(Closed) Spinoff: Why is it rude not to bring a gift?

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 47
Member
558 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I don’t agree with comparing going to someones wedding with eating out at a restaurant, and “paying to stay”…From my point of view as a soon to be bride, I want to save up and pay for people to come eat at a nice vineyard and dance the night away and celebrate with us, and i would HATE (seriously it makes me feel sick to my stomach to think) if people felt they needed to compensate me for coming to my wedding, and especially if they felt they had to nail it down to the nearest dollar!!  If you’re invited to my wedding its because I love you and I want you there.  If I got not one gift or card, I’d still be deliriously happy if everyone who RSVP’d showed up, because they made an effort, probably bought new clothes, made a trip to wine country and in some cases a trip halfway around the world.  If they felt they also needed to buy a $100-$200 gift to cover the cost of their plate I’d be devastated.  

I’d be equally happy with nothing, a hand written note, a thoughtfully homemade gift, or an expensive gift.  Just because one might cover costs and the others don’t doesn’t make a difference in my mind.  

So to the OP – I think it depends on your personal feelings and the feelings of brides (& grooms!) whose weddings you go to.  You can never please everyone so go with your gut feeling on things and try not to worry!

Post # 48
Member
1094 posts
Bumble bee

@ScarletBegonia: You say that so much more nicely than my grand-niece, Sophia-of-the-acid-tongue, whose take on it once the expletives were expurgated was along the lines of “How could a guest dare presume to pay me off for my sincerely offered hospitality!” Her more printable argument was, that when she goes to a restaurant she gets to select the cuisine, the price range, and the dishes she chooses; and then pays for her own choices — a completely different contractual transaction from just picking up the bill for the choices someone else has made.

 

Post # 49
Member
2637 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@aspasia475:“How could a guest dare presume to pay me off for my sincerely offered hospitality!”

Exactly!

Post # 50
Member
8 posts
Newbee

As a guest, I would feel rude not bringing a gift- not because it is expected or to pay for my meal, but because for 99% of the weddings I’ve attended, I’ve want to help the bride and groom start their lives together (or at least start a “new chapter” if they’ve been living together). It also (to me) serves as a way of thanking them for considering me important enough to be part of THEIR day. 

On the flip side, I don’t think any bride should expect a present. I have a lot of family that is not very well-to-do, so I know what an expense it can be for some to travel and stay the night someplace. A heartfelt card, note, or their presence should be enough.

Just my two cents 🙂

Post # 51
Member
2637 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I think— of course you should bring a gift wherever you go. But to presume to pay for the cost of whatever was spent on you? is just… presumptious!

Post # 52
Member
558 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@red_rose:  I see your point but i see it all getting a bit out of hand…in our throw-away society i just think that the giving of unnecessary gifts ultimately results in alot of wastage.  If the 80-100 guest at my wedding all felt compelled to bring a gift I’m sure that I would not be able to find a use, let alone a space in my shoebox apartment, for everything that was given me, no matter how good the intention.  I’d rather people come and express to me verbally their gratitude rather than giving me stuff I don’t need or want.

For me as well, this is just my 2 cents. 

Post # 53
Member
32 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2011

While it is not “necessary,” let’s be honest, all of us/most of us expect something, anything on our wedding day.

Post # 54
Member
719 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

@Corilee13: You said every wedding you have attended ppl were helping with flowers or something. Every wedding I have attended the Brides parents or grooms or both were paying or largely contributing or the B&G were paying. Hand on the bible I have never heard of a friend paying for the flowers Now if you paid $500 for the flowers I do not see a need for you to give that couple an additional gift (except you still bring a shower gift to shower, engagment gift if there is an engagment party). Different families, different cultures, different expectations and etiquette concepts.

Why is it rude not to bring a gift? As one poster said, at a dinner party you bring wine or dessert or flowers you don’t just show up. With weddings or any formal event it is like this : If you are willing to come, emjoy cocktails and hors d’ouvres (sp), eat food (at $100 a plate), drink at the open bar, enjoy the dancing (the DJ is not working out of the goodness of his heart and the venue was not free) eat dessert and cake AND enjoy the midnight buffet THEN you should bring a gift.

RUle of thumb (when in doubt) read the invitation, if the reception is formal and it is reasonable to guess it is 100 per head and you and your husband are attending that is 200, guess that you will consume $25 worth of booze, $225 (covers how much it cost for you to eat and drink and that is not including cake). So your gift must reflect that, so if it is a first cousin’s wedding and you wanted to give $100, the $100 + $225 = $325. If you can’t afford that in cash then buy a nice gift.

Registering is a way of letting your guests (they will want to give gifts) what you want or need. You may have a flatware set you want, registering lets ppl know AND they can see oh she is registered for 10 plates and 8 have been purchased I’ll get her 2 plates, 4 bowls and 1 crystal wine glass. Aunt Tilly, cousin bobby and sister rachel may be good hearted but what is beautiful to them could be tasteless to you, practical for them could be useless to you. Alsio who wants 10 toasters and the hassel of returning 9?!

A gift is a way of extending best wishes and showing gratitude for being invited. Registering is a way of letting ppl know (w/o saying hey aunt martha go buy me _____) what you want and need. Make sure your registery contains gifts in various price ranges to be accomadating.

Post # 55
Member
719 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

Oh and guests are given favours and on average range from 25-50 per person, so on top of food, drinks, cake, dancing, guests leave with a gift. How can they think it is ok not to bring one?

One poster stated and I agree, right or wrong my gift is based on the wedding a formal event is getting a more expensive present than a BBQ. That poster is a student, I’m not but with the amount of weddings I attend I need to consider things like that.

Post # 56
Member
719 posts
Busy bee
Post # 57
Member
719 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

@aspasia475: You may be correct about “traditional emily post etiquette” but that etiquette is applicable to…how do I say this without sounding rude, families who do not have an ethnic background i.e. call themselves American or Canadian. The etiquette you are refering to does not account for different cultures, no one I know bats an eye lash upon seeing a cash shower invitation. No one refuses a  gift. Many cultures have money dances (Greeks pin cash to the bride during a dance) and it is TRADITION.

Guests need to remember that if their family does not expect gifts or thinks cash is tacky, their friend or co-workers friend may be fine with it. Look at the ethnicity of the couple before getting offended b/c you were invited to a cash shower or b/c they registered. Just a general statement b/c alot of the etiquette rules I am seeing do not apply to many cultures and to say those ppl are not “well bred” is antiquated. Immigrants typically to not subscribe to or relate to or care what emily post says about etiquette. As my Future Father-In-Law would say “you can’t trust a cake”

Post # 58
Member
597 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

It isn’t rude to not give an additional gift if you helped with the wedding in some way because that is a gift in itself. However, I do think it is rude if you show up with nothing at all. I agree with what His Barista said really. Most couples spend quite a bit of money to put together a wedding and on favors, food, invitations, and entertainment for the guests. I think that it is respectful for the guests to show at least a little appreciation. I would never show up to a wedding without at least a card.

Post # 59
Member
391 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@EncoreBridetoBe: I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. This is exactly the way my family explained it to me growing up.

I do think it’s interesting to see people get up in arms about this, saying that it’s not rude to give a gift. I think I will take my chances, I doubt I will get called rude for bringing a gift (and to what other posters said about not being comfortable accepting a gift from people they don’t have a close enough relationship to, my view is if I am close enough to them to invite them to a wedding, this doesn’t apply!). All these Emily Post and technical etiquette quotes don’t change the fact that a significant amount of people do think not bringing some type of gift to a wedding is rude.

I see a lot of people disagree with what I previously posted about “covering your plate.” This is the way I was raised, and it makes perfect sense to me. But that being said, my wedding registry will have a whole range of price points on it, and I am not going to sit there and count every penny you spent on me, and I will not hold it against people who are in a rough spot and can’t afford it. But I do think it is a good rule of thumb, and something I practice at every wedding I go to. And it’s obvious that I am not alone in this either.

In reality it’s about the gesture, somtimes give a card or a thoughtful homemade gift can be a million times better than an expensive one. Many people these days don’t even give a card, and that is wrong.

Post # 60
Member
2637 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@EncoreBridetoBe: $325?! hell no! I’m having a “very nice, formal wedding,” (not amazing, but nice enough! full bar, excellent food, tons of fancy horsdurves, a very good dj, etc,) and I’m paying $53pp for food and drink TOTAL (that includes the hall), a few hundred for a dj, and am defintiely not spending much on cake… (I don’t live in some tiny little town, and not a single one of the big hotels that are similar to the one we went with were even more than $75pp for the same thing!)

Not to beat a dead horse, but if someone either wants to show off how rich they are or is just incredibly irresponsible with money by spending $325pp, I am NOT going to even ATTEMPT to “pay them for my plate.” That is THEIR fault that they don’t know how to plan a nice, formal wedding for a cheaper price, and if they are even spending that much to begin with…then they are probably flaunting how rich they are, and shouldn’t even EXPECT a gift from me! (I’ll bring one anyhow of course.)

Post # 61
Member
2336 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@aspasia475: Heirloom china and flatware I understand.  What do you consider heirloom linens?  I always find you post well-written explanations of confusing etiquette rules, which I appreciate.  I wonder if the Bee has ever considered having an etiquette blog on the common questions that arise during a wedding – you’d be great at it if they ever did so!

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