(Closed) Destination wedding-should I expect gifts from my guests?

posted 10 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
367 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I put in my brochures sent before the invitations. Do not bring gifts, your percents in our gift. I am sure most of our friends will prob give money or do something special with us when we are their but its not expected.   We also are giving them gifts for spending so much money to be at our wedding. We only think the invited guest who can’t make it will send a gift.  I also did not want them to be responsible for flying with gifts or we having to cart them back to the states either.  Yes it is their choice to go, but they are going to honor you and be there for you tow and a destination wedding is asking people to spend much more the cost of plate and gifts.       

Post # 4
329 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

You should probably not expect gifts from your guests, but be gracious and happy if you do receive them.

I am also having a Destination Wedding, but do not care if I get a single gift! I am just excited that people are flying out of the country to spend our day with us!! That being said, my Fiance and I already have a home and have it established….we really don’t need anything, but we registered just in case people want to purchase something. I am sure you will get some gifts, but probably should be okay with those who do not get you one.

Post # 5
3230 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Are you asking about those that don’t attend? When I don’t attend a wedding, I normally don’t give a gift. I always mean to send a card, but usually forget 🙁

If you are asking about those attending, I would say prob 50% will give you a gift.

Post # 6
1560 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Well, personally I wouldn’t attend a wedding without a gift, EVER. Although the cost of attending might bring down my budget on the gift, I would still not dream of at least sending something from the registry. HOWEVER, I am having a Destination Wedding and I am not expecting alot of gifts, although I did set up registries for those interested in getting us one anyway. But I’m not adverstising them, if people really want to get us a gift, they will have to ask us where we are registered.

Post # 8
872 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

If your guests are spending hundreds or thousands of dollars simply to attend your wedding, I don’t think you should expect gifts.  No one owes you a wedding gift, and gifts should not be given to others with a quid pro quo expectation.

Post # 9
2128 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Sorry DH and I make a good income, but if I had to spend 2k+ to attend a wedding, my presence would be the present. I would maybe do something sentimental though, but still.

Post # 10
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I think this depends on many factors. We were recently invited to a  Destination Wedding for a couple we know but are not super close to. It was going to be over $2500 just for us to fly to Mexico and stay at their all-inclusive resort for 2 days. We opted to not go because of the expense. If we had gone, giving them a present would be difficult because their wedding was already costing us so much.  If we had been super close to them we would have sent a gift but we are not close to them so we didn’t send anything.

I think you should never expect gifts but I think with destination weddings you should not expect a gift from those that come because ultimately your guests are paying a lot to be there in the first place.

Post # 12
2063 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Well, first of all, a wedding gift is not required of guests. Ever. That goes for attending, not attending, wedding next door, wedding in Timbuktu. That doesn’t mean it’s not customary, but according to traditional etiquette, it’s not required–in a similar way that a hostess gift is customary, but not required if you have a dinner party. 

To me, it’s not a “gray area” when it comes to destination weddings a) because see above and b) because: 

in order to attend a Destination Wedding, I am likely to pay AT LEAST several hundred dollars, if not approaching a thousand. Let’s pick Hawaii as an example, and I’ll be conservative: 

Flight: $400

Hotel: $100/night – 3 nights, $300

Food: $100/day – 2 days $200

Taxi: $60, both ways to airport

…so that’s about $1000. Would you like to also add in the money that I would be spending back home for things like kenneling the dog? Put another $300 on top of that. And it’s not just about the money. In order to attend a Destination Wedding, I’m probably going to have to take vacation days from work (TRY attaching a monetary value on that). If I had kids, I would also have to arrange for their care, or if they were invited, I coudl take them and tack on MORE cost (and possibly have them miss school). 

I’m willing to do this–and have done it as far as Italy and France–for very, very good friends, as your friends are willing to do for you. And otherwise, believe me, I’d much rather give you a $100 santoku or whatever, which is why you got gifts from non-attendees. 

But please–don’t go around thinking that it’s somehow bad form for people who generously honored you to spend that much time and effort and yes–money–to forgo a card. It doesn’t matter how wealthy they are (and by the way, it’s pretty tacky (there, I said it) to first assume that you have knowledge or understanding of your friends’ finances and then that your perception gives you the right to presume that they spend whatever their discretionary income is on you–as opposed to say, putting it into their kids’ college fund, or their retirement fund, or going on their own vacation, or getting a new roof, or whatever else is their right to do with it). It also doesn’t matter how much YOU and your Fiance choose to spend on your friends. Either give freely or don’t give at all, but to give with the expectation of a return is bad etiquette. It just is. 



Post # 13
872 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Just to give you some context, I am attending a Destination Wedding in South America this fall.  There is no way I would spend so much to attend a wedding except that (a) the groom is a very, very good friend, a marvelous person, and I have known him for a long time and (b) his family is from the country where he’s getting married, so it’s not a gratuitous location choice.

That being said, we also have a very expensive delayed honeymoon planned for this summer.  The last thing I want to do this year is spend even more money on pricey travel.  But neither do I want to compromise on my once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation.  Luckily, we can afford both but our savings rate is taking a huge hit and I feel pretty guilty about it.  We made this choice and are owning it, but if my friend’s wedding was in a cheaper location or at a more convenient time I would be pretty happy.

We will probably only fly down for a long weekend, and my friend has expressed disappointment that we won’t be spending more time visiting his home country.  I know he thinks he’s being hospitable but it sort of grates on me because this wedding is not my personal time or budget priority and I’m doing my best to balance competing interests.

Post # 14
209 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

My So and I attended 2 Destination Wedding weddiggs last yr, he was in both of them! The one was in Cuba and we gifted $400 as it cost us approx $2400.00 together to attend. The second was in Las Vegas, and the groom covered the cost of 2 wks accommodations for the hotel, plane ticket and car rental for the members of the bridal party. As the groom paid for my SO’s trip and all I was responsible for was my flight, we gifted a sum equal to the cost of the accommodations. not to mention this was my SO’s best friend that he considers his brother, hense the extensive gift!

I wouldn’t attend a wedding without giving a gift, but my gift would not be the same for a Destination Wedding when you take into account the cost of the trip for the attendees.


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