(Closed) Should guests decline if they can't "cover their plate"?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Should a guest decline if they can't afford to cover their plate?

    Yes! Not covering your plate is rude!

    No! If I invited them I want them to be there with me, gift or not!

    No, as long as it seems like they put some effort in.


  • Post # 32
    146 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    A guest should never decline if they couldn’t afford a gift! If the guest’s budget is tight, there are SO many creative gift ideas floating around the internet these days. And on an even tighter budget, a thoughtful card speaks volumes. I would never expect expensive gifts, or frankly, gifts at all. Gifts are bonuses, in my opinion. The quality time spent with loved ones on my special day means so much more.

    Post # 33
    1320 posts
    Bumble bee

    LOL No. If you (general) as a hosting couple honestly expect people to “cover their plates”…get your heads out of your arses and don’t have a wedding you cannot afford. 

    Post # 34
    2181 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2015

    @MrsVandykins:  that’s a good point–it’s not like the invitation comes with “you are costing us $xx”!

    Post # 35
    336 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    Is it a wedding or a shake down? I view my reception as a way for ME to thank the GUESTS for showing up, not as a means to shake people down for presents. That’s why I opted to go for serving all the food instead of turning it into a potluck (the reception is more like a backyard BBQ). I wanted to make people feel welcome as my guests, to thank them for coming and supporting us.

    Presents are nice, but presence is more important. I do hope to see a lot of cards, because I like cards, but gifts are really a bonus.

    Post # 36
    635 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    The cover your plate rule is absurd, IMO, and I had never heard about it until this board. 


    I voted that you should put some effort into it, but here’s why: I think if you are invited to a wedding, you should at least show up with a congratulatory card, which is all of a couple bucks at most. Do what you can afford, but don’t show up completely empty handed. That’s my opinion on the matter.

    Post # 37
    190 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    While I totally agree you DO NOT have to come with a gift and definitely don’t have to cover your plate and I really just want my friends and family to be there (quite often especially the ones who can’t afford a gift (because it’s hard to get together with limited means)) . . .

    in defense of the bees out there who have started gift threads, I understand that some people feel taken advantage of sometimes in this whole wedding shindig and sometimes that comes out in the gifting process.

    For example, one of my Fiance cousins who I know wants to come and I’m fairly certain will not be involved in gift giving (he has some legit financial reasons) was also the one who said “I’m just gonna bring my best buddies and hang out and get wasted” to us (thankfully, my Fiance quickly responded “and that’s why you aren’t getting a plus 1”). It’s hard to not narrow in on this person and want him to bring some token of his own (even a card) to the wedding to show he cares . . . he’s a close cousin and he should be there, but it’d be nice if he *thought* about the thing for two seconds. And honestly, I’d settle for a sincere “congratulations to both of you”. It’s not about the money. Oh well. I’m just smiling and ordering the wine lol. At the end of the day, we’ll all be happy and that’s the point anyway. But thank god my parents aren’t involved. 0.0

    In contrast to that example, both of us have friends who worry us just by putting out the dough to come. We are figuring out how to financially help one of them (he’s our ceremony musician) but we may be figuring out how to help the other one. If either of them brought us a gift, I think we’d be filled with guilt. And somewhat thankful, but mostly guilty.

    So at the end of the day, it’s really about the meaning behind the action and that should be the source of gift giving anyway.

    Post # 38
    72 posts
    Worker bee

    If it were a rule that guests were expected to cover their plates, I’d have a hotdog and potato chip reception so everyone I love could afford to come celebrate Tongue Out

    Post # 39
    3525 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2018

    I couldn’t care less if people cover their plate… but at least bring a card!

    Post # 40
    1074 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    I can’t speak for other brides.  For myself, I don’t expect guests to cover their plate, I just am glad to have them be a part of our day.  When we planned our wedding, we planned it without expecting to get any money back from our guests.  Our guest list is just close friends and family, whom we want to share our wedding with and money doesn’t factor in at all.

    Post # 41
    3274 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2018


    Post # 42
    480 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    I think a gift is subjective to what you can afford.  I think what most people take issue with is when people who appear, or who are, better off do not give a gift or give an improper gift.  Personally, I voted “as long as it seems like they put some effot in” because its the quality of the gift, not monetary value that matters.

    Post # 43
    1262 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - Church

    @laughs:  If that’s the case, is it not rude then that the bride and groom are rude for inviting people they know cannot afford to cover their plate?

    I know it is common in some cultures (Greek, Indian, Jewish(?) are a few I can think of). However, it is not something that is common in my culture. I would hope that someone would want me to be there because of me, not my wallet. What I expect from others is to show up, have a good time, and bring a card with some well wishes. If you choose to get me a gift then that is awesome. If not, well, I’m glad you could make it out and help us celebrate the beginning of our new chapter!

    Post # 44
    269 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    I definitely don’t expect people to give gifts to “cover” the cost of feeding them at the wedding reception. 

    However, and this may be off topic, but I think it is rude for parents to insist on bringing their 6 children to the reception even after childcare would be provided by the couple – and then not give any gift. Maybe that’s just me. 

    Post # 45
    1974 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: February 1998

    If I felt like it was expected I wouldn’t attend. I always give what I can afford which is about $100 for both of us.

    Post # 46
    1608 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2015

    Yeah, I’ve said it before but… 

    Cover your plate is a guideline much much more than an expectation. 

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