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

posted 9 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 # 62
    49 posts

    I chose ‘other’. I think that it always depends on your circumstances. I went to a wedding this year where SO was Best Man (that is a story in and of itself). I gave no gift. Why? Because I had had to fork out $400 for SO’s suite that week, $500 for the buck’s night the previous week, and (most improtantly) had to pay for my furbaby’s medication ($200). SO is minimum wage (which in Australia is a lot more than in america but its still not that much) so all of my wage (and savings!) got chewed up in a two week block (originally I didn’t actually want to go to this wedding – the bride is HORRIBLE – so you can understand my resentment at having to fork out all of this money for a marriage that I think is very abusive). 

    If SO and I get married in Canberra (where we live), many of my friend would have to fork out something similar to just get to my wedding so I don’t expect a present from them (except for the effort they will making in getting to the wedding). Providing them with a decent meal is the least I could do! 

    Post # 63
    3949 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    @Brielle:  +1

    I would be heartbroken if I found out that a friend had missed my wedding because she couldn’t afford a gift.

    OP – When DH and I opened our gifts, I spent much more time reading the notes people wrote in their cards then exclaiming over gifts and money. Knowing they cared about us and were happy for us was a wonderful gift.

    Post # 64
    216 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    While I agree my guests are just that guests.  They owe me nothing.  That said- I do think there is an understanding that the guest should feel obligated to give a gift.  I do find it rude when people who have the means do not cover their meal.  I was married once before and found family members who had more than enough means gave far less.  

    Post # 65
    941 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    I said “absolutely not”.  Besides, how can a guest possibly know what their “plate” costs? And why should someone sit home from a friend or family member’s wedding because their economic situation is tight?  If you expect people to cover their plate or “try to”, then really, you shouldn’t have guests at your wedding if all that really matters is the gift.

    Post # 66
    1682 posts
    Bumble bee

    @MlleDarcy:  And that’s why our wedding is 21+. My aunt and uncle would absolutely bring all 10 of their children and give a $25 gift. 


    I think you should give what you can afford. I’m an unemployed college student and Fiance is covering the wedding costs for both of us for his cousin’s wedding. We’re also driving 150 miles and staying in a hotel. This gets expensive! I couldn’t imagine giving $250 as a gift on top of it.

    Post # 67
    3073 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: January 2000

    @laughs:  The concept is ridiculous.

    Post # 68
    13815 posts
    Honey Beekeeper

    Dear Miss Manners,
    This topic has recently come up and is causing much debate among friends. Please settle this for us. Is there a “proper” amount for a wedding gift? I have heard more and more people say that their gift must cover the cost of their dinner. Is this not just “paying admission” for attending the affair? My 25-year-old daughter (who has just recently gotten a job) is beginning to be invited to weddings of peers, and cannot afford to cover the cost of her meal.

    Gentle Reader,
    That this idea is widespread does not rescue it from being astonishingly vulgar and crass,
    for exactly the reasons you mention.

    Etiquette recognizes no such rule, Miss Manners assures you. It assumes, perhaps naively, that wedding guests are invited solely because their attending has emotional value, and that wedding presents are selected by the guests from within their particular financial means, solely to please the recipients.

    Post # 69
    356 posts
    Helper bee

    We had friends that came but couldn’t afford to give us anything. We would have been gutted if they didn’t come because of some stupid rule I’ve never heard off till the Bee. 


    We threw a big party. We didn’t want gifts. We just wanted our family and friends to come celebrate with us! 

    Post # 70
    13815 posts
    Honey Beekeeper

    It’s a practice common in some areas.  There is no rule. 

    Post # 71
    1298 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    I had never even heard of this until I came on the bee (and actually, then until I moved to NYC, where people do say it)


    Where I’m from in North Carolina, enormous wedding gifts (and especially cash gifts) are not the norm even among the wealthy, and the host of ANY sort of function would never expect a guest to “cover their plate” as part of the conditions for attending a wedding. Whoever hosts the wedding does so as a party, and to be a good hostess. One hosts the wedding they can afford with no thought of a return. Of course people want to bring gifts, but nobody is tallying up anything at the end of the day.


    It’s something I’ve really only heard of once moving north. It just seems incredibly crass to expect it. You invite people to share in your day, not to break even on your own party.


    Post # 72
    508 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    he to the ll-no. I could cared lesss what amount guests give us (I could care less if they gave a penny!) I want my guests to come regardless if they can/can’t give us a gift. Their presence at our wedding and celebrating our special day is a gift enough, in my book anyways!

    Post # 73
    373 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2014

    You should never expect gifts, ever.  If I invited you to my wedding, it means I want you there to celebrate my day with me.  I personally kind of follow the “cover your plate” rule-I give within a certain range $100-300 from the two of us.  If you have an open bar, I give more because it saves me money not having to pay for drinks (seriously it does, Fi really likes to buy rounds for people).  I also take into account how close I am to the couple.  That being said, I don’t expect other people to follow it and I don’t expect gifts at all (nevermind of a certain amount) from anyone attending my wedding.


    Post # 74
    2973 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    @laughs:  My Dad always taught me that you should give without the expectation of receiving. So, I voted no. I want my guests to celebrate with me with or without a gift.

    Post # 75
    110 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    @laughs:  Even if you’re coming over from 5 mins distance with empty hands, you would be totally welcomed. I might be a little disappointed if you were very close AND Bill Gates rich though, still I wouldn’t think it rude. You’re thinking about a card and $50 gift which I consider great gifts even if you were Bill Gates rich! On top of that, you’re traveling? That’s just an awesome gift! While it’s not rude at all not “covering the plate”, you’re totally doing more than that. Don’t worry at all!


    Post # 76
    269 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2013


    Wait, wait, wait. 

    For those that think this way, how are people supposed to know how much their plate cost? Do brides that expect guests this tell their guests the cost of feeding them?? Or are guests supposed to ask the host how much their plate costs?? Or do they guess? Because I can’t imagine the general public being good at guessing something like this. 

    The topic ‘Should guests decline if they can't "cover their plate"?’ is closed to new replies.

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