(Closed) Spinoff: For those who gift to ‘cover their plate?’ Etiquette…

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 32
Member
257 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@MademoiselleL:  Exactly my thoughts.  

It’s your choice to have your wedding at a more/less expensive venue so you shouldn’t expect people to give you money to “cover their plate.”  Gifts are gifts, not reimbursements of your wedding expenses.  Definitely not a guideline followed around my area/among people I know.

Post # 33
Member
2402 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

in my mind, the reception is a gift TO my friends and family to celebrate our marriage, I did not expect anything in return. 

I would be heartbroken if somebody declined to come to my wedding simply because they could not afford a gift. 

I am sure your friends are at least somewhat aware of your financial situation. if you can afford a plane ticket and only a small gift, they would probably be very understanding and just happy that you could make it!

Post # 34
Member
12294 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@Bostongrl25:  agreed.. .the invites really say nothing about the wedding.

I usually make my guess based on the venue…. espeically now that I’ve done all this reseach in my area for my wedding I know for a fact what certain venues go for.  I’m also guilty of looking up a venue after recieving an invitation to see what it costs to factor it in to my gift.

Post # 35
Member
2300 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - An amazing non-profit retreat

Question: Is the cost of the plate also including liquor?

 

 

Post # 36
Member
2402 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

@sherryberry:  I was wondering that myself.  does the “cost per head” just mean food? or does it mean everything? 

if I took the entire budget of my whole wedding (venue, dj, alcohol and everything but NOT personal items like clothes and jewelry) and divided it up by # of guests, it would come out to $250 per head.   but if I was thinking about just food only, then it’s really just about $100 per head. 

Post # 37
Member
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@janie-janie:  and  @sherryberry: When I ‘cover my plate,’ I count food, drink, and anything else that’s specifically for the guests.  I don’t count things like the dress, rings, and photographer that are really just for the couple, or overall expenses like the DJ and decor.  But again, it’s not a specific formula or reimbursement or anything, it’s just trying to make sure that I’m still giving the couple the gift value I intend to give them after you deduct the amount they spent on me and my date. 

For example, at our wedding, we are spending about $150/pp on just the food and drinks, but $250-300/pp total if you look at the entire budget.  If I was a guest and I had a general idea of the costs, and was close enough to the couple, I would probably give $400 so that the actual gift is $100 after the cost for 2 people’s plates.  Of course, I do NOT expect any of our guests to give us anywhere near that much, and would be completely happy with them just showing up because that’s why we’re inviting them, and it’s not their fault that we’re opting to have a more expensive wedding.

Post # 38
Member
1535 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I’d never heard of covering one’s plate until WB. And I don’t agree that invitations indicate formality.  My invitations are kind of fancy, but we’re having a bbq buffet reception.  In that case, our guests should start their gifts at $10-20.  Like PPs have said, it’s the couple’s choice whether they have an expensive reception or not.

Post # 39
Member
1236 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

If ppl used that philosophy we would be looking at a $7300 in wedding gifts and I would be mortified that ppl gave that much in gifts, cash or even our charity registry.  I am not looking to get any gifts at the wedding, I just wanted people to come and share our special day with us.  We are entertaining them and honestly their present really is gift enough.

Post # 40
Member
100 posts
Blushing bee

With most engagements lasting a year or more, it’s really not that difficult to set aside a small amount each week to cover a nice gift, and if you save over a period of time it’s not much of a sacrifice. The point of a wedding gift is to show your well-wishes for the happy couple and to help set them up at the start of their married life.

I aim to give a couple my plate (plus my “plus ones” plate if I am allowed one), plus a little bit extra. This can be a bit exxy, but I feel it’s only fair and polite. I however am quite picky about the weddings I go to, like I consider “does this person mean as much to me as what I would spend?” if not, I don’t go. I know it sounds harsh, but unfortunately I happen to know A LOT of people who only have large weddings to get a lot of expensive gifts, and I’d prefer not to be a part of that. I only go to the weddings where I love the people enough to want to give them nice gifts.

For example, last year I was invited to a colleagues wedding (didn’t go), a cousin I haven’t spoken to in years (don’t like her, and she’s already filing for divorce, so I definetly didn’t go) and one of my absolute mentors who I consider like family for all she has done for me (went with bells on! And gave her a nice coffee machine at the engagement and $750 at the wedding). A lot of people think I should have divided that $1000 between the 3 weddings and went to them all, but I’d rather just spend more on one person I really care about.

Post # 41
Member
257 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@beccybaby:  This may be true about long engagements (mine is less than a year though lol just to your point…. although we’ve been together for about 5 years), but the issue is that most people get their wedding invitations 1-2 months in advance. And obviously, the bills you need to pay every month, as well as the little snafus that pop up that your nest egg goes to (at the worst times too! Like car repairs needed 3 days before Christmas)…this all needs to be considered before ‘gifts’ (which, in all honesty, are always optional. Of course, you will give a gift to a wedding you are attending, but there is no requirement, no one checking you at the door!)

With this being said, weddings are more celebration-focused in our current era than pure “fundraisers”. So, I think turning down a wedding invitation because you can’t cover your plate (and you wouldn’t ever say to the couple the real reason you were turning it down was because you couldn’t afford the cover, so they are left wondering why you didn’t want to come – a lose-lose situation) is a bad idea in the short and long-term.

My Future Sister-In-Law asked if she had to save up enough to cover her and her boyfriend’s plate. I said absolutely not – I don’t like thinking in terms of that. I honestly would appreciate a purchased gift that someone put thought into and was something we both would enjoy (like bleacher seats to a NY Yankee game) then a $50 bill in a card from someone who was struggling to afford it. That isn’t my intention when I invite someone to my wedding…and I don’t think it’s most brides’ intention to put people out financially. We mostly think of who we want at our wedding first, not who will give us the biggest gift!

Post # 42
Member
848 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

I know this thread is old but I wanted to weigh in. My SO and I just had to tell a groom that we would not be able to attend one week before his wedding. He and my SO had been childhood friends who bumped into each other a couple of weeks prior. They sort of fell out of touch and we didn’t receive an actual invitation. when the groom saw my SO, he invited us and his fiance e-mailed us the info for the ceremony and reception. we honestly wanted to go, I’d never met him but both my SO and the groom seemed really happoy to reconnect. unfortunately, money is already a bit tight and we  ran into a $3000 issue with our car a week before the wedding. we literally could not afford to give a gft and given where their reception was taking place and how wealthy the groom’s family was, we were honestly embarrassed at the idea of showing up with just a card.

Post # 43
Member
23 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Personally, I always try to cover my plate plus a little extra. I wouldn’t miss a friend’s wedding if I was running short on money, but I’d figure out a way to cover my plate… maybe wear a dress I already have instead of buying a new one, spend less on dining out/entertainment for a month or two, whatever. I was in my mid-20s and not making much money when most of my friends got married, but still managed to give them all $150-$300 for their weddings. You know a long time in advance that a wedding is coming up, so you can set money aside for a gift. If it’s the wedding of someone you don’t care enough about to do that, then just decline the invite. 

Post # 44
Member
24 posts
Newbee

Oh, come on! $250+ a plate? What are they serving, GOLD?

I think invitations can be deceiving, too. There are people who splurge on the invitations, assuming that people will save them, and the actual wedding is quite modest (nothing wrong with that!).

People give as they are able to, and expecting gifts to ‘cover’ the plate is just unrealistic and selfish (especially if plates are expensive). Nobody should be put in the position of having to spend money they do not have.

Post # 45
Member
652 posts
Busy bee

@Lalaine:  Agreed! $250 per plate?? If someone chooses to spend that kind of money on their wedding, that’s certainly their choice. To expect guests to pony up more money because of it is ridiculous. If I was invited to a wedding knowing this was expected, I would decline in a heartbeat. I’d feel like I was expected to fund some kind of princess fantasy for someone who couldn’t afford it.

I max out at $100 for a wedding gift. Anything beyond that it too much for someone other than my sister or my SO’s brother. We’d probably give $500-$1000 for each of them, depending on what we could afford at the time.

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