(Closed) Spinoff: Who says you don't have to bring a gift to a wedding?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Nobody would question that it’s good etiquette to bring a gift, but the main issue is that it’s also good etiquette not to complain if you don’t get any gifts, if you know what I mean! 

Post # 5
Member
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@KatieBklyn:  I recently read Miss Manners’ book on weddings so I can paraphrase her position, which is that gifts are never required, but that if you don’t feel inclined to offer a gift to the bride and groom, you probably shouldn’t be attending the wedding. I feel that’s a bit of a dodge; basically her position is that gifts aren’t required in theory but they are in practice, because you have no business attending a wedding for people you aren’t delighted to offer a gift to.

Post # 6
Member
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@KatieBklyn:  I think generally I wouldn’t do it because it does sound a bit greedy and rude, but I do understand that people are a bit sad if they don’t feel they’ve been appreciated. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of our guests – we had very low expectations and would have been delighted with their attendance alone (I had several panics that people just wouldn’t show lol), so I guess the lesson is to set your sights low from the get go Wink

Post # 9
Member
735 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@KatieBklyn:  @Eglantine:  Yes… this correctly sums up gift giving.

A gift should only be given to a couple if the giver is close to them – and knows that the couple will be comfortable accepting the gift.  (I would find it quite awkward if my manager sent a large gift.  We aren’t that close.  That would be inappropriate of him.)  The gift is completely independant of the invitiation to (and attendance of) the couple’s wedding.  We send gifts to newly weds because we are excited for them, want to support them in their life together, and we want to help make the transition in to married life a little smoother.  And most correctly, we send gifts to those we care enough about that the gift would be sent regardless of whether or not we are invited to the wedding!

If you don’t want to support a couple as they transition in to married life, then why would you attend their wedding?  This is where the mis-conception that “every guest needs to give a gift” comes from.  If we care enough about the couple that we wish to witness their vows, then we care enough about the couple to want to support their marriage and help make their married life easier.

Sometimes it’s not possible for guests to give a phyical (or monetary) gift.  Whether the guest is on a fixed budget, is trying to pay off debts and creditors, or perhaps has expenses that are just barely covered by their income, is not important.  Nor is it the business of anyone who is not contributing to the household or paying their bills.  In the situation where a guest loves the couple and absolutely wants to support them, but doesn’t have the means, it’s unfair – and quite inappropriate – for others to judge.  Offering their love and support by attending a wedding IS a gift, in and of itself… particularly in 2012 when so few weddings are “local” for everyone in attendance!

Post # 10
Member
1030 posts
Bumble bee

i think it’s quite funny how on this website you’re bashed at for being upset that you didn’t get a gift because you shouldn’t expect it, but also bashed at for not giving anything.

Post # 11
Member
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Honestly I was very surprised at the number of people that didn’t bring a gift or card at our wedding. I’d say about 30-40% of our guests came with nothing. I never confronted them or anything (would NEVER do that!), but I seriously would have been happy with a 99 cent card! Just something to acknowledge this HUGE life event we were there to celebrate. I mean, I had spent 9 months of my life obsessing over this event, making sure the guests would be comfortable, have plenty of food, drinks, favors, and fun. I was thrilled that people were there, though, so really I can’t complain. Happiest day of my life, but still a little surprising. I can’t imagine showing up to a wedding empty handed. And considering we lost almost $1K on no-shows, hell I was just excited people showed up and ate the damn food! :p

Post # 12
Member
1217 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@UmbrellaMoon:  +1. I agree 100%. I think it’s always nice to write a card, even if you can’t afford a gift or if you’re already spending a lot of money on travel. But I do think expecting gifts is pretty bad, the gift is that you’re getting married before others who go out of their way to celebrate with you! 

Post # 13
Member
33 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Lovely Spin-Off….

Post # 14
Member
735 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@lookingglass:  A lot of that “bashing” about both sides is because the advice is for the person posting.

When we are INVITED to an event – especially a wedding – it’s good form to send the happy couple a gift if you know them well and are happy for them.  (And really, we shouldn’t be attending the weddings of folks who don’t meet both of those criteria!)  So we support the idea that the members of the hive be gracious friends and send a token of their joy to the people around them.

When we are the bride, or have invited others to witness an event which many people choose to mark with a gift, it’s pretty forward of us to EXPECT that we will be given gifts.  It’s always bad form to “charge addmission” to an event that you’re hosting.  And expecting (or requiring) gifts from your guests is basically charging admission… especially if we expect the guests to “cover their plate.”  Sure, we all know that most people who attend our weddings will want to give a gift.  But it’s incredibly rude to expect a gift from anyone.

So, the advice offered has to do with whether the poster was invited, or did the inviting.  

It’s never a great idea to dwell on the shortcomings of others… if their behavior was boorish, we are left in a position to decide whether we wish to continue our relationship with these people.  Gift giving (or lack thereof) is generally not something that most people support severing ties over.  Intentional slights, public misbehavior that embarrasses one’s host and a guest making a pass at your  husband are all much more serious, and generally significant enough to reconsider a relationship, to the point of excluding these people from your social circle.

Post # 15
Member
46467 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think it is a natural result of declining etiquette everywhere. Many couples are cutting etiquette corners themselves in thier wedding planning, so it is no surprise to me when their guests do the same.

I do not condone attending without a gift. I honestly don’t know who someone could have the balls to show up to a wedding not having sent or planning to send a gift.

Post # 16
Member
3175 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I think what your seeing is more about audience than the actual etiquette. Since we’re a board of mostly soon to be engaged women, soon to be brides and newlyweds, we’re mostly on the receiving end of gifts. We need to be reminded that gifts should not necessarily be expected (I was reminded the same thing when I was a child receiving birthday gifts!), but should be appreciated when given. We also sometimes need gentle reminders that our relationships with our guests are more important than the material things we might receive. On the other hand, if a person here came, as a soon to be guest, and asked if they should give a gift, I think the unanimous response would be “Etiquette dictates that you should bring a gift, or at least a card”. The fact is, we can’t control what our guests do (whether they follow etiquette, or even know the proper etiquette), but we can control how we respond to their etiquette or lack thereof. I think that’s why you’re seeing people responding the way they do.

The topic ‘Spinoff: Who says you don't have to bring a gift to a wedding?’ is closed to new replies.

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