(Closed) Has being a bride changed your feelings on the cost of attending weddings?

posted 14 years ago in Gifts and Registries
Post # 3
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

Ooh, a very deep and interesting question — I love it! Tailor-made for my long-winded answers! 

I’m 29, and have actually attended relatively few weddings. Most friends are older and/or already married, and I don’t have many cousins either. Of the weddings I attended, I tried to "gift" as generously as I could, thinking that I/we should at least try to cover the cost of what our hosts had spent on feeding us at their lovely shindig. Now that I’ve had my own wedding, and 1) know how much it costs and 2) received some *very* generous gifts, I feel like I was way UNDERgifting.   (Not cheap, mind you, it’s just that the wedding experience was a real eye-opener.) I will probably gift more generously in the future now knowing the costs and particularly for those singles who attended my wedding and were so very generous to us.

On the other hand, I do not think that a person should raid their retirement fund or skip the rent in order to give a gift. We certainly appreciated each and every gift, big or small. (Probably b/c we didn’t get any of those weird WTF gifts…subject for another thread, lol!)

My feelings about the cost to ATTEND others’ weddings has not changed. For most of the weddings I’ve attended lately, they all involved travel and expenses of $1000+ b/c I live on a rock.  No getting around it. We just try to incorporate these events into our larger vacation plans.  That said, we have skipped a couple that we couldn’t afford or didn’t know the people well enough.  And yes, I do feel that if you shell out a lot of $$ to get to the wedding, the couple should understand and consider that a *part* of your gift. But that’s not an excuse to cheap out and get them swizzle sticks as a gift.

Finally, the gift giving…I think that multiple events are a bit much. I’ve never gone to an engagement party, but I don’t know that I would give a gift. Probably just a lei to say, hey, congrats! But you can’t really do that most places.  A bottle of wine, maybe? Nothing huge. I think multiple showers hosted by different people is a bit much, and can be very burdensome if you feel obligated to attend them all. I feel very fortunate that my BMs hosted both a traditional shower and a bachelorette party/lingerie shower for me, but there were only a handful of overlap guests. B/c so many came from out of town, the BP/LS turned out to be more for them (it was closer to the wedding date), and the trad. shower for family.

I think people shouldn’t feel obligated to give more than one gift, although it seems usual that people give a shower gift (many of mine were "from" the couple, not just the female guest who attended) PLUS a wedding gift.  I think that’s very nice, very generous, and something that I usually participate in doing as well. I like to be an optimist and think that the multiple-event weddings that are so common now are because we all have so many different circles of friends and family and there’s a need to celebrate with them all separately, not b/c people are gift grubbing. 

Post # 4
29 posts
  • Wedding: July 2008

I missed out on my roommate of three years’ wedding because I couldn’t afford to fly to another state with a wedding looming over my head. I kinda regret it, but at the same time, I think she understood.

As we were creating the guest list, my mom mentioned that a lot of newlyweds often skip out on weddings because of the cost and trouble. I hope this wouldn’t be me.

Post # 5
41 posts
  • Wedding: March 2008 - Riverside Hotel

I think that I will be much more generous with my wedding gifts now that I have planned my own wedding.

Then again, I’m in a better financial position now than I was years back too (though I may not be after this wedding!).

Post # 7
52 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I think you just give what you can afford to give. I know my friend spent a lot on her wedding per guest, but at the same time, I hardly had money to buy dinner so I only gave $125. Planning a wedding myself, I realize all the money that goes into it, and I don’t think I would give more now that I am planning a wedding. As I did in the past, I’d give what I can afford to give. If I make more, then I’d give more.

Post # 8
9 posts
  • Wedding: June 2008

i think it’s the other way around for me. a lot of my decisions for planning my wedding are influenced by my experiences attending weddings. i went to 4 this summer, plus another 2 within the past 2 years, and i was invited to 2 more. this has given me a lot of experience with the expenses of being a guest and bridesmaid. i do gift as generously as my means allow (which is more now that i’m working and not a grad student), but the gift is usually less than a third of the cost of attending the wedding. so, as a bride, i’m trying to keep that in mind especially since i’m dragging people to my hometown in upstate new york.

Post # 9
1245 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

i’m with joy. i went to 4 weddings this year and ended up buying a plane ticket and paying for a hotel room for each. i’m a student and i wasn’t getting a paycheck this summer, so my gifts were pretty minimal. i guess you can call that cheap if you want, but it was such an ordeal for me to even be there that i tried to make my "gift" more of my presence (and my help) than something material.

now that i’m thinking of who to invite where, my experiences are having a big impact on how i’m going to try to minimize costs for my guests and attendants. a lot of people will have to travel to the site, so i’m going to do what i can to provide free activities and make up costs where i can. part of me says "well, it’s your wedding and they don’t have to come if they don’t want to/can’t afford it." the other part of me says, "what’s the point in having a big formal wedding if the people you love can’t be there?"

tricky business. 

Post # 10
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2007

Being a bride has not changed my opinon on weddings, cost of weddings, or destination weddings.  I had a destination wedding and quite frankly, getting married on the beach with just a few people was enough for us, so we were blessed when most of our guests accepted!  We were prepared for guests to complain and not come at all, and fortunately, that never happened.  We made sure to always offer our help to our guests for any travel suggestions.  And tried to find hotel blocks that were affordable.  We also found high end hotel blocks for those who like to travel in style.

If you show your guests that you’re willing to help the process of traveling easier for them, they’ll appreciate that. If it’s the pure cost issue, there’s nothing you can do unless you pay for their trip. 

As a bride, as much as I love my family and friends, if it was just me and my husband on the beach getting married, that was good enough for me.  Having people celebrate with us was just gravy.

Post # 11
158 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2007 - The Wellington House in Fayetteville, NY

I think it has made me more generous in giving to other couples.  Going into this, I seriously thought that we could have a wedding of 200 guests for about $8,000 with open bar.  I really had NO concept of how much things really cost. I think I used to give people $50 but now I will give at the very least $100. 

We still tried to keep things cheap, but our wedding still came in close to $20,000 and I’m sure a lot of weddings that I’ve been to cost more than that.  So, now that I know a bit more about it I think I would give more money than I used to… as long as I could afford it. 

oh and I agree with amysue that if you are travelling and paying for a hotel and the bride/groom know that you’re not loaded, then you shouldn’t feel obligated to give a big gift.

I will say that a few of our wedding guests didn’t give us a gift or even a card.  I mean how hard is it to get a card and write a nice note? It’s really the thought that counts and if they just acknowledged that they were happy for us I would’ve been satisfied.   

Post # 12
6 posts
  • Wedding: February 2008

I can’t say that I’ve really attended many weddings since both me and my fiance are the first in our groups of friends to get married, however I am trying to be as concious of cost to my guests as possible. We decided to have our wedding in the town we call home, which does mean that everyone will be from Out of Town. The closest guest will be an hours drive away, the furthest will be flying in from Australia.

I have the benefit of working at a hotel so I have grabbed a block of hotel rooms for my guests that are condo style so they can cook in their own kitchens to save on costs of eating out and they’re at a serious price reduction. 

We’re currently toying with the idea of having a luncheon reception instead of a dinner/dance for two reasons 1) our costs and 2) those guests that only live an hour or so away can come and go home without having to drive home late, or get a hotel room. 

I do think that all of the gift-giving has gone too far, and as such we’re also putting on our invitation something along the lines of "your prescence is your gift!" We’ve been living together for 2 years (3 by the time we get married) and don’t really need more stuff. I’ll still have a small registry because my Future Mother-In-Law insists on it, and I’ll have a charity registry as well but otherwise we don’t expect gifts.

Post # 13
24 posts
  • Wedding: October 2007

I always thought that a nice thoughtful gift between $100 and $150 form my fiance and I was A-OK…  Now that I am the planning bride, I’m pretty sure that from here on out we will give a gift of $200 or more.  I had NO IDEA that weddings were so expensive and no idea about the stress that goes along with planning…

Post # 14
75 posts
Worker bee

The amount that I give is based on so many factors: relationship with B/G/couple, current life situation, and many more things. I can honestly say that I don’t think I will give more now that I have been a bride! Or, more accurately, I may give more since I am now older and in a better place financially, but not just for the sake of having been through a wedding.

Yes, weddings are expensive, but I don’t think it’s up to guests to reimburse the couple for the wedding. Plus, who says that the couple are the ones paying for it? To me, this kind of gets into the slippery slope of trying to cover your plate. 

One thing that has changed? I will never stray from the registry again. Oh, and I will be quick-like-a-bunny in sending back those RSVPs.

Post # 15
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

Radish, you are amazing – you said exactly what I was thinking in three short paragraphs, and I took a bazillion, and it still didn’t come out quite right. My experiences/feelings are very similar to yours.

Except your last paragraph – that is SO horrible. And incredibly tacky. I wouldn’t care, either, if we got no gift, but to not even express their happiness for you or wish you well, that’s just lame.

Chrissie makes a good point about the slippery slope and that the couple doesn’t always pay. I guess what I really meant by "covering what it cost to feed us" is more along the lines of giving them something at least equivalent to what they’ve given us — a nice meal and a wonderful evening. I’ve given everyone essentially the same amount regardless of whether it was a backyard wedding or a full-on hotel spread. 

Post # 16
7 posts
  • Wedding: January 2008

I do think the amount of money spent to attend weddings has gotten way out of control.  I thought this before I became a bride.  I am definitely more of a genuine gift giving person… homemade quilt, something killer from a consignment shop, or I’ll figure out if there is something you really WANT from a registry and may not get.  If I simply buy you some random object from a registry then that usually means I don’t care about you too much and I’m just being polite.

Here are two stats I found from the July/August 2007 issue of Women’s Health that I found interesting:

Average cost to attend a wedding: $500
Average cost to be a bridesmaid: $1,400



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