(Closed) Monetary Gifts: How much is enough?

posted 13 years ago in Money
Post # 46
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Well, I’m sure nobody means to upset anybody.  Really, if a couple isn’t registered, the right thing to do is to call and see what is wanted or needed.  Whether you feel a certain kind of gift is appropriate depends on a lot of things.  If I’m not close enough to the couple to figure out what they might want or need, or what they would think is nice, then I probably will decline the invitation anyway.  I have given cash or gift cards in cases where that was requested for a specific reason – because the couple is remodeling a house, or something like that.  What I should have perhaps said is that I was raised that to automatically give cash or a gift card instead of trying to figure out what kind of gift might be welcome does not demonstrate thoughtfulness or caring.  Rest assured that I am not going to spend months of my time making you a quilt I am not absolutely sure you want one.  (Most people who have seen my quilts do want one, but that’s another subject entirely.)

Post # 47
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

i second chrissie, our guests giving us money isn’t that they don’t want to spend time second guess what we want as a gift, they considered that with all the expense come with a wedding, we could use something more useful than another toaster….in this case, paying the bills.  Don’t waste good cash, if you don’t want it, send it my way! jk

And as far as gift registry goes, not much thought go into picking something that was already picked out by the couple…at least for the weddings that i’ve been where I resorted to registry was concern.  I’m sorry, I don’t think buying household items is thoughtful.  For me, I still feel the situation out and get them money when I think it more appropriate…if the couple don’t make a lot of money, I still gift them a card with either cash (i go to the bank and get them brand new hundreds) or a visa gift card and sometimes both a gift and cash.  The times I’ve given cash as gifts to my non-asian friends, they had appreciated the cash (no one had suggested it was tacky).  If their parents are sponsoring the weddings, I go with the registered gift because its obvious they didn’t spend any of their money.

And as an FYI, for us, wedding is considered a big expense and guests knows this and would rather help pay for some of the expenses, also we don’t move out on our own when we get married, for my family and I, we take our parents in and care for them, so we really don’t need more house hold items in that case (all my cousins have done this and we will do this also, we become a bigger family living under one roof). 

And as an example, my cousin’s wedding cost $45K, he and his new wife received $55k in gift (all in cash).  Yes, they profited from their wedding.  They didn’t ask guests to give any specific amount (its rude if people request for the amount), but as he and his wife are great people, our family and his friends obviously love them enough to give generously.  No one plans a wedding expecting to make money, but in their case they did..and it is based on their relationship with their guests.  My other cousin spent about the same and only received half of what they spent. 

As for going table to table, it is not to "collect."  There’s a bit of confusion here regarding this tradition.  It is a tradition I highly regard and is obviously misunderstood.  The point of going from table to table is to thank the guests personally for sharing their special day with them and it allows for the guests to wish the bride and groom a happy marriage and a happy happy (bride and groom normally accompanied by both parents).  We happen to bust out the red envelope at this time since most people come late to weddings and often forgot to drop them in the card box. I’ve gone to western weddings and not ever see the bride and groom face to face!  So I think this tradition is one that I will incorporate into our wedding so that we can at least give thanks to those that came to celebrate with us.


Okay, its long, but I had to clarify some things and now I must get back to work!   

Post # 48
244 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

I think it’s insane for brides to expect guests to "cover" the costs of their self imposed expensive wedding (wedding don’t HAVE to cost $100-$200 per person).  It may be a nice general rule of thumb when buying gifts but it should never be expected from the bride.

Personally I can’t think of anything more ungracious and ugly then a bride receiving a gift and thinking "how cheap, they should have given me more." Personally I’m thankful just for the presence of my guests on my wedding day. Anything more then that is a bonus.

I’m from a major metro area and in general giver $200 to good friends and up to $400 for family members and I think  $75 is fine for a virtual stranger…sounds like your sister barely knows this girl and is on a limited budget.   She should pay what she can afford and feels in her heart is a good gift and if the bride has any grace she will be thankful.  If she isn’t then she isn’t the type of person you want to continue to have as a friend anyway.  

Post # 49
3 posts
  • Wedding: October 2008

I research things that interest me to no end, and wedding etiquette has been a huge interest lately.  Removing the cultural aspect of this wedding, gifting is meant to be an expression of one’s spontaneous affection to a friend, not payment for services rendered in party form.  It should never be expected, nor should it feel like an obligation on the giver’s part.  I think your sister giving what she is comfortable with is perfectly acceptable. 

Can I just throw in with those who think that people expecting their guests to cover the cost of attendance is crazy?  If you’re going to focus on how much it cost you to have a friend present at your wedding, don’t spend so much.

Post # 50
179 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2008

I guess you all would be appalled then that in my Indian community in the US you write "no boxed gifts" on the invitation- which means give cash or gift cards- my parents have been to many many many weddings with this written on the invite

Post # 51
245 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

If $75 is what your sister can afford for her & her date, then that is how much they should spend.  we are not inviting people based on how much cash, gifts, or thoughtful cards we expect to get from them.  we are not spending thousands & thousands of our own money expecting to get anything in return except a super fun day with our families & friends. many of our guests are families & if you go by the "cover your plate" version that would be $500+ in many instances per family!  sometimes a big ole hug in the receiving line from a traveling relative is better than a combo toaster microwave. 

i have been to one wedding as an adult- a small town family wedding, we had to travel for the weekend to get there. i was a student freshly back from a year of study abroad (aka 0$ to my name). i bought something off the registry that was probably $25-$30.  i also brought my student Fiance -he was invited- but we only bought 1 gift. i felt a little cheap about it at the time, but i was seriously broke beyond belief with no job or job in sight, so i got what I could afford. my under 18 younger sister & brother didnt buy anything & my parents gift was personalized by my mother and probably ~50 but i dont know for sure. we all had a wonderful time & we got a thank you note, not snubbed. not everyone can afford to spend $100-200-500 and i say your sister should go with her gut & wallet. once she works a higher paying job she can give more at a wedding if she wishes (as i will be doing at future weddings).

Post # 52
212 posts
Helper bee

in asian cultures, money is ok and actually preferred. 

i don’t think the gift amount needs to cover "your plate" but $75 for TWO ppl does seem a bit light especially when you think about the math.  $75 for a dinner for two at a nice restaurant (including alcohol) is probably not do-able in boston so why would you give less than that when going to a nice wedding that includes a full meal + alcohol.  i think ppl get selfish when going to weddings but then readily "drop" that kind of money when going out to eat or going away for the weekend.  if you can’t give a good gift, then don’t go to the wedding. 

Post # 53
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Suzanno — I agree!  You give what you can afford.  We gave $75.00 at the last wedding we went to where there was no registry.  We are both school teachers and the wedding was for one of my fiance’s co-workers.  Also, keep in mind that how well you know someone also affects the amount you give.  I would give more to a close friend or family member than to a co-worker or someone I knew back in college but hardly speak to now.  I have also noticed that I have a tendency to "spend" more when I have a gift to buy because buying gifts is always more fun.  The amount of money given has NOTHING to do with the cost of the wedding and food!

Post # 54
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

If $75 is what your sister can afford, then that’s what she should give. Period.

Post # 55
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

On the other hand, if you are some of the many people who simply can’t afford to go out and drop $150 at dinner, then it may seem like a lot.  We are inviting people to our wedding for whom I know that Applebees is a nice evening out – and I hope that they don’t decide not to come just because they can’t spend more than $75 as a couple on a gift.

Post # 56
59 posts
Worker bee

as many have said previously, i think it depends on what culture you’re from and what’s custom/standard for your culture. i’m asian and my parents and i have gone to a bazillion weddings.  my parents always give monetary gifts since that’s our custom. it does sound shocking that a bride hopes a guest’s gift will "cover their plate" but in asian culture, this is not a new concept. for example, my dad explained that in cambodian culture, a wedding was a huge expense for a rural family- therefore, each member of the village gave to help offset the cost of the wedding. on the same token, the community (all guests) also give a gift for funerals as well to help the family pay for the funeral. same thing.

some couples can actually break even with their wedding OR profit, if they receive generous gifts. personally, i usually give about $50 ($100 if i attend with a guest). having a reception at a super fancy venue wouldn’t make a difference to me.. my gift would be more/less depending on how well i know the bride/groom. 

Post # 57
8 posts
  • Wedding: August 2020 - Ceremony at Crissy Field and Reception at the Green Room

Hmm!  I am actually kind of suprised that my opinion here appears to be in the minority!  Well, sort of.  I’m actually viewing this from two perspectives.  As a bride, I would never expect my guests to try to cover the cost of their plates.  I invited my guests because I wanted their company, not for the gifts.  I wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t receive a gift at ALL from one of my guests.  That being said, as a GUEST, I would not feel comfortable giving $75 for myself and a guest.  I would be very concerned about appearing cheap.  If I couldn’t afford to give cash, I agree with the person who said that a thoughtful gift is more important than an expensive one–so I’d probably MAKE something for the bride and groom. 

I have to add that I think it’s kind of funny that either not registering or gifts of cash could be considered tacky.   Think about it–by registering, you’re basically asking for gifts.  By not registering, you’re not asking for cash–you’re just not asking for anything.  How could that possibly be considered tacky?  I come from a family where registries are normal, but I’m marrying into an Asian family where no one ever registers.  My fiance’s family considers registries tacky, and I can totally see their perspective.  After all, you’re basically making a wish list, which  is kind of weird.

So I guess my personal opinion on this is the following:

If I were the bride and groom hosting the wedding, I wouldn’t be upset by $75.  But if I were your sister, I would be uncomfortable giving so little.  I think a thoughtful gift is better than cash if she can’t afford more.

Post # 58
1 posts
  • Wedding: October 2005

There were so many posting on this that I don’t know if folks will get to read this or not…but here goes it…My FH and I are not registering for gifts. We already have a bunch of crap that we’re trying to get rid of and adding more to our small apartment would just overwhelm us. However, cash is something that would help us. If someone wanted to strike out on their own and get us (or make us) something that would be totally fine. If a couple gave us $25 bucks that would be appreciated as well. A gift is a gift. 

However the thing about gifts is everyone and almost every group does things a little differently. I don’t expect people to try to "pay me back" for the dinner. But I get where people who do this are coming from. Lots of folks believe in reciprocal gift giving and exchange. If you give me a gift for X amount, I give you a gift for X amount. You invite me to your party and I invite you to mine in return, etc., etc. There are a lot of cultures where cash is totally appropriate and preferred. There are dollar dances, and the like as well. Afterall the purpose of gift giving at a wedding is to help prepare the couple for their future lives together (although someone is bound to say, actually in X place/culture the purpose is to…) 

And each of us has gotten some gift or experienced some gift giving practice that we’ve turned our nose up at (in the privacy of our own home) or thought was tacky. Said to our mom, "What were they thinking?" But, the gift giver probably didn’t intend to offend our discriminating tastes. And hopefully in the end it is the thought that counts!

I’d say give what you can and what you think is appropriate and manageable. $75 is more than fine. I hardly consider it being cheap for young working professionals. If her friend is truly and deeply offended, then she’s probably not much of a friend afterall.


Post # 59
5 posts

I understand that other cultures may expect other things.  That said, I’ve given $35 at a wedding and as a poor college student and although I felt bad giving so little, it was really all I could afford. 

Just something to consider when thinking about what to expect from guests.  I’ve heard, from discussions of cash bars, that a prevalant line of reasoning is "I don’t want people to have to pay for something at a party I throw".  If you’re expecting them to match the cost of their meal with a "gift" you’re essentially asking them to pay for something..  

 Maybe it’s not a great comparison, but it occured to me while reading some of these posts.

Post # 60
461 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

I think each case is different. Give what you can afford, in gift or cash as you see fit. But I don’t have any expectations about what I will be recieving. We will be regestering because , well , I’ve already had people ask where we are registered at. I’m one of those people that will look at a vase , candlestick, gravyboat ,etc. and think of the peoson who gave it to me and remember the day. I don’t think giving money is tacky. But each to their own. When Giving I ry to give a small useful but nice gift and cash. Most of our friends are keeping a tight wallet right now and I would hate for them to overextend themselvs on our behalf. 

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