(Closed) Charging a guest: spinoff. How much do you gift?

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: How much do you gift if you give cash?
    $50 or less per person : (34 votes)
    30 %
    $50-$100 per person : (48 votes)
    42 %
    $100-$150 per person : (27 votes)
    24 %
    $150-$200 per person : (3 votes)
    3 %
    200+ : (1 votes)
    1 %
  • Post # 3
    3572 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    I find charging very rude. What Dh and I gift entirely depends on who the person is to us and our financial situation at the time. I don’t do the “plate rule” because I personally don’t feel like people who have less expensive weddings should get less money as a gift just by virtue of what they spent on the party. It’s the marriage I’m celebrating. That said, Darling Husband and I are also young and starting out so we don’t have a ton of expendable cash. That is slowly changing, but even in the future I don’t plan to give much more because I don’t want it to be awkward or people to think we’re totally flush. 


    For example, at my BFF’s wedding, we gifted them $100. I know they weren’t expecting anything, but they are my good friends so I gave them $100 gift card despite the fact that I probably spent about 3k and had to take 7 days off work, and fly 30 hours each way just to attend her wedding. 


    My other BFF is getting married this fall. I don’t have to do anywhere near as much travelling. If I have a job by then, Darling Husband and I might be a bit more flush, so maybe we would gift them $200. I honestly think if we gave more than that, she would probably feel bad she didn’t make me a Bridesmaid or Best Man. (Which I am THRILLED to avoid. ; )


    Very close cousin getting married and I’m a Bridesmaid or Best Man = maybe a bit more. $200-300. She’s like my sister. 


    Non-close family members? Probably $50-100


    I think in my social/familiar circles, $100 is pretty common, but I originally grew up in a blue collar area. 


    ETA: I think the reason for the outrage is because society generally frowns upon living beyond your means or flaunting wealth that you don’t have. Generally speaking, if you need to charge a cover to your wedding, it means that you spent more than you could afford on it. Also, the whole charging thing makes it look like people care more about making money or recouping their losses than getting married. 


    Post # 5
    8696 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2013

    A gift is just that: a GIFT. It is a choice and I get to decide how much to bring. I am not paying for someone’s event that they are supposed to be hosting. I usually give $100-150 per person bc in my area weddings start around $100 per person and range from $100-300 per person on average.

    Post # 6
    6328 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2014

    For me it depends; if it was an acquaintance and I was invited to the evening only, we’d gift around £50 between us (about $75).

    If it was a close friend and we were invited to the whole wedding, we’d gift about £150-200 ($225-300) between us.

    Charging someone is rude. I don’t even like it when couples ask for cash TBH; I find it tacky, and crass. But to charge them to attend? That’s just SUCH awful manners.

    The only way I think ‘charging’ is remotely acceptable (and even then, it still doesn’t sit very well with me), is if the couple are very very tight for cash, and have a very small, intimate wedding, with very close friends and immediate family, and informally invite people to attend the ceremony, and then say ‘After the ceremony, we’ll be going to x restaurant [and it should be a very reasonably priced one] if you would like to join us’. That way you are not demanding they come, and it is down to them if they choose to join you. But, it should be reasonably priced, not $100 a head.

    Anything else is completely unacceptable IMPO, and I got an invitation asking me to stump up the cash for a meal I may not even have chosen, I would politely decline.

    Post # 8
    8696 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2013

    @Quickiebee:  I know there are people that only bring $50

    though. In my area that doesnt cover a plate and I wouldnt be mad if someone could only afford that. I know most of my guests and who will bring a larger gift vs a smaller one but for me to say I need at least $210 bc that is what my venue is charging per person is crazy. I know last year when my best friend got married she said that quite a few people didnt give her a

    gift. She wasnt mad over it and I wont be when my day comes either.

    Sorry, posting from my phone and it is doing its own thing!

    Post # 9
    4659 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    In lots of places you are expected to cover your plate with a monetary gift, and nothing else is socially acceptable. (South Korea is an example.) It’s like bar/bat mitzvahs, the money just passes around the community to whoever needs it most at the time (newlyweds and their families) and then they get themselves set up, they make some money in their life together, and then someone else gets married and they basically pass the same money onto the next newlyweds. Personally I think it’s a pretty sweet system. Much less convoluted than fine china and monogrammed towels nobody really needs anyway…


    Not that guests should be charged, I just think that if you can reasonably cover your plate, it seems like the thing to do. 

    Post # 10
    7312 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

    The amount that I CHOOSE to give and charging me a fee to attend are two entirely different concepts. You let me choose my gift amount and I will be very generous. I love giving gifts. Showing someone how much I care about them via a gift makes me extremely happy. But if you charge me a fee to attend your wedding, be prepared for me to RSVP “no” with a very terse sentence or two about the rudeness of such behavior. Treat me rudely, and I’ll do the same in return.

    Post # 11
    9917 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    Before I came here and heard about people giving cash gifts, I didn’t even know it existed as a “thing”.  I always gave a gift from the registry and thought that was acceptable.  I come from a family where we NEVER gave or received money as gifts, though, so maybe that’s why I didn’t know. 

    Post # 12
    6745 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: June 2014

    In the case w/ the other thread, it just so happened to be that the cover charge was $100/pp, which is about what I gift anyway.  But, I’ve been to weddings where I know the bride/groom spent way more than $100/pp just for our plate alone.  Am I supposed to cover that because you decided to have an extra fancy, extra expensive wedding?  What if I can’t afford it – then I can’t come to your wedding?  Should I give you more money because you spent more than my other friend who I am closer to, but spent less? 

    Aside from that, if I’m going to pay to attend your wedding, then I should get a say in where the wedding is and in what food is being served.  The bride/groom shouldn’t get to narrow down our menu selections to 3 options.  Screw that!  I rarely pay $200 to go out for dinner and drinks unless it’s at a really expensive steakhouse and it’s a special occassion, so why would I pay that much to attend your wedding? 

    Also, it’s just rude because it’s not socially acceptable and no one else does it (around here).  Why should I pay you to cover my head, but my other friends covered their weddings on their own?  What makes you so special that you can’t make your wedding fit your budget, but other people have to? 

    I would just say no, not go and not send a gift.

    Post # 13
    1671 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - Church

    @Quickiebee:  There are people who charge? As though it is admission to a club or something? Never heard of that. We gift what we can afford. I actually hate giving cash gifts because right now we are on a tight budget. I am actually dreading giving cash at this upcoming wedding because we cannot give as much as we would like. I was a student until last year and only just got my professional job in January. Our housemate did a midnight move on the last day of November and stole things from us so we essentially lost all of our savings so that we could make ends meet that month. We would love to be able to gift $100 to the happy couple, but just cannot at the moment. Anyways, point is: I think that expecting people to pay a certain amount is rude as it puts people on the spot (I know some cultures do the however much per plate which is fine for them but I’m not from any of those cultures). The other thing is there are all the bridal showers and many weddings this summer which really stretches the budget. I hope no one gets uptight about the amount we are giving compared to other people. That is the reason why I would rather do a actual gift from a registry instead of cash … So I don’t have to feel as bad that we cannot afford to give as much as others. I think they know, though, because we had to decline the group trip two years in a row (this past January included) due to financial reasons. Although my guy is getting a small tax refund so we may be able to apply it to give a little bit more. I don’t even know if we’ll be able to go on a actual vaca next year either …

    Post # 14
    633 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2014

    I have never given cash b/c the couples I know always have a registry, and I like giving actual gifts that they want and will use over and over again. That being said, I rarely spend over $50 on a gift, b/c that is what is in my budget. I would try to spend more for family, but I haven’t been to a family wedding in my adult life. I also don’t worrying about them getting any money back off of me….one of those things on the list of ‘Things I Learned on the Bee’ that I wish I never heard of…

    I do think that charging guests is ridiculous, though. I actually don’t know if I would say no or not…it would have to depend on the couple and how I know them, b/c I might still want to see them and celebrate their wedding. It would be a hard decision, and I would probably call them and inquire about more details before I made my choice.

    Post # 15
    12905 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    The uproad about charging came from having the nerve to charge an entrance fee to your wedding.  I personally think it cheapens the event, and it’s rude because it’s not what hosting is, by defintion.  I would decline to attend a wedding that charged – and I don’t care what they charge, it’s the principle.

    I typically gift anywhere from $200 – $500 depending on closeness, amount of travel, formality of the affair, etc.

    Post # 16
    2685 posts
    Sugar bee

    The last couple of weddings we’ve been to, we’ve given $200 as a cash gift ($100 per person).  Depending on the couple and our financial situation, that may change in the future, but $200 works for us now.  We don’t really pay attention to how much the couple paid for the reception.  We like to give money because we want the couple to buy things they still need after opening wedding gifts.  Registries are great, but I know a few people who realized they forgot to include something important on the registry, so it’s nice to have some flexibility.  Charging guests is very rude, and I would likely not provide a large gift if I had to pay a cover fee as well.

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