Is it ever appropriate to attend a wedding reception (catered, per plate affair) with no gift? We had our wedding last month and dished out a delicious luncheon for 81 guests, with unlimited beer and wine. Cost about $60.00 per person. Out of all those people, 3 couples show up with no card or gift. One couple gave an empty card. This upset me, but I blew it off as them not being able to afford a gift. Until I later found out this couple was purchasing expensive mixed drinks all afternoon.
I cannot believe that people will have the audacity to show up to a wedding with no gift. Especially when they know you are paying per plate. If you cannot afford to contribute a small token of appreciation for being invited, then stay home or let your financial situation be known first to the bride and groom.
One couple “forgot” their card and said they would mail it (3 weeks ago). My husband’s own parents came with no card or gift, stating that they paid for our dog to go to the vet months before so a gift was not needed (even though they spent 60k on their daughters wedding and refused to contribute a cent to ours).
WTH is wrong with people? Well I hope they all had a fun afternoon eating and drinking on our dime!! 1114-09
Etiquette is very much about reciprocal obligations and it is true that if invited to a wedding, a guest should bring a wedding gift. *However*, the flip side of that is that the bride and groom are to have no expectation of receiving gifts so they are not tempted to direct their guests in what to give them or become embittered when gifts do not match their expectations.
Wedding gifts are not to be construed as any sort of payment in kind for a reception meal. I see far too many brides, grooms and parents who believe that guests are somehow supposed to ascertain by psychic means how much was spent per person on the wedding and give a gift that correlates in value. A wedding is merely a much larger extension of your personal entertaining and hospitality and since it is highly unlikely you would expect your friends and family to fork over money or a gift for attending a dinner party or BBQ at your home, it follows that you do not expect these same friends and family to pay for your reception.
You invite people to your wedding because they are family, close friends and people you love enough to want to share in your happy day. You then extend hospitality to them with food because they are your invited guests. Your comment that you wished that non-gifting bearing guests should stay home indicates to me an inhospitable attitude and a prioritization of gifts being much more important to than you than the people you invited to witness your wedding. So, in your case, the greater etiquette faux pas is yours.