Post # 1
A couple of months after my husband and I eloped, his cousin held a party in their home for her son who just graduated from middle school. We drove over 4 hours to attend, which we thought was going above and beyond. A few weeks later they held another party for another member of this family, who was also graduating from school. We were not able to attend but left a very warm voicemail message with our regrets but our call was not returned.
Recently we heard from another family member that my husband’s cousin was upset because we came to the first party without a present or, “what would be customary, an envelope of cash.”
I do feel a little bit bad that we failed to bring an item of food or drink to the party, because I really feel we should have contributed something. But basically I feel like we were shaken down for a gift, especially considering the fact that his cousin didn’t even give us a small gift to acknowledge our marriage!
I realize that we did elope, but we had our reasons for doing this and we did send a wedding notice and photos. I feel that it is a little hypocritical to expect a gift for your child’s graduation from someone to whom you did not feel the need to give even a small acknowledgement to for a life changing event such as a marriage.
My husband just wants to apologize and offer a cash gift to make up with them. What are your thoughts and what would you do in this case?
Post # 3
I think it’s very improper to arrive at someone’s home empty-handed, regardless of the occasion. Depending on the size and type of graduation party, aswell as how close you are to the family, it would have been more than appropriate to bring a gift.
When you eloped you made the decision not to include members of your family to the event, so you cannot expect a gift. Depending on their background, the family might not be acknowledging your marriage because of religious or cultural beliefs.
If cash or a large gift was outside your means, a heartfelt card would have been a considerate alternative.
Post # 4
@mintchip: Eloping sends all sorts of messages to family members. It often seems like the best resolution for you and your spouse, but family members are left confused and sometimes with hurt feelings because they were not included in your very special moment. I personally do not feel this way but because you eloped, they may not see your marriage as a gift-giving occasion. I am not condoning this, as I would have given a gift regardless, but simply saying that is maybe how they feel on the subject.
Also, because the situation is a child a small gift would have been appropriate. Children should not be left to play monkey in the middle in situation as these. Since the child graduated from middle school, I find money very unecessary and an absurd gift.
Sorry you feel this way but always extend the olive branch when in doubt.
Post # 5
- Wedding: October 2011 - Tre Bella, Mesa, AZ
Hum…not sure about proper etiquette, but it seems similar to expecting a wedding gift from your guests. Gifts are nice, but should never be expected. Giving at least a card probably would have been appropriate, but there’s no reason for them to be badmouthing you over it. If you were out of etiquette not to bring a gift, they’re being worse by complaining about it. I don’t think you should send anything to them at this point, just keep it in mind for future events… But that’s just my opinion.
Post # 6
Although, etiquette wise, you probably should have come with at least a card, I think it was rude of her to discuss it with other family members. Honestly, though, I probably wouldn’t think to bring a gift to a middle school graduation party, either.
If it were me, I would probably call her and talk to her about it.
Post # 7
People get gifts for middle school graduations? You should have at least brought a card but thats no reason for them to talk bad about you. I personally dont think gifts should be expected for anything, and if you dont get one you should just get over it. I wouldnt make it up to them, but next time i would be sure to bring a card.
Post # 8
What ever!! I think it is rude for them to expect gifts!!! They should be happy you came!!!
Post # 9
- Wedding: May 2012 - Salvage One, Chicago
I agree with the above posters- it’s a middle school graduation, not high school or college, and frankly, IMO, going from 6th grade to 7th grade or whatever should not warrant a party or a gift. A card would have been more than enough, for both kids. Things should definitely be kept even between them.
Post # 10
Now there are graduation parties for middle school. Not something that I would have attended, especially with a four hour drive, let alone send a gift or card. I would have made more of an effort for a high school graduation, but for middle school – no way.
Post # 11
I think you should have brought a hostess gift (a bottle of wine, or cookies or something), but that it is not necessary to bring a gift to celebrate a middle school graduation.
What is worse is that they then basically asked for a gift.
I would reconsider my future gift giving to these people for all occassions. I would probably be cool and polite going forward.
Post # 12
It’s considered such an achievement now to graduate from middle school that it warrants a monetary gift? That poor kid will be in for an unpleasant surprise when he has to go live in the real world.
You did nothing wrong.
Post # 13
Middle school? SEriously?! It sounds like they’re just butt hurt over your elopement. I cannot believe that people have parties and expect gifts for a middle school graduation. Unfreakingbelievable.
Post # 14
Umm, IDK but I find this situation aboslutely gift grabby and ridiculous! Who throws a party for someone graduating MIDDLE SCHOOL? You’re damn right I would NOT bring a gift to someone graduating from MIDDLE SCHOOL! I wouldn’t have driven four hours to sit through the party, either. Let alone take my time to bring a card, etc. High school and college graduations are different. Seeing as how they didn’t give a wedding gift to you, I’m not sure why they expected you to give their brat a gift.
Post # 15
If it were me in this instance, I woud have gone and given a card with probably $10. in it. I would never have thought to bring a gift of food or drink as I was an invited guest for a celebratory graduation PARTY, not a BBQ or potluck or dinner party.
At this point, and because his family is upset, I’d send a card to each of them with a small check. You’ll have done something nice, and it IS for the kids,right?
Post # 16
It’s INCREDIBLY rude of them to call and tell you that you should have brought a gift, or at least cash. A gift is never, never, never mandatory. I agree that it’s polite and considered customary to bring something when you’re going to a party, but again, it’s not mandatory. When I’m hosting a party, I don’t expect that anyone will bring anything–and if I need people to bring something, I specifically ask.
And don’t even get me started on the fact that this was a middle school graduation party… it was wonderfully kind of you 2 to attend the party, given how far you had to drive. I’m sorry that the family doesn’t recognize that.