(Closed) Why is not ok to be angry/disappointed with no-gifts and no-shows?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 62
10285 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

@redheadem:  “…it’s disappointment expressed to strangers online instead of to the offending party to save their feelings.”

Not true. One of the most recent threads specifically asked how the OP can go about telling the “offenders” that she’s pissed about not getting a gift. 

Excerpt from the thread in question: “There were a handful of people at our wedding who were lame enough to not give a present or even a card! I want to sneakily let them know that we are upset and very dissapointed in them without being nasty or them knowing we are pointing the finger. Any ideas??”

Post # 63
3624 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012


Well that’s rude. I missed that one, I guess. I don’t usually see threads that say things like that though. There’s definitely a difference between venting on here and in person, is what I was trying to say.

Post # 64
7295 posts
Busy Beekeeper

i didn’t read all the comments so this has probably been said. but i think it has to do with WHY you are disappointed. i was a little disappointed that my best friend didn’t get me a gift or card for my wedding, not because i wanted money from her, but because it hurt a little bit that she didn’t think to or take the time to even write a card. She even looked annoyed when i asked her to sign my guest book.  I had another friend who also didn’t get a gift or card, but i was not upset at all because he wrote a heart felt note in our guest book.  i was never upset because i wanted material things.  For me, receiving a gift is special because of the thought and meaning behind it.  And i was a little hurt by my best friend because i know if and when she gets married, no matter her lack of card/gift at my wedding, i will incapable of not spending time and energy into getting something thoughtful for her.  But i never said anything to her or anyone else for that matter and so it was never made into a big deal.   When people get upset beacuse they think their guests “owe” them something, then it comes off as a little entitled and selfish.

 In fact, because i had a Destination Wedding, i didn’t expect gifts from anyone, i was just hoping for cards to keep as momentos from my wedding and the people who came.  So the other guests who travelled to our wedding AND got us generous gifts actually shocked me with their generosity – i would have been 100% happy with just a card and a little miffed with no card, if i am being completely honest.  And i guess i feel that way because that is what i would do for someone else.  But logically i understand that you can’t expect everyone to think and act the same as you do with regards to these things.

Post # 65
2814 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I’ll be another to say that yes, no shows are rude.


The gift thing however, I don’t agree with. Sure you can be a little disappointed, but NO ONE is obligated to give you a gift at your wedding. Sure, it’s polite to, but a wedding is NOT a gift grab. I think it’s very selfish and greedy to mope about gifts you didn’t get.

Personally when I’ve been planning my wedding, the gifts I may or may not recieve are the farthest thing from my mind. I’ve had friends and family remind me a few times, “you know, you’ll get gifts at your wedding.” I just never really had that as something motivating me or even to look forward to!


I’m just happy that friends and family can be present to share in our big day. That is honestly gift enough to me!

Post # 66
2188 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

No show’s stink. We had an entire table that didn’t show up! A total of 14 people responded yes and didn’t come, $700 wasted! 

But looking back on the day (a year later) we were SO happy the day of! We had such a blast and it will forever be my favorite day. I didn’t get upset with anyone who didn’t bring a gift but 90% of our guests didn’t bring a gift and just that huge number, kind of stung. Then again, we didn’t dwell on it this past year. It doesn’t change what I give to others.

Post # 67
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

RSVP with a no show = suck

As for the no-gift/no-card part: Try not to think too much of it. It is supposed to be day about you and your life partner, soulmate, best friend, and lover spending the rest of your lives together. Don’t make the wedding about who didn’t give anything or who didn’t show up. Acknowledge it, know that your friends and family are flawed human beings, and don’t think of it after that! When your wedding becomes something else other than your celebration of love, then you’ve lost sight of what your wedding was supposed to be in the first place.  

Post # 68
3356 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I can understand being upset about the no-shows because that is just plain rude and a waste of money on your part.

The gifts part, however … I do not understand. You getting upset about people not getting you a gift, I’m sorry … a gift is freely given. You can’t EXPECT a gift. I’d think MUCH less of you.

Post # 69
2031 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I absolutely think it’s OK to be upset if someone RSVP’s yes and doesn’t show up, and has no good excuse as to why.  

As for gifts, they’re not a requirement and I honestly didn’t even think of that when I started planning my wedding.  I think it’s natural form you to feel disappointment sometimes, although it depends on the circumstances, and you should NEVER say anything.  If you know someone is struggling financially, or if they’ve spent money to come to the wedding (airfaire or hotels), or something like that I wouldn’t hold it against them.  In fact, I’d rather they come with nothing than to stay home because they’re ashamed that they can’t give us a gift.  I think what would bother me is if it’s someone I know isn’t struggling, doesn’t have to pay anything to come, and brings nothing especially if I’ve known they’ve given gifts to others in the past…that would feel personal and bother me.  I wouldn’t say anything then either, but I would wonder what the deal was.

I think what bugs me most is when brides and grooms complain about the amount they’ve spent per head and the gifts don’t match up.  Like ‘Well, we paid $200 per person and that couple only gave us $100’ that ALWAYS bothers me.  I didn’t tell you to have your reception somewhere that charges so much money, it isn’t my responsibility for you to recoup your losses.  If you didn’t want to pay for me to eat, you shouldn’t have invited me.  LOL.  I had a friend say something like that to me once, and I was floored.  I actually laughed and said ‘Well I can’t afford to go to your wedding then!!’ 

Post # 70
3175 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@ticatica:  All my BMs got us gifts (all 2 gifts, actually, one at the shower, and one at the wedding. Some even gave gifts at the bachelorette). They were very generous to us. I don’t think it should be expected, though.

Post # 71
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I think we’ve reached concenus on the no-show issue.  I will say, however, that’s it’s interesting how many people complain about etiquette and say it’s out of date, etc. but then complain about no shows.  Your guests also don’t care about etiquette, which is why they think it’s no big deal to RSVP yes (or not RSVP at all) and then not show.  If there’s not an emergency, something better presented itself and they don’t realise that it’s rude because they don’t know any better.  They probably think that it’s outdated to ask for RSVPs…or even “too fancy”.  

@dynamic_duo:  I agree.  That’s how I felt/feel about the no gift issue.  It isn’t about the stuff.  Who cares about the stuff (well, clearly the “lame” chick who wanted to instruct her friends does, but I digress)?  

I think that most of the peeps who come to the ‘bee to say that they are hurt, etc because a family member or friend didn’t bring a card or present, aren’t complaining because of the lack of things, but the lack of thought.  If you are (as I am) someone who has sacrificed your own comfort to bring a present of any size to mark the massive life-changing event that is a marriage (not the party) of your friends and family, it’s difficult to realise that other people don’t always think that way.  I know that I was surprised at the people who didn’t give gifts at our wedding and I could tell you who they were..mostly because I didn’t send thank you cards to people who didn’t send gifts.  Was I mad?  No.  I was a bit hurt and got over it.  But it is something I put in the back of my mind.  If they get married, am I going to not mark the occasion with something to “equalize” things out?  Geez…no.  I WANT to get them a present because they are my friends.  What hurts is that you have come to terms that, frankly, they just didn’t want to get you something/card/dinner at their place (I know this was the case with one couple in particular because for months afterwards, we had to keep having awkward conversations about how they felt awful about not giving us a gift and that they just wanted to know what we wanted..I wanted them to drop it…other friends told them they were being ridiculous).

So, I agree it’s all about tone and intent.  There’s a difference between saying that you are hurt a good friend didn’t mark the occasion with a card and/or present and you want to tell people off because the gifts they gave were no big enough or did not offset your costs.  One is understandable, IMO, and the other is crazy-pants entitled and rude.

Post # 72
705 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

It’s always ok to feel the way you feel.  It’s how you handle those feelings and react to the situation that matters.  I’d be pissed off if people RSVP’d yes and no showed.  Would I yell at those people or be pissy about it?  No.  I may call them after the wedding/honeymoon and make sure everything is ok and tell them that we missed them.  The uncomfortableness of me being so concerned and polite after they pulled a huge dick move would be revenge enough for me and if there was genuinely something wrong, I’d like to know so I could be there if they needed me.

As for gifts and cards, I’d say that comparing gift giving with inner envelopes is a fallacy.  They are really not on the same level of ettiquette.  Inner envelopes is a waste of paper and postage–and the extra weight adds to fuel consumption.  Many brides pay for their own weddings instead of the bride’s family.  Spending money on extra envelopes and postage seems a bit silly if the money spent would go towards being a better host.

Not bringing a gift is very rude, but expecting a gift is also very rude.  A gift is by definition freely given and not a return payment for something, so the receiver should not expect one.  Two wrongs do not make a right–so calling someone out on not giving a gift is very rude.  Being disappointed and/or let down is ok. but acting anything other than gracious and thankful that they attended your wedding would be very rude.

Post # 73
3451 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@zomgwut:  Not bringing a gift is very rude, but expecting a gift is also very rude.  A gift is by definition freely given and not a return payment for something, so the receiver should not expect one.  Two wrongs do not make a right–so calling someone out on not giving a gift is very rude.  Being disappointed and/or let down is ok. but acting anything other than gracious and thankful that they attended your wedding would be very rude.

That’s how I feel about the gifting subject.

As far as no shows.  It is rude.  It’s ok to be irritated with the people who said they’d show up and did not.  However, I think it’s something that needs to be let go quickly, because you don’t know what happened.  If you run into the person, it’s acceptable to mention you missed them at the wedding and ask if everything is okay.  I mean who knows?  Someone could have gotten the flu or had a child that was really sick or their car broke down… life happens.  I just think it’s best not to assume the person was deliberately being an asshole.

Post # 74
96 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Both are rude. If someone RSVP’s yes to my wedding and just doesn’t show up, they better have a damn good excuse or I don’t really see myself ever talking to this person again. And at well over $100 per plate, if they don’t have a good excuse then I am expecting a check to cover what they cost me. I am sure many will disagree, but how is it not rude to expect someone (bride and groom) to pay for your plate and not bother showing up or reimbursing them?

As far as gifts go, I guess this depends on the region, but in NY if you are going to a wedding you are expected to bring a gift. The value of the gift can vary, but bringing no gift shows that you do not think the couple deserve a gift (in my opinion). So yes if someone came to my wedding without any gift, I would be offended.

Post # 75
1375 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’d be pissed about no-shows.  People know that weddings are expensive.  If it really is unavoidable, that’s fine, but if you just woke up and didn’t feel like going to the wedding I think it is rude.

As for the gifts… I agree you can feel hurt or sad, but really there is no reason to hold it against people.  As you said in your OP, gifts are never required, and although they are customary not everyone can afford them or is inclined to bring one.  And if your weddnig was recent, perhaps they are just waiting to send the gift instead of lugging it to the reception.

Post # 76
309 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I understand both sides of the coin in regards to gift giving (or lack thereof), and while I have not yet had my wedding and will likely not care about non-gift givers either way, I do have a general observation. I think this topic can sometimes be dictated by the circle you run in. I am from a big, close family, that memorializes the smallest event (from losing a tooth, to a dance recital, to a graduation or wedding) with SOME kind of gift or at least a card. I have friends who have always been the exact same way. While I would not hold grudges if guests showed up empty handed, I myself would NEVER show up to an event empty handed. I hate to say it, but if I was in the position that I could not afford to give a gift, I would likely RSVP “no” to the wedding – sad as it is – because it would make me, personally, feel very uncomfortable.

As for gifts, or no gifts at my wedding, I say que sera sera, but I do hope everyone who attends takes the time to at least leave us a message in our guest book to honor our day.

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