(Closed) Settle the debate – do guests get thank you cards just for attending?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Do guests get thank you cards for just coming to the wedding if they don't bring a gift?

    Yes

    No

    Other -- I'll explain below.

  • Post # 107
    Member
    1692 posts
    Bumble bee

    View original reply
    @sunshinebee:  One generally should not show up at a shower without a gift. Gifts are the whole point of a shower, which is why they are kept only to the brides most intimate friends and why the hostess must use all her insights to include only people who actually will want to give the bride a gift and why shower gifts should be kept small and nominal. Mandatory gift-giving is an etiquette minefield: it risks embarrassing the bride by holding her out as an object of charity, risks alienating guests who feel like they are being used as a cash-cow, and risks embarrassing the guests who feel shown up by some other guest who trotted out an over-ostentatious gift that cast all the others in the shade.

    A wedding, on the other hand, has a rather different point. Gifts are most properly sent to the brides home so that no-one can count coup about whether they did or didn’t come up to scratch as well as someone else did. Gifts are never properly brought to a religious or legal ceremony as it subverts the solemn purpose of those proceedings. Gifts are never properly brought to a formal social event either: hostess gifts are sent before the event or after the event so the hostess can pay due attention to them without distraction from her other duties; and wedding gifts should never be hooked to invitations or attendance lest they appear to be the price of admission, as if the hostess’s hospitality can be bought and sold.

    The proper tribute due to a bride is a note of felicitations when you first receive the news of her engagement, and the same good wishes expressed in person if you attend the wedding. Nowadays guests frequently omit the social note and then feel obligated by the gift, which may reflect a value system that places material gain above social niceties. If that is indeed one’s value system, then I am prepared to understand the argument that gifts are mandatory. By the system of traditional etiquette however, No: it is not rude to attend a wedding without a gift in hand.

    Post # 108
    Member
    1348 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    Maybe you could just send the people who came a nice email or FB message if you are that close with them? Especially if they traveled. Something like “Thank you for coming all the way to ____ to share our special day with us! We are so glad that you were there!” 

    Post # 109
    Member
    1900 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2012

    We’re sending thank-yous to the people that came, even without gifts, because we figure that’s the most polite thing to do! I’m actually really surprised at the number of people who would consider it a passive aggressive jab at the fact that they didn’t bring a gift.

    My husband was initially a bit weirded out by the idea (he didn’t see the point of thank-yous at all), but everyone who has received one so far has been really excited! We figured that they made the effort to travel (some across country, or from overseas), so they at least deserved a personalised card thanking them for coming. We made sure we spent time with everyone at the wedding, so felt comfortable just thanking them for their company and the memories of the day.

    Post # 110
    Member
    1399 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    I don’t care if it comes off as gift grabby.   Most people like getting hand-written pieces of mail and I want to make sure the family and friends that flew thousands of miles, took time off of work and took their time to come to our wedding know that we appreciate their efforts.

    IF anybody can write a thank you card worth a lick (and I would hope so) then they are a pleasure to write and people appreciate them, gift or not.

    If someone is flying and spending over 1000 to come to our wedding….I don’t just consider feeding them as a fair trade.

    Post # 111
    Member
    1128 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    In Mexico there are no save the dates, escourt cards, rsvp’s nor thank you notes. 

    All that etiquette, though overwhelming, I think it is really helpful and nice. It is not used here, at least in most weddings. We have a different culture.

    Post # 112
    Member
    766 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    This is probably a result of the rules my parents drilled into my head as a child, but my instinct is always yes. No one I know, at least, will think pointing out the fact that they didn’t get us a gift, so I know I’m not at risk of offending everyone. Future Mother-In-Law just threw us an engagement party and though MOST people brought cards and SOME brought gifts, ALL got a thank you note for attending. I would rather be overly cautious and come off as silly for thanking people for “nothing” than risk any of my guests thinking I’m ungrateful or that I didn’t notice or care they were there.

     

    Post # 114
    Member
    1648 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2000

    I plan on sending thank you cards for everyone that came, regardless of whether they gave a gift.  This is your family and friends we’re talking about, and it’s the polite thing to do.  Very surprised at the number of “no” responses.  

    Post # 115
    Member
    782 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2015

    100% YES.

    In June my Fiance and I attended a wedding in BC, Canada. It cost us $2000 for the weekend for flights, hotel and car rental.

    We arrived on Friday, and the Bride & Groom asked us to come to their ceremony venue for a bit. We said “Sounds Great” and met them there. They then asked us if we could “set up” thier ceremony the next day. Meaning arrive 2 hours before everyone and set up chairs, meet the florist and tell her where to put everything, set up table cloths, spread out rose petals etc. Honestly I have no problem helping out a stressed Bride & Groom! Kind of annoyed that the only people who travelled from Alberta had to be the people to do it.. but no big deal. Because of the time the event company arrived, we were cutting it close and people were showing up when I was cutting their aisle runner and frantically throwing rose petals everywhere, luckily the brides step-mom offered to help.

    We also gave a $100 visa giftcard in a card. Normally I would give more but we were breaking the bank travelling there already. (SO BROKE.)

    We still have not received a thank you card and it is almost September.

    ETA: My Fiance also works shift work, this wedding was right in the middle of his set. So we were out $1500 on his pay cheque as well. I hate it when people make you feel obligated to attend their wedding. I know no one forced us, but my Fiance doesn’t have a ton of friends, and he thought his friend might resent him for it.

    Post # 116
    Member
    292 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    View original reply
    @Brittanyg20:  I was also thinking, I’ve been to numerous weddings (actually the last few I’ve attended) and not received a thank you card for a gift.  Your situation is even more inappropriate as you helped them and travelled so far, it’s down right rude!  But for me, I’m a pretty laid back person.  I understand the couple might be busy honeymooning/settling into married life/whatever and don’t take things to heart.  So what, I didn’t get a thank you card.  I got a nice dinner, dessert, dancing, and to be with friends.  Some people are so serious these days!  I’ll be sending thank you cards after our wedding as I was also raised this way.  But really, this debate I think is a waste of time.  Do whatever seems appropriate in your situation.

     

    Post # 117
    Member
    782 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2015

    View original reply
    @fridaythe13bride:  Ugh these people also had a cash bar ($4 drink tickets), only wine, beer and champagne. And didn’t tell anyone. Their location was also 40 mins out of the way, and there were no ATM’s. I found it strange that the groom didn’t mention this to my Fiance. I actually would have been fine running out to grab cash (20 min drive from the venue) but it was actually far enough that the couple had shuttles pick people up in town so we had no way home until 10pm. We had of course planned on drinking so we didnt drive. Considering the wedding apparently cost upwards of 40k, I really don’t see why they couldnt provide it for free, or at least have a full cash bar. Or tell people to bring cash… just an idea.

    Post # 118
    Member
    292 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    View original reply
    @Brittanyg20:  Wow that’s ridiculous! I’m so sorry you had that experience!  We budgeted and even chose our venue with consideration of the bar, we wanted an open bar all night, which we are doing.  If we weren’t, as rude as it is, I would have notified the guests ahead of time one way or another.  How awful!

    Post # 119
    Member
    782 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2015

    View original reply
    @fridaythe13bride:  Right? People are weird. I later heard that they have a few alcoholics in the family so I understood the cash bar, and it was at a winery so no hard liquor may have had something to do with that. But even then. TELL PEOPLE. No ATM and a cash bar no one knows about is bad news. Of course the Brides parents knew this lol And they had hard liquor for themselves in the back of their car.

    Post # 120
    Member
    1078 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    i would think yes just incase you dont get to spend much time with them on the bi day its kidn to thank them for taking the day out to celebrate your love with u 

    Post # 121
    Member
    7975 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

    All our guests got thank yous, as did anyone who sent a card, and all our vendors.

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