Forgive me, late-night rant: anyone really not expecting gifts?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Do you expect that your guests will give gifts?
    I don't DEMAND them, but I do expect/anticipate gifts. I like gifts. Is that so wrong? : (97 votes)
    50 %
    I say I don't expect them but if I get no gifts I'll be surprised, and ok, a little bummed. : (65 votes)
    34 %
    I expect them, I demand them, the promise of gifts is why I'm throwing this wedding to begin with. : (4 votes)
    2 %
    No, I really think my card box will be empty. I am the poster-child for graciousness. : (17 votes)
    9 %
    I honestly haven't given it a moment's thought. : (11 votes)
    6 %
  • Post # 3
    4540 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: May 2014 - Royalton White Sands

    We’re eloping, but if we weren’t, I would probably “expect” gifts, if only for the fact that I was raised to believe it’s rude to show up at a wedding with nothing. 

    Post # 4
    748 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    Nope, I really don’t expect to receive gifts. 


    Post # 5
    8680 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2014

    I wouldn’t say I really EXPECT them.. but it’s certainly a tradition. I would be totally bummed if I got NOTHING at all from anyone. I think anyone who says they wouldn’t be bummed to get ANYTHING, no cards NOTHING, would be lying.


    But, that doesn’t mean I expect every guest to dump their pocket books into our gifts. Sometimes even small gifts can be awesome and well thought out. And I totally understand if someone who is short of cash, or travelling from super far away doesn’t get us a gift.


    But, from a guest’s point of view.. if someone invites you to a wonderful gathering of free booze, food, and entertainment.. it’s a nice gesture to give something in return.


    I’ve never NOT given a gift.


    Post # 6
    8680 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2014

    Also.. I find the cardbox option funny.. why have a cardbox at all if you aren’t anticipating gifts? o.O

    Post # 7
    4072 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: January 2014

    From my FI’s friends and family who are travelling 5,000 miles to attend the wedding? I don’t expect a thing, and I would be honestly surprised to receive gifts from them. Although I already know my English FSIL and her partner got us an amazing $180 Dutch oven, and I was floored!

    From my in-state friends and family? I expect a little something, yes. I don’t need hundreds of dollars in gifts, and I’d be surprised if people spent tons since it is right after the holidays. But a card? Yes. A modest gift from most? Yes, I expect it and would be a little bummed to receive few items. But it won’t be the end of the world if that happens.

    Post # 8
    7282 posts
    Busy Beekeeper

    @jennmariee:  I think what most people have a problem with is people being ungracious about the gifts that they did receive. Or putting a price tag on the what an acceptable gift should be. I really hate it when a bride complains about paying a $100 a plate for the guest who gave a gift equivilant to $50. Sorry but the bride and groom choose what they want to spend on the reception meal, not the guest. If you don’t want to pay $100 a plate then don’t but stop blaming guests for the cost. 

    We asked for no gifts and truly wanted no gifts. Did some people still give gifts? Yes, mostly cash, so in those cases we found a way to give it back such as taking them out for dinner. But most guests honoured our wishes.   

    Post # 9
    10748 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2014

    Yah, I’d be surprised if I didn’t get anything. I always give a gift/money at a wedding, so I think that’s the norm. 

    Post # 10
    476 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    It’s customary to bring a gift when attending someone’s celebration; birthday, anniversary, & yes, wedding.  So I expect that guests follow customary rules of etiquette.  My preference is a monetary gift from each guest though.

    Post # 11
    97 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    I am expecting gifts from some of our family and close friends. However, most of our friends are  just as poor as us so I don’t expect every single guest to bring a gift, and it genuinely doesn’t bother me. 

    Post # 12
    1491 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    2 parts. One, we had a family-only wedding first, and for that, we do think there’s a reasonable chance there were gifts, but didn’t demand or anything. got gifts.


    Two, we’re hosting a party for friends this coming year. for that, because it’s a celebration, not a wedding, we really really really want to make this about our friends and not make them feel like they have to get us anything because we’re already married at this point, just throwing a reception/vow renewal because our original wedding was so small. we’d be surprised if people brought gifts to this one. 

    Post # 13
    260 posts
    Helper bee

    I’m having a destination wedding and I know that it’s a big expense for everyone attending. Most of our guests are pretty young and not super established. I’m honestly not expecting much from them, although I wouldn’t mind if they suprised us and came through with gifts. We are spending a lot to have a beautiful wedding for ourselves and them. 

    Post # 14
    1311 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 1994

    We eloped, and I really wasn’t expecting anything. We sent out announcements. I was really surprised at how many people sent us cards, and gave us gifts and cash. I wasn’t expecting it at all really. 

    If we had a traditional wedding, I wouldn’t had been surprised, as it is tradition, and most people gift. But I wouldn’t say it is required. 

    Post # 15
    468 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    I would be rather shocked if people didn’t give my FI and I gifts. But we’re from a very gift-giving place, and it is a bit odd for people to come to a wedding empty handed. Though I would definitely not expect it from everyone. My expectations are for the people who come, to have a good time, and those who don’t, to be sorry they can’t make it. (Because we care about the people we invited, and hope they care about us in return!)

    Post # 16
    5160 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    @jennmariee:  “I’m not planning to go hunt down and demand restitution from any non-gifters at my wedding.”


    Ha!  That’s hilarious.


    Obviously it’s realistic to expect that you’ll recieve gifts from most attendees.  This is why people have designated gift tables, registries, and card boxes after all.  But I don’t think that people should feel entitled to gifts – IE you don’t have the right to be offended if someone doesn’t give you a gift.  In particular, I that often couples think of their cost to host guests, and not the guest’s total cost related to the wedding.  For example

     – Travel costs related to the wedding

     – Travel and hosting costs related to extra-wedding events (bach parties, showers, etc)

     – Gift costs for events related to the wedding

    I have certainly reduced the size of the gifts I’ve given based on my costs associated with attending the wedding (and my budget, of course) and I think it’s reasonable for guests to do so.  

    Plus there are some circumstances where gifts are certainly not expected.  If you have a DW where guests pay their own way (as I did) you certainly shouldn’t expect any gifts on top of that.


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