Has Greed Become Socially Acceptable?

by admin on August 26, 2014

Several UK readers submitted the following link to a article about how brides are using more creative ways to drain their guests dry of money. I can’t say I’m surprised since wedding greed appears to have become more socially acceptable despite many people claiming they would never act so crass or support someone who was. If there really were a negative backlash to wedding greed, wouldn’t there be a corresponding decline in people being greedy?

Read away!

{ 127 comments… read them below or add one }

Gemma August 26, 2014 at 3:02 am

I am sure there are some brides who may do this, however I am sure they are in the minority. Being British and knowing the Daily Mail and their usual taste in inflated and leading stories, please don’t believe anything this article has to say. This is a paper that does not research properly before printing its own version of the news. Just see here to see what I am talking about http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Daily_Mail

Reply

Amanda H. August 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I was going to say, isn’t the Daily Mail a tabloid and therefore questionable in the quality of their research? I generally take any reference to a Daily Mail article with several grains of salt, much as I would a reference to the Enquirer or similar American tabloid.

Reply

Steve August 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm
KiwiAlice August 26, 2014 at 3:39 am

Trust the Daily Mail to place most of the blame with brides while not really mentioning the grooms.

Strangely they also simultaneously condemn extravagance and frugality. I’m not condoning the money grabbing but there’s a real tone in the article of snobbishness – looking down on email invites and polystyrene cake because they’re cheap, not because they’re rude (eg if not everyone gets real cake).

Reply

HB August 26, 2014 at 4:29 am

Please bear in mind that this is the Daily Mail, and everything it prints should be taken with a generous helping of salt. They will find one person who claims that something happened once, and declare it a national trend.

Reply

Marozia August 26, 2014 at 4:43 am

In answer to your question….Yes it has, I’m afraid!!

Reply

Sceptical Ant August 26, 2014 at 5:06 am

Interesting I wouldn’t say everything in the article is greed and so some are ok (to me). So in my opinion:
1. Paying for the meal- no, just no.
2. Bring a dish. I know this is guests paying for the meal but maybe, as this is probably the least expensive option for catering a meal and someone may have a very low budget. But it can only happen in a small, low key family affair or in a very close-knit community, where everyone knows each other and people are happy to discuss what they bring… but in general no, you should provide food.
3. Cleaning up. Maybe. Again only for something small low key or in a very close-knit weddings.
4. Swapping gifts. No. You’re essentially lying to people. If you only want/need cash have the chutzpah to ask for it.
5. Honeymoon registry. To me it’s really no more rude than a “normal” registry, so in general I don’t see the problem in having a honeymoon registry, on certain conditions. Firstly if you mention a gift on the invite you have to say twice that it is not a requirement i.e. you should start and end any mention of gifts on the invite by saying “you don’t have to provide us with a gift”. Second any money for the honeymoon should be spent on the honeymoon. If you get more than you asked for, upgrade, go on day trips etc. If you have generous friends they expect you to go on a trip of a lifetime, not buy a new TV and you are obliged to meet their expectations on this one.
6. Email invites and thank yous. No. This is the most important day of your life so far and you want to send out invites/ thanks yous by an impersonal, quickly forgotten electronic message? Says quite a lot about the sender. Plus I for one generally put as much as effort in attending something as some does inviting me. Emails to me say, “I’m not bothered, I just want it over with/ on record”.
7. Drink swaps. No. As a rule, never serve anything to a guest you wouldn’t serve yourself. The exception being they specifically ask for something you don’t like but can provide.
8. Polystyrene cake layers. If you have enough cake for everyone to get a reasonable piece but want a more “impressive display” then yes, if it make you happy go for it. But if there’s going to be people going cakeless, no, you need more cake.
9. Sponsorship. No. I find this idea weird and can’t think where to start.
10. Asking for freebies. Only if you’re comfortable with being labelled a beggar and can take a “no” with good grace.
11. Asking for discounts. Only if you’re comfortable with being labelled cheap and can take a “no” without being offended.
12. Asking for help. So long as you can take no as an answer. And any help is in lieu of a gift and if someone chooses helps you should make it very clear that they don’t need to give gifts.
13. Selling off and renting out items. Fine, no problem. I really don’t see this as an issue, so long as you bought the item it’s yours to use as you please after the wedding.
14. An uninvitation. Wow I’d rather just not be told about your wedding. If this is not possible, just talk to me in person. The idea of getting a note would come across as cowardly and almost passive aggressive.
15. The evening invite. Hmmm… maybe. Evening invites only really work for people like “work mates”: you see them every day, you might go down the pub with them but you wouldn’t necessarily buy them a meal. Evening invites are for people who are part of your life but more through circumstances/habit than actual relationship and effort. Really when you give someone an evening invite you’re saying that they’re a secondary part of your life and not highly valued. If you happy to give this impression to the person who receives the invite, then feel free to give it. But be aware they may not realise how you feel and it may make things awkward. This is an awkward half invite and you should give serious thought to promoting them to the main wedding or dropping them altogether.
16. The cash bar. Depends how much “free” drinks you have provided. I think you have to provide enough refreshments that no-one is thirsty. Beyond that I don’t see why you can’t have a cash bar. You’re not obliged to provide enough alcohol for people to go crazy. If people come to my house I wouldn’t allow them a never ending supply of alcoholic beverages on my wallet and wouldn’t feel rude saying “you’ve had enough now, stick to soft drinks/water”.

Reply

Laura August 26, 2014 at 8:34 pm

It may be a cultural difference, but in all the places I’ve lived, one should NEVER EVER mention gifts on an invite to a wedding! Not once and certainly not twice. There seems something a bit tacky to mention registry/gifts in writing (it’s usually spread word of mouth) and something disingenuous to say, “you don’t have to give us a gift, but if you do we’d like x, but again you don’t have to.” because presumably people know they don’t *have* to get you a gift…

Reply

Sceptical Ant August 28, 2014 at 11:36 am

It may well be a cultural difference or just a generation thing. I would say it’s not rude to provide the information so long as you’re making sure to give people the scoop to decline. Also if the invitees often from a diverse geographical/ social background they may not know the other members of the wedding party to hear about a registry. Either the guest has to find their own gift, which may well double up something someone else has bought (if I did that I would feel my effort to get a gift was a failure) or ringing the bride/ groom to find out (and I don’t like to ask someone what they want as a gift). The point of sending it out with the invite is to save the guests time/ effort and/or guesswork. Small point: technically the gift list information normally comes on a separate piece of card here, which doesn’t really make it much better if you are against it as it is a card tucked into the invite.

Reply

Laura August 31, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I doubt it’s generational as I’m in my 20s. Even Miss Manners says it’s horribly tacky to put registry info on an invite. The purpose of an invite is TO invite, not tell people about gift info. I’ve never even seen anyone put it on a separate piece of paper and slip it in with the invite, either! That’s just as tacky! Seriously, if you don’t want to ask anyone you can very quickly and easily check the online registries for Nordstrom, Neimen Marcus, Bed Bath & Beyond, and all the standard places couples register at. Your way is easier but would definitely offend guests and reflect very poorly on the couple in my circles.

Reply

Sceptical Ant September 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

Ah then it is geographical. In this country there are only about half a dozen national chains that provide registries so yes you could sort through them… But there are also smaller department stores and “mall” type stores that run their own services. In fact there’s a department store near me that I hate to see my friends using because it’s know for hand made, often quite niche, expensive items that normally people wouldn’t buy. I just think people use this store as it looks “posh”, annoying.
Anyways for weddings in England, France and Switzerland I’ve seen slips of paper/card referring to gift lists. Not having a the information with the invite would just be impractical to me given I’m often travelling. Though if you really want a culture shock forget about a bit of card with some registry information on it and try and get invited to a real French wedding. The longest one I went to involved arriving at the town hall about 9:30 for the official wedding that was at 10, then a short trip to the church at 11 for the religious wedding (note: in France a government official is the only person who can legally marry you due to rules about separating the church/state). Finally got to the reception venue for the wine reception at midday. Then there’s Horderves/Appetizers. Followed by a musical break. Then a soup course was served. More music. Then a starter. Another interval. Then the fish course was serve (it’s now after 5pm). More music. Then a main, music, cheese course, more music. Here’s something you may not like, in France the evening invite is a “dessert invite” so at ~10pm more people arrived just for dessert and dancing. It was near midnight when the “meal” finally finished. I ended up leaving after the close at 4am (I don’t like to leave a party early). All in all a wedding lasted about 18 hours. Even if you are not religious, a wedding in France is often expected to go on for at least 14 hours.

Kimstu August 26, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I’m mostly with you except for item #5. No, you do not EVER mention gifts on an invitation, not even to say “No gifts, please”, not even to beg and plead with the invitees NOT to give you any gifts because you REALLY don’t want any.

The very notion that you’re connecting the dots between your offer of hospitality/celebration and other people giving you presents is intrinsically rude.

Yes, everybody knows that it’s a very common practice to give gifts to people who are getting married. No, that does not mean that it’s acceptable for bridal couples to nudge, hint, request, demand, stipulate or suggest ANYTHING AT ALL with regard to the gifts people might get them. Wedding registries exist to make gift-giving easier for people who explicitly ASK for help in choosing a present, not to be shoved in everybody’s faces like pizza delivery ads strewn over windshields and porches.

As for cash bars, traditional etiquette frowns on them because it’s not polite to offer people hospitality and then expect them to pay for part of it. That doesn’t mean you’re obligated to have an all-night full-selection open bar, of course. Hosts should serve their guests good-quality and abundant refreshments in whatever style they like and can afford. That can be just cake and punch, or hot dogs and soda/beer, or caviar and lobster with full bar and Veuve Clicquot, whatever.

It’s losing sight of these basic principles about a wedding being a celebration and offer of hospitality, not an opportunity to scrounge for money and gifts, that is turning modern wedding customs into unbridled greedfests.

Reply

Sceptical Ant August 28, 2014 at 11:59 am

It may well be a cultural difference or just a generation thing because I’ve never received a wedding invitation that didn’t contain a card referring to how best to gift to the couple… c’est la vie I can’t find something when I’ve never known anything different.
As for your point cash bars. I did say you have to provide enough refreshments. I don’t mind cash bars provided the host has already been hospitable, as people are free not to spend money. If you take it to the next level what happens if a guest is fussy and will only drink one thing e.g. beer and the hosts want only wine served? Does the host have to order beer to be hospitable? Should the guest “suck it up”? Or can you not just have a bar for the guest to “do their own thing”? I’m reminded of the Odyssey…Odysseus returns home to find that the guests have depleted his food stocks and generally abused their “Xenia”, so he slaughters them. The moral: it’s the duty of a guest not to be a burden to the host

Reply

Kimstu September 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm

@Sceptical Ant: “If you take it to the next level what happens if a guest is fussy and will only drink one thing e.g. beer and the hosts want only wine served?”

Then the guest drinks wine, or sticks with water or soft drinks or whatever other beverages are available. The guest does not complain about the host’s hospitality choices.

Nor is the host obligated to provide a cash bar so that “fussy” (i.e., rude) guests get to drink whatever they like at their own expense. I’m not telling wedding hosts they can’t do that if their social circle expects it as customary: I’m just telling you why traditional etiquette frowns upon it.

And I’m afraid your Odyssey analogy is way off base. The so-called “guests” that Odysseus found cluttering up his palace when he returned home were actually suitors who had invited THEMSELVES to freeload on his establishment while waiting for his supposed widow to pick one of them as her second husband. They refused to leave even after Odysseus’ son Telemachus made an official complaint about them to the public assembly, but kept on roistering and threatening violence to anyone who interfered with them.

If that’s really the sort of situation that wedding guests in your social circle remind you of, you have my sympathy!

Reply

imc August 27, 2014 at 3:16 am

I second all of this.

Especially re: n. 5. The Honeymoon registry.
As the article itself says, couples nowadays have been living together for a while, when they marry, and already have all that they need for their home. A lot of people are also only children, so they don’t really feel like they need their own set of silver cutlery or prestigious china or other “classic” registry items, because they’ll eventually get the family sets.
The honeymoon registry is just like any other registry. No one forces anyone to participate, no one checks at the door if you’ve participated, before allowing you into the party. And it’s up to each guest to contribute as much as they want to the registry. I don’t think telling people how much the honeymoon costs would change things, one way or the other. What the guests give to the registry is still their gift to the couple. Would they take if back, if they knew the honeymoon was paid for? The excess money would still probably be less than what the couple will spend while on the actual honeymoon, so in a sense the guests are still contributing, only their paying the equivalent of the nice dinner the couple will have on Day 3 rather than 1/5 of the plane trip.
My best friend was in this position last year, so her fiancée and her set up the honeymoon registry and also a registry with an art gallery for a painting they loved and had chosen specifically. That way, people could chose whether to contribute to the honeymoon the couple had chosen, or something durable that would be displayed in the house and the couple would cherish forever. All of us from the wedding party circulated the registry information, but with regards to both the honeymoon and the painting, bride and groom were fully prepared to pay the difference, in case the full price of both could not be met.
They ended up going well over the marks for both the honeymoon and the painting, so they invested the excess in a second painting from the same gallery. I don’t think any single person who participated begrudged them their choice.

Re: nn. 14 & 15. The uninvitation and evening invite.
I’ve never come across an evening invite, but I’m rather familiar with what has been dubbed an “uninvitation”, because it’s rather common in Italy.
Here, traditionally, although much is made about the party, the actual wedding is still the ceremony, which more often than not is religious. The bride&groom will invite their family and as many friends as they can afford to the party afterwards, but there will still normally be a good portion of acquaintances, work colleagues, distant family, and the like who would never expect to be invited, but who would be genuinely happy to be notified about the wedding and maybe take part in the ceremony, if they live close by. Hence the “uninvitations”.
This is so common that wedding invitations normally contain only the details for the ceremony, and a second note is added with the details for luncheon or dinner only for the actual guests. When I receive a regular invitation with no add-on, far from being offended I’m actually happy that the bride&groom were so thoughtful as to include me among the people they chose to share their good news with and let me know in advance when the wedding would take place, so that I could possibly go and see them getting married and share my well wishes.
On the contrary, a good friend from high school is getting married next weekend and although I would have never expected to be invited (we’ve had very little contact in the last few years), I’m a little hurt she never sent me a participation (the uninvitation), either.

Reply

Sceptical Ant August 28, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Asked a Sicilian friend of mine and he said he never gets an uninvitation. Not because you are wrong but because where he’s from everyone knows each other so you don’t need to invite anyone to the church as everyone will already know and just turn up. Instead invites only ever tell you about the reception. It’s strange how social differences that work in a local area seem rude from another, cultural, point of view.
For real rudeness, something that isn’t in the article is a “real invitation”. This happened to a work friend of mine. It was his cousin’s who lives a few hundred miles away. The cousin thought he wouldn’t turn up but invited him anyway “to be polite” even though the venue was full (we think he might have been fishing for a present). Cousin was so shocked when the acceptance came in the post he had to ring him (during work hence why I found out) to say they already were at the venue’s safety limit.

Reply

imc August 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm

I’m from the north, so it could be a regional thing, although I’ve received a participation for a wedding in Palermo a couple of years ago.
I’d guess it’s possible that your friend is from a small town, rather than a medium-to-large city, if everyone automatically knows about a wedding they’re not invited to… that wouldn’t really work outside of a closely knit community.

Reply

Sceptical Ant September 2, 2014 at 10:58 am

I asked. He said there’s about 500 people in his town and they all go to church regularly. So yes, it only really works because keeping the ceremony detail secret would be impossible.

JO August 26, 2014 at 5:22 am

I am not from the UK, but I have seen most if not all of these “trends” in the USA, too. And it’s horrifying. Have we really become so greedy?

Reply

Heather August 26, 2014 at 5:49 am

No doubt the ball started rolling on this long ago, but when we have a society that reveres celebrities who are famous simply for being famous, who use weddings as not just a cash grab but revenue as well, this sends a message that it is socially acceptable. Young girls want to be like and live the life of the likes Kim Kardashian et al. And they see that these people aren’t shunned for their behaviour, they are rewarded for it. So, they copy.

Reply

Margo August 26, 2014 at 5:50 am

Well, the link is to the Daily Mail, so anything in it should be taken with an enormous pinch of salt. Possibly an enormous bucket of salt. please don’t fall into the trap of assuming that the Mail is in any way a reliable or accurate source of news. It really isn’t.

I live in the UK and this does not reflect the weddings I have been invited to at all.

I find it odd that among all the rude and unpleasant things the paper claims couples do they then also list couples who have sold on the decorations they made or the china they bought to use at their wedding reception – I don’t see anything wrong with that at all, in both cases it appears that the couples bought or made the stuff for the reception themselves, there is no suggestion that they are profiting off their guests.

Reply

Green123 August 26, 2014 at 5:51 am

I don’t know about greed being socially acceptable, but to many people in the UK the Daily Mail is NOT socially acceptable, so unfortunately I won’t be clicking on the link.

Reply

B August 27, 2014 at 3:07 am

Ha ha ha! I love it! I hate the Daily Fail with a passion – racist, misogynist, snobbish and dishonest.

Reply

Patti Brant August 26, 2014 at 6:10 am

I had a lovely wedding in Hawaii and paid for the tickets for 3 of my guests so that they could attend.

Reply

Mary August 26, 2014 at 6:16 am

I don’t have a problem with the fake cake. As long as all of the guests get dessert. But everything else? Wow.

Reply

UKHelen August 26, 2014 at 6:35 am

I was asked for ‘money for the honeymoon’ instead of a proper present. I wouldn’t have minded if the bride & groom were young and in need of money, but the groom was older and well-off: I felt insulted by what felt like a lazy, greedy request. I bought them a beautiful, useful (and quite expensive) present and never got a thank you note for it. Eventually I heard from the groom’s mother that they’d exchanged it. Gee, thanks for letting me know.

I did send money to a close relative when she married, because she and her husband were trying to set up their first home, so I knew the money would come in handy. I also sent small presents which I thought would fit their interests. I got a prompt thank you note that time.

People should just have the wedding/honeymoon they can afford. I’d never imagined people would do some of the things in that article. Oh, and years ago I went to one of those, ‘You’re only invited to part of the day’ invitations. It was a complete washout as far as I was concerned. Going to the pub with lots of people I’d never met didn’t feel like celebrating someone’s big day, since I hadn’t even seen them get married. I just had a very boring evening in a crowded, smokey, noisy bar.

Reply

kit August 27, 2014 at 1:25 am

Gee, so because of husband being wealthy you felt insulted to donate your money towards honeymoon trip they wanted, but not insulted to donate the same amount towards an expensive gift they didn’t want? How really nice of you! How nasty of them to exchange that piece of junk they did neither ask for nor need!

I do agree that to let people buy you things from registry where you are supposed to have things you want as presents, and then exchange those for money, is tacky. I don’t see how changing a present that was not wished for (no matter how useful *the giver* considers it – there’s always an old relative who thinks you absolutely need this or that) is tacky in any way.

Reply

Steve August 28, 2014 at 11:06 am

It is rude to ask for money.

It is rude to ask for any presents.

It is rude to fail to write thank you notes.

It is rude to tell a generous gift-giver that you have exchanged the gift.

Clear enough for you?

Reply

imc August 27, 2014 at 7:29 am

So… B&G are getting married. You are invited. You want to give them a gift.
They are well-off and they indirectly tell you and all other guests “we appreciate that you’d want to get us a gift, but we have everything we need for the house, and anything we don’t have we can buy ourselves, so if you’d like to do something meaningful for us, you are welcome to contribute to our honeymoon”.
You chose to disregard all of that because you think they should be able to afford their own honeymoon. Instead you buy them something else. Which they apparently… couldn’t afford??!!
After you’ve gone against their express wishes, you get offended when they choose to give something they didn’t ask for, need, and possibly like, back in exchange for something they actually need and like.
While B&G should still have thanked you for the gift, I don’t see how a honeymoon registry or exchanging a gift is more rude than going your own way with a gift. That is, I don’t find either behavior rude per se, but I tend to lean more towards the couple’s side.

Why would you presume to know what other people may find beautiful and useful when they expressly wished for something else?? The fact that you spent a lot of money on the gift actually makes it worse. It’s pure consumerism and condescension. With that gift you basically told them that their wishes and preferences meant nothing to you, and that you knew what they needed better than them. That you preferred to spend a lot of money on something you liked, rather than give even a symbolic contribution to something they cared about.
If the couple is well off they can afford both the honeymoon and any household appliance or decoration. If they feel like they don’t need anything specific for the house, but they know guests will want to give them a present, what would you expect them to do?? Rather than find themselves cluttered with stuff they don’t need in the first place, it’s efficient and thoughtful on their part to give everyone the chance to contribute to the most significant few weeks of their lives, even though they’d be perfectly able to pay for it themselves.

I love choosing gifts for my friends, but if they tell me specifically that there’s something they need, want or like, I don’t see why I would put my own desires and tastes before theirs. Why would anyone do that??

Reply

Steve August 28, 2014 at 11:07 am

There are many good books about etiquette, including one by the owner of the site, that could help you get a grounding in the basics.

Reply

UKHelen August 28, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Yes, I did feel insulted by the request for money, as this was after the recession hit and the groom worked high up in the industry which had caused the recession, in many people’s minds. To ask less wealthy people for cash in those circumstances was, I felt, insensitive in the extreme.

And they exchanged my beautiful gift for another of the same item in the correct size, so it WAS useful to them, otherwise (with my express blessing) they could’ve exchanged it for anything else. My annoyance was with the way they didn’t send a thank you note, didn’t phone, didn’t speak to me about it directly but made me wait many months before I had the news in an aside from the groom’s mother.

I am surprised at you both for berating me for choosing what I wanted to give as a gift, which was surely my right? Whatever happened to the Etiquette Hell mantra, ‘You should be grateful for any gift. You should have no expectations. You are not entitled to a gift at all’? Funny, when I told on another thread, how a relative had ‘fined’ me present-wise because I and my mother had asked her to do something practical for my wedding, I was jumped on and had that mantra recited at me! You can’t have it both ways.

Reply

Steve August 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Your behavior was impeccable. You have received criticisms that are so not correct they are not even wrong.

Reply

imc August 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Unless it was me “jumping on you” in that occasion, I don’t think I qualify as wanting to have it both ways. And I never said anything you did is rude, in the first place.

I’m just saying that I don’t think the couple was rude in asking contribution for the honeymoon instead of material gifts. The way they asked for it might have been rude (that hasn’t been covered), but the manner of request is one thing, the request itself quite another.
If they write it on the invite, it’s rude. If they tell you to your face, it’s rude. If you find out through the grapevine it’s not rude if they want a vase, but it’s rude if they want a vacation??
I honestly don’t see any difference between part of a plane ticket to Bora Bora and a crystal vase. Neither equates to asking for pocket money. Both are equivalent to saying “if you’d like to get us something in celebration of our marriage, here’s what we’d appreciate most of all”. Unless we are now opposing registries as a general concept, its sounds like the same thing to me.
Thinking about it, if a couple is well off I actually find it more reasonable that they would register for something special, that they would always treasure (their first days alone, as man and wife), rather than for trinkets and appliances that they already own or could very well buy at their own leisure.
But it’s true: they should be grateful for any gift, they aren’t entitled to anything, they should have no expectation. And you have every right to disregard their stated preference, as is perfectly within your rights. I just find it as weird as someone having a traditional registry and guests buying outside of it. Or like the kid from some weeks ago who wanted a dog and the mother got a pair of birds. Or someone wanting a Nokia Lumia for graduation and the parents giving an iPhone: it’s all-around better and more expensive, but the poor kid just wanted a Lumia. It’s still a gift and the receiver will still be grateful… but I kind of always thought that the point of gifts was to make the receiver happy, rather than merely appreciative. They both come with gratitude, only one’s slightly better than the other.

Reply

UKHelen August 29, 2014 at 3:40 am

I remembered…

A friend got married abroad (no request for funds to do that), then on her return she invited those of us who couldn’t make it to the wedding to a party in the UK. Asked what she wanted for a wedding present, she said, “Nothing, thanks, because we’ve already set up a home”. And that was it. (I gave flowers, but there was no need to give anything). How come nobody seems to have considered that unconventional option?

And for my own wedding, we had a wedding list but some ‘old relatives’ went their own way! In one case that was particularly lovely, as one couple I hadn’t had much contact with for years gave us a breakfast set from a famous local pottery – and without knowing it, they picked the design I most loved at that pottery (and hadn’t mentioned to anyone in my family). What a fantastic surprise! So don’t write off ‘old relatives’ who give you what THEY want to 🙂

Reply

Kimstu August 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm

@UKHelen was not complaining because the bridal couple exchanged her gift, but because she was explicitly TOLD (by the MoG) that they’d exchanged it (see: “Gee, thanks for letting me know”). And also because they never sent her a thank-you for it. And also because she was explicitly ASKED for “money for the honeymoon” for a gift.

All of those things are etiquette no-nos. It is just plain rude and arrogant to give other people ANY unsolicited instructions, hints, suggestions, requests, or demands concerning whether or how they should bestow gifts upon you. (If they explicitly ASK for help in choosing a present for you, of course, that’s another matter.)

It is even more rude and arrogant to make it apparent that you disdained or disliked a gift that somebody was generous enough to give you. No, it’s not tacky to exchange a gift if you do it circumspectly, but it is definitely tacky to let on to the giver (even indirectly) that you’ve done so. Telling them about it directly is super tacky (though in this case, that was apparently the MoG’s fault rather than the bridal couple’s). And of course, failing to express gratitude for a gift is the tackiest of all.

Reply

Lizajane August 26, 2014 at 7:53 am

Most of this is horrible. A few things I don’t have a problem with. The fake cake is one; when I’ve seen it there were sheet cakes to be served. As long as there’s delicious cake, who cares. Theothere’s is selling decorations, etc. after the wedding. This has no effect on the guests so I think it’s a good move financially for 2 couples and good for the environment.

Reply

Kirst August 28, 2014 at 8:01 am

Everything in the Daily Mail is horrible.

Reply

Cecilia August 26, 2014 at 8:03 am

Why do Americans get bashed about bad wedding behavior-
“The Americans, who are infinitely better about confronting things head-on,, have come up with the answer.
Brides who want to let would-be guests down gently send out Non-Invitations, which are meant to be a polite way of letting people know they haven’t made the cut.
While British brides stop short of this, many employ the practice of ‘selective inviting’ instead, with a tiered wedding-guest system becoming commonplace.
It basically boils down to ‘the more important you are, the more stages of the wedding you get invited to’, with only a select group of people attending the whole thing.” – when clearly brides the world over are guilty are bad behavior and greed? Being invited to the only parts of a British wedding that will not cost the couple money seems pretty rude. NOT being invited to a wedding doesn’t strike me as particularly rude, unless you were cut out of spite or over some petty detail.

I have never received a “non-invitation”, but have witnessed the greed train. Has anyone else received a “non-invitation”?

Reply

Steve August 26, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Google “You’re not invited” and “wedding”. It’s a real thing. And it’s horrifying.

Reply

Amanda H. August 27, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if the “non-invitation” they’re referring to is a wedding announcement. I’ve received several of those from friends and family in the past, where it lets you know a couple is getting married, but doesn’t explicitly invite you to the wedding or reception. And you know, I have no problem with that.

Reply

Cecilia August 28, 2014 at 8:07 am

I agree- I have no problem not being invited. I’m glad to hear the couple are getting married and wish them the best but a printed “you are not invited” card would make me momentarily mad, then I would toss it in the garbage and mark them off my friends and acquaintances list.

Reply

Steve August 28, 2014 at 11:08 am

A wedding announcement is to be sent after the couple is already married.

A non-invitation is a separate thing.

Reply

Amanda H. August 29, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Every wedding announcement I or any of my relatives have ever received were before the wedding, not after. I’m not talking about an announcement in the paper (which is usually after), but one before the wedding that’s usually on a postcard or similar photo card and features engagement photos.

Reply

B August 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

People do this? Announce to you they’re marrying then don’t invite you? Wow. Egotistical!

Reply

Amanda H. August 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm

I don’t see how a wedding announcement is egotistical. Frequently it’s because the couple in question are acquaintances rather than friends (and usually only have so much space/money for the reception, but still want to let friends know), or because they’re family but halfway across the country and therefore don’t expect me to be able to attend in the first place due to airfare concerns and the like. I’d much rather receive the announcement letting me know that one of my cousins is getting married without actually getting an attendant invitation than find out two months after the event when another relative mentions it in passing.

Generally, if the couple is close both in terms of relationship and distance, then an actual invitation is sent in addition to the announcement.

And the announcement never includes registry information, even when sent by people who I know include registry info in the invites themselves.

Reply

Sari August 26, 2014 at 8:18 am

Isn’t the Daily Mail generally regarded as a tabloid and not a newspaper?

Reply

Tracy W August 26, 2014 at 8:20 am

It strikes me that there’s a big difference between most of the things in this article, and the people who make money by renting out the products they brought/made themselves for their wedding day, like the couple who built a full set of fairground stalls.

(And I’ve noticed the everyone-brings-sweet-stuff with potlucks thing myself, though I haven’t been to any wedding potlucks. I now deliberately bring a large vegan savoury dish when going to potlucks.)

Reply

Kimstu August 26, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Yes, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with reselling/renting out items that you originally provided for your own wedding with your own money and/or labor.

It’s very telling that the article author is scolding brides for mistaking greed for thrift, while she herself seems to be mistaking thrift for greed. Good manners don’t require lavish expenditure or reckless waste.

(Speaking of the article author, is it possible that somebody can really be named “Imogen Edwards-Jones”? No offense, UK Ehellions, but it sounds to us the way a name like “Betsy Sue Gartersnap” might to you—a little too stereotypically transatlantic to be real!)

Reply

B August 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Yes, it’s entirely possible. It’s not even an odd name.

Reply

JO August 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm

I was once a bridesmaid in a potluck wedding. This bride was a very good friend, so I participated even though I didn’t approve. Apparently that’s how all her family does their weddings, and she was only 20, so it didn’t even even occur to her that it might appear rude. (She even asked her guests to write what dish they planned to bring on the response card -cringe)! But I couldn’t help but feel she got her comeuppance when one guest brought a take out pizza, and another arrived late and plunked a bucket of KFC down ON the cake table!!! You reap what you sow 🙂

Reply

Lera99 August 26, 2014 at 8:22 am

I think a big part of the problem is the wedding industry.

When my great grandmother got married in 1916, she wore her nicest Sunday Dress. My great grandfather wore his nicest Sunday suit. The were married at City Hall. Because in those days the only people who had big weddings were high society people.

When my grandmother got married in 1938, she and my grandfather had a small church wedding with a small reception at her mother’s home after.

When my mom got married in 1973, she and my dad had a small church wedding with a small reception at her friend’s house. (Also, my parents were married 2 weeks from the day they met. My grandmother pulled together the wedding in 3 days: Church, Dress, Flowers, Etc… because my mom had just planned to get married at City Hall. The largest expense for the wedding was the 24 bottles of champagne for the reception.)

Now society acts like every wedding should be some crazy, lavish affair with 400 of your closest friends in attendance. There should be swans and ice sculptures, a 6 course meal cooked by a 4 star chef, a designer wedding dress, 16 bridesmaids also in designer dresses, a cake created by a TV celebrity, etc…

And of course it isn’t a real wedding unless you had an engagement party, 4 wedding showers, a bachelorette party, gifts from Tiffani’s for the entire wedding party, and a 2 week Honeymoon in an exotic location like Bali.

That is just ridiculous and far beyond most people’s budgets.

We as a society need to start telling brides that there is nothing wrong or shameful with a small wedding. It is perfectly ok to get married on the beach, at a park, in someone’s back yard, with 40 or 50 of your closest family and friends in attendance. It is ok for the reception to be a cake and punch reception. A small, thoughtful, wedding within your budget is just as valid as a huge Hundred Thousand Dollar wedding.

We need to stop telling brides that the wedding is “Her Special Day!!!!!” and the “Most Important Day of Her Life!!!!”

The important thing isn’t the wedding anyway, or at least it shouldn’t be. The important thing should be the promise to love and cherish this one person for the rest of your days. The important thing should be the relationship the wedding is celebrating.

If we could make that shift as a society, then brides won’t feel so pressed to have weddings they can’t afford. And without that pressure they won’t feel they have to beg, borrow, trick, and steal the funds from their guests in order to have the wedding of their dreams.

Reply

EllenS August 26, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Our culture as a whole is confused about the meaning of the words “deserve” and “afford.”

Reply

mark August 26, 2014 at 9:54 pm

I sometimes think people watched too many Disney princess movies. Because that is the what they think a wedding has to be.

Reply

Ash K. August 26, 2014 at 11:48 pm

AMEN.

Reply

Maggie August 26, 2014 at 11:57 pm

This! This! This!

Reply

lnelson1218 August 27, 2014 at 7:36 am

still looking for the “like” button

Reply

Lizajane August 27, 2014 at 7:40 am

Exactly.

Reply

Raven August 27, 2014 at 8:13 am

This is exactly perfect! Thank you!

When DH and I were planning our wedding, I got so sick of people saying “Your special day.” Our wedding day was important to us, but not as important as our marriage is. People kept trying to upsell us on stuff we could not afford, and didn’t want anyway. As soon as you say “wedding” instead of (for example) “family reunion,” prices triple and everyone’s expectations sky rocket. It’s terrible.

Add to that, as you said, the cultural pressure now to have the biggest, best, and most expensive, and brides and grooms can be easily tempted to plan for something they can’t afford. Everyone is so busy one-upping each other, they forget about why they’re planning a wedding in the first place.

Do what you can afford. Focus on building a marriage, not throwing a party. Don’t hit up your friends and relatives for money.

Reply

twik August 27, 2014 at 8:54 am

You’ve nailed it. This leads to some people thinking it is more important to have 400 guests who are paying for their meal, versus their closest friends being given open hospitality. Then they wonder why their guests get catty about the food. Why, because you are their vendor, and they are registering complaints.

Reply

anon August 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

+1 to this, I say!

Reply

jazzgirl205 August 26, 2014 at 8:24 am

This is so sad. Too many HCs have the idea that the wedding reception is a celebration of and for themselves and that the guests are “extras.” The reception is for the guests. It is a way of thanking them for being in your life and sharing your joy. It is a gift for the guests.

My wedding in the 80’s seems quaint and old fashioned. It was an evening BWW in an antebellum cathedral with a reception at my house (which was big and had a courtyard). We had a jazz pianist, served champagne and margaritas, and had many tables heavily laden with catered finger food. The guests stayed long after dh and I left. They stayed even after the electricity went out and Mama had to scrounge for candles. Apparently candlelight made the party more magical.

Reply

KiwiAlice August 27, 2014 at 1:15 am

The trouble is that even an elegantly simple event such as yours can still cost a fortune these days! Especially in bigger cities and if you don’t have a large home.

Reply

Victoria August 26, 2014 at 8:24 am

I think that article is pretty far leaning on hyperbole. Like this:

“What to do when one has so many friends and just not enough space in the marquee?
The Americans, who are infinitely better about confronting things head-on, have come up with the answer.
Brides who want to let would-be guests down gently send out Non-Invitations, which are meant to be a polite way of letting people know they haven’t made the cut.”

That makes it sound like it’s ‘the way it’s done here’. A few people may have done that, but it’s by no means a common practice, I’m pretty sure everyone that’s heard of it being done has been appalled, and I don’t think it’s become more socially acceptable.

Reply

Kirst August 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm

The only thing that’s true in the Daily Mail is the sports results. The rest is lies.

Reply

Shannon August 26, 2014 at 8:25 am

I think the reason that there hasn’t been any decline is that greedy people don’t always see themselves as greedy and they justify their actions.

They say that they wouldn’t explicitly charge their guests to attend but then they have a honeymoon fund bowl, a dollar dance, a cash bar, and they don’t send out thank you cards.

Reply

Jenny R August 26, 2014 at 8:40 am

I think some people believe they are being smart and clever when they come with these stunts but what they are really doing is advertising how no one bothered to teach them basic manners or couthness. The thing I read sound like something 5 year olds would come up with while scheming every which way to get that new bike.

There is a whole generation who was brought up thinking everything they did was a “Good Job”!!! and that they were very special unique human beings. As a result they want what they want, after all they deserve it and if they can’t pay for it them someone else just will have to!

The only way to stop trends like this is to not go along with them. People need to understand an invitation is not really a demand for a gift, despite what some people believe and there is nothing wrong with just sending a card. People need to starting sending more cards sans gift in response to “invitations” like these.

Reply

AS August 26, 2014 at 8:42 am

It is infuriating how they keep blaming the brides for all the wrong-doings. As if the grooms are totally innocent, and had no part in the greed-run. It has been really difficult to go past the “greedy brides do___ ” for the nth time.

Reply

JWH August 26, 2014 at 8:42 am

A lot of horrifying stuff in there … although I’m a little puzzled as to why I should be offended that a couple turns their wedding props — items they purchased to hold their wedding — into a business afterward.

Reply

Wendy August 27, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I agree. I don’t see any problem with that at all.

Reply

KarenK August 26, 2014 at 8:58 am

Although overall, this article is horrifying from an etiquette perspective, I have to disagree that this is tacky:

“Some savvy couples have devised ways to turn their wedding into business opportunities.

One couple made an entire set of full-size fairground stalls from scratch as entertainment for their wedding, then sold them afterwards on eBay, and organised a car boot sale to sell the crockery they’d bought to serve the wedding breakfast on.

Another, Georgia Mathieu, launched a website (onceuponadetail.com) where you can rent vintage props and crockery she bought for her ‘English/Parisian rustic romantic’ wedding.

Choose from antique teaspoons for £2.29, ornate birdcages for £9.99 or scrabble letters that say ‘BRIDE’ or ‘GROOM’ for 99p each.

Another couple, Rosie and Steve, had a similar idea and launched avintagewedding.co.uk, a business which rents out second-hand wedding paraphernalia, including china and props first used at their wedding three years ago.

Their earnings have covered the cost of their wedding and the business has now turned into a full-time job for Rosie.”

I see nothing wrong with selling/renting items you have already paid for after the fact in order to defray the cost of your wedding. It’s your stuff. You can do what you want with it.

Reply

fudgebride August 26, 2014 at 9:14 am

This is just telling me most of what I should NOT do for upcoming wedding of mine…

Reply

DGS August 26, 2014 at 9:14 am

Yuck. Just…yuck.

Reply

Emma August 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

I can’t believe that these things are actually happening! Emails instead of invitations!? Invitations were one of the first things I bought after confirming our locations! Now they’re sitting in the box waiting for March 2015 to send them out. And we sent little magnet save the dates. They were adorable. I couldn’t imagine giving those up in preference for emails! I will admit, my bridesmaids sent email save the dates for my bridal shower, but only because it’ll take place around the holidays and they wanted to give as much notice as possible. A real invitation will be sent out in November.

It seems a little counterintuitive to want this fancy wedding and then send an email to invite your guests.

Reply

Barb August 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

While any tactic trying to pry money from a guest’s pocket galls me, I was impressed with the couples selling or renting their used wedding paraphernalia. I think that’s brilliant!

Reply

Magicdomino August 26, 2014 at 10:25 am

There’s a thread on the forums about charging wedding guests for dinner, payable in advance. Judging from the comments, I’d say it is an excellent way to trim down your guest list. It would probably solve that pesky problem of too many wedding gifts too. 😉

I don’t need a formal engraved invitation, but something nice that I can put on the refrigerator as a reminder would be useful. Some of us forget to enter things into the calendar, and emails tend to get buried among all the other emails. In fact, about the only item in the list that wasn’t at least mildly annoying (Seriously, brides-to-be, you do not want me helping to sew bridesmaid dresses.) is the couples selling their wedding decorations for a profit, as long as it is more than just table centerpieces.

Reply

nannerdoman August 26, 2014 at 10:29 am

This brings a whole new layer of meaning to the phrase, “Married for money”.

Reply

Raven August 26, 2014 at 10:52 am

Is it “more acceptable” these days to be greedy? I don’t think so, really. I think if anything, the internet makes it easier to hear about these types of stories, which makes it seem like there are more people doing them – I bet the number hasn’t really changed that much.

Also, polite spine is hard for a lot of people, especially when it comes to family. “Rocking the boat” is uncomfortable at the best of times, and when it comes to things like weddings or baby showers, it’s easier to just side-eye and roll with it. I’m not saying it’s right, but I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of it here and there.

I don’t know what the answer is, since it’s not like you can sit a bunch of adults down and scold them for being rude. They are *allowed* to do whatever they want, after all. I guess if it bugs you too much, decline your attendance and send whatever gift you want, regardless of what they’ve asked.

It’s easy to get annoyed by people’s behaviour. 5 minutes on Facebook does it to me nearly every day. I try to remember that I’m responsible for myself, and as long as I’m ok with what I’m doing, and the terrible they’re doing doesn’t actually harm me (or anyone else, as far as I can tell), then their etiquette errors are their own problems, not mine. It’s not my place to try to change other people, as much as I’d like to. I try my best to lead by example, and carry on.

Reply

Ashley August 26, 2014 at 10:53 am

If I was ever asked to pay for my own food, I wouldn’t be attending that wedding…

Reply

Sophia August 26, 2014 at 11:09 am

So I’m curious what the “un-invitation” is that the article references that American brides do. I have never heard of this (although the “A” list and “B” list has been done in the USA, not just in Britain). If someone has done it, I don’t think it’s a common custom.

I love the Daily Mail, but let’s also take it with a grain of salt, since it’s essentially a sensationalist paper. I’m sure we’ve all seen some form of these etiquette violations, but the article is definitely generalizing and making it sound like there’s some sort of national pandemic.

I actually don’t see anything wrong with the wedding cake not being all real – it’s essentially the same thing as putting some extra extensions in your hair to hold the volume that day, or wearing Spanx under your dress. It’s not the guests never get to eat cake after the cake cutting (in fact, it’s pretty common practice that most of the cake is actually sheet cake cut up in the kitchen to make the process faster).

However, “honeymoon registries” drive me nuts. I have always just given the couple cash directly instead of going through the fund if I’m giving them cash – after all, I’d rather they use the full amount of my gift rather than -3% or whatever commission the website is taking!

The practice of putting items on the registry just to get more “cash value” in terms of returns/store credit is pretty greedy and definitely a slap in the face to whoever picked out the gift for you. However, in all families, there’s some great-aunt or grandmother who decides that the item on your registry isn’t good enough and gets you the same item but their favorite brand or whatnot. So, in the case of receiving duplicates or something that doesn’t fit your home, I think it’s ok to do a return/exchange!

Reply

Devin August 27, 2014 at 2:35 pm

My brother recently got married, at 32, so he and his bride already had a house full of items. I thought the honeymoon registry was great as people close to the couple knew they didn’t need the normal registry items, and they knew what part of the trip their gift would be going towards (aka not cash in their pockets). After the honeymoon, they sent out little souvenirs as their thank yous to those that given to their trip. I received some wonderful spices and a decorative bowl as I had contributed to their ‘trip to the spice market’. Another guest received a silky soft pashmina from their day trip up the Bosphorus River. I thought that was a wonderful way to send out their thank yous.
When it comes to returning gifts, I think that specifically asking for gifts for them to be returned is greedy. For items you receive that you can not, or will not, use I think that keeping them just to collect dust is wasteful. For the most part people wont notice if the toaster oven you use is not the exact one they purchased, and if they do, they should appreciate you didn’t throw out a perfectly good appliance just because they received a new one.

Reply

Steve August 29, 2014 at 8:15 am

Admin should do a post just on honeymoon registries.

Acceptable:

– Not registering for boxed gifts

– Registering for specific experiences–mani pedi, scuba lessons–in such a way that guests can actually purchase these services through a travel agent or resort

– Sharing registry information the usual approved way: nothing in the invitation, word of mouth, Googlable online registry, etc.

– Absolutely no requests from the couple to use the registry, to avoid buying boxed gifts, or to (horrors) fund the honeymoon. No instructions to gift givers at all.

– If directly asked where they are registered, the couple may answer. If pressed, they may explain only by saying: “Thanks so much for asking. We already have everything we need for the house,” possibly adding (some disagree), “We’re just saving up for the honeymoon.” This will likely result in cash gifts.

– Gratefully receive all gifts, including boxed gifts, and send personalized, handwritten thank- you notes promptly.

Unacceptable:

– Honeyfunds. These are frauds perpetrated on the guests, who think they are buying you an elephant ride when you are simply getting the cash equivalent minus a 3% fee. If a guest wanted to give you cash, everyone in the world knows how to give cash without paying a fee. Instead you fooled someone who wanted to give you a more tangible gift into donating money. Horrible.

– Asking for money in any way. This is always rude. Literally every conscious adult on the planet knows that people like free money. If guests choose to give you something different, they are doing so for their own reasons.

– Giving ANY instructions (no boxed gifts) in any way. You are not to presume you are entitled to any gifts, nor are you to presume you can commandeer your guest’s generosity. A registry is there to answer a guest’s freely asked question, not to deliver marching orders.

– Any sign or signal of ingratitude when you don’t get the gifts you want

Reply

AnaMaria August 26, 2014 at 11:13 am

Wow, paying for your meal?? Why not schedule an evening or mid-afternoon reception and serve dessert or h’dordeuvres? Or skip the bar and serve cheaper n/a beverages? If guests complain that the meal wasn’t fancy enough, it’s their problem…but expecting the guests to pay for a lavish dinner?? While I was in school, I had to decline several wedding invitations because the cost of travel and lodging was too much- if it becomes socially acceptable to ask guests to pay for meals, I’ll be turning down a lot more invitations!!

I do have to say I don’t see anything greedy about selling wedding or renting decorations that you bought/made yourself. The other option is to leave them sitting in storage collecting dust!

Reply

mark August 26, 2014 at 11:22 am

Is it evil of me that I just giggled at most of the article? I thought it was mostly funny. I think this is mostly an evolution of the “princess wedding” that they quite frankly can’t afford. So they start money grabbing.

Other random thoughts:

I personally am not bothered about people returning gifts for cash, with people getting married older let be serious how many need a $20 Mr. Coffee when they already have a $150 Keurig brewer. Of course they are going to return the gift. I usually short circuit the entire process and either give them a gift card or cash.

And as to sending invitations via email I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s 2014 email has been generally available for 20 years. Make some effort to add personal touches to each email and I think you’ll be fine.

The styrofoam wedding cake, I thought that was pure genius. Why buy a big cake that is going to be pitched in the trash?

Serving different grade wines to guests vs the head table is rude. If you can afford plonk serve plonk to everyone including yourself. Or don’t have wine at all.

Reply

Shh its me August 27, 2014 at 7:11 am

I think the offensive part would be , having the Keurig and still registering for the Mr. Coffee knowing you were going to return it.

Reply

mark August 27, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I wasn’t thinking of a registry. I was thinking of some random gift received. Not everyone buys off the registry.

Reply

jazzgirl205 August 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm

The styrofoam wedding cake is indicitive of the whole greedy wedding theme. It looks ostentatious and generous on the surface, but the true content is meager and miserly. I’ve seen many beautiful smaller cakes.

Reply

Ms. Charming August 26, 2014 at 11:25 am

As someone who has been married just under a year, I have SO many stories that would make people’s jaws drop.
When I got engaged, I received advice from various people who stated I should:

• Put “no boxed gifts” on my bridal shower and wedding invitations, so I can get lots of money;
• Have a honeymoon registry, so guests can pay for my honeymoon and I can go somewhere for free; and
• Have an ENTRANCE fee that guests have to pay at the door.

The list goes on. I did NONE of these things, and had a wonderful wedding. I did not expect gifts, but everyone was generous, and gave me either cash, or something they thought I would need. Everyone got a personalized heartfelt thank you within 2 months, and no one felt slighted.
I did laugh at the part that states some brides and grooms give some tables better wines then others. After reading that I remembered when my husband’s best friend’s wife was telling me about her wedding years ago. She stated that only 10 tables had the expensive wines, and the rest of the guests had the “cheap stuff”. The kicker? Her family is worth billions (I am not exaggerating, she comes from excessive wealth) but they felt the need to segregate guests by offering the cheap stuff to everyone else. Money doesn’t buy class people. 😉

Reply

Specky August 26, 2014 at 11:39 am
A different Tracy August 26, 2014 at 11:55 am

“The Americans, who are infinitely better about confronting things head-on, have come up with the answer.
Brides who want to let would-be guests down gently send out Non-Invitations, which are meant to be a polite way of letting people know they haven’t made the cut.”

Um, what? Are they talking about wedding announcements?

Reply

Steve August 26, 2014 at 8:07 pm

No. These are formal things that look like they could be invitations but instead tell you that you’re not invited.

Sometimes brides do this on Facebook, with more explicit lists of why people aren’t invited (you don’t make time for us anyway, I wasn’t in your wedding, etc).

Reply

KarenK August 27, 2014 at 11:16 am

Nope. They send out preemptive “We’re getting married, but you’re not invited because …” cards. Usually sent to people who might reasonably expect to get an invitation, but are not going to be invited. Yes, you are telling people you will not be inviting them to your wedding. Different from announcements, which usually go out after the fact.

Reply

A different Tracy August 28, 2014 at 9:35 am

Wow. I’ve never heard of this.

Reply

Dee August 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm

It seems that, often, it is the mothers of the bride (and groom?) who are encouraging their children to use the wedding as an opportunity to cash in. Or, to at least reduce the financial damage. Listening to these mothers go on and on about the wonderful event and you’ll hear a whole lot of excuses as to why their child is so special that we should all be grateful just to be invited. Why a “guest” would go to one of these things is beyond me; if one is forced to, to keep the family happy or whatnot, then why would you participate in the farce by buying off the registry or paying for the meal? Just keep things neutral, buy a present of your own choosing, and sit through the thing with a fake smile.

And if you can get out of it? Why send an RSVP to something you are being asked to pay for? If they call to find out if you are attending, to berate you for not RSVPing, then you just tell them there must be some mistake, as you did not receive a wedding invitation but a heads-up about a fundraising event, which never requires an RSVP. And then declare your regrets. If you do it politely, with no malice, then there is no etiquette blunder. It’s a financial transaction you are politely declining, and it was set up that way by the bride and groom, so they can’t complain if they don’t like the responses.

Reply

Hillary August 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Most of these are entirely reprehensible. There is one, though, that I don’t take issue with (and am about to do next month at my own wedding): “‘It’s also quite common for brides to ask for a huge polystyrene wedding cake with real icing on. It looks like they’ve spent a fortune but only one of the smaller tiers is actual cake which they cut through.'”

My sister is a baker and is graciously making the wedding cake. We have a “dummy cake” that she is going to decorate, with delicious sheet cake in the back. While certainly not true for every cake, I’ve come across quite a few that are way too dry in order to prevent itself from collapsing. Using sheet cake will make it easier to travel (it’s sort of a destination wedding) and will keep it moist. I’m actually really excited about it, because it’s a raspberry cake for the bottom layer, raspberry filling, white cake for the top layer, and chocolate ganache on top! Is that truly considered a faux pas?

Reply

Kate August 26, 2014 at 8:27 pm

No way! I don’t think so at least. They didn’t say so in the article, but I suspect the fake cake people mentioned in the article are also not serving cake to anyone but themselves. That they didn’t want to pay for a whole cake to be baked. Very different from what you are doing! Congratulations by the way!

Reply

Vermin8 August 27, 2014 at 6:22 am

I don’t necessarily think the fake cake is rude (as others have said – as long as everyone gets a piece) but it does seem silly and unnecessary?.If the sheet cake is best, put the sheet cake out there without a fake cake. What’s the point?

Reply

A different Tracy August 27, 2014 at 9:48 am

As long as everyone gets delicious cake, I don’t care if it’s hiding behind a tower of iced Styrofoam!

Reply

KarenK August 27, 2014 at 11:17 am

I don’t think so. As long as your guests get cake, what’s the difference?

Reply

jazzgirl205 August 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Why not just serve a beautiful, honest sheet cake? That’s what we did at my brother’s wedding.

My dh and I stayed at a B&B in Nova Scotia. When we went down for breakfast, the table was beautifully set with lots of Victorian silverplate serving pieces. When we sat down, we noticed that all the vegetable dishes, coffee and tea pots, butter coolers, and syrup dispensers were all clean and empty. The hostess came in carrying our already filled plates of breakfast. It felt somewhat spurious, as if we were on a stage set. It was the pretense of something grander than it actually was.

Reply

Timothy August 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm

A potluck wedding? Really? I just…I have no words. If you can’t afford food at a wedding, don’t have a mealtime reception. Simple as that. Asking your guests to supply the food for your wedding is absolutely ridiculous.

Reply

Lera99 August 27, 2014 at 9:01 am

One of my friends was married at a local park.

They had a pot luck reception right after where the Bride & Groom provided the hot dogs, hamburgers, bottled water, soda, and cupcakes.

They asked the guests to bring side dishes to share.
It was a really fun time!

And since it was such a casual event – no one minded bringing something tasty to share.

Reply

Steve August 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

How enterprising of you, to individually and scientifically survey each participant to make sure that not one of them minded!

Reply

KiwiAlice September 1, 2014 at 5:04 am

Steve, I really appreciate your insights and perspective, but could you cut out a bit of the snark? Perhaps it’s just the misreading allowed for woth text based communication but I feel you’re a bit mean sometimes.

Reply

Rod August 27, 2014 at 10:56 am

how so? Just make it clear that this is the case.

My previous boss was Hungarian. His family tradition was to hold a potluck wedding over a day and a half or so. The groom and bride would be cooking it as a first meal, and the rest of the family/guests would bring food as well. I didn’t know him them but saw the photos – relatively small wedding, 30 people, mostly very close, all having a great time.

You can always say “no thank you” on your RSVP. For most weddings I’ve been invited I wouldn’t consider bringing food. For my best friend that had a small wedding (basically two families, I was hugely honoured to be invited, <20 people and 5 were children) in a small town in Austria it was perfectly in character – and MIL supplied pierogi and polish goodies while his family supplied the Mexican part of the meal.

There's ways to do this in an etiquette acceptable way. After all, etiquette is cultural – perfectly within the mores in these examples. I assume you don't give two kisses to your male friends – doesn't mean those Argentineans are in violation of everything that is sacred.

Reply

Steve August 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm

If you are in the US, there is no acceptable way to throw a potluck wedding.

Reply

Kimstu September 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm

The operative word being “throw”.

When it comes to potluck weddings, what people tend to forget is that etiquette-wise, potlucks are not HOSTED, they are ORGANIZED. A proper potluck (in the US, at least) is a communal collaborative event where all of the participants are sharing the hosting responsibilities.

That means that none of the potluck participants is officially the host of the event and nobody is entitled to claim exclusive hosting privileges, such as unilaterally deciding who can participate, what will be served, where and when it will be held, and so forth.

If it’s traditional in your community for your church or your family to put together a potluck in celebration of your marriage, there’s nothing anti-etiquette in that. Or your social circle might decide that a potluck wedding bash would be fun even if it’s not traditional—nothing wrong with that either. But neither of those situations is the same thing as hosting (i.e., throwing) a wedding.

If a bridal couple wants to retain the traditional hostly privileges of choosing the guest list, deciding on the menu and the venue, etc., then they are not entitled to outsource the hostly responsibility of providing the refreshments (ALL of the refreshments) at their own expense.

Reply

Kirst August 26, 2014 at 1:27 pm

The Daily Mail is a disgusting paper with a history of supporting Fascists. Its sole purpose these days is to print nonsense, exaggerated articles to appeal to the type of person who thinks Britain is too full of “darkies,” a woman’s place is in the home and we should deal with offenders by bringing back the birch and hanging. This piece is written solely to confirm that today’s women are shameless and greedy because feminism has made us get above our stations, and I don’t believe a word of it.

Reply

Steve August 26, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Sorry. It’s all true and easily found elsewhere on the Web.

Reply

Kirst August 29, 2014 at 3:34 am

Just because some people behave this way doesn’t mean it’s an epidemic, and doesn’t change the Daily Mail’s reasons for printing this piece. The Daily Mail likes nothing better than to be scandalised by the behaviour of women who have “got above themselves”. I see no reason to give any credence to this piece, and frankly I’m disappointed that a reputable site would use the Daily Mail as evidence for anything other than misogyny still exists.

Reply

Steve September 2, 2014 at 11:01 am

I am aware of three other major wedding websites with active online forums. In one, the participants hew to traditional rules of etiquette, for the most part. In the other two, anything goes. Brides regularly post the most rude, appalling, insulting ideas for shaking down their guests, treating them as photo props, and completely disregarding their needs and comfort. Mostly, these ideas are met with general applause and approval.

It is an epidemic.

Reply

Lisa August 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

I work as a travel agent (yes, we still exist) and at one point the manager decided to drum up wedding business by offering couples the opportunity to have their guests make payments towards their honeymoon. Thankfully this unsavory idea never took off. I cannot imagine how that would be worded to your guests…… eeek!

Reply

Shyla August 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Oh, the difference between American English and British English. One person is sad they don’t give out proper stiffies any longer. She means paper wedding invitations.

Reply

acr August 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm

“If there really were a negative backlash to wedding greed, wouldn’t there be a corresponding decline in people being greedy?”

I think that much of wedding greed is encouraged and promoted by the wedding industry. The backlash comes from the guests, and they aren’t the customers of the wedding industry.

Plus, I think very few of the protesters actually call out the happy couple. They just quietly decline to participate.

I think the multitude of “cute” ways to request cash are just bizarre. All of your guests know that they can give you cash if they want to. If they don’t give you cash, it’s because they preferred not to.

Reply

Heather A August 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Now I’m wondering if we committed a blunder! We didn’t register and did not include registration information or gift information with our invitations. When asked where we were registered, we told them that because we had already long ago established our “household” we weren’t in need of anything, but a nice card would suffice or any small amount given in lieu of a physical gift which we’d use toward our honeymoon in London if they so desired. We had already purchased our tickets and paid for our accommodation so we weren’t asking anyone to pay for it, just assuring them that whatever we had would go into the pot we had already saved to pay for outings and the like. I had read that this was the proper way to do it, but did we accidentally commit an etiquette faux pas? 🙁

Reply

Steve August 26, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Yes. You’re not too far off, though. You should not have mentioned the card or actually told people to give you money in lieu of a box gift. More like,”Thank you so much for asking. We aren’t registered anywhere. We really have everything we need. We’re just saving up for the honeymoon.” Of course it should really be your family saying this, not you.

Reply

hakayama August 26, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Probably, Dear Heather A. Unless those asking were nearest and dearest family and friends.
Some time ago, the NYT had an item about classy, “comfortable” and established couples requesting that in place of gifts to the newlyweds, donations be made in honor of the couple to the guests’ favorite charities.
Quite a far cry from what the Mail brings us…

Reply

Kimstu August 26, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Heather A, you were fine. As I noted above, there should definitely NOT be any “information” of any sort about gifts distributed to wedding guests, whether the “information” (i.e., instructions) is “No gifts”, “Cash only”, dorky poems, or anything else. It is rude to presume that other people will want to give you gifts, and rude to presume to instruct them how to express their generosity if they DO want to give you gifts.

If explicitly ASKED about their registry or what gifts they want, a bridal couple can reveal either the name of their registry or the fact that they don’t have one. As long as they don’t display any entitled attitude about expecting or requiring gifts, and respond with a personal and warm expression of thanks for each of the gifts they do get (whether or not it happened to be something they wanted), they are correct.

Reply

Ange August 26, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Sounds ideal to me. You didn’t shove your gift preferences in people’s faces by including the dreaded registry card, just told them when they asked. From what I’ve read on here the registry card with the invitation is actually the faux pas, not what you did.

Reply

kit August 27, 2014 at 1:33 am

Both my sister and brother asked as wedding gift “support for their honeymoon”, too, and I don’t personally feel it tacky. Why is helping along with a trip any different from giving tickets to opera or the like? It is still giving an emotion for a present.

Reply

Liz W. August 27, 2014 at 7:08 am

Nope, You did it correctly.
You kept mum about your wants until asked, then responded with a reasonable, gracious request.

Reply

BellyJean August 27, 2014 at 8:19 am

No, I don’t think so, Heather. You were very polite, and didn’t insinuate anywhere on the invitation that you wanted money at all. And you were honest with folks who asked, and they could opt to just bring a card. I’m assuming that “their presence was all the presents that you needed.” 🙂

Reply

Amanda H. August 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm

From what I recall reading this site over the years, you did just fine. I’ve seen it repeatedly stressed here that it’s actually the faux pas to include the registry information on an invitation. Rather, that’s something that guests should ask for if they want to use a registry to select a gift.

Reply

Steve August 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Haven’t you seen sponsorourwedding.com? It was featured on the Today show. That should answer your question.

Reply

RC August 26, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Oh. My. Gosh.

I thought that tacky couple who decided to ‘freesource’ their wedding (Google ‘Project Priceless’) was the most revolting thing I would see of this ilk.

But no, it has been topped. I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

Reply

Emmy August 26, 2014 at 3:19 pm

It is hard to believe the lengths people will go through to fund a fancy wedding. It seems one of the few things that people don’t do anymore is have a simple wedding that they can afford.

Since I am frugal and like to save money (but not at the expense of others), I thought using Styrofoam for a more impressive looking cake was a harmless idea and renting out wedding decorations to other couples is actually very wise. All other ideas were pretty hideous.

Reply

Yvaine August 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Eh, the Daily Mail is more like the National Enquirer than a real paper. Its articles go viral in the US because we’re not as familiar with it. They just gin up sensational stories that don’t necessarily reflect anything that’s common in real life.

Reply

Lady Anne August 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm

The fad right now is for each plate at a wedding to be a different pattern, so brides – and grooms – will scout thrift shops and Good Will stores to pick up one or two dishes. Actually, it’s a clever idea, as you have no problem remembering which plate was yours if you put it down someplace. After the wedding, many brides do sell them on Craig’s List or other sites; who needs 100 mismatched dishes? I don’t have a problem with the couple selling these; they bought them and they can do with them as they wish. I do find it offensive that some wedding guests actually take these plates away as “souvenirs”.

My parents were married at the end of the Depression, and it was not uncommon for receptions to be a covered dish supper, but the cake and such were all taken care of by the bride’s family. I simply cannot fathom expecting people to do that sort of thing today.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: