Author Topic: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!  (Read 22367 times)

gesund_life

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #50 on: June 26, 2014, 03:22:03 PM »
Um...usually lurk, but made an account to answer this one...

tl;dr: $50 is perfectly fine for a young person starting out to give, no matter where/how expensive/whatever the wedding is like. Everyone has been there at some point in his/her life and can understand.

My qualifications to answer the question posed:

mid-20s, been to 5 weddings in last 1-2 years. Mix of family weddings/friends' weddings. Got married this past year. Paid off student loans. Working at 1st 'real' job...starting in September :)

One of my cousins is a Big Law litigator that got married in downtown Chicago, fancy wedding out to wazoo (think famous chef, little plates of nothing for dinner kind of fancy). Gave her $50; she was not offended. No one in their right mind gets offended if a young person just starting out does not give $200 to a couple.

Friends' weddings: Went in with other friends and we all chipped in for something nice on registry together. They have no idea how much we each individually spent; also they don't care.

For my wedding: DH and I asked ppl to donate to our favorite charity or alma mater...only 2 people did. We didn't register anywhere; we got tons of things and lots of $. ...more $ than we spent on the wedding itself. So WE donated it to our alma mater :) [Not that it matters, cause we sent thank-yous to everyone who came, but most 20-something guests (friends or family) took us at our word and didn't get us anything. Parent-aged (and older) guests all gave us stuff]

Her friend's family may think it's a big deal now, but in my (limited) experience at least, once the 'wedding craze/daze' settles down people realize how ridiculous they were being to expect certain things. (i.e. I had friend A get offended that  friend B couldn't come to her wedding...only to realize later that with the cost of plane tickets/hotel/etc friend B would have spent over $2000...and couldn't afford that. All was forgiven...but in the excitement of the wedding planning friend A got too...uh...think 'preggo-brain', but for brides that buy into the once-in-a-lifetime-OMG-everything-must-be-perfect mentality)

Anyway hope it works out and she can weather the crazy wedding expectations storm!

daymare

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #51 on: September 13, 2014, 02:30:27 PM »
I just got married this summer, and I really enjoy discussing etiquette.

As far as wedding gifts go - It's technically not very cool to tell people *what* gifts you want, since that's implying that you think they intend to give gifts (which are actually entirely optional), but I don't think etiquette should ever get in the way of common sense - a registry for the household items you want, linked on your wedding website, for instance, makes lots of sense.  (This way those who want to use a registry have easy access, and everyone else doesn't need to see it.)  My husband and I live in a city, don't have a ton of space in our apartment, and I really don't like clutter - for that reason, we just didn't register anywhere or say anything about gifts.  Then, if anyone asked about registries, just politely said we weren't registered because we have limited space.  We got a mix of gifts - some of our guests gave us their presence, others brought cards with messages, most with checks or cash.  Some people got us physical gifts.  We mailed our thank you notes within the week and appreciate everyone's generosity.

The notion that you 'should give enough to cover your plate' is abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous.  The number one rule about giving a gift, is that you give what you can afford.  If that is a card with your well-wishes to the couple, that is entirely reasonable.  On top of that, it's pretty much impossible to know how much a couple spent on their wedding, so you can't do this even if you wanted to. ;)

justajane

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #52 on: September 13, 2014, 03:09:46 PM »
I have pretty strong opinions on this matter and they boil down to this:

It's tacky to make mention of a gift anywhere on the invitation.
It's rude to attend a wedding and not to give a gift.

To me those are the main etiquette rules. In my book, however, a gift can be as simple as a handmade gift or a card with a heartfelt message written on it. I don't think the monetary value matters at all, but I think it shows a level of disregard to attend a wedding and at least not give a card. At most that's $5 or even less if you hand make it. Who can't afford that? Even if you spend $500 to get to the wedding you can make the effort to put pen to paper and write something down expressing what the couple means to you. If you can't do that, why are you attending their wedding in the first place? I have to be honest that two close friends didn't even give a card, and that hurt my feelings.

I give a gift to every wedding I am invited to but usually lower the amount I spend if I am not attending.

At our own wedding, to get around the first rule about mentioning gifts, we listed our wedding website. On there we listed the places we were registered for those who wanted to avail themselves of our suggestions.

resy

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #53 on: September 13, 2014, 03:38:31 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....)

I also think asking for a gift is tacky. There are plenty of people that actually cant afford gifts and shouldnt be shun from the experience for it. I ALWAYS ignore the registries. Why? Because for the most part its overpriced shit. Sorry, but true.
Recently a close family member got married and I went over the registry. Saw the things they needed (im not talking shot glasses, fancy schmancy stuff) went to target and with the money i would have spent on a salad set from her fancy registry i got her a few items (mixer, set of decent pans and a cookie sheet) all needed as they are a young couple starting from nothing. Nobody needs $95 salad shit.
*end of rant* lol
Anyhow, i agree with the "give what she can" crowd.

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #54 on: September 13, 2014, 04:03:18 PM »

I just got married this summer, and I really enjoy discussing etiquette.

As far as wedding gifts go - It's technically not very cool to tell people *what* gifts you want, since that's implying that you think they intend to give gifts (which are actually entirely optional), but I don't think etiquette should ever get in the way of common sense - a registry for the household items you want, linked on your wedding website, for instance, makes lots of sense.  (This way those who want to use a registry have easy access, and everyone else doesn't need to see it.)  My husband and I live in a city, don't have a ton of space in our apartment, and I really don't like clutter - for that reason, we just didn't register anywhere or say anything about gifts.  Then, if anyone asked about registries, just politely said we weren't registered because we have limited space.  We got a mix of gifts - some of our guests gave us their presence, others brought cards with messages, most with checks or cash.  Some people got us physical gifts.  We mailed our thank you notes within the week and appreciate everyone's generosity.

The notion that you 'should give enough to cover your plate' is abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous.  The number one rule about giving a gift, is that you give what you can afford.  If that is a card with your well-wishes to the couple, that is entirely reasonable.  On top of that, it's pretty much impossible to know how much a couple spent on their wedding, so you can't do this even if you wanted to. ;)

You got your thank you cards out within the week??! Good on you!!! I am not at that level of productivity, myself :/

RetiredAt63

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #55 on: September 13, 2014, 06:34:54 PM »
I started this for my DD's friend - I must ask DD what ended up happening with her friend.

When we got married back in 1972, cash was not an expected gift, we got stuff.  Except from my favourite aunt, who looked at us (just graduated with our B.Sc.s,  summer jobs, wedding, one week honeymoon, then grad school) and gave us money, earmarked for the honeymoon.  That was much appreciated and definitely upgraded the honeymoon. And it was all her idea, we never hinted.  So money can be much appreciated.

supersudo

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #56 on: September 14, 2014, 12:21:46 PM »
Okay, so I know this thread is a bit old, but as a young 20-something mustachian, I've got a question for you guys:

If I really, really don't want people to give me "stuff" whenever I do end up getting married, what is your opinion on the politically correct way to communicate "cash or nothing, please"? I agree that keeping gift-asking off of the invitations is a good idea (if I decide to waste money on invitations) but even putting this sort of sentiment on a website seems like it could piss some people off.

Just from reading through this thread, I've basically decided that if anyone did give me a physical gift, I'd probably just end up donating whatever it was to Goodwill. I already have pots, pans, baking sheets, etc., and if I wanted an overpriced KitchenAid mixer or the like I'd have bought it for myself by now. I can't stand clutter or owning something I never use. And since I've been on my own since college, I have all of what I deem necessary household items already.

I definitely wouldn't be asking for the cash to "pay for the wedding" or "help pay for the honeymoon," but trying to explain to my friends and family the concept of "I'd honestly just put it toward the mortgage or throw it in VTSAX" sounds like it would create more questions than it'd answer.

Thoughts?

iris lily

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #57 on: September 14, 2014, 01:39:20 PM »


If I really, really don't want people to give me "stuff" whenever I do end up getting married, what is your opinion on the politically correct way to communicate "cash or nothing, please"?...

Here's a lesson to carry through life: You simply cannot control the actions of others. For the rest of your life people will give you "stuff," so get used to it. And yes it is a horrific waste of resources.

For your wedding event do not register. Do not mention anything having to do with gifts on any invitations. For heaven's sake, don't let anyone throw you a "shower" since the point of that is to give you crap.

Use the long standing acceptable etiquette method to steer people toward the gift that you wish to receive, should they wish to give it (cash): have your parents spread the word when people ask what you would like: "thanks for asking, but supersudo has everything she needs and has no room for anything else." That subtle message  indicates cash.

And please understand that most people knew very well that cash is always appreciated, it's hardly an concept they need introduced for your wedding. Some people give physical objects because they are likely the "love language=gifts" people and we, those who hate crapola, just have to put up with this type of person. We smile and thank them for their piece o'crap and then we transport it to Goodwill.

daymare

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #58 on: September 14, 2014, 02:34:47 PM »


Quote
If I really, really don't want people to give me "stuff" whenever I do end up getting married, what is your opinion on the politically correct way to communicate "cash or nothing, please"?

Quote
And please understand that most people knew very well that cash is always appreciated, it's hardly an concept they need introduced for your wedding. Some people give physical objects because they are likely the "love language=gifts" people and we, those who hate crapola, just have to put up with this type of person. We smile and thank them for their piece o'crap and then we transport it to Goodwill.

Amen to iris lily! (All of it)

If you want some data, we did the no-mention-of-gifts, then gently indicate that we don't have much room in our apartment for stuff if anyone asked.  We had about 85 people at our wedding, all either family or our friends in their early 20s.  Pretty much everyone gave cash (if they gave anything).  We had a few physical gifts - tea set, cheese making kit, wok, hammock, boardgame.  I just don't like getting gifts because they so often miss the mark, even with the best intentions.  (Don't even get me started on how stupid I think the cheese-making kit is - definitely a situation of I would rather have gotten nothing, plus also harder to just donate, as I feel like I need to give a 'yay we used your kit and made cheese' update.)

I'd say that all you need to do to be a gracious receiver of gifts (included the unwanted ones) is to write a thoughtful thank you.  I think you have a lot of lee-way in what you say about cash gifts - it's really all mental accounting, you could say it went to your mortgage, or you could say it went to a honeymoon, or you could say you're saving it for something special (vague is your friend).  I didn't say anything about how we would use the money in our notes (not sure what my husband wrote) - for a few friends who would dig it, I talked about looking forward to investing it.  Otherwise, emphasized the generosity of the amount, how meaningful it was to celebrate with them.  You're well within your right to donate any gifts you get -- I'd just recommend you exercise some caution on sharing that.  I am pretty blunt about things/money and recently told my mom I had donated a ton of my earrings and kept just a few, since I generally wear earrings for months at a time.  It's just stuff - and yet my mom was pretty upset that I donated earrings she had gave me, and ultimately I think I should have told her nothing and she would've been better off.

Quote
You got your thank you cards out within the week??! Good on you!!! I am not at that level of productivity, myself :/

It was actually good for us because we were still on a wedding high (only took a couple days off for a mini-honeymoon), so writing thank you's was easier.  We're at a month out now, and if I had to write thank you notes now, I know I would have zero motivation.  Addressing all the thank you notes at the same time as our invitations made things a lot easier too ;)

pachnik

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #59 on: September 14, 2014, 02:43:15 PM »
This thread reminded me of a yard sale that my husband went to a while back.    A young woman was selling crystal bowls, pieces of silver and large decorative items.  According to my husband, it was wedding presents.  I didn't go to this yard sale with him but it struck me as sad.  People going to pick out something lovely and probably fairly expensive and then that same stuff being sold at a yard sale.  I guess gift giving is never going to be a perfect art. 

When we go to a wedding we buy a gift from the registry.  I am comfortable giving money too. 

mudgestache

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #60 on: September 14, 2014, 08:26:14 PM »
This crap is all expensive! Engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, wedding reception. When I add all I've spent, we put out well over what they paid for our plates. Baby's are just as bad. Now we have parties to reveal the sex of the baby, plus baby shower and generally either some religious event or a "welcome home" party. It's insane. We're not in a place financially to do all this anymore so I either make something special (stained glass piece or something) or I give of my time ( cleaning, babysitting etc.)

I have always assumed that if people give me a gift it because they want to and they have given with their heart. To keep tabs on amounts is crazy. Give what you can and don't worry about the rest!

supersudo

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #61 on: September 15, 2014, 04:48:14 PM »
Thanks for the advice and stories, peeps. I'll keep these things in mind as life continues.

jugglingcontinents

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #62 on: September 16, 2014, 08:55:24 AM »
We're getting married in my home country next month - since we come from different countries and live in a third country, this would always be a 'destination wedding' (for at least one side of the family).

We put a note on the wedding website explicitly requesting that no one brings any gifts ('your presence is present enough' :p). We're doing well financially and we have everything we need (mostly second-hand!) for our home.  I don't think anyone will take offence and I hope people don't find it tacky - but I think it's better to be upfront instead of delegating our parents/siblings to spread the 'no gifts, please' word.

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #63 on: September 16, 2014, 09:16:17 AM »
I need wedding gift advice. My brother in law is getting married. Both of them are artist types working at non-profit jobs for poor pay. BIL has ZERO money skills. As in, as of two months ago he was still living at home, not contributing to the household at all (would purposely leave the family car with zero gas so he didn't have to pay), and spending every last dime of his paycheck. This has been ongoing since he was 18. I think he doesn't even have a bank account since he continually would overdraft where the fees were more than his paycheck. Anyway, its going to be a small wedding I presume pretty casual.

They just moved into an apartment with a roommate and have said its cramped so they have no room for stuff. As neither of them have lived on their own, I doubt they have much of anything. There is no registry and my MIL has been no help in suggesting what to buy. Only "they have no room for anything!".We live across the country so everything is sight unseen to us.  Normally we give cash for the few weddings we attend. But there is no way in hell I would give this guy cash EVER. What's a good utility type thing that could last them forever? I was thinking a nice dutch oven or cash iron pan set. But I don't know if those are suitable for all stoves when you're renting. I hate receiving things that don't have a purpose so I should be good at this sort of thing but I'm at a loss.

iris lily

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #64 on: September 16, 2014, 10:12:35 AM »
I need wedding gift advice. My brother in law is getting married. Both of them are artist types working at non-profit jobs for poor pay. BIL has ZERO money skills. As in, as of two months ago he was still living at home, not contributing to the household at all (would purposely leave the family car with zero gas so he didn't have to pay), and spending every last dime of his paycheck. This has been ongoing since he was 18. I think he doesn't even have a bank account since he continually would overdraft where the fees were more than his paycheck. Anyway, its going to be a small wedding I presume pretty casual.

They just moved into an apartment with a roommate and have said its cramped so they have no room for stuff. As neither of them have lived on their own, I doubt they have much of anything. There is no registry and my MIL has been no help in suggesting what to buy. Only "they have no room for anything!".We live across the country so everything is sight unseen to us.  Normally we give cash for the few weddings we attend. But there is no way in hell I would give this guy cash EVER. What's a good utility type thing that could last them forever? I was thinking a nice dutch oven or cash iron pan set. But I don't know if those are suitable for all stoves when you're renting. I hate receiving things that don't have a purpose so I should be good at this sort of thing but I'm at a loss.

Not to be snarky, but hasn't this thread showed you that everyone wants cash?

Sylly

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #65 on: September 16, 2014, 10:52:40 AM »
There is no registry and my MIL has been no help in suggesting what to buy. Only "they have no room for anything!".

Maybe that's her code for "give them cash"?

They have no room, you don't know what they have/don't have/need. Let them figure it out. If they misuse the cash, it's their problem, not yours.

Zamboni

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #66 on: September 16, 2014, 12:20:33 PM »
Quote
The notion that you 'should give enough to cover your plate' is abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous. 

It's also indicates that someone comes from a poor background and is at best nouveau riche.  Giving money at all indicates poor lineage in some circles.  Remember that when you receive crap you don't want instead.

Case in point:  while my parents are starving musicians, Dad's family comes from very old money.  One would absolutely NEVER give cash in those circles.  Why in the hell would you give someone money?  For my wedding, we did not receive a single monetary gift from anyone on my side of the family.  My Mom's family mostly bought off the registry, but Dad's family went totally rogue with the gifts (Registries also being in poor taste, apparently.)  We did receive used items with handwritten notes about the history of the items.  For example, one great aunt wrote something like "These were a gift to us when we got married from your great, great uncle Fester, whom I believe inherited them from his grandmother Hannah.  I hope you will get many good years use out of them."  That is just a typical example.  This was not very long ago.  Etiquette for old money gift giving has not changed radically in the last century.

All of this is to say be very careful of your body language if someone hands you a box and all you want are envelopes.  I've seen some brides and grooms receive boxes in a not-so-gracious way.  Practice behaving in a genuinely delighted way if you have to.

OSUBearCub

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #67 on: September 16, 2014, 03:15:55 PM »
Cultural perspective:

In Italian American families of the northeastern part of the US (my demographic), money is just about the *only* thing anyone would consider giving a newlywed couple.  The closer you are to the bride or groom, the more $50 bills you stuff in the envelope.  It's just the cultural norm and no one thinks its tacky. Young couples generally need the financial help and may or may not have the courage to express the need for a little financial boost.  It just so happens that this young woman has the stones to express it.

Side note - There's even a wedding tradition, back home, called the "dollar dance" where the men line up to dance with the bride.  The maid of honor collects a dollar for the honor of a dance with the bride and gives the guy a small token shot of liquor (typically Sambuca) as a thank you on behalf of the bride's family. 

Response to the question: It's generally understood - even in cultures like mine where money gifts are far from tacky - that no one is going to give more than they can afford.  I vote for her to give what she can afford if $200 is a burden. 

Zamboni

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #68 on: September 16, 2014, 05:05:56 PM »
The big wedding I attended that had one of these dances also had all of the women, not just the men, lining up to dance with the bride for the dollar dance.  Everyone gets to dance with the bride that way . . . not a bad idea at all. 


iris lily

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #69 on: September 16, 2014, 09:05:38 PM »
Quote
The notion that you 'should give enough to cover your plate' is abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous. 

It's also indicates that someone comes from a poor background and is at best nouveau riche.  Giving money at all indicates poor lineage in some circles.  Remember that when you receive crap you don't want instead.

Case in point:  while my parents are starving musicians, Dad's family comes from very old money.  One would absolutely NEVER give cash in those circles.  Why in the hell would you give someone money?  For my wedding, we did not receive a single monetary gift from anyone on my side of the family.  My Mom's family mostly bought off the registry, but Dad's family went totally rogue with the gifts (Registries also being in poor taste, apparently.)  We did receive used items with handwritten notes about the history of the items.  For example, one great aunt wrote something like "These were a gift to us when we got married from your great, great uncle Fester, whom I believe inherited them from his grandmother Hannah.  I hope you will get many good years use out of them."  That is just a typical example.  This was not very long ago.  Etiquette for old money gift giving has not changed radically in the last century.
...

And then, among the very genteel less than a century ago, giving a gift was, in general in poor taste period. UNLESS it was great aunt Hannah's family piece, it was considered boorish to foist something on another person. Sounds like that's the genesis of Zamboni's family tradition.

When we got married I didn't want any "stuff" and certainly didn't care about money, but we got stuff nevertheless less.  One of the cool things was a set of turn of the century silverplate knives in a blue velvet case from DH's Scottish Auntie. Sadly, they were not family pieces, and they weren't expensive, but at the time I had very few Victorian tableware items and since that was going to become a big collecting interest of mine, I LOVED that gift! Most people would not.

« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 08:10:14 AM by iris lily »

Goldielocks

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #70 on: September 16, 2014, 10:16:37 PM »
Okay, so I know this thread is a bit old, but as a young 20-something mustachian, I've got a question for you guys:

If I really, really don't want people to give me "stuff" whenever I do end up getting married, what is your opinion on the politically correct way to communicate "cash or nothing, please"? I agree that keeping gift-asking off of the invitations is a good idea (if I decide to waste money on invitations) but even putting this sort of sentiment on a website seems like it could piss some people off.

Just from reading through this thread, I've basically decided that if anyone did give me a physical gift, I'd probably just end up donating whatever it was to Goodwill. I already have pots, pans, baking sheets, etc., and if I wanted an overpriced KitchenAid mixer or the like I'd have bought it for myself by now. I can't stand clutter or owning something I never use. And since I've been on my own since college, I have all of what I deem necessary household items already.


Thoughts?

Hmm,  how do you tell your family and friends that you know in advance that you would hate the gift that they took time out to select, purchase and custom gift wrap for you?

You don't.  Period.

The best you could do, if you truly seek a minimal lifestyle without stuff is to indicate "Please no presents, you presence is present enough".   

How about this -- just elope, then hold a party, and announce your marriage as a "surprise" at the party, and state that you wanted your guests to have a good time and not worry about presents?

Primm

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #71 on: September 16, 2014, 10:50:00 PM »
We put a note on the wedding website explicitly requesting that no one brings any gifts ('your presence is present enough' :p). We're doing well financially and we have everything we need (mostly second-hand!) for our home.  I don't think anyone will take offence and I hope people don't find it tacky - but I think it's better to be upfront instead of delegating our parents/siblings to spread the 'no gifts, please' word.

Don't expect that everyone will comply with your wishes though. We specifically asked for no gifts (same reasons as you, plus we were leaving for our driving honeymoon straight away in a car with no space). Someone gave us a kaffir lime tree in a pot. Awesome present, but we had to say to them "please take it home with you, we'll have to pick it up when we get home" which we actually felt really awkward doing.

You can't tell other people what to do, is what it boils down to. You can ask, but they won't all do what you want. And that's fine, they don't have to. Just don't rely on people following your "rules".

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #72 on: September 17, 2014, 11:11:19 AM »
We put a note on the wedding website explicitly requesting that no one brings any gifts ('your presence is present enough' :p). We're doing well financially and we have everything we need (mostly second-hand!) for our home.  I don't think anyone will take offence and I hope people don't find it tacky - but I think it's better to be upfront instead of delegating our parents/siblings to spread the 'no gifts, please' word.

Don't expect that everyone will comply with your wishes though. We specifically asked for no gifts (same reasons as you, plus we were leaving for our driving honeymoon straight away in a car with no space). Someone gave us a kaffir lime tree in a pot. Awesome present, but we had to say to them "please take it home with you, we'll have to pick it up when we get home" which we actually felt really awkward doing.

You can't tell other people what to do, is what it boils down to. You can ask, but they won't all do what you want. And that's fine, they don't have to. Just don't rely on people following your "rules".

Oh heck yeah. In my opinion, it's creating work for the couple marrying and/or their families to bring any physical gifts to the reception (unless it's an envelope). I wouldn't say it's rude, per se, but it's an imposition. People did it at ours and my in-laws had to borrow a vehicle to transport them out of there. I typically send a gift in advance or mail a card with a check just after the wedding.

But you can't control people! And you can't control all the micro-traditions that exist in different parts of the country/world.

CommonCents

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #73 on: September 17, 2014, 11:41:00 AM »
We put a note on the wedding website explicitly requesting that no one brings any gifts ('your presence is present enough' :p). We're doing well financially and we have everything we need (mostly second-hand!) for our home.  I don't think anyone will take offence and I hope people don't find it tacky - but I think it's better to be upfront instead of delegating our parents/siblings to spread the 'no gifts, please' word.

Don't expect that everyone will comply with your wishes though. We specifically asked for no gifts (same reasons as you, plus we were leaving for our driving honeymoon straight away in a car with no space). Someone gave us a kaffir lime tree in a pot. Awesome present, but we had to say to them "please take it home with you, we'll have to pick it up when we get home" which we actually felt really awkward doing.

You can't tell other people what to do, is what it boils down to. You can ask, but they won't all do what you want. And that's fine, they don't have to. Just don't rely on people following your "rules".

Oh heck yeah. In my opinion, it's creating work for the couple marrying and/or their families to bring any physical gifts to the reception (unless it's an envelope). I wouldn't say it's rude, per se, but it's an imposition. People did it at ours and my in-laws had to borrow a vehicle to transport them out of there. I typically send a gift in advance or mail a card with a check just after the wedding.

But you can't control people! And you can't control all the micro-traditions that exist in different parts of the country/world.

It is not thoughtful to bring presents to the reception, but it's quite standard so just as you might line someone up to take home other things from the reception (flowers, table decor etc) I'd suggest that you plan in advance to line someone up to take home presents.  Often that's a wedding party member.  As a local Best Man, DH and I took home presents and ecteras for the bride and groom for a labor day wedding.

The big wedding I attended that had one of these dances also had all of the women, not just the men, lining up to dance with the bride for the dollar dance.  Everyone gets to dance with the bride that way . . . not a bad idea at all. 

Wedding traditions vary widely.  I've need attended a dollar dance myself, and along with many, would in my corner of the world consider it that dreaded T-word - tacky.  Google says: http://www.etiquettedaily.com/2013/12/dollar-dance-decency-is-a-money-dance-ever-appropriate/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_dance
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 11:46:59 AM by CommonCents »

dandarc

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #74 on: September 17, 2014, 11:43:58 AM »
Oh heck yeah. In my opinion, it's creating work for the couple marrying and/or their families to bring any physical gifts to the reception (unless it's an envelope). I wouldn't say it's rude, per se, but it's an imposition. People did it at ours and my in-laws had to borrow a vehicle to transport them out of there. I typically send a gift in advance or mail a card with a check just after the wedding.

But you can't control people! And you can't control all the micro-traditions that exist in different parts of the country/world.
This.  I actually rented a van for our wedding - in her hometown but a long way from our place.  Had the thing packed to the brim on the way home, and had several K in cash as well / gift cars as well.  Whole thing with the gifts was pretty ridiculous to me.

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #75 on: September 17, 2014, 11:57:05 AM »
We put a note on the wedding website explicitly requesting that no one brings any gifts ('your presence is present enough' :p). We're doing well financially and we have everything we need (mostly second-hand!) for our home.  I don't think anyone will take offence and I hope people don't find it tacky - but I think it's better to be upfront instead of delegating our parents/siblings to spread the 'no gifts, please' word.

Don't expect that everyone will comply with your wishes though. We specifically asked for no gifts (same reasons as you, plus we were leaving for our driving honeymoon straight away in a car with no space). Someone gave us a kaffir lime tree in a pot. Awesome present, but we had to say to them "please take it home with you, we'll have to pick it up when we get home" which we actually felt really awkward doing.

You can't tell other people what to do, is what it boils down to. You can ask, but they won't all do what you want. And that's fine, they don't have to. Just don't rely on people following your "rules".

Oh heck yeah. In my opinion, it's creating work for the couple marrying and/or their families to bring any physical gifts to the reception (unless it's an envelope). I wouldn't say it's rude, per se, but it's an imposition. People did it at ours and my in-laws had to borrow a vehicle to transport them out of there. I typically send a gift in advance or mail a card with a check just after the wedding.

But you can't control people! And you can't control all the micro-traditions that exist in different parts of the country/world.
We did manage to get around this by having the reception at our house. We only received 2 bulky gifts, a Keurig and some very nice liquor bottles. Her family traditionally gives cash, and I had my mom spread the word to her family that we didn't need anything, but if they insisted on a gift cash was fine.

jugglingcontinents

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #76 on: October 06, 2014, 04:31:26 AM »
Oh heck yeah. In my opinion, it's creating work for the couple marrying and/or their families to bring any physical gifts to the reception (unless it's an envelope). I wouldn't say it's rude, per se, but it's an imposition. People did it at ours and my in-laws had to borrow a vehicle to transport them out of there. I typically send a gift in advance or mail a card with a check just after the wedding.

But you can't control people! And you can't control all the micro-traditions that exist in different parts of the country/world.
This.  I actually rented a van for our wedding - in her hometown but a long way from our place.  Had the thing packed to the brim on the way home, and had several K in cash as well / gift cars as well.  Whole thing with the gifts was pretty ridiculous to me.

This would be a nightmare. We have only 20kg of baggage allowance on our cheap flights so any (large, bulky) gifts will perforce have to be donated or left behind in my home country.

rujancified, Primm - Though I can't control how people behave, I think it's worthwhile to at least communicate our wishes on this. If more and more people go the "no gifts" route, one day we might get to a point where the default reaction to being invited to a wedding is not to ask where they are registered or to mentally calculate how much the gift is going to cost.

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #77 on: October 06, 2014, 07:23:33 PM »
I have to post this one.   I just came back from a cousin's wedding, and because we did not know them that well recently, and we were flying there, we gave a substantial cash gift of $200 reflecting the family ties.  A lot for us, but we tend to spend on family events in general.

The wedding was modest - held in a barn on the property they rent.   All wonderful and very, very fun.

My big complaint is their having a cash bar at a party on their own property --so they could make money on the drinks people were buying.    Really.   They charged $3-$4 per drink, and had volunteers serving and fetching and cleaning up.  They could have at least given out x number of drink tickets per person if the fear was over consumption, but no, the real driver was to make money from the bar to help fund their honeymoon (the volunteer bartender alluded to it).

HMPF.  How cheap is that.?  In my book a guest is someone that you host.   I can see exceptions to keep the cost of alcohol down at fancy hotel receptions, but, but , but?

gimp

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #78 on: October 06, 2014, 10:00:25 PM »
Yeah, that crosses the line. I could not ever imagine asking guests to pay for drinks, let alone profit.

(Exception: if everyone wants to pitch in a couple bucks for something really fancy, that's reasonable. $400 fancy, not $40 fancy.)

rocksinmyhead

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #79 on: October 07, 2014, 06:23:00 AM »
I have to post this one.   I just came back from a cousin's wedding, and because we did not know them that well recently, and we were flying there, we gave a substantial cash gift of $200 reflecting the family ties.  A lot for us, but we tend to spend on family events in general.

The wedding was modest - held in a barn on the property they rent.   All wonderful and very, very fun.

My big complaint is their having a cash bar at a party on their own property --so they could make money on the drinks people were buying.    Really.   They charged $3-$4 per drink, and had volunteers serving and fetching and cleaning up.  They could have at least given out x number of drink tickets per person if the fear was over consumption, but no, the real driver was to make money from the bar to help fund their honeymoon (the volunteer bartender alluded to it).

HMPF.  How cheap is that.?  In my book a guest is someone that you host.   I can see exceptions to keep the cost of alcohol down at fancy hotel receptions, but, but , but?

wow!!!! I'm usually very forgiving of "etiquette faux pas" type things, but that is straight up bizarre!

canga

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #80 on: October 07, 2014, 06:31:26 AM »
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...

In Asian weddings, cash is standard and gifts are not provided. This can practically pay for the wedding. Also with the typical apartment size you wouldn't want to fill it with junk. I had to explain to my wife the purpose of a wedding registry.

I flew half-way around the world to be a best man and I still gave a gift. It was worth it and I wouldn't want to risk ruining the relationship.

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #81 on: October 07, 2014, 06:32:37 AM »
We eloped and didn't really have a wedding that involved gifts.  So if someone were to say to me, "wow, you were really cheap with your gift at such and such's wedding", I could always say back, "Not as cheap as the $0 gift you gave us." 

Gifting could get expensive if you let it rule your life by worrying what others think.   For example, say you go to 2 weddings a year ($200x2), 3 graduation parties ($100x3), 3 couples have babies ($80x3), 15 people to buy Christmas gifts for ($40x15), 8 birthdays ($40x8 + $300 wife), 2 couples gets engaged ($50), Valentines ($300), Anniversary ($300), Mothers day (2 sets of parents + wife, $150).  In this example, that is nearly $3,000.   
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 07:02:04 AM by VirginiaBob »

canga

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #82 on: October 07, 2014, 06:50:20 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.

This. You can't be expected to give more than you are able. When you invite those just out of school the highest expectation is that they simply show up. I have been in Friend's situation before. I felt bad when I skipped the gift for a close friend, but was able to send money ($100) for their 1 year anniversary. They both thought it was very thoughtful.

There is not enough circumstances given, but if Friend feels guilty or uncomfortable giving less, then the money can be given and she can stay home. Stay close to family but put boundaries in place to protect against crazy family.

CommonCents

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #83 on: October 07, 2014, 09:16:05 AM »
We eloped and didn't really have a wedding that involved gifts.  So if someone were to say to me, "wow, you were really cheap with your gift at such and such's wedding", I could always say back, "Not as cheap as the $0 gift you gave us." 

Gifting could get expensive if you let it rule your life by worrying what others think.   For example, say you go to 2 weddings a year ($200x2), 3 graduation parties ($100x3), 3 couples have babies ($80x3), 15 people to buy Christmas gifts for ($40x15), 8 birthdays ($40x8 + $300 wife), 2 couples gets engaged ($50), Valentines ($300), Anniversary ($300), Mothers day (2 sets of parents + wife, $150).  In this example, that is nearly $3,000.

Sure I agree it can be expensive - but I also think your tally is a bit of an exaggerated straw man. 

In my experience, you're either in the wedding season of life or the graduation season of life, not both.  Often wedding overlaps with baby season I agree.  (This year and last year, I had 3 weddings each, and I think 1 baby shower each.  The year before that I had no weddings, next year I have none.)  I've also never given engagement gift like you list - usually it's a verbal congrats, at best it's a card or a token matching the couple for about $10.  And WOW at how much you suggest at spending on a mother's day present, unless you mean $50 each rather than $150 each.  You live in rarified circles if that's norm.  Similarly - where are you finding 15 people to give christmas presents to???  Is that just family or are you giving to friends?  Give them food (fudge, cookies etc) instead.

How you handle gifting with a spouse imho is very different from how you handle these social gifts.  For example, DH and I would never THINK of gifting the valentine's gift you have listed - it literally wouldn't cross our minds, and our Christmas presents have been things from nothing to soap (I was pretty excited, he found the discontinued handsoap in store was available online) to an ipad we talked about getting for a year - so ordinary spending for most people and not extra. 

So by my ordinary, more mustachian but still fairly generous to people, not exaggerated levels I'd say you're more likely at:  2 weddings a year ($150x2), 1 couple has baby ($80), 8 people to buy Christmas gifts for ($40x8), 5 birthdays ($40x5), Mothers day (2 sets of parents, $50x2).  In this example, that is $1,000.  Still a bit, so you can save by searching for presents on sale over time to cut back Christmas, birthday and Mother's Day to $25 and save $250.

minimustache1985

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #84 on: October 07, 2014, 10:56:56 AM »
My big complaint is their having a cash bar at a party on their own property --so they could make money on the drinks people were buying.    Really.   They charged $3-$4 per drink, and had volunteers serving and fetching and cleaning up.  They could have at least given out x number of drink tickets per person if the fear was over consumption, but no, the real driver was to make money from the bar to help fund their honeymoon (the volunteer bartender alluded to it).

HMPF.  How cheap is that.?  In my book a guest is someone that you host.   I can see exceptions to keep the cost of alcohol down at fancy hotel receptions, but, but , but?
That is hideously tacky.  Guests should be hosted, to me this is as bad as having a couple over for dinner and then charging them for their wine.  Host the party you can afford (I feel the same at fancy hotel receptions, your guests shouldn't have to subsidize your party because you wanted to have it somewhere expensive).  Drink tickets don't really prevent overconsumption (non-drinkers give theirs to drinkers, etc) but send the message you don't trust your guests to behave like adults, so I'm no fan of that method either.  ETA: General "you" not you specifically!

On the flip side, guests should give what they can afford and feel is appropriate.  We appreciated every gift we were given and had several people not give a gift or a small ($20 or so) gift at our wedding.  That's perfectly fine- we invited ours guests because we care about them and wanted to share the day with them, not to get a pile of money/stuff from our friends and family.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 02:38:32 PM by minimustache1985 »

Sarita

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #85 on: October 07, 2014, 11:11:34 AM »
I often buy this book for a gift for people's various events-- a beautiful tome of blessings.  Conveys heartfelt good wishes, and skips the money trap.  Combine it with a hand written card, and voila, a very nice gift:

http://www.amazon.com/To-Bless-Space-Between-Blessings/dp/0385522274

If I were a broke recent graduate, I would feel totally okay with giving this and not coughing up money I don't have.

charis

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #86 on: October 07, 2014, 01:31:56 PM »
Regardless of what "season" you are in or whether you are a stereotypically broke person (student, recent graduate, etc), people go through all sorts of experiences at any age or stage of life that could render them unable to afford a wedding gift - job loss, substantial medical bill, environmental disaster, accident, etc.  You can't judge anyone, regardless of what things look like on the outside.  I had NO expectations of any of my wedding guests, and it baffles my mind that anyone would.  I was just happy that they took time out of their busy lives to celebrate my marriage.

justajane

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #87 on: October 10, 2014, 10:36:23 AM »
I had NO expectations of any of my wedding guests, and it baffles my mind that anyone would.

Then you are in the distinct minority both presently and historically. Look, monetary value expectations aside, exchanging gifts has been a part of culture since communities first developed. There's a fascinating book called The Gift by Marcel Mauss that discusses this phenomenon historically. Gift giving has been about forging reciprocal relationships both on a macro and a micro level. It does not have to be crass, and someone who adheres to traditional societal expectations of gift giving is not crass either.  The reality is that we as a culture have traditionally brought gifts to weddings. Putting an expected dollar value on gifts is tacky. Expecting a token of an affection from people you care about is not.

TeresaB

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #88 on: October 10, 2014, 11:13:40 AM »
I had NO expectations of any of my wedding guests, and it baffles my mind that anyone would.

Then you are in the distinct minority both presently and historically. Look, monetary value expectations aside, exchanging gifts has been a part of culture since communities first developed. There's a fascinating book called The Gift by Marcel Mauss that discusses this phenomenon historically. Gift giving has been about forging reciprocal relationships both on a macro and a micro level. It does not have to be crass, and someone who adheres to traditional societal expectations of gift giving is not crass either.  The reality is that we as a culture have traditionally brought gifts to weddings. Putting an expected dollar value on gifts is tacky. Expecting a token of an affection from people you care about is not.

I would say I didn't have expectations of any particular wedding guest, although I had expectations for the general group of wedding guests. I expected that my grandparents would give a gift, and that "most of the other people" would. But I didn't expect that "Aunt X and Uncle Y" would bring a gift, so when they didn't, I wasn't surprised or disappointed. I actually don't remember, now that I think about it, who did and didn't bring a gift.

Scandium

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #89 on: October 10, 2014, 11:24:36 AM »
"paying" for yourself for via the gift is nonsense. We spent quite a bit on our wedding so people would have a good time, and then we'll be invited to other people's wedding where we'll have a good time. That's how it works. Not doing the math on it but that's a perfectly good arrangement to me.

Workinghard

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #90 on: October 10, 2014, 02:56:24 PM »
Guess I'm over giving--5k, but it's our son. :). They're having a very small wedding with about 20 family/friends. Just as we did when he was growing up, anything not spent is his to keep. I imagine some will go toward apartment finishings......

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #91 on: October 10, 2014, 06:01:33 PM »
We eloped and didn't really have a wedding that involved gifts.  So if someone were to say to me, "wow, you were really cheap with your gift at such and such's wedding", I could always say back, "Not as cheap as the $0 gift you gave us." 

Gifting could get expensive if you let it rule your life by worrying what others think.   For example, say you go to 2 weddings a year ($200x2), 3 graduation parties ($100x3), 3 couples have babies ($80x3), 15 people to buy Christmas gifts for ($40x15), 8 birthdays ($40x8 + $300 wife), 2 couples gets engaged ($50), Valentines ($300), Anniversary ($300), Mothers day (2 sets of parents + wife, $150).  In this example, that is nearly $3,000.
Woah, I must be hideously unpopular or hideously ungenerous person. I don't buy birthday presents (what kind of adult celebrates their birthday??), or graduation presents (who the fuck has a graduation party??), or engagement presents (it's their engagement, they don't want me trying to help them celebrate) or Mother's/Father's day presents (my parents don't want shit).  And I'm single, so no Valentine's or anniversary for me :P I do give Christmas presents to my parents, brothers, and the 4 kids my brother has (last year each family member got a donation to a charity... again, they don't need more shit).

I don't understand why people give gifts... I would be mortified if someone gave me a gift, other than at some prescribed time such as Christmas.

RunHappy

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #92 on: October 10, 2014, 10:09:21 PM »
If a person attends a wedding it is customary to give a gift.  Etiquette says it has to be within 12 months.  Other than that there is no dollar requirement.  Give what you are comfortable giving and do not allow yourself (or friend) be bullied into giving more. 

charis

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Re: New etiquette on wedding gifts - question, feedback, please!
« Reply #93 on: October 16, 2014, 09:10:43 AM »
I had NO expectations of any of my wedding guests, and it baffles my mind that anyone would.

Then you are in the distinct minority both presently and historically. Look, monetary value expectations aside, exchanging gifts has been a part of culture since communities first developed. There's a fascinating book called The Gift by Marcel Mauss that discusses this phenomenon historically. Gift giving has been about forging reciprocal relationships both on a macro and a micro level. It does not have to be crass, and someone who adheres to traditional societal expectations of gift giving is not crass either.  The reality is that we as a culture have traditionally brought gifts to weddings. Putting an expected dollar value on gifts is tacky. Expecting a token of an affection from people you care about is not.

I guess I didn't phrase that correctly.  I anticipated that many guests would give some type of gift, as that is the traditional approach.  I, however, had no expectations of any particular guest (i.e., I don't recall whether "wealthy" Aunt Fran gave a gift, and I don't care either way).  I certainly did not expect money or any general amount.