While I wasn't raised in the camp of needing to cover my plate in the gift/dollar amount I give newlyweds, I recognize the logic. If this is the method by which you determine how much money/gift value to give, would you be offended if someone who otherwise had the means to buy a $100+ gift gave you much less? My parents typically spend $30-40 on wedding gifts regardless of wedding formailty; would you perceive this as cheap?
A gift is a gift and I'd be thankful for anything. Generally speaking, I don't think it's wise to make assumptions about peoples wealth. On the outside it could look like they have their shit together but behind closed doors, they could be drowning in credit card debt with little to no savings. On the other hand, if a guest was say... a CEO and their salary is public knowledge, I'd probably give the side eye if I opened a card stuffed with a nice crisp Jackson ($20) if they could very obviously afford to be a bit more generous.
@philodendron: Depends on the gift. Are they picking out a physical gift from a registry or just giving cash? I could see getting offended if you know the guests are well off, could have afforded more and are close to them. A couple spending $30-$40 between the 2 of them for a gift does seem cheap to me. I give a minimum of $50 for just myself, depending on how close I am to the couple.
Since the logic behind the "Cover Your Plate" theory is fundamentally flawed due to the fact that no person could possible guess or estimate what was really spent...ever. I would never think any gift was cheap or paltry...besides, even if someone did, would they actually be boarish enough to say something?
I'm not opposed to $30-40 gifts, although I will be very honest and say that if it is a couple that is very affluent or very spend-y, then I will give it a double-take. We had some couples that were in financial difficulties and gifted up a $50-ish gift on our registry and we were genuinely shocked and pleasantly surprised. We don't necessarily cover our plates exactly but truthfully, we tend to gift a pricier, more extravagant gift if it is a very lavish affair.
@drummerbride: They prefer to give physical gifts off a registry or otherwise, but I think this has less to do with concern over perceived cheapness than it does with how they simply like to gift. Granted, they are better off than their lifestyle lets on.
It is also possible that wedding etiquette has vastly changed since they last attended lots of weddings. For that matter, covering one's plate was an entirely different dollar range for a 1980s appetizer and cake reception than it is for today's $30k shindigs. I may also have a negative bias since they have not recently attended a wedding of anyone very close to them, so the gifts I see them giving to "distant" friends may not represent what they would give to close firends or family.
We got gifts of all values, from a bottle of wine up to hundreds of dollars and more. I appreciated each one of them individually, and can't imagine thinking of any of my loved ones as "cheap" based solely on the size of the gift they gave.
People who truly understand the spirit of gifting will not see any gift as "cheap," no matter how generous or how small. People who have yet to really understand the concept of gifting, and the spirit with which a gift is given, will be more likely to place a high significance on the value or expense of a gift.
@philodendron: Giving a physical gift that the couple actually wants, regardless of cost I would never fnd that cheap or rude.
To me, a couple of parents coming and giving $30-40 is horrible. I've never been to a wedding that was $15-20 per head. A three course meal during Baltimore restaurant week is more than that. I wouldn't give that little for a backyard cake and punch reception.
Not only is the Cover-Your-Plate theory terribly flawed... as in NO ONE for certain would know what the price per head amount would be for the TOTAL WEDDING... not just the food... and it would be incredibly RUDE to ask.
This so-called custom is not one that finds its roots in any sort of approved Etiquette
A guest is a guest period. A Wedding like any other social event is meant to be welcoming and considerate of the guests in attendance. Things are provided for THEIR convenience and comfort. It is NEVER the other way around.
If a Host goes into the idea of throwing a Party (or a Wedding) with the thoughts of having an event that is meant to "make money"... then it isn't a party or a celebration... it is a FUND RAISING EVENT period. And fundrasing should be done SOLELY for true charities (and God knows there are enough of them)... not a Bride & Groom !!
As is the old saying... "Your presence is enough"
Gifts be they physical items... or things like Cash, Cheques or Gift Cards... SHOULD NEVER be expected... nor should they be solicited.
To do so is very gauche, tacky... and of course Gift Grabby.
(Which is why Etiquette dictates that any Gift / Registry info does not appear anywhere near the Invite... EVER)
Traditionally if gifts were brought, then it was the Guest who discreetly asked the family (usually MOB or the Bridal Party) "what might" the couple need / like to start their married life with
Today... that translates into the same approach... or in the case of the Internet, a couple with a Wedding Website can DISCREETLY put the info on there to help their Guests (along with other info like... Maps & Directions, Hotel Info, Things to Do in the Wedding City etc)
Historically, gifts were brought filled with LOVE and joy... and in olden days many were home-made items... like furniture, linens, even food to be "put down in the root cellar" etc
Infact not so long ago, it was considered inappropriate in North America to give money as a Wedding Present.
Now it seems, that IF IT ISN'T MONEY... then some couples are truly ungrateful (hence some how came about the "Cover Your Plate" mentality)
Etiquette wise, if a Guest chooses to bring a gift, it should be ONLY DEPENDANT on 3 things..
1- What they can afford
2- On what THEY think the couple might need / like / appreciate
3- And perhaps on how close they are to the couple in Question (so it is perfectly fine to give more / spend more on immediate family members vs others)
Hope this helps,
EDIT TO ADD
On a personal note, I'm old enough (over 50) to have been to dozens of Weddings in my lifetime. And the majority of them took place long before the "Cover Your Plate" theory came to be. I have always been a gracious guest... no matter how much money I had at the time. I guess you could say I just LOVE weddings, and I was raised this way. Even back in the 1980s when cousins, friends and collegues were getting married, I gave well ($ 50 to $ 100+... usually in the form of a gift off their Registry). Today, and Mr TTR are somewhere in the $ 100 to $ 200+ range, depending on how well we know the couple... but our gift giving has changed in that... I still look at the Registry (still think these are important... and just about every couple can use NEW Stuff for their homes... lol, even us at our age) OR sometimes we'll give a Gift Card if we know of something the couple might like (ie to a Favourite Restaurant etc)
PS... For couples who believe there is a "Cover The Plate" need... my only words of advice is... You need to plan something else. A Wedding that YOU CAN AFFORD. To think for even a minute that your Wedding is going to break even is ridiculous... and soooo "off track" for what a Wedding truly is / represents. When you have a Wedding & Reception you can afford you are overall that much more comfortable because it (a) no doubt more clearly represents the two of you, and (b) is a H3LL OF A LOT LESS STRESSFUL because you aren't worrying about the cost everything. In the end, you'll actually probably end up further ahead on so many levels (including probably financially...)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a smaller Wedding & Reception... classy events can be organized at all price points... even something as simple as a short Cake & Champagne "Toast Before You Go" on the Church Lawn. You can give your Guests a memorable event without breaking the bank (or having to rob one... or your Guests to make it happen)
To be honest, yes, because the region I grew up in, it's just not done this way. I was able to scrape together $150-200 to give as wedding gifts when I was a poor college student, so getting a $30-40 gift from a secure married couple would feel like a snub. If they were from a different area where this custom wasn't the norm, I would try to not judge them harshly for it, but it would still raise my eyebrows. But if they took the time to get a gift from our registry, I don't feel I judged the dollar amount at all because it took time and thinking ahead.
That said, at my wedding, the only people who gave us gifts low enough to even think twice about were those who were students or I knew had financial hardship, and I was thankful for anything they gave me because I interpreted it as huge generosity on their part. The next tier up were couples that gave $100 per couple, which is on the low end for our region so we noticed, but not enough so for me to be offended really. The norm was most couples gave us $200, and close family members and family friends gave $500+.
So for me, if I didn't for some reason have the money/want to spend the "cover your plate" amount on a wedding (which I always do because it is how I was raised) I tink a registry gift, or a handmade gift is a super thoughtful way to be more economical. My favorite wedding present was an afghan that a friend made for us, and I bet it was the least expensive by far!
I just don't understand the logic. I don't. When I go to someone's wedding, it's not my concern how much it's costing them to host me. They INVITED ME to come and celebrate and THEY CHOSE to have a five-course sit-down meal and an open bar or a backyard BBQ and a dry wedding. I give a gift because I want to congratulate them, not because we were invited to someone else's event and now we somehow need to "pay our own way." It's ludicrous and as a guest it offends me. I would NEVER expect this from guests at any event I host, including my wedding. We told our guests that their presence was our present, so please no presents and we were beyond thankful for every red cent that was given to us in spite of that. Your parents can give whatever they feel like giving, and the bride and groom can graciously accept. The idea that ANY bride would balk at a gift or "raise an eyebrow" just makes me never want to go to a wedding ever again. Greedy Bs, I tell ya.
How much do those of you who give $100-150 or more for weddings give for birthdays, graduations, new babies, etc? In other words, maybe a wedding gift lands in a different gifting importance/amount category for many people than it does for my parents. (They spend similar amounts on weddings as they do for the aforementioned occasions.)
@philodendron: I gift a smaller amout according to how frequent the occasion. is So for birthday, you have one every year, so unless you are close family, I will spend no more than $20-50. A wedding (in theory) is once in a lifetime, so I gift more ($200/couple). A graduation I would probably gift $100 from DH and I, considering most people graduate from HS, maybe college and grad school.
TO philodendron: again it depends on WHO...
And you have to take into account that Mr TTR and I are both older (over 50) so well established in our lives (ie NO Mortgage, kids to raise etc)
But general rule of thumb for me (us when we go together to an event / party / outing) would be...
Birthdays... up to $ 50 for friends... more for family members (like our kids)
And that would be for a Gift... if it was at a Restaurant or out for Drinks etc, and not a house hosted party, then more than likely we'd also be paying our own way for the eats (and here in Canada that could easily be $ 50 to $ 100+ per couple). And if the Birthday was for one of our Kids or Elderly Parents, then we'd be probably picking up the overall tab for them as well (ie My Dad & his Wife)
Graduations... haven't been to one in quite awhile. As our kids are all adults now. But I can tell you that for our own kids we spent considerably more than $ 100... We consider Education to be a very important thing in life... so to mark the milestone / achievement we gave extremely well.
Babies... again I haven't been to a Baby Shower in quite some time. But I'd have to say I would never show up with anything less than in the $ 50 range (lol, cute baby outfits like Osh Kosh or The Gap aren't cheap)
As for your parents... don't know their age / era. But you are right they could very well be stuck in a certain mind-set. I know my Elderly Father gives well for Wedding Presents etc, but he is a terrible tipper. I've had "the talk" with him, but he really doesn't get it "Why should I tip sooo much of my hard earned money to someone who ONLY brought my plate and refilled my coffee cup ?" (Errrr) Try as I might to explain it to him, it has done little good. It can be embarassing... so now I try to always make sure that when we go out to eat together, that I either negotiate to pick up the tip (if he pays the overall tab)... or I leave a tip on my own. I do get it can be awkward though... suggest you have "the talk" about Gift Giving for the 21st Century... but also either find a way to let it go afterwards... or a way to make up the difference (if that is what would make you most comfortable) without hurting his feelings. I understand tho... it can be a very tight line to walk. Good Luck.
Our standard gift for weddings is $50. Couldn't care less if it is perceived as cheap or not. I assume we were invited to share in the celebration of the couple's union and I would not consider the OP's parents gift of $30-$40 cheap at all.
1) the falacy of the Cover-your-plate theory has been addressed as it should
2) seriously--someone who was a college student gave $150 -$200? Where is the planet where that is the norm? , I would NEVER do that and I'm old and have money.
3) those who give an expensive gift who don't have much wealth--umm? And I suspect that they will not if they keep throwing it around.
I am often happy to have been raised in the Midwest and outside of large cities where modest spending is the norm.
Weddings are not transactions.
I did not expect anything in return from the guests who attended my wedding, nor did I scrutinize or analyze the value of the gift in relation to the giver. To answer your original question, I would be gratefuly for a $30-40 gift from someone who attended my wedding.
If someone gives a gift, the receiver should be grateful, no matter the value.
TO fauxpas2012: I get that everyone gets a point of view...
BUT I have to say that I find that two of your comments # 2 and # 3 (in Reply # 17 above) are very prejudicial to the Bee whom they are directed at
Fine and dandy that you "have been raised in the Midwest and outside of large cities where modest spending is the norm". BUT there is equally nothing wrong with someone who comes from a BIG City where things are different... including spending habits.
Lol, for whatever reason, this post reminds of Aesop's Fable on "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse"... two different worlds that collide... you are FREE to see your lifestyle choices as good for you... as is the other Bee FREE to see her choices good for her. BUT in reality there is NO RIGHT or WRONG in this situation... so no need to be judgemental about how she wishes to spend her money IMO (as it isn't your money to begin with)
I'm gonna just be straight and say yes, I would perceive it as cheap. Sure, I should be grateful for any gift, but I can't lie and say I wouldnt think that was cheap. A few couples gifted us $100, some singles gifted $100 themselves. Most were $200+, some even near 1k. I guess my circle is typically big gifters, so $40 for a couple would certainly have stood out to me.
@philodendron: With regards to graduation, it depends. When I got my masters degree, the majority of the gifts I received were anywhere from 75% to 100% of the amount that DH and I received for our wedding from the same people. This means that I received at least $50 from a single person and $100 from a couple. Further, my graduation party was a very casual affair where we had catered food, but definitely nowhere near the cost of our wedding food. We haven't had a baby yet, but for other people's babies, DH spent equal to what they gifted us for our wedding if both of us attended and it was a semi-lavish baby party and I personally gifted 50% of what they gifted us for our wedding to a casual home-cooked baby shower. For birthdays, people in our circle gift very little (just a fun gift) but as PP mentioned, birthdays come every year.
To be quite honest, even for a casual, cake and punch baby shower, I personally will gift $50-60 (and this is excluding my DH since he's obviously not invited).
Here in upstate NY, for a typical wedding (not a super casual one), the average gift is $75- $100 per person. $30 seems low to me but anything is appreciated I'm sure!
@philodendron: I'm not one of those people who gives $100-$150 for weddings, but I just had to chime in here. For the past four or five years, in my circle, it's been understood for birthdays that basically you get cards and your friends or your significant other covers dinner out. My dearest girlfriends and I send baked goods to each other on our birthdays. But the idea of a whole bunch of people dropping $40 or $50 on the birthday of a grown-ass peer is just weird to me. Now, your kids or your family, I can see better.
As a couple we don't try to guess what a plate covers, but we typically give $100-$200 to the couple, mostly depending on what costs we incured going to the wedding (e.g. flights, hotels, car rental). That seems to be the norm in our general group. We haven't been to a SUPER casual wedding, so maybe we would give less? For reference, we're 25 and 28, I'm still a student and he's a substitute teacher (i.e. we're not rolling in cash). So basically, yeah that seems low to me (again, as compared to what seems to be the norm for us and around here) especially if from a well-established older couple.
We don't really do gifts for friends birthdays - would be more likely to take them out to dinner, buy them a drink, bake them cupcakes, etc. Even for my siblings, I tend to send them a card and call them on the day.
I am going to be honest and say I think that is a stingy amount, particularly for a couple. For a single student, that would be about the right amount!
Hubby and I average about 200-500 per wedding. The higher end being for family/ close friends.
At our wedding we got gifts between 100 and up to 2000 dollars. Perhaps material generosity is the norm with where we are, and with who we know.
Yes I do think it is very cheap, particularly for an older couple.
Honestly, if I got a $30-40 check I would be confused if the person was well enough off. Even as a student attending an out of state wedding, I always gave more. However, if your parents gave a shower gift or bought a gift instead of cash, I wouldn't think twice.
Edit: to put it in perspective, if your parents took us out to an Applebee's type neighborhood restaurant to celebrate our wedding and we drank water and didn't get aps it would be $30. I don't expect people to cover my plate, but I would view the minimum for an estabilished person is a decent dinner out for the couple.
@philodendron: I'm very curious as to why you're asking this. Has someone said something about it to you with regard to their gift-giving, or have they been invited to one recently and you're trying to talk them in to giving more? This might be an awkward conversation to have,don't you think? lol
I know while growing up and attending family weddings, my parents were always very generous with gifts for family weddings. That being said, their gift was a standard $100., and we, as the younger adults, would usually give up to $50. (but never more than our parents). When I got married 30 years ago, all of my Uncles,Aunts and close family friends gave $100. from each couple, but friends gave anywhere from $20.-40. (and that was the norm,then).
Monetary gifts have risen accordingly, and my kids will give $200.-250. as married couples, and we give from $300.-500., depending on the closeness to us. We live in the Northeast, and from what I understand, these gift amounts are pretty much the norm. My parents give $1000. to each grandchild when they marry, so that's what Im used to doing and seeing where I live.
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