(Closed) Cover your plate

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 91
213 posts
Helper bee

I grew up in New England, and it is definitely the norm there, I remember when my older cousins got married, my parents trying to estimate the cost to give appropriately. My Fiance gre up in VA, and had no concept of this the first time we went to a wedding together.

I definitely understand the reasoning, and try to adhear to it. However for our wedding I would not expect people to adhear to it, most of our guests will be travelling, and I would not expect them to feel the need to gift $100+pp, though I am sure some will. I however disagree completely with what I have seen from some bees in other threads that “If you can’t afford to cover your plate, then you can’t afford to go to the wedding” I would be extremely upset if my friends or family could not attend because they could not afford a “suitable” gift. I would be throwing the same exact wedding even if I knew no one would gift anything. I would rather have people show up with nothing than not show up and send a gift.

Post # 92
12227 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I think cover the plate is always crass and that it’s a tradition that should disappear for good.  That said, I wouldn’t say it is done in its true form around here, but it is not unusual for people to use the typical catering costs  per person in the area as a guide, modified, sometimes greatly, by budget and closeness of relationship.  Putting it another way,  there will be a narrow range that you wouldn’t necessarily expect if these things were totally random.  However, no one I know  would  raise the amount of a gift just because the affair is more expensive.

I suppose it is not surprising that  people tend to look for some sort of benchmark.  If Uncle Bill Gates came to a wedding and gave $10, no one would describe that as particularly  generous.  By the same token, no one would expect him to give an outlandish amount just because he can afford it, either.

While any sense of expectation is inappropriate, unfortunately,  you know how that can go. 

Post # 93
998 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015 - City Hall!

Yes I’ve heard of this, although it’s never been enforced. I’m from the Northeast. 

Post # 94
49 posts

I’ve always heard (especially leading up to our own wedding) that covering your plate was the most common and proper wedding gift in our circles. We mentioned no gifts on our website but we still received I think 5 material gifts and mostly cash. We had 300 guests, only half of that gave us gifts and that was perfectly fine. We were surprised to find the total to be more than 150% of our entire wedding budget though. So while people kept talking about the concept of cover-your-plate gifts, half our guests didn’t and half gave way more. 

Personally, I’ve never actually given a gift with the intention of covering my plate. Everytime I give a check as a gift for a wedding, I give a very very specific amount. I’m guessing that amount covers our plates most of the time, but there may have been one or two times when it wasn’t enough. Getting weird now though because some people we’ve gifted cash to have copied it so it seems like we’re just passing around money lol. 

Also, there have been several weddings in the family lately and my parents and inlaws have asked me what certain people gave us for ours so they can give the same to those getting married. They seem to think that if they give less they’ll be seen as cheap, and if they give more they’re trying to one-up them. 

Post # 95
12227 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Beebityboo: ” Also, there have been several weddings in the family lately and my parents and inlaws have asked me what certain people gave us for ours so they can give the same to those getting married. They seem to think that if they give less they’ll be seen as cheap, and if they give more they’re trying to one-up them.”

Yes, appropriate or not, that is a common mindset.  

Post # 96
416 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015 - Historic house and gardens

I’ve heard of it, and I would say it is kind of an informal benchmark here. As a guest, I always give (in gift unless cash is asked for) the amount it would cost me to eat at a restaurant, plus a bit more.

Having said that, we don’t do bridal showers, so weddings are the ONLY place a gift is given. I would normally spend between $80 and $200 as a couple for a wedding, depending on their relationship to me and the tye of registry (if there is one).

I don’t expect people to ”cover the plate” at our wedding. We are spending over $200 per head and that is our choice, not their problem.

I’m in Australia.

Post # 97
260 posts
Helper bee

Mrs.Sawyertobe:  unless a bride tells her guests how much they all cost to attend (which would be horribly tacky) then how would one know how to cover their plate?  


give a gift based on your relationship.  

Post # 98
250 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

CYP is unheard of in my experience. As a tangent, I would caution anyone planning a wedding to avoid expecting to receive huge amounts of money as wedding gifts (e.g., house down payment amounts or quantities recouping wedding expensed). We spent $30k on our wedding, invited 50-55 couples/families, and received $2000-2500 in physical gifts and cash combined. Aside from parents’ gifts, the maximum gift was $200; most were $100 or less, and a noticeable number of people did not give as much as a greeting card. We do not have poor friends, either.

You have to throw the wedding that you can afford and not plan for that money to be magically reimbursed through gifts.

Post # 99
4857 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We do here. Its just a guideline, not an expectation. 

Post # 100
7416 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

When your friend invites you over to watch football and get a pizza, you bring a six-pack of Miller Lite. $7.00.

when your friend invites you over for a dinner party where she’s going to make the roast rack of lamb recipe she’s been dying to try out, you bring two bottles of good red wine. $40.00 (or more)

Youre already “covering your plate.” You just don’t realize you’re doing it.

Post # 101
602 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015 - Dreams Las Mareas - Costa Rica

Yes, I’ve heard this for atleast the last 15 years. I’m in NYC and it’s standard to give at least 100 per person to cover your plate then extra as a gift… It’s always seemed craxy to me but I always oblige 

Post # 102
96 posts
Worker bee


 I am originally from NewYork and currently live in the South.  I have always tried to go by the “cover your plate rule” when giving monetary gifts so at the least $50.00.

Post # 103
569 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I think this is more about circle than just region. I’m in New England, and in my circle, an expectation of “covering the plate” is NOT the norm, but I see other people from NE have said differently.

Post # 104
215 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Mrs.Sawyertobe:  New England born and bred also, I have heard the term but think it is a social standing thing in my area. I find that people give according to closeness to the couple and financial ability. I think it is the exception not the rule.

Post # 105
12227 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

andixlyn:  In its most hideous version, I’ve heard stories of people who actually call the venue or look it up on the website.  But more  commonly, people just go by the average affair in their circles, which tends to be a matter of common knowledge. Neither is  appropriate, but that’s what is done. 

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