Post # 1
It’s really ironic that my first post is AFTER I’m married but I visited these boards a lot during the planning process for advice about everything from wedding invitations to escort cards. Don’t know what I would have done without Weddingbee! Now that it’s all over and we can breathe again, I have a question that I couldn’t really find the answer to anywhere else. I’m curious to know what all the fantastic bees will advise.
We had asked for no gifts with the following wording:
A note on gifts: Your presence will be the best gift we can hope to receive. We implore you to bring only yourself and nothing else.
Did this imply that we wanted cash? We really didn’t! The reception was small and had our closest friends in attendance. I was shocked to find that 90% of our guests brought cards with money in them. I know this seems unconventional but we had very specific reasoning behind our request. To me, gifts are always optional. I would never dream of going to a wedding without bringing a gift (unless specifically asked not to) but the fact remains that it is not required to give something. It seems that this sentiment has been lost in today’s society. People often try to estimate what the per plate expense will be and gift that amount. Couples plan lavish weddings that they cannot afford and expect to recoup the cost of the celebration or honeymoon through gifts. It has become less about the act of giving and more about what is given. I’m talking about extremes, of course, but we wanted to steer clear of all this and just celebrate with close friends.
Now I’m unsure what to do with all the cash. Would returning it with a heartfelt thank you note be terrible? My husband wants to return everything except gifts from those whose weddings we’ve been to or will go to in the near future. My mother suggested keeping $1 in acknowledgement of their wish to give something and returning the rest. We really, really did not want it to be about money. We considered donating but then do we inform the giver or not? What if it is a charity he/she does not support?
Post # 3
@gamerchick: You absolutely should not return the money, and you should send a heartfelt thank you note to each guest who gave you any type of gift.
Unfortunately, in your zeal to try to do what you felt was the right thing, you inadvertently did the wrong thing by making ANY mention AT ALL about gifts — even the absence of them — in your invitations.
ETA: Also, you should not donate the cash gifts to charity in the name of the giver.
Post # 4
You CANNOT return ANY gift, monetary or item. Do as you wish, whih is why it was given, but returning it would be a very big insult.
Post # 5
Agree with PPs. I think that no matter what, you take the gifts your given (cash or gift), and while you were trying to go about it nicely to emphasize no gifts, a lot of folks likely read ‘cash please.’ Write your thank yous to everyone, cash the checks promptly (no one likes wiating for a check to go through and mess up their balance if it’s too late), and decide how to spend the money (like PP said, no donations in their name). If it’s really bothering you, keep it all set aside and treat them generously at the next gift-giving opportunity you have.
Post # 6
It was impolite to mention gifts to begin with, even if it was to ask people to not bring one.
Moving forward, you write each gift giver a very sincere thank you note letting them know what you plan to do with the money (i.e., saving for a home, completing our dish set, etc.). Do not return the money, no matter what you do. I would not inform the gift giver of donating it to charity, even if you end up doing that.
Post # 7
I would be very offended if my gift was sent back, whether it be a monetary gift or not. You implied to gifts, but your guests WANTED to give you something. Take that money and put it in a savings fund or donate it, or throw a big bbq or something with all of your friends there, but do NOT give back their gifts!
Post # 8
Thank you for the uber quick responses, ladies! You have addressed my biggest concern. Regardless of how I feel, I don’t want to hurt or offend anyone. We’ll find something to do with the money 🙂
@arametta127 I would like to think that they WANTED to give us something but I also wonder whether it was just that “wedding = gift” programming kicked in. If I found myself on the other side of a similar situation, I would do my best to honour the request. I would try to suppress my gift giving urge and either bring just a card or something really meaningful instead of cash. I am also struggling with the gift amounts in many cases; $200 a person seems excessive to me. I guess that’s not for me to say and we’ll chalk it up to generous friends!!
@brielle @MidWestBride2012 I have to respectfully disagree on the topic of mentioning gifts in the invitation. While I understand what etiquette dictates in this regard, I also feel that gifts are the big elephant in the room and sometimes need to be addressed directly if you are trying to do something different from the norm.
Post # 9
- Wedding: August 2012 - Historic Lougheed House
Your very lucky. I read here about girls receiving no gifts (yet alone cold hard cash) and being so upset. Count your lucky stars.
Spend the money on something fun – anew patio set, a new BBQ, a vacation…. some china or crystal. Anything! Your super lucky.
Post # 10
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
I agree with PP- do NOT return the gifts! Do you and DH need new furniture? That’s our plan for monetary gifts.
Post # 11
Do let us know what you decide to do with it 🙂
Post # 12
Buy something. Your guests gave you guys money to make things easier — plan a vacation, buy some furniture, update stuff, whatever. Heck, put the money in savings. Consider it a future children’s education fund 🙂 if you feel guilty about it. I mean, you can’t feel guilty about helping your future kids out (if you’re planning to have any).
Post # 13
No, you can’t return the gifts. Write thank you notes to everyone and keep the money. Invest it or something. Don’t donate it. People wrote you checks because they love you and are happy for you. Returning it or donating it would be incredible rude and a slap in the face.