Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: LadyL on June 07, 2013, 01:01:01 PM

Title: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: LadyL on June 07, 2013, 01:01:01 PM
http://www.thefrisky.com/2013-06-07/girl-talk-are-wedding-gifts-optional/#more-910162

This article is by a bride who did not receive gifts from about 1/3 of the guests at her wedding. The comments are pretty harsh, calling her entitled and greedy, but she does mention the friend who gave her only a card with a nice note included and how she really treasured it, so I don't think it's about wanting material possessions. Personally I would probably wonder about this too, if I didn't get any acknowledgement from someone that they were at my wedding - a card with a note would be fine, or even a promise to bake me something delicious after the honeymoon or whatever. It does seem rude to show up completely empty handed and then never send a gift later. While I don't think hospitality is about reciprocity per se, I do think not even giving a card might send the message "I'm just here for the party."

What is the etiquette stance on this? Is it rude to go to a wedding and never give the HC a gift?
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Aquamarine on June 07, 2013, 01:04:04 PM
I am not sure of the exact etiquette stance on this.  For myself I would never dream of attending a wedding without a wedding gift having been sent to the bride's home in advance of the ceremony.  I would never, EVER take the present to the wedding itself, that presents a whole security and transportation hassle for the HC/their families.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: NyaChan on June 07, 2013, 01:07:28 PM
Gifts are by definition optional.  However, the giving or not giving of a gift sends a message.  I think this couple was sent some pretty hurtful messages from their friends and family who did not give them a card at the least. 

Though I really have to wonder what kind of look they were giving that woman that she immediately cottoned on to their upset at not having been given a gift by her.  It made me wonder if something else was going on with the large numbers of people choosing not to gift.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 01:11:47 PM
There are some people I know well who i would want there who i know are really strapped - unemployed, paying for expensive medical costs, that kind of thing.  I would want to invite them but would not want them to feel like they had to do any sort of gift even though most people do indeed feel that way.  I might have a mutual friend make sure they knew ther was no expectation of anything and if I didn't see a gift I wouldn't think twice.

Now if I knew they had no issues like that I might wonder why there wasn't at least a token gift.  That being said, if there was at least a picture frame or something I don't imagine taking issue with a gift that wasn't "enough".
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: peaches on June 07, 2013, 01:20:42 PM
I can't imagine not giving a gift to a couple if I attended their wedding. They cared enough to invite me, I cared enough to go, why wouldn't I care enough to give them at least a token gift?

I can imagine situations where a token gift, or a card with a heartfelt message, would be all that someone could afford.

I don't think it's appropriate to "keep score" of what gifts have been given, by whom and how much, as a means of comparison or a way of judging one's friends and relatives.

Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: cwm on June 07, 2013, 01:39:33 PM
I can't imagine being invited to a wedding and not getting the HC anything at all. At the very least, a card with a note in it will convey my congratulations to them without putting me back more than a few dollars. If they took the time to plan the wedding and extend an invitation to them, I think you owe them at least that token. If you can't afford an actual gift, or don't know them well enough to feel comfortable buying one, that's perfectly fine, but don't come completely empty-handed.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: DottyG on June 07, 2013, 01:43:12 PM
My suspicion is that a lot of the people commenting on that article had a little nudge to their own conscience there.  I wonder if they are among the ones who come empty-handed to a wedding.  Yes, it's true that there might be additional things you've given a gift for, such as a shower or other event.  However, the usual practice is to give a more token gift for the shower and then a "real" gift for the actual wedding (not necessarily more expensive - just more of the "main" gift).  So the argument that "oh, I already gave them something" - as one person said - doesn't hold water.

I agree with this:

Quote
Gifts are by definition optional.  However, the giving or not giving of a gift sends a message.  I think this couple was sent some pretty hurtful messages from their friends and family who did not give them a card at the least.

A card isn't expensive, but still shows the couple that you care.  And it's something the couple can keep and treasure as a reminder of a special day with those they love.

Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Two Ravens on June 07, 2013, 01:44:06 PM
I thought etiquette did require you to give a gift if you attend a wedding? It did not have to be an expensive gift, but some type of gift was necessary...
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on June 07, 2013, 01:44:23 PM
I could not go to a wedding and not give the happy couple *something*.  If I was broke, I'd make something.  I make dishclothes so I could make a bunch of those for cheap, buy a cheap kitchen things and have something that cost me less than $20.

If someone was truly broke, I would still expect them to at least write a nice note.  It could be on lined paper, in a plain envelope but they should give something of themselves, if they can't afford to buy anything.

If you aren't willing to acknowledge the marriage in any way, why did you go?
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Two Ravens on June 07, 2013, 01:46:43 PM
Miss Manners weighs in here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-a-wedding-invitation-is-not-an-invoice/2013/04/23/876cc3a8-a921-11e2-b029-8fb7e977ef71_story.html (http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-a-wedding-invitation-is-not-an-invoice/2013/04/23/876cc3a8-a921-11e2-b029-8fb7e977ef71_story.html)
Relevant quote:
Quote
There is no such thing as an invoice for a wedding present. Neither a wedding invitation nor a formal announcement constitutes that. You give a wedding present because you want to indicate symbolically that you care about the couple.

Yes, there is a catch. That is that you should not be attending a wedding if you do not care about the couple (either truly, or because they are relatives and you are supposed to care), and therefore wedding guests give wedding presents. If you decline the invitation, or if you are not invited but receive an announcement, all that is required is that you send the couple good wishes.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: kitchcat on June 07, 2013, 04:04:51 PM
I think if you can't even be bothered to buy a card, you should not be attending the wedding. If you are that tight on money, you could at least write a thoughtful letter yourself on a blank $.99 card.

Not sending a congratulatory note at the minimum is rude IMO.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: LazyDaisy on June 07, 2013, 04:12:49 PM
The guests should have given a card at the very least, but I wonder if some of them already gave gifts at a bridal shower or some other pre-wedding event. The author doesn't mention it. I think the etiquette is that if you give a gift at the shower, you aren't obligated to give a second one at the wedding... is that right? A good friend of mine just got married last week -- I gave her a small gift at the bridal shower, bought her drinks (and other contributions) for her bachelorette, and then a more substantial gift for the wedding. By the time the wedding rolled around, I'd already spent more than I had really intended to but I care for her.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Thipu1 on June 07, 2013, 04:21:49 PM
I am not sure of the exact etiquette stance on this.  For myself I would never dream of attending a wedding without a wedding gift having been sent to the bride's home in advance of the ceremony.  I would never, EVER take the present to the wedding itself, that presents a whole security and transportation hassle for the HC/their families.

We also know and use the tradition of sending a gift, whether an object or a check, to the home of the Bride before the wedding.  This serves a dual purpose.  It avoids making the Wedding itself look like a gift-grab and, since gifts arrive over the course of a month or so,  writing Thank You notes is a breeze.  No matter how busy a BtB is, two or three notes a day is not a burden. 

It does seem odd that 1/3 of the guests at the Wedding in question brought or sent nothing.  There must be more going on here than we've been told. 

Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: TeamBhakta on June 07, 2013, 04:35:38 PM
I love how she says $75 is a "modest gift" to the couple. Um, no, that's a very generous gift to give. That's much needed bill paying money for most of us :o I have to wonder if her registry was  either over the top (ex $40 ice cream scoop) or she made a comment that rubbed people the wrong way ("I hope nobody cheaps out and gives a creative gift. Lame!") And if it's the second problem, maybe people felt like "Wow, I would skip the wedding but I already blew money on the plane tickets, hotel, etc. Well, I'll put on a polite face but no gift now." 
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: DottyG on June 07, 2013, 04:41:31 PM
Quote
I think the etiquette is that if you give a gift at the shower, you aren't obligated to give a second one at the wedding... is that right?

You have it backwards.  According to Miss Manners, the shower gifts are not the ones that are "required" (for lack of better word).

Quote
Multiple showers are warranted only when the bride or the couple has more than one distinct set of intimate friends. They should not be catch-all occasions, and nobody should be expected to attend more than one. Anyway, shower presents should be charming but trivial, and not comparable to wedding presents.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Yvaine on June 07, 2013, 04:46:06 PM
Quote
I think the etiquette is that if you give a gift at the shower, you aren't obligated to give a second one at the wedding... is that right?

You have it backwards.  According to Miss Manners, the shower gifts are not the ones that are "required" (for lack of better word).

Quote
Manners is incapable of saying "bachelorette") parties, a rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, a dinner, a dance and the next day's brunch until everyone concerned has been worn to a frazzle. And that they all require presents.
Only the ceremony and a celebration immediately after have the full sanction of etiquette; the rest is for those who have the stamina. A true engagement party is one at which the bride's father announces the engagement as a surprise, and showers are solely at the discretion of friends."

This quote rings weird and I wonder what the beginning of the sentence was. It sounds like she is bemoaning people thinking gifts are required for all these wedding sub-events, and saying that having a shower is not automatic and your friends have to throw it for you. As I understand showers, they are specifically for giving gifts, and you wouldn't go if you didn't want to give one.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: LazyDaisy on June 07, 2013, 04:47:00 PM
Quote
I think the etiquette is that if you give a gift at the shower, you aren't obligated to give a second one at the wedding... is that right?

You have it backwards.  According to Miss Manners, the shower gifts are not the ones that are "required" (for lack of better word).

Quote
Manners is incapable of saying "bachelorette") parties, a rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, a dinner, a dance and the next day's brunch until everyone concerned has been worn to a frazzle. And that they all require presents.
Only the ceremony and a celebration immediately after have the full sanction of etiquette; the rest is for those who have the stamina. A true engagement party is one at which the bride's father announces the engagement as a surprise, and showers are solely at the discretion of friends."

But no gifts are really "required". I thought there was something about not having to give several gifts, so if you already gifted once to the happy couple, that was all that should be expected.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 07, 2013, 04:49:41 PM
There are some people I know well who i would want there who i know are really strapped - unemployed, paying for expensive medical costs, that kind of thing.  I would want to invite them but would not want them to feel like they had to do any sort of gift even though most people do indeed feel that way.  I might have a mutual friend make sure they knew ther was no expectation of anything and if I didn't see a gift I wouldn't think twice.

Now if I knew they had no issues like that I might wonder why there wasn't at least a token gift.  That being said, if there was at least a picture frame or something I don't imagine taking issue with a gift that wasn't "enough".

I too would never take issue with a gift that wasn't "enough." And I probably wouldn't notice if only one or two presents hadn't been given, or I'd notice but give a lot of weight to the *attention* they gave me. But a high percentage like that? I'd be hurt.

In my world, a shower is a separate (smaller) gift, and you invite a much smaller circle than the wedding list.   In other people's worlds, the shower invitees are "all the women invited to the wedding," and that gift is the only gift given.

No other event requires a gift--not the next-day brunch, not the rehearsal dinner, not the bachelorette!!! None of them. In fact, I think it's a faux pas to BRING a gift to those events.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: DottyG on June 07, 2013, 04:51:12 PM
Quote
This quote rings weird and I wonder what the beginning of the sentence was.

I had the wrong quote in there - copied the wrong person.  Look again.  I've already corrected it.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: LazyDaisy on June 07, 2013, 04:57:35 PM
Quote
This quote rings weird and I wonder what the beginning of the sentence was.

I had the wrong quote in there - copied the wrong person.  Look again.  I've already corrected it.

I went back to read the update...that's what I did for the shower gift -- something small and more amusing, and then a "real" gift for the wedding. But I saw many, what I would consider to be, "wedding" gifts given at the shower, and can't imagine that those people should give a second one.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: WillyNilly on June 07, 2013, 04:59:21 PM
I love how she says $75 is a "modest gift" to the couple. Um, no, that's a very generous gift to give. That's much needed bill paying money for most of us :o I have to wonder if her registry was  either over the top (ex $40 ice cream scoop) or she made a comment that rubbed people the wrong way ("I hope nobody cheaps out and gives a creative gift. Lame!") And if it's the second problem, maybe people felt like "Wow, I would skip the wedding but I already blew money on the plane tickets, hotel, etc. Well, I'll put on a polite face but no gift now."

Well I think that comes down to cultural and community norms. In my circles, even when I was young and broke-broke-broke I knew the acceptable bare minimum wedding gift from a single person was $50... and that still was pretty cheap and we're talking 15-20 years ago. The norm now in my circles is $75-100 as a low number with many many people tucking $150-400 in the card. And all the while I know that in other areas, $25 is considered generous - knowledge I only have because of the internet. No one I know in person has ever verbalized such a low number as normal - not any guy I have ever dated, not any member of the various wedding parties I have been in, not any of my friends casually mentioning what they gave, not either of my parents, or my sibling speaking about gifts, etc. In my circles $75 is a modest gift indeed.

So its very well she didn't say anything about $75 to tick anyone off, its simply a norm she was raised with and used in her essay.

Now that said, at my wedding I got plenty of cards without any money in them, and I did get one with $25. I did not think poorly or anything of the giver. At all. In fact I was quite overwhelmed by getting so many cards and gifts at once, that even the empty cards where almost too much to bear due to emotional overload of love and warmth and gratitude. But because it was out of the norm I remember it. Just like the remember who gave me a much higher check then the norm - not because I cared or judged them, but simply because as a human out of the norm stuff sticks out in my memory.

But there are also "norms" of giving a small shower gift and a larger wedding gift, or only giving a shower gift. or giving two gifts of equal value. just like norms vary about bringing the gift to the reception (in my area cards are brought to the reception but generally never physical gifts). In some areas cash is the normal gift with physical objects not generally given as wedding gifts, in other areas the norm is to give an item not money. People write about what they know about, so for her the $75 is a norm, not necessarily a greedy grasp.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Lynn2000 on June 07, 2013, 05:05:08 PM
Okay, not to muddy the waters, but I always thought of showers as primarily gift-giving occasions, pretty much the only time when a gift was not optional if you attended (although the gift could certainly be something like a heartfelt note instead of a "thing").

If I attend both a shower and the actual wedding for someone, I plan to give a gift for both and budget accordingly. So if I can only spend $50 total on gifts, I can split it $25/25 or $20/30 or whatever. If there was a "thing" I wanted to give that cost about $50 on its own, I would give that for one occasion (I don't think it would really matter which) and do the heartfelt note for the other, so that at neither event am I empty-handed. I do think that if you don't care enough about the couple to give them something, even a card with a brief message, you shouldn't be attending the wedding and accepting their hospitality for that.

One suggestion: I've encountered the idea several times that people have up to a year after the wedding, to send wedding gifts to someone. This often gets conflated with the idea that the HC has up to a year after the wedding to send TY notes for the wedding gifts, and I can't remember which of them is actually correct, if either. Anyway, I wonder if it's possible that a lot of the guests believe this, and for some reason a large number of them are just putting off giving their gift for a while? Procrastination, finances, whatever.

Story: My friend Amy and I had a mutual friend, Joe, who was getting married in February. I was invited to the wedding but declined to attend; Amy wasn't invited at all, well sort of, that was kind of a mess. ANYWAY, I was going to send a gift even though I wasn't going, and Amy wanted to send a gift too, so she suggested we pool our money and I agreed. We went shopping together and bought the gift, and she said she would take care of mailing it. This was probably in December or January, so a month or two before the wedding.

Fast-forward to July. We had the wedding of another friend coming up in August and we had agreed to do the same thing, pool our money for a gift. We were out shopping for it and I said, completely joking, "Hey, you remembered to send Joe's gift, right?" Cue an expression from Amy. No, she hadn't sent it yet! For a wedding that was five months earlier! She just "hadn't gotten around to it." Of course, since it was my gift, too, it looked like *I* hadn't sent Joe anything. Finally she got it done sometime in the fall and included a note to Joe explaining that it was all her fault, which I appreciated.

Now granted, I didn't actually attend Joe's wedding. But, suppose I had, thinking Amy had sent the gift ahead of time, and then months later I found out she hadn't. I would've looked like one of those guests who'd helped myself to the wedding hospitality without leaving so much as a "congrats" card.  :o
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: m2kbug on June 07, 2013, 05:06:26 PM
I was a little surprised at the modest $75 too, but chalked it up to "in your world."  So often you see shows for "dressing on a budget," and the costs, to me, are way outside of "inexpensive," but I figured it was just me.  Perhaps in certain fields and what people wear, what they earn, it would be considered a bargain.  Who knows. 

I also wondered if there was more going on with this couple, especially when the one woman was observed to write out a check for a different family member.  This article has a feel of the bride keeping tabs on who gave what, how much, and if another couple got more/less, etc., which I hope isn't what she's doing in real life.

I always thought to bring a gift for the wedding was required.  I have known people who register for such insanely expensive things (name brand, hoity toity), there's no way I could afford it - maybe a washcloth or a spoon.  I do my best to stick to the registry, but no problem going "off script" and I can only work within my budget.  It seems like the guests could have done a little something more, which brings me back to wondering if there is a little more to this story than meets the eye.  It still seems rude, though, to not at least bring something like a card or a nice set of spatulas or something, don't you think?
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: NyaChan on June 07, 2013, 05:10:37 PM

Story: My friend Amy and I had a mutual friend, Joe, who was getting married in February. I was invited to the wedding but declined to attend; Amy wasn't invited at all, well sort of, that was kind of a mess. ANYWAY, I was going to send a gift even though I wasn't going, and Amy wanted to send a gift too, so she suggested we pool our money and I agreed. We went shopping together and bought the gift, and she said she would take care of mailing it. This was probably in December or January, so a month or two before the wedding.

Fast-forward to July. We had the wedding of another friend coming up in August and we had agreed to do the same thing, pool our money for a gift. We were out shopping for it and I said, completely joking, "Hey, you remembered to send Joe's gift, right?" Cue an expression from Amy. No, she hadn't sent it yet! For a wedding that was five months earlier! She just "hadn't gotten around to it." Of course, since it was my gift, too, it looked like *I* hadn't sent Joe anything. Finally she got it done sometime in the fall and included a note to Joe explaining that it was all her fault, which I appreciated.

Now granted, I didn't actually attend Joe's wedding. But, suppose I had, thinking Amy had sent the gift ahead of time, and then months later I found out she hadn't. I would've looked like one of those guests who'd helped myself to the wedding hospitality without leaving so much as a "congrats" card.  :o

This happened to me too only the gift never got to the bride at all.  I was going to be out of the country and a previously close friend from High School who had all but disappeared off the grid once she met her new boyfriend was getting married.  While I was very unhappy about the way she treated our group of friends after meeting him, I still cared for her and left her gift with a mutual friend to take with her.  It stayed in the trunk of her car for nearly two years at which point I figured it wasn't worth the trouble anymore.  She at least mentioned to the bride that I had given her something to pass on, but I always felt a little guilty about not having given her a gift.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Sharnita on June 07, 2013, 05:18:36 PM
There are some people I know well who i would want there who i know are really strapped - unemployed, paying for expensive medical costs, that kind of thing.  I would want to invite them but would not want them to feel like they had to do any sort of gift even though most people do indeed feel that way.  I might have a mutual friend make sure they knew ther was no expectation of anything and if I didn't see a gift I wouldn't think twice.

Now if I knew they had no issues like that I might wonder why there wasn't at least a token gift.  That being said, if there was at least a picture frame or something I don't imagine taking issue with a gift that wasn't "enough".

I too would never take issue with a gift that wasn't "enough." And I probably wouldn't notice if only one or two presents hadn't been given, or I'd notice but give a lot of weight to the *attention* they gave me. But a high percentage like that? I'd be hurt.

In my world, a shower is a separate (smaller) gift, and you invite a much smaller circle than the wedding list.   In other people's worlds, the shower invitees are "all the women invited to the wedding," and that gift is the only gift given.

No other event requires a gift--not the next-day brunch, not the rehearsal dinner, not the bachelorette!!! None of them. In fact, I think it's a faux pas to BRING a gift to those events.

Yeah, actually if an entire 1/3 of the guests didn't have any sort of gift or card I would wonder if there had been some sort of theft.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Lynn2000 on June 07, 2013, 05:23:21 PM
Sharnita hit on another thing I was wondering about. Okay, I admit I haven't read the original story, so I might be about to sound dumb. But, has it been considered and dismissed that there might have been some sort of mishap? Like a bunch of gifts misdelivered because the address on one registry was wrong, or a bunch of cards stolen from the wedding reception? That can be awkward to investigate, because you're not supposed to be asking people if they got you something, and they're not supposed to be complaining that you didn't send a TY note...
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Altarrose on June 07, 2013, 07:28:48 PM
Super long time lurker making my first post! =) I didn't read the original story either but did want to chime in because I can relate to the premise of this thread.

My husband and I got married last June and had a small but formal wedding. We only had 60 guests and among them were many friends in their young to mid twenties. I would say probably 1/4 of the guests did not give a gift or card. For the most part I believe they felt a "cheap" gift was inappropriate and thus felt it was better to give nothing at all.

I had a similar situation at my baby shower where I had a few close friends make up excuses to decline the event a day or two before it happened. Both later confessed that they wanted to come but could not afford a gift and were embarrassed. I do wish the guests that attended my wedding could have bothered with a card, but they are good friends and I do appreciate the travel costs they incurred to attend and would much rather have had them there than had them decline due to inability to afford a gift.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 07, 2013, 07:47:00 PM
Quote
I think the etiquette is that if you give a gift at the shower, you aren't obligated to give a second one at the wedding... is that right?

You have it backwards.  According to Miss Manners, the shower gifts are not the ones that are "required" (for lack of better word).

Quote
Multiple showers are warranted only when the bride or the couple has more than one distinct set of intimate friends. They should not be catch-all occasions, and nobody should be expected to attend more than one. Anyway, shower presents should be charming but trivial, and not comparable to wedding presents.

These are not equal--the advice you are quoting does not even address whether shower gifts are REQUIRED.

It only says that they are supposed to be trivial.

In fact, the mere fact that she says shower gifts are not to be comparable to wedding presents indicates that BOTH are required.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 07, 2013, 07:48:05 PM
Also, you all really DO need to *go read the original piece*.

Seriously--don't comment until you have done so. It would be very easy for people to go off on a tangent about her rudeness, and in fact she wrote a very, very thoughtful and nuanced essay.

Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: peaches on June 07, 2013, 07:54:21 PM

In fact, the mere fact that she says shower gifts are not to be comparable to wedding presents indicates that BOTH are required.

That's how I read it.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: kareng57 on June 07, 2013, 08:17:37 PM
Quote
I think the etiquette is that if you give a gift at the shower, you aren't obligated to give a second one at the wedding... is that right?

You have it backwards.  According to Miss Manners, the shower gifts are not the ones that are "required" (for lack of better word).

Quote
Manners is incapable of saying "bachelorette") parties, a rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, a dinner, a dance and the next day's brunch until everyone concerned has been worn to a frazzle. And that they all require presents.
Only the ceremony and a celebration immediately after have the full sanction of etiquette; the rest is for those who have the stamina. A true engagement party is one at which the bride's father announces the engagement as a surprise, and showers are solely at the discretion of friends."

This quote rings weird and I wonder what the beginning of the sentence was. It sounds like she is bemoaning people thinking gifts are required for all these wedding sub-events, and saying that having a shower is not automatic and your friends have to throw it for you. As I understand showers, they are specifically for giving gifts, and you wouldn't go if you didn't want to give one.


Yes - showers are one of the few events (children's birthday parties are another) where gifts are central to the occasion, and therefore there's an expectation.  I wouldn't call it "rude" to attend a shower without a gift, but it would be kind of eyebrow-raising.  Generally, a guest who could not afford a gift would simply not attend.  And in some circles, shower gifts tend to be fairly expensive (such as $ 50+) and cash is the expected wedding gift.

While it's certainly customary for attending guests to give wedding gifts - weddings, by themselves, are not mandatory gift-giving occasions - even if the great majority of guests do give them.  The polite fiction is that they are a nice surprise, and a HC should not be wondering why they never received a gift from particular guests.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on June 08, 2013, 02:38:36 AM
I've often wondered about this in relation to cutesy poems asking for money. Essentially, most of them say "If you want to give us a gift, cash would be nice. But most importantly, we'd like your well wishes".

In that situation, would it be rude to take the couple at their word, and simply write a nice message in a card? Or is this a situation where you're supposed to "read between the lines" and pony up at least a few bucks?
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: DottyG on June 08, 2013, 08:13:48 AM
Quote
Also, you all really DO need to *go read the original piece*.

I DID read the original piece.  My post was made having already done so.

Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 08, 2013, 10:16:59 AM
Quote
Also, you all really DO need to *go read the original piece*.

I DID read the original piece.  My post was made having already done so.

Sorry for the "all"--My post was direct at future posters and at those who hadn't read it yet.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on June 08, 2013, 12:30:02 PM
My anti-virus software blocks the site, so I can't read the original piece.

It seems very odd to me that a third of the wedding guests did not give a gift or card, and I'm interested in hearing people's theories as to why this would happen.  Were the couple and guests very young?  Is the couple still in college and the guest list included a bunch of the groom's frat buddies?  Is one side of the family a bunch of poorly socialized moochers? 
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: z_squared82 on June 10, 2013, 09:03:01 AM
I believe it is not rude to not give a gift. Like the professional(s) say, An invitation is not an invoice.

That being said, I would still do a card. I think at my brokest (when I was unemployed) I actually made a card with stuff I already owned and printed photos I had taken so they could frame (I was recently out of photography school at the time).

I was really embarassed when I was a date to several weddings with my now-boyfriend and I found out he hadn't even bothered with a card. Like, *REALLY* embarassed. Especially if there was an open bar (b/c the norm where I'm from is domestic draft and wine is free, but everything else is cash). One was even a really good friend. He said a gift and card had never occurred to him. ::)
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 10, 2013, 09:35:29 AM
An invitation may not be an invoice.

But *accepting* an invitation is.

If you attend a wedding, I think it is rude to not give a present. I don't think brides & grooms should be going out of their way to take offense, but honestly--you can't come up with SOMEthing?

Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Calistoga on June 10, 2013, 09:53:25 AM
I, personally, wouldn't feel right if I didn't get a card... my favorite wedding gifts were cards. I don't even really consider them to be a gift so much as a little keep sake that I can look at and enjoy after the wedding is over. Kind of like signing the guest book, but with more room.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: sparksals on June 10, 2013, 09:54:10 AM
I can relate to the writer of the story.  I don't care about the gifts.  It is the acknowledgement that really means the most. 


DH's parents didn't so much as give us a card for our wedding.  They attended our very small wedding, and his mother tried to invite her whole family, to which my husband told her she couldn't.  We were on a very tight budget, it was my second wedding, we just bought a house and i had to go through the immigration process. 


I have always felt she didn't approve of our marriage since she didn't acknowledge it.  Sure, they attended, but a card wishing us well would have been nice.  After knowing her for almost 10 years, I'm wondering if she intentionally didn't gift anything b/c we couldn't have her extended family.  She has shown some pretty   revengeful behaviour over the years.   She is very well off and doesn't understand that others have a strict budget.  She said once she can't believe how everyone doesn't have $5000 sitting around for an ER. 
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 10, 2013, 10:06:58 AM
I can relate to the writer of the story.  I don't care about the gifts.  It is the acknowledgement that really means the most. 

YES! That is why not giving a gift when you DID attend the wedding is rude.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: sparksals on June 10, 2013, 01:45:40 PM
I can relate to the writer of the story.  I don't care about the gifts.  It is the acknowledgement that really means the most. 

YES! That is why not giving a gift when you DID attend the wedding is rude.


Exactly.  And the lack thereof sometimes has a message.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: *inviteseller on June 11, 2013, 08:28:08 AM
I have one time only given just a card because I was a broke 21 yr old..but I was in the wedding and all my money was tied up in that.  I made sure to give the gift of my time to help with every aspect of the wedding and she said that was what she needed the most.  As far as the socially accepted amount to give..to me, there is no set amount.  It is what a person can afford.  I have heard people complain that so and so should have given more because they have <insert new car, house ect> but until you know that persons financials, you (general) don't know how much money they have to spend.  And the people who have to come from out of town spend a lot of money to travel and be there.  As far as 1/3 not even giving a card, there has to be more to it because you expect one or two guest to be clueless but 1/3 ??? 
My own story - I have said before, my former husband and myself ended up not having the wedding we wanted thanks to his mom, and had a lovely intimate ceremony at the JP with just a few close friends.  My family still acknowledged it with cards and because we were in the process of moving to another state, generous cash gifts.  His family?  No cards, no well wishes and his mother brought our wedding gift to us when she came to visit us in our new place 5 months later..it was one pillow.  Yes, our wedding gift was ONE pillow.  I still sent her a gushing thank you note, telling her that hubby slept so well on that pillow!   ::)
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Two Ravens on June 11, 2013, 08:45:22 AM
I can relate to the writer of the story.  I don't care about the gifts.  It is the acknowledgement that really means the most. 

YES! That is why not giving a gift when you DID attend the wedding is rude.


Exactly.  And the lack thereof sometimes has a message.

I don't think someone's wedding is a time to "send a message." If you need to "send a message," then show it by your absence.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Cami on June 11, 2013, 08:50:29 AM
I've seen this behavior more over the years and more commonly where I live now than anywhere else. The overall attitude I see from people who make no acknowledgement is that it's an arduous task to get dressed up for a wedding, to go to a wedding and therefore, their presence is their gift. These are the same types of people who call up the HC and ask for special meals (just because they don't like what's being offered) or transportation to the wedding. I was in conversation with one couple who quite proudly stated that they were so busy, that the HC should consider themselves "lucky" that they were attending and they couldn't possibly take the time/effort to even get a card (although she was wearing an entirely new outfit bought just for the occasion). I was recently at a wedding where there was a gift table and someone expressed shock that they were supposed to bring a gift to a wedding "these days" since brides and grooms are now older and established, so they don't need anything and besides, aren't weddings all about hosting a party for the guests, so why would the honorees -- the guests -- have to bring a gift? 

I can relate to the writer of the story.  I don't care about the gifts.  It is the acknowledgement that really means the most. 

YES! That is why not giving a gift when you DID attend the wedding is rude.


Exactly.  And the lack thereof sometimes has a message.

I don't think someone's wedding is a time to "send a message." If you need to "send a message," then show it by your absence.
But if they don't attend the wedding, they don't get the free food, drink and party or additional fodder to criticize the HC later on.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Calistoga on June 11, 2013, 09:26:58 AM
To be quite honest if coming to my wedding is such a horrible hassle for you... I'd rather you didn't come. I'm not sure when it was decided that an invitation to a wedding was on par with a summons to jury duty.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: katycoo on June 11, 2013, 09:32:18 AM
I feel like a gift of some sort is required at both a shower and a wedding.

At a shower, it must be a wrappable gift, but it needent be expensive.  Here, a 'kitchen tea' is the comparable event, designed to goft the bride wit things for her kitchen. A set of measuring spoons would suffice.

At a wedding, a card is the bare minimum.  A heartfelt message will more than make up for any lack of wrapable gift for whatever reason.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: gellchom on June 11, 2013, 02:09:35 PM
I agree that if you attend, you really should give some gift, even if it's very small.  I think the way Miss Manners put it was that if you care enough about people to attend their wedding and drink their champagne, you are supposed to be moved enough to want to express that caring in some tangible fashion -- i.e., a gift of some sort.

A pair of potholders, a cute measuring spoon set, some fancy paper napkins, something like that, isn't going to be beyond many people's budgets, and can even cost no more than a greeting card.

Which brings me to cards.  I'm not wild about printed greeting cards, frankly, and although I certainly agree that a warm, sincere note that you write yourself (on a card or stationery) is priceless and often treasured far more than a gift, it isn't a gift.  That isn't to say that it isn't wonderful and valuable, beyond a "thing" or a check!  So are friendship and loyalty.  But etiquette doesn't recognize them as gifts, either.  Certainly a purchased card with little or nothing more than a signature at the bottom does not, in my opinion, suffice as a wedding gift.  So I would rather see nothing than just a card with "Best wishes!  Love, John and Jane" on it.  Write the couple a nice note, for sure.  But that's not a "wedding gift," in my opinion.

I also wouldn't put $5 in an envelope.  Too much like a 5 cent tip to a waiter.   But I can think of several $5 gifts you can buy or make that would be nice.

At my own wedding and my son's, there were some guests who never gave a gift.  Sometimes people just forget or get mixed up -- I hope I never have, but in all these years, probably I have.  Very rarely would I take offense at it, and certainly not if there was a chance it was because the guest was broke.  I would only find it rude if it were somehow clear that the person thought that their presence was a gift.
Title: Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
Post by: Cami on June 11, 2013, 09:15:38 PM
To be quite honest if coming to my wedding is such a horrible hassle for you... I'd rather you didn't come.
Agreed. Stay home and leave more cake for the rest of us!