I threw a Christmas party @ my home would I expect my guests to chip in? No.

Of course most, if not all, of our guests will probably give us $$ in a card @ the reception (pretty common here in Canada; I've even seen wedding invitations that actually say "presentation" on them!!) but if nobody gave us a thing that would be perfectly okay and we will gladly thank everybody for joining us on our special day. Guests aren't getting an invitation because they have deep pockets. They're invited because we love them and want them to be there.

I think the height of poor etiquette would be if I actually called someone out on the amount of their wedding gift.

Bottom line: don't throw a party you can't pay for. If you throw it anyway, expecting your guests to pay for it, and come up short you have no one to blame but yourself!!

SnackDog

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2014, 12:32:45 PM »
I was once in a similar situation and was offended by the guidance provided on expected levels of giving, so I just provided a card.  I, like many others, was only invited to the reception (to deliver my "gift"), not to the ceremony.  I was a broke student at the time and also kind of hated the bride.

At the reception, I arrived on time to find the buffet pretty well picked over.  It turns out that in addition to an A list who attended the ceremony, and a B list who were invited to the reception at the start, I was on the C list who were invited to the reception 90 minutes or so after the start.  Anyhow, I left my card with best wishes and enjoyed the reception.

A couple weeks later IN A CROWDED ELEVATOR the bride said they were having trouble matching cards to gifts and they were pretty sure I had to be the one to give them two books "The Joy of Cooking" and "The Joy of Sex".  Everyone in the elevator turned and stared at me wide-eyed.

"I didn't bring a gift, just a card", I replied.

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2014, 01:26:24 PM »
Give what you can, the couple can't expect more than that.

Got married exactly 1 month ago (Dallas, TX), we didn't do a registry and when people asked we said money.  Not everybody who came gave a gift and some gave a lot more than others.  We didn't care.  We were happy to share our day with our friends and family and even happier that the madness of a modern day wedding was done with. We spent $6,700 on the wedding, $4,300 on the honeymoon, and got around $5,000 in monetary gifts.  Everybody was invited to both the ceremony (Catholic Church) and the reception (our house, catered food, rented cocktail tables and a margarita machine).  Now that the books are closed on the whole thing I will never think of it again, except when writing the thank-you cards (which we will do on July 4th, it's been a crazy month).

lifejoy

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New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2014, 10:58:33 PM »
In my peer group, $50 per guest if you don't know the couple well. $100 per guest if you do. That seems to be the norm in my circles. In my culture it is traditionally tacky to ask for money, but as a minimalist I can appreciate the fact that people don't need STUFF.

*Edited to add that I'm 25 and live in Canada.

Pangolin

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #45 on: June 25, 2014, 10:09:21 AM »
Apparently her parents' thinking is that the $ gift should match what the happy couple are spending per person on the wedding

I've seen posts on this forum several times mentioning this idea. Never heard of it before. It is ridiculous. My gift-giving is based on my budget and how close my relationship is with the recipient. If a couple chooses to throw a sickeningly expensive wedding, that's their problem.

Friend should either tell her parents that she wants to give a gift separately instead of together, or say "$200 is more than my gift budget allows." End of discussion. Asking an adult if she'd like to chip in for a family gift is fine, but *requiring* her to do so and specifying a required amount is not.

It's interesting to hear what other people consider tacky or bad etiquette. I think all of the following are perfectly fine: giving cash, asking for cash, registering or asking for specific items, including registry information in the invitation and asking the couple where they're registered. 

I see no problem with asking for money specifically for the honeymoon, but not for the wedding party that they already threw for themselves. Some friends used a site called Honeyfund (I think?) and asked for money for things like kayaking trips and vineyard tours. I liked the idea of giving the gift of experiences like that.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 10:18:46 AM by Pangolin »

CommonCents

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #46 on: June 25, 2014, 10:22:59 AM »
I see no problem with asking for money specifically for the honeymoon, but not for the wedding party that they already threw for themselves. Some friends used a site called Honeyfund (I think?) and asked for money for things like kayaking trips and vineyard tours. I liked the idea of giving the gift of experiences like that.

You do know these sites just cut the couple a check after taking out their percentage, yes?  It's not actually giving the experiences, they just made up a list of items.  I have a few friends that did this.  Check the percentage too, because I think one place took 7.5% for acting as a middleman, which is pretty much highway robbery.  Most are probably about 2.5% which is still more than is needed if you cut a check instead.

Pangolin

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #47 on: June 25, 2014, 02:06:08 PM »
I see no problem with asking for money specifically for the honeymoon, but not for the wedding party that they already threw for themselves. Some friends used a site called Honeyfund (I think?) and asked for money for things like kayaking trips and vineyard tours. I liked the idea of giving the gift of experiences like that.

You do know these sites just cut the couple a check after taking out their percentage, yes?  It's not actually giving the experiences, they just made up a list of items.  I have a few friends that did this.  Check the percentage too, because I think one place took 7.5% for acting as a middleman, which is pretty much highway robbery.  Most are probably about 2.5% which is still more than is needed if you cut a check instead.

Yes, I assumed that the site charges couples a fee for its "service" of providing a link to a list of activities that they want. A no-fee option would be to send out their wishlist in an email or use Facebook or <gasp!> include it in the invitation. If I recall, I think I printed out the page describing the kayaking trip and put it inside a card with cash, rather than sending the money through the website.

Less

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #48 on: June 26, 2014, 03:16:55 AM »
It is pretty  common in NZ.  But I think people just cover what they might have spent on an item. 

Though for a recent wedding I am building (built but still surface finishing) a new hardwood table (with couples blessing and input) since I didn't want to give any of the things that I saw on the gift register. 

Giving a gift is a personal expression from the giver to the recipient.  What anyone else's option is matters for naught.

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garion

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #49 on: June 26, 2014, 11:32:20 AM »
I'm getting married later this summer and I will say that $200 seems like a crazy amount for a single young person to give. My fiancÚ and I usually give either money or a gift between $100-200 total, depending on how close we are to the couple. This is also factoring in the fact that we do well for ourselves financially and can afford to be generous. When I was in college/grad school and going to weddings alone, I spent less on gifts (maybe $50 if that). When we're older and members of a younger generation are getting married, we'll probably spend more.

There's no reason for this friend to go in on a gift with her parents instead of giving her own gift. In my experience, parents have offered to go in on gifts with their children in order to save the kids money. The kid contributes what she can afford and the parents fund the majority of the gift. I'm actually sort of shocked that these parents are using a group gift to put MORE financial pressure on a younger person.