Post # 1
My SO and I have been invited to a friends wedding reception next month. Our invite is appreciated and we are honoured to attend…I’m just wondering what the etiquette is for giving gifts when you’re clearly an afterthought reception only invite?
Do we gift the typical amount we usually do (we usually give $100 cash for a gift at the wedding) or something less since we’re only going to the reception?
Post # 2
Give them a smaller, but thoughtful afterthought gift.
But this is why it’s so rude to tier your reception. I would probably just give a smaller gift of $50. Maybe a gift card or something around that amount from their registry.
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI
I got a reception only invite once (in which case the invite was so unclear we all showed up expecting food and got nothing, so we all left to get food came back and ate it outside their reception.) but still gave as much as I could at the time which was buying them a roughly $50 gift off their registry. I was still in college then and pretty broke, so that really was all I could afford.
Post # 4
assuming this is a normal reception, isn’t that the expensive part of the wedding anyway? but i would just give the $100 you were planning to give.
i never heard of this kind of invitation style before. it is very strange. personally, if i wasn’t close friends, i would probably decline and send a nice card.
Post # 5
I think tiered receptions are more common elsewhere, just not in the US.
Post # 6
Reception only invitations are bizarre to me, that’s the part that costs money, and if your ceremony venue was too small to hold your entire guestlist, then move locations or don’t invtie people to the evening only.
Anyways… I would bring a card and a $50 gift.
Post # 7
Ugh, this is why I hate tiered receptions (though I will give a free pass to a family-only ceremony). If you’re eating the same sit-down meal as all the other guests, I’d give your typical gift. But if everyone else gets a full meal and you get dessert and dancing, I’d give 25-50$ depending on your budget.
Post # 8
ajillity81: this. the reception’s the expensive part, and if you’re honoured to attend and like them, give what you usually give!
Post # 9
missbirch: In the UK this is common: you typically have the guest list divided into 2: ‘day time’ (which includes the whole she-bang (ceremony, drinks reception, sit down meal, and evening reception)) and which usually includes close friends and family), and ‘evening only’ (which is just the evening reception and typically includes more distant relatives, colleagues, and more casual acquaintances).
I personally would usually aim to ‘cover my plate’ (I know some people hate that and disagree, but, that’s just me) for both: so for the day I might gift anything from £100-200 ($160-320) as a couple, as my meal and drinks will have been paid for, and for the evening, where I will likely only get a few nibbles at the buffet, I would gift something like £20-50 ($32-80). Over here, most couples would not expect a gift from evening only guests and many guests will just give a card or a small token, like a bottle of wine. However, you should also remember that open bars aren’t common here, so that probably affects how much people give.
Post # 10
A gift isn’t a tit for tat in exchange for being invited to certain parts of the wedding. It’s supposed to be a guesture of your affection for the couple. Give something that is in keeping with your relationship, not with what you’ve gotten from them.
Post # 11
ajillity81: MissLibra: This is the second time I’ve been invited to the reception-only. It’s usually AFTER dinner (we’re still waiting on the invite), and just for the drinking/dancing part of the reception. It might be a Canadian thing?
kristen182: good point! I’m not offended that we’re Plan B guests, their ceremony is a small location, and we’re not BFF’s or anything. We’re just honoured they’ve considered us!
thunderberry: I understand, I’m not trying to think in terms of ‘tit for tat’. I was just curious what the norm was. The previous reception-only wedding I went to I brought a small gift (I was single at the time and much younger), the bride was surprised I brought a gift. I want to bring something, just wasn’t sure what others typically would do.
Post # 12
missbirch: Well it can make sense that if you are only invited to part of the wedding, that probably means your relationship is not as close, so a smaller gift makes sense! I think if you go with whatever feels right to you you can’t go wrong.
Post # 13
thunderberry: I agree. This is what I recommend as well.
Post # 14
I don’t see a problem with reception only invites at all. Some couples want a very intimate wedding ceremony because it’s the part of their wedding that very personal and geared to the two of them saying I Do to each other and if that’s the part of the wedding that they want to share with just them or just family, go right ahead! I respect that!! I would just be happy that I actually get to still share the special day with them at the reception and party with them!!
That being said, I really don’t know the norm of how to much to give to a reception only. I didn’t know it was a different thing. I figured you are invited rregardless to their special day so I would give what I would normally give to a couple who invites you to their ceremony and reception because you are still invited to share their special day.
It does all depend on how close you are with them. You say you’re not BFF’s or anything so just give accordingly to how you feel you should and how happy you are to be attending. You really can’t go wrong with this.