(Closed) Do you send a gift to weddings you cannot attend?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Do you send a gift (or use registry) for weddings you cannot attend?



    If I remember to, but I don't hold myself to it

    It depends on how close I am to the person or how much I like them

  • Post # 17
    1692 posts
    Bumble bee

    The Post Institute’s novel ruling, that a wedding invitation should be treated like a gift-invoice regardless of your relationship with the bridal couple, is fraught with potential for abuse and no doubt has the divine Emily spinning — with dignified propriety — in her grave. It has led to the nasty suspicion on the part of distant-friends-of-the-bride’s-parents that the only reason they received an invitation was to increase the gift-count, and a growing background assumption that any sort of an invitation can be seen as gift-grabby. Such unpleasant emotions were inevitable given the ruling, which is a direct turn-around from what dear Mrs Post herself and her colleagues advised back around the turn of the last century. My ongoing hope is that whichever Post successor it was that perpetrated this idea, merely communicated badly.

    Traditional etiquette rules as follows:

    1) No gift-giver should ever assume that a gift will be acceptable. Giving a gift is presumptuous: it places the burden of gratitude upon the recipient and implies a certain intimacy of relationship. If that intimacy does not exist, the recipient can and should decline the gift. So gift-giving should be humble and tentative. The receipt of an invitation to a wedding reception can be taken as reassurance that a gift will in fact be acceptable, and that the invitee will not be thought presumptuous if he sends a gift.

    2) A gift should always be valuable for something other than its cost. It is the thought that counts: the extra time you spent hunting through consignment shops looking for an out-of-production teacup that matches the bride’s pattern, or the fond knowledge of the groom’s interests that led you to select a particular barbecue accessory, or whatever. Cash, obviously, is always valuable for exactly its cost, and is not traditionally considered a thoughtful gift.

    3) The decision whether to give a gift or not, and of what to give, should be completely independent of whether or not you accept hospitality. Hospitality is a gift freely given. Any hint that you are attempting to compensate the hosts by providing some mercenary consideration commercializes the act of hospitality and turns it into a common business transaction rather than a generous social grace. Consider as an analogy that a husband, even though he may hand his wife grocery money for the week, would be wise NOT to hand it to her immediately after love-making with an adjustment to the quantity based on the quality of the experience. In the same way a guest can give a wedding gift, but would be wise NOT to hand it over like a ticket at the entry to the reception hall with an adjustment based on the value of the catering. Some transactions just should not be commercialized.

    Post # 18
    2851 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2015

    I’ve only been invited to four weddings as an adult (that have passed by–have STDs for two future ones). These were friends, my family, and FI’s family. We only declined one because it was a destination wedding for us and not in the budget. It was my cousin so I sent her a check for $100. I haven’t had any other weddings to decline thus far, but I will most likely send something if I can’t go.

    Post # 19
    4462 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: February 2012

    I usually wouldn’t. I can’t afford much right now and unless I’m super close to the person I just don’t have it. 

    Post # 20
    692 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - Legare Waring House

    I always would. But that’s me.

    Also, to give them some credit, I would wait and do it around the time of the wedding. Not before. But I also don’t open my birthday/Christmas cards until the day of. So that would be weird to me.

    Unless they were invited to the shower as well, I’m not sure why the gift would come prior to the wedding.

    Post # 21
    182 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2014

    I normally would if it was a couple I was friends with or family and was just unable to attend for whatever reason. But my parents have received invitations for people from church’s kids’ weddings (and they had never, EVER seen or met the kid!) In that case I don’t think they need to send a gift. Choosing the gift to give, even if off of a registry, is hard to do when you literally don’t have a clue what the couple is like.

    Post # 22
    542 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    If I’m not attending then I send a gift (nothing huge, something like a picture frame) from their registry a few weeks before the wedding.

    Last time I sent a gift, I couldn’t afford at that time to fly, rent a car, and hotel in SC. I never recieved a thank you. I was kinda ticked off by that and I’m not a complainer so I never followed up but I cared enough to send something and not even a phone call.

    Post # 23
    3625 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    It depends. If I think it’s a gift grab, then no, I will not send a gift. For example, I once heard of a couple that extended an invitation to nearly everyone in their lives. They didn’t even have legit invitations after a while and they were inviting people via email and didn’t take RSVPs. They were just doing a few cookie platters and coffee. By all accounts from people who did go, this was a gift grab. In this instance, I personally would not send a gift.

    However, if we had every intention of going but due to finances (e.g. destination wedding) or scheduling (e.g. double booked with another event), we would send a gift. It would be at least 50% of what we would’ve have spent had we attended.

    FWIW, we received gifts from most of the people that couldn’t attend our wedding. Some offered to still give us gifts but for those that mentioned it, we graciously declined and they didn’t end up sending any.

    Post # 24
    3458 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    I voted “never.” The only wedding invitations I’ve ever declined were either marriages I didn’t support or people with whom I did not have a good relationship (now that I’m planning my own wedding, it amazes me when I reflect on how on earth people who didn’t even like me were willing to feed and entertain me. I certainly wouldn’t do it). 

    Post # 25
    1143 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    I’d at least send a card, and probably some money or a gift card. I’m not big on gift buying, mainly because I never know what to get someone (even if a registry is included).

    Post # 26
    278 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I always do.

    Post # 27
    9791 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2013

    I’ve only been invited to one wedding I couldn’t go to.  It was a friend of mine so I sent a gift off the registry. 

    So I’d probably always send a gift, $ amount depending on how close I am to them.

    Post # 28
    1589 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    I do, but I’ve always been somewhat close to the people whose weddings I had to decline. My sister doesn’t. She’s cheap and kinda selfish in general though to be honest haha. She thinks you don’t have to give one if you don’t go because the person isn’t paying for you. My brothers almost never give gifts for anything but they are super cheap MOFOs. I think men tend to forget about these things though or just not care.

    Post # 29
    1768 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 1997

    yes of course, everyone could use an extra five spot Wink

    kidding, yes, typically have sent a check.

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