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The New Twist On The “Gimme” Wedding Invitation

Yes, this is about an invitation that asks for money, but it’s more than that. I work with the groom. The bride had booked her wedding for midweek in July and told everyone what a great deal they had got; for less than their budget they got an all-inclusive package: meal, all the hotel rooms, drinks and so on. When asked about wedding gifts, she said they would just ask people to contribute towards the cost of the hotel rooms (the ones included in the package price). So this is just asking for money by any other name. I wouldn’t do it myself but I’m not that upset about it; I’d expect to pay for my hotel room anyway.

Two weeks ago I got the invitation. To my surprise there was a VERY long poem that finally told me the couple were having a wishing well set up (in the UK!) to put in money and wishes which they are ‘sure will come true’ in return for our generosity. Right. I thought they was asking for contributions to the hotel rooms? Then I turned it over, and there was another section.   It said the hotel rooms cost £X (or $X for you USAians) per night and to send the money to the bride with your RSVP if you wanted one.  But the couple has paid for the rooms in their amazing package deal and the wedding’s not for 2 months.  Why the rush to get the £X from me now (which I don’t have since I was only given 2 days to RSVP)?  And since I’m effectively giving them £X cash towards their costs, why the demand for more money with the well?

I was surprised how disgusted and almost hurt I was by this invitation. I felt like nothing to them when I read it; just a wallet, someone else to hit up for money. They didn’t even spell my names right, and they ended with a rhyme asking us ‘not to be offended’. If you have to do that, you know you’re doing the wrong thing. Sure I’ll shrug it off and buy them a nice present, and I do wish them well, but that invitation really has made me look at them in a different light – and appreciate how lucky I am to have so many wonderful friends who wouldn’t send that to anyone in a million years.

I’ve rsvp’d yes; I promised months ago that we’d be there, although I feel pretty bad going after this, and my boyfriend is furious.  He said he felt he’d been given an invoice, and we should put a tenner in a card, since that’s clearly all they care about.  I don’t know if going is the right thing to do or not, although we’re staying at a cheaper hotel.  The really sad thing is that I will be putting some money in the well.  I usually love buying presents and spend ages wrapping them/writing messages, but this time around, what’s the point? 0601-10

For privacy reasons, the location of the wedding, all names, bank account information and even monetary amounts were deleted from the image.   What readers may not catch is that the bride and groom are making a nice profit by arranging an inexpensive package deal for the hotel rooms but charging their guests the rack rate.  One of the most diabolically clever way of extracting cash from wedding guests I’ve seen in a long time!

{ 64 comments… add one }
  • Alexis June 12, 2010, 9:48 pm

    They didn’t specify denominations or currency, did they? How about $50 worth of Mexican pennies, or Albanian Lek (currently trading at 112.5 for every $1)? Rolls and rolls of obscure foreign coinage take up a lot of room, are heavy, worth very little, and can be anonymously donated. It will only take some advance planning so that the money can actually be ordered, but it can be done. That probably isn’t the nicest way to respond, but I like to at least fantasize about doing it that way!

  • Shoshan June 15, 2010, 2:18 pm

    I actually don’t find this to be quite so offensive…

    It seems to me that they don’t want anyone to give them money or gifts – they are even asking for it to be donated to a “wishing well” which I’m assuming goes to some other cause.

    As for the hotel thing… I think you’re over thinking it. Perhaps they hit hard times and actually didn’t have everything paid off and actually NEEDED the guests to pay their own way. I mean really – it’s not technically their responsibility to put everyone up in a hotel. That’s a huge cost and it’s not fair to THEM.

  • Marlene June 18, 2010, 9:43 am

    So hold on… If this is a UK wedding, I would say it is safe to assume that you get your meal and wine paid for but you still feel like the bride and groom should pay for your hotel room as well. It is not their responsibility to put you up on top of everything else.

    I would say the “faux-pas” they made was to assume everyone would want to be at the same hotel and started arranging for it. I really doubt their original “package” deal included hotel rooms for ALL the guests, it was probably only for the very close relatives. They should have just given a list of possible hotels for everyone or said nothing about accommodation at all.

    As for the wishing well: last time I checked it was their special day, their wedding and their life. Not yours. If there is one day/gift that is certainly not about /for you, it is this one. I do agree it is still touchy to ask for money, but let’s stop being candid here: weddings cost money and the old rural wedding held at the parents’ farm is a thing of the past. Having you as a guest costs them money yet they still chose to invite you. If you were to go to the restaurant with them, you would prob pay for own meal but this time they are paying for you. Yet you feel offended that they chose to forego having yet another toaster or a third waffle maker in their kitchen and ask for a contribution instead?

    or is it simply that some very stingy people could get away with a cheap item from the charity shop when gifts were more common practice? Surely, now giving only £10 in a card would surely be shooting yourself in the foot and branding yourself as a tight arse? Would you rather have them put in a wedding list registered at a very expensive department store where the cheapest item starts at £50?

    You could always turn up, eat the food, drink the wine and not give anything at all, not even a card. Then they will guess how offended you are and discover you have put a price on their friendship just because you did not like the invite.

    I would say it is about time that people stopped being hypocrits.

  • Recently married June 18, 2010, 6:29 pm

    I think it is pretty touchy to ask for money. But I wouldn’t be offended, especially now that I just got married. Weddings are beyond expensive and there’s a lot of pressure to have one. Unless you’ve recently gotten married or is close with someone who has, you just have no clue what weddings cost these days. And you probably don’t know what kind of judgement is hoisted upon you for cutting corners. People can be viscious.

    I might also add that expecting the wedding family to pay for your hotel room is an outdated oldfashioned thing that is totally not applicable anymore. I know in some cultures it’s the thing, but no more. Forget the cost of drinks, decoration, etc. I know that a lot of these things are done because the bridge and the groom want it that way, but imagine the gossip and vendictive nature of people saying “Oh my, did you see how few flowers she had?” if things were not up to their usual standard?

    The reality is, if you are so offended, don’t go to the wedding. But think about it, you are free to give what you want and what you can. But I wouldn’t give a ten pounder, I mean you and another guest eat and drink for free, enjoy the show and give a ten pounder for her inviation? That would really be a slap in the face and a sure way for your name to be pounded in the mud amongst your social circle. And she’s asking for it now, because let’s face it, the bills are due right away, not the day of the wedding. Instead of asking for some stupid piece of cutlery the bride has asked if you can help financially so she can have the day she wants… and frankly, that’s a gift that goes back to you. You will also enjoy the day. It’s very unmaterialistic.

    If you can’t give too much money then figure out some other nice thing to do. Swallow your pride. It’s not your wedding. I’m not saying you should be a carpet at all. By all means stand your ground if there’s more evidence of thankless money grubbing. But be a little selfless. What goes around comes around.

  • Shari June 25, 2010, 5:04 pm

    Weddings are only expensive when one MAKES them expensive. My wedding cost me 200 bucks. I did not expect anyone to pay for my wedding for me or buy me gifts. It is not your guests responsibility to pay back the money YOU decided to spend on yourself. Regardless if it is expensive or not, it was YOUR CHOICE to spend so much money that you need help to pay it off.

    Simply put, don’t have a wedding that will take you years to pay off.

  • Doris June 27, 2010, 2:02 pm

    Print some wedding etiquette tips, enfold them in a nice envelope, and put that in the wishing well.

  • Doris June 27, 2010, 2:05 pm

    @ Shoshan: Midwest American wishing wells are used for the people who bring cards – with or without a monetary gift. Other parts of the country, it’s another gimmee – you’re supposed to be so charmed by this wishing well that you put some money in. Either way, the bride and groom keep what is inside.

  • TheBardess June 28, 2010, 9:04 pm

    @Recently Married:

    I am also fairly recently married (we are not quite at our two year anniversary yet). So I understand that weddings can be expensive (although they certainly do not have to be- to a large extent, a wedding is only as expensive as you make it). However, that does not, under any circumstances, justify asking guests for money to foot the bill. Your (general “you” here) guests at your wedding at just that- guests, and YOU are the host. When you host ANYTHING, be it a wedding or a small dinner party, it is YOUR job, and NOT that of your guests to pay for the event, and provide the food, entertainment, etc. That is why it is incumbent upon you to host an event that you can afford, and not plan an extravaganza that goes beyond your budget. A wedding does not have to be expensive to be classy, elegant, and enjoyable. There is nothing tacky or rude about having a wedding within your means- there is EVERYTHING tacky and rude about soliciting your guests to pay for said wedding- as I said before, it is NOT their job to finance your event, or help you “recoup your losses.” Meanwhile, people who feel the need to gossip about or belittle your wedding simply because you “cut corners” are not worth your concern- they are being petty and small-minded, and you are better off without such people either at your event or in your life. Let their opinions and judgments go. A fear of their rudeness (belittling your event for being “cheap”) does not justify further rudeness on your part by asking your guests to fund your event.

    And gifts are not mandatory. I would always send a gift to a couple getting married, but there is nothing rude in NOT doing so, so no, there would be nothing rude or inappropriate etiquette-wise in going to the wedding, enjoying the day, and not giving anything.

  • Sweet Bohemian Child July 15, 2010, 2:58 am


    Let the greedy make their greed apparent; let whatever higher entity that may or mayn’t exist judge them, and not we, mere mortals of only the wisdom we gather in our short time here.

  • Jillybean July 15, 2010, 1:46 pm

    @ Recently Married,

    I agree with the others. I’m getting married in August and while we are spending a bit more than we had originally anticipated (you are correct, weddings can be very expensive), we are having a nice wedding that we can afford without going into debt or obliterating our savings. We have not registered, we have not asked for gifts or money, we’ve given a few suggestions to close friends and family in case someone really insists on the help, but otherwise we will graciously accept any gifts we get, and will not get bent out of shape by those who only give well wishes. Most importantly, we will simply enjoy a wonderful day, surrounded by all the people who matter to us the most.

  • T. Nielsen Hayden August 9, 2010, 12:21 am

    Dear original poster:

    For the record, I did understand that you weren’t expecting them to pay for your room; you were pointing out that they’d gotten a very favorable rate from the hotel, but were quoting the standard walk-in rate to their guests, and presumably keeping the difference.

    You’re right. It’s beyond tacky.

  • Jill August 10, 2010, 11:41 am

    Shoshan, you may have missed this as the numbers weren’t shown, but the Bride and Groom aren’t just asking the guests to pay for their rooms – they paid for the rooms in a cheap package deal and are asking the guests for the normal room rate, i.e. the guests are giving more money than it will actually cost the couple.

    I’m pretty sure a “wishing well” just means they want cash instead of presents, I don’t think it is for charity.

  • Javin October 4, 2011, 11:00 am

    I’m sincerely shocked at the number of people arguing that “weddings are expensive” and that this is in any way, shape, or form okay.

    A wedding is a party HOSTED by the bride and groom (and in some traditions, paid for by the Bride’s family.) Let me be clear on this. It is a PARTY that is HOSTED by the couple. You simply DO NOT throw a PARTY that’s outside of your means and then bill the guests that you invite to said party to fit the bill for it. It’s just… that… simple…

    I’ve attended over two dozen weddings in my lifetime. My sister had one just last year. Fortunately, my circle of friends and family seem to actually understand this very basic tenet of throwing a party, and I have *never* been billed for a party I was invited to. This is very similar to throwing yourselves a birthday party in the sense that it’s common to bring a gift to the party. You do not send out registries for a birthday party, and you do not inform your guests as to what gifts you deem would like the best unless you are specifically ASKED by your guests.

    This actually brings up a question I’ve been wanting to ask the admin, though the comments of a year-old post may not be the best forum.

    Soon, my long-time girlfriend and I will be having our own wedding. We are in our 30’s, have a house, and I make enough money that we are not in need of any of the “starter” items (silverware, china, etc.) Our honeymoon is just that… OUR honeymoon. We do not plan to have one we can’t afford ourselves. Our reception is going to be a straight-up party, including a place for family and friends to entertain their kids – still on the premises – where movies, treats, games, maybe even a clown and moon bounce – haven’t convinced the GF on that one yet – complete with baby sitters will be available so the parents can have some time enjoying the dance floor, and entertainment. We would much rather have our guests attend to celebrate the day with us, and we very much do not want or need them to bring a “cover charge” in the form of a wedding gift. We had considered putting a blurb in the invite along the lines of:

    “Please come celebrate this day with us! Our only desire is for your presence, not presents! We will not be signing up for a gift registry, though if you desire, we would be honored to have a donation made to a charity of your choice in our name!”

    Even this feels… ugh… to me. We’re kind of at a loss for what to do here. We would love to know what the admin suggests as the best route from an etiquette standpoint?

  • Mike October 17, 2011, 3:44 pm

    This is terrible. I am sick of people asking for money, and that poem states they already have a home, and it’s furnished. My long time partner and I married in 2004 soon after same sex marriages were legal in Canada. We sent out an email one week before informing friends that we were getting married the following Friday at City Hall, “if you can make it great, if you can’t no problem.” Also, “please no presents.” Well 12 people showed up, we went to a nice steak house for a “reception”, and let people order anything they liked. Our dinner totalled $350 with some booze included. That is how you should get married when you are a long time couple who has aready built your home. Also, money just isn’t done at UK weddings. I’ve been to many and it’s always like the “old days” in North America, blenders, slow cookers, linens, etc. The ones I was at would be insulted by cash.

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