(Closed) "Cover your plate" – what does that mean?

posted 5 years ago in Gifts and Registries
Post # 3
Member
3969 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@hisprettygirl:  I always wonder how people “know” this, too. LIke, do you ask the bride /groom, “by the way, how much was this catering PP?” I don’t think that’s how it should be at all. I base gifts on how close I am to the couple and what I can afford. 

Post # 4
Member
9143 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

It means you are providing a gift that should theoretically cover the cost of your plate at the reception.  There are a few problems with this idea though with the main one being that most guests do not have any idea of the cost of their plate and telling them would be rude.  Some brides are really hung up on this idea and tend to be disappointed by guests that do not meet the minimum or fail to give a gift at all.  Personally, I do not think this is what was meant by gift giving and you should give what you can afford based on your relationship with the people getting married.

For me $50 is a lot of money ($60 buys me groceries for a week) and I would be offended to think a bride who spent $100 a plate on a reception would be upset that I didn’t give her $100 (honestly if she said something or I heard it from someone else I would probably stop being that person’s friend.)

Post # 5
Member
466 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I give what I have or whatever the registry requests. If I only have $20 to give to someone else other than my gas tank then they had better be happy with that $20 cause ill happily take it back.

Post # 6
Member
9057 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

For me it’s just a really rough estimate.  I typically guess that a sit down dinner at a catered mid-range runs about $50pp.  so I’d gift $100-150 it dh and i attend depending on our relationship with the couple. If you spent more than that… I kinda think that’s on you and don’t usually “cover” more than that. If someone is having a cake/punch reception that’s the same level of relationship to me as a sit down dinner that I’d gift $150, I would probably gift $100. Thinking cost to host us is maybe $25pp. so they end up with the same cost plus $50 “in their pocket” at the end of the day. 

Post # 7
Member
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Quite frankly I’m digusted by that frame of thought, unless it’s has to do with the couples background and culture.

There no way to guess correctly what someome spent. I also think couples should spend what according to what gifts and money they will recieve. Our biggest expense for this wedding is food and alcohol, in no way do I feel my guest should give us hundreds of dollars of gifts or money to cover this cost. Guest don’t get choose how much we spend or have input on what they prefer we serve so I don’t think they should cover our plates.

I never had this mentality. I given what I felt I could afford. The most money I ever gave at a wedding for a diy budget wedding at a vfw hall. I think it probably cost more then food they got for all of their guest.

Post # 8
Member
1375 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think it is impossible for people to truly know how to ‘cover their plate’.  Many people try to be generous and gift the couple $100-150 + while others can only truly afford $10-50 for a gift.  I know the idea is more common in some regions than in others, but at the same time, brides and grooms should not fool themselves that they’ll ‘make back’ everything they spent on the wedding.

Post # 9
Member
1668 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

“Cover your plate” is a best guess as to what it costs.  In theory, it would differ based on the type of event.  I have been to events where people waited to get there to write the check.

FWIW, I don’t do this but it is a very common practice and pretty standard in NY/NJ area.  I think the general assumption is $100+ per person.  We are from NY/NJ but had our wedding in MD.  Looking at our gifts, the NY/NJ guests gave far more per person than the DC/MD folks. I attribute this to the cover your plate approach.

Post # 10
Member
2693 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I’ve heard this before, never followed the rule though.  I think gifts are nice but not mandatory so you give what you can, be it $10 or $200.  If you are super close to the couple give more, if you barely know them, give less.  If it doesn’t matter who they are, just give what you want to give.  I love to give gifts but we are not rollin gin dough.. I gift nice items I would love to get myself and call it a day.  I have never given money, but the next wedding I am invited to, I’ll make sure to bring a cash gift if I can as I know now how much the couple will appreciate it.

Post # 11
Member
11353 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I had a roommate in college who was from an area of the country where this phrase apparently was observed as if it were law. She was always talking about how you have  to “cover the cost of your plate” when you attend weddings. This was more than 25 years ago, and she was insisting even back then that she had to give at least $75 to be able to attend her cousin’s wedding.

I do not believe in this “requirement” and do not think there is any etiquette involved in it.  Afterall, how could anyone really know what the number would be, and what all would be included in that number?  Would you divide the entire cost of your wedding by the number of people who attended?  If I did that, the cost-per-plate would have been between $250 and $300 per person. If I just included venue-rental fees, food and beverages, taxes, and service fees/gratuities, the cost-per-plate for my wedding would have been about $135 per person, and I did not even have alcohol at my wedding (except for a champagne toast.) I would never have wanted a family member or friend to have chosen not to attend my wedding simply because he or she thought that he or she could not give us an expensive gift or any gift at all.

I think people should give gifts because they want to and choose gifts that are within their means to give and not feel pressured to reach a certain monetary threshold based on how much they think your wedding or your wedding meal is costing the hosts to provide it.

Post # 12
Member
9057 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

@TwoCityBride:  I think it comes more into play when “what you can afford” doesn’t really play factor. I could certainly “afford” to gift every wedding I attend $500 and still put food on my table and gas in my car.  But… Not going to. So there ends up just having to be some other metric.  So I do semi estimate what a comparable night out on our own dime would have cost, plus the amount that I would want that couple to have “leftover” based in relationship.  Ie, cake/punch for a random coworker might get $50 while cake/punch for a sibling maybe $300. 

 ETA: I don’t consider this a hard fast rule, and didnt expect my own guests to adhere to it. And if I was in a different position financially I don’t think I’d skip a wedding if i couldn’t cover my plate.

Post # 13
Member
1477 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

It’s a regional or cultural thing. My in-laws do this. The cost of a plate (dinner only, not the entire cost of the wedding) for a wedding in San Francisco ranges from $100-$200 per person depending on the venue. So they always try to cover thier dinner plus give a little extra for a gift. You never know for sure how much the plate is going to cost, but you can guess depending on where the wedding is and what is being served. The minimum is always $100 per person. This whole concept is new to me, but it’s what DH’s family and friends do. On my side, we got homemade gifts, non-registry items, and food. I’m from a small town where weddings cost at most $10 per plate, so people just give whatever and don’t think twice about the amount.

Post # 14
Member
1548 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m from NJ and I usually give gifts that “cover my plate”. I would feel awkward attending a black tie wedding that was over $200 pp and only giving $50-75. As a couple, we usually give between $250 and 300. However, if it was a simple backyard wedding, I would probably only give about $100. 

Post # 15
Member
2781 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Its a regional thing, so some areas ‘cover your plate’ is around $100, other places it’s $50, and some still it’s $300. Also I think you should gift based on your region, and relationship with the couple. If your not at all close with the couple and the regional gift amount in your area is $100, then give $50-$100. If you can’t afford that then just give what you can afford. 

Post # 16
Member
3375 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I think this is just something people say?

And really, it’s not your guests fault if you spend a ton on your wedding. They shouldn’t have to cover lobster when they would have been happy with anything.

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