Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: Charliebug on June 20, 2013, 12:33:34 AM

Title: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Charliebug on June 20, 2013, 12:33:34 AM

http://www.thestar.com/life/2013/06/19/wedding_gift_spat_spirals_out_of_control_after_bride_demands_to_see_receipt.html


Clearly the etiquette lines have not only been crossed here but completely obliterated  :-\ This did leave me wondering, however, if the happy couple's (in general- not this particular couple) cultural traditions should be considered when choosing a gift? 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Slartibartfast on June 20, 2013, 12:35:39 AM
Sure - the bride's, the groom's, the gift-giver's, and the general norms for whatever area they live in and/or are getting married in.  A good gift would be unoffensive in any of those traditions.  (That doesn't mean you have to give something specific, of course, just avoid giving something insulting.)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Amava on June 20, 2013, 12:45:58 AM
I can't imagine any culture in which sending the texts the bride did would not be considered rude.

Even if one is disappointed in a gift, even if a gift /could/ be considered completely sub-par in a culture, it is never okay to complain about it. Ever. And doing so will make anyone, from any culture or planet, look like a crass gimme-pig.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: nuit93 on June 20, 2013, 12:46:26 AM

http://www.thestar.com/life/2013/06/19/wedding_gift_spat_spirals_out_of_control_after_bride_demands_to_see_receipt.html


Clearly the etiquette lines have not only been crossed here but completely obliterated  :-\ This did leave me wondering, however, if the happy couple's (in general- not this particular couple) cultural traditions should be considered when choosing a gift?

I was going to post this if you didn't :).

I think the best thing is to make sure you don't inadvertently offend the B/G.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: LadyR on June 20, 2013, 01:07:52 AM
I wondered if this sorry would make it onto e-hell. My DH is thr same ethnic background as one of the brides and he was horrified. Ys, there are cultural expectations regarding wedding, but its still tacky to call guests out for not meeting them. He also commented that he'd ever expect guests not of his ethnicity to live up to that standard, because its not their culture. We got a couple weird gifts and just graciously thanked the sender, then disposrd of said gift.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: NyaChan on June 20, 2013, 01:32:19 AM
I'm not seeing where it talks about their ethnic background - what am I missing?
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Amava on June 20, 2013, 01:43:41 AM
I'm not seeing where it talks about their ethnic background - what am I missing?

Fourth paragraph from the bottom up.
Laura's Italian and her bride is Croatian.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Isometric on June 20, 2013, 01:56:46 AM
That's horrifying! Cultural differences do not cover blatant rudeness.

It's sad that the poll at the bottom states (at time of typing) 12% of people agree with the Brides.

I would be thrilled if someone put together such a thoughtful present for me.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Amava on June 20, 2013, 02:27:21 AM
Also, if I give a gift basket, it is usually one that I have assembled myself.
No way to "give them a receipt to get their money back"...

I would however be tempted to tell them I would be glad to accept the gift back, if it was such a burden to them.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Iris on June 20, 2013, 03:53:11 AM
As I've mentioned before, everyone in my family except me has coeliacs disease. Even youngest DD, 10, knows that if someone gives her a gift that is not gf she just thanks them, puts it to one side, and we deal with it later. And trust me she is NOT the poster child for good manners.

There are so many things wrong with this story it blows my mind.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: perpetua on June 20, 2013, 03:55:48 AM
Yes, cultural traditions should be considered in the sense that you really shouldn't, for example, throw an anniversary party for a Jewish couple and cater it with a hog roast. But these people are just so far off the wall rude.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: MummyPumpkin83 on June 20, 2013, 05:33:09 AM
I love the bit where they are quoting the back and forth email exchange between brides and guests:

"Newlyweds: “Weddings are to make money for your future … not to pay for peoples meals. Do more research. People haven’t gave gifts since like 50 years ago!"

I had no idea weddings are for making money!
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Pen^2 on June 20, 2013, 05:35:19 AM
Of course cultural traditions should be considered when giving a gift! The gift is given for the enjoyment of the person who is receiving it. Why on earth would you give something that you know someone of that culture wouldn't enjoy?

Of course, if you aren't in the culture, it can be hard to know what is appropriate. Some things are obvious: don't give a strongly Jewish family a leg of the finest pork from your butcher. Others are less well-known: don't give a Chinese person a clock (it sounds like "giving a funeral" in several Mandarin dialects). In general, if it's a gift that you're putting a fair amount of money and time into, then it's polite to be thoughtful and thus do a little research to actually take into account the likes, dislikes, wants, and customs of the recipient. But if it's just something small like a minor party favour, then not knowing that the gelatin in your small bag of marshmallows makes them inedible to Muslims is a less-serious slip up that I'm sure a lot of people would happily let slide.

On the other hand, if you receive something which is considered rude in your culture (e.g. at a Japanese wedding, if you don't give money, or if you give the wrong amount of money, it is a huge faux pas), then do the same you would for any other gift: thank them for the thought and effort (if it seems it was done out of ignorance and not thoughtlessness) and throw it out. Only if appropriate, take the time later to make the giver aware of the usual customs so that they don't embarrass themselves at other similar events. The article above is a good example of exactly how not to do this. I mean wow, talk about rude.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Sharnita on June 20, 2013, 05:42:36 AM
If we are being 100% accurate, a wedding with 2 brides is not exactly old Italian tradition. Now nobody says you have to stick to tradition but then it seems really off for the bride to expect her non-Italian guest to know and follow Italian tradition when it comes to gift giving.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: iridaceae on June 20, 2013, 05:56:34 AM
As I've mentioned before, everyone in my family except me has coeliacs disease. Even youngest DD, 10, knows that if someone gives her a gift that is not gf she just thanks them, puts it to one side, and we deal with it later. And trust me she is NOT the poster child for good manners.

There are so many things wrong with this story it blows my mind.

The guest said that he'd seen them eating non-gluten free pasta earlier so I think the whole can't eat pasta thing is just another excuse to try and get money instead of the gift basket.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Pen^2 on June 20, 2013, 06:36:33 AM
As I've mentioned before, everyone in my family except me has coeliacs disease. Even youngest DD, 10, knows that if someone gives her a gift that is not gf she just thanks them, puts it to one side, and we deal with it later. And trust me she is NOT the poster child for good manners.

There are so many things wrong with this story it blows my mind.

The guest said that he'd seen them eating non-gluten free pasta earlier so I think the whole can't eat pasta thing is just another excuse to try and get money instead of the gift basket.

Ooh, that reminds me of a very similar tactic customers used to try. I worked at an ice-cream place for a while, and very suddenly one year we started getting gluten-free requests. It went from zero (I'd never even heard the word 'gluten' before) to about 10% of all customers. Without exaggeration. It was crazy. A fad diet for nearly all of them, I'm sure. The next year it dropped back down to almost zero. The only gluten-free customer since was a nice boy who explained he was a celiac and could he please have a bowl instead of a cone and sorry if it's any trouble. He got extra ice-cream for free  :)

We'd get people order whatever big massive dessert they could (all of our things had every single ingredient listed directly below the dessert name and it's picture). They would then proclaim loudly how we had to give them their money back and give them a free dessert of their choosing because they were gluten-free and what we evil peons had cruelly forced on them was deadly. Despite, you know, the replacement dessert they wanted would also have gluten in it--every single person who tried this always named a dessert with waffle cone in it. Idiots. The owner would always explain to them patiently, as one does a to any other small child, that the ingredients were listed, and despite reading clearly being taxing for them, if they had special dietary requirements then they needed to make the teensy extra effort and read the word "wheat" in large print two inches below the name of the dessert.

A lot of people tried this. We used to keep a tally of who would serve the most customers who were like this. The most I ever got in a day was 46, but once someone got over seventy (I forgot exactly how many).

It's possible the bride is a celiac who is extremely rude and self-entitled. But this is so similar to what I've described, that I suspect she is just a run-of-the-mill money-grubber. "Oh, you gave me something I don't want? Um, yeah, I suddenly have a medical condition which means you have to give me money instead! Ooh I'm so clever"
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: wyliefool on June 20, 2013, 07:59:09 AM
If a wedding is intended to make money for one's future, then spending $35000 on it is a really bad investment decision. They should have had a potluck at the local park. And bouncers to collect the entry fee.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: siamesecat2965 on June 20, 2013, 08:14:14 AM
While I agree that when giving a gift, you should respect certain cultural and religious traditions, i.e. no gifting of port or alcohol to muslims, and some of the other examples mentioned, but these two took the cake. They were just rude and entitled.

I also have to say I really hate the old "must give enough to cover your plate" attitude. A wedding is not a fundraiser, and if you can't afford to throw the wedding of your dreams, without the expectation you will "make back" what you paid, in monetary gifts, then you need to scale it back to something you CAN afford.

The brides were rude; yes it may be traditional in some cultures to gift money, but what if you can't afford to gift what would be considered a "decent" amount?  In my area, money is given as a gift, but way back when, when I was just out of college, and everyone I knew was getting married, I simply couldn't afford to fork over $100 or more as a gift, so in each and every case, I purchased a nice gift, and all were well received. I tailored each one to the HC, knowing their lifestyle, and what they liked or disliked.

My favorited was someone I knew a little more than casually, but wasn't best friends with. She had picked out cream china with gold trim. I found this lovely, sort of crackled glass serving platter, with a wide, gold band around it. I thought it would coordinate nicely with her china choice. She loved it, and it didn't cost me and arm and a leg either!
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: WillyNilly on June 20, 2013, 08:16:15 AM
The thing that gets me about "cultural" traditions in this sense... this did not take place in Italy or Croatia. This happened in Canada. I wonder if either bride has even spent more then at most a few months - if even a single day - in Italy or Croatia, or if they planned to live there, or follow all the other details of those cultures? Because it seems to me when you invite a Canadian, to a wedding in Canada, where you live and work, its pretty reasonable to expect to get a gift that follows Canadian gift giving culture.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: kherbert05 on June 20, 2013, 08:23:19 AM
The brides are using culture as an excuse for their horrible behavior. The unscientific poll now shows 88.67% in favor of the gift givers. (I suspect those of us from here have thrown the poll in the gift givers favor.)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: *inviteseller on June 20, 2013, 08:29:36 AM
This was not a big Italian wedding or a big Croatian wedding, so let's just throw that excuse out.  Actually, it wasn't a traditional wedding at all !  I have never been 'invoiced' for my attendance at a wedding, nor has anyone ever been less than gracious in thanking me for whatever gift I could afford because they were just so thrilled to have their friends there.  This woman just showed herself to be a gimmie pig for not only being rude about the gift but then telling her exactly what the low end amount she needs to give was.   And the line about not knowing about wedding gifting?  That was so patronizing...never assume what you don't think is appropriate is what everyone else feels.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Ginger G on June 20, 2013, 08:37:32 AM
Quote
“Weddings are to make money for your future …

Really?  This is great news!  My BF and I have been putting off getting married because we don't yet have enough savings to pay for the reception we would like.  If I had known that weddings = profit, we would have gotten married a couple of years ago!   ::)

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Eden on June 20, 2013, 08:45:25 AM
I just ... wow! I hope the couples in the four weddings I'm attending this month don't have the same reaction to the hand-decorated serving platters I'm giving them. Am I spending less than I would if I just gave cash? yes. But does that make my gift rude? I hope not!
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Corvid on June 20, 2013, 08:47:28 AM
The thing that gets me about "cultural" traditions in this sense... this did not take place in Italy or Croatia. This happened in Canada. I wonder if either bride has even spent more then at most a few months - if even a single day - in Italy or Croatia, or if they planned to live there, or follow all the other details of those cultures? Because it seems to me when you invite a Canadian, to a wedding in Canada, where you live and work, its pretty reasonable to expect to get a gift that follows Canadian gift giving culture.

Exactly.  They live in Canada and I cannot believe they don't have some idea of what weddings in Canada entail outside of the traditions of their own ethnic backgrounds.  I think it's their excuse for being called out on such blatant gimme-piggery.  The statement "Weddings are to make money for your future...not to pay for peoples meals" pretty much says it all.

Honestly, "you ate steak, chicken, booze, and a beautiful venue" and "I lost out on $200 covering you and your dates plate"...good grief.  Unfortunately, this isn't an uncommon attitude.  To everyone who thinks this way, let me tell you that most people could probably have a better time with much better food at a lovely restaurant for a lot less money and a lot less hassle, so that is really a pretty dreadful argument.  As much as you are honoring someone by inviting them to your reception, they are honoring you by attending.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 20, 2013, 09:04:14 AM
I love the bit where they are quoting the back and forth email exchange between brides and guests:

"Newlyweds: “Weddings are to make money for your future … not to pay for peoples meals. Do more research. People haven’t gave gifts since like 50 years ago!"

I had no idea weddings are for making money!


My MIL is Croatian, and she is FIRMLY of the belief that you should give something of value that exceeds the price of your meal. Because she *does* believe that the purpose of wedding gifts is to set the couple up for the future.

But I don't think she'd accept this sort of thinking for the marrying couple--it's the attitude the GIVERs should have. And she might think it's OK for the couple to decide privately that someone was a cheapskate for not giving a generous present, but she'd never approve of confronting them. (She once said to me, with some heat, that ethnic Americans (i.e., whose ethnic roots are several generations removed) are not generous enough--"They give wedding gifts as if was just a party!")

And the first generation in her family is heavily influenced by the Croation-ness of the family.
So I can see that truly being a factor in the expectations of what a wedding should be like, and what the gift-giving should be like.

But in that family, there's no way they wouldn't all of them sign on for the concept that any gift is a generous one. Certainly they'd never say something like this directly to someone!
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: KarenK on June 20, 2013, 09:18:54 AM
The brides are using culture as an excuse for their horrible behavior. The unscientific poll now shows 88.67% in favor of the gift givers. (I suspect those of us from here have thrown the poll in the gift givers favor.)

Oddly enough, the "Is it tacky?" poll is about 50/50.  ;D For the record, I don't think it was.

Regardless whether you think the gift was tacky or not, The bride was extremely rude! I don't know how anyone can possibly argue with that fact. I doubt there is any culture on this earth that would condone berating a gift giver for what the giftee perceives as an inadequate gift.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Winterlight on June 20, 2013, 09:31:56 AM
 "you ate steak, chicken, booze, and a beautiful venue"

No wonder the bride is upset- her guests ate the venue!! :)


Seriously, though, Laura sounds like a nasty spoilt brat. The polite thing to do is accept the gift, even if it's not to your taste, and then set it aside to donate or toss if it's totally unusable. It's not like they were giving chocolates to someone who's allergic, as happened to a poster here.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Eden on June 20, 2013, 09:37:02 AM
The brides are using culture as an excuse for their horrible behavior. The unscientific poll now shows 88.67% in favor of the gift givers. (I suspect those of us from here have thrown the poll in the gift givers favor.)

Oddly enough, the "Is it tacky?" poll is about 50/50.  ;D For the record, I don't think it was.

I do think the gift was odd. Marshmallow whip? But not necessarily tacky or rude. Short of gifts that blatantly disregard someone's known and obvious moral positions, I can't really think of any gift being rude.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Thipu1 on June 20, 2013, 09:50:40 AM
I agree that the Brides were incredibly rude. 

Here, in NYC, money is a standard Wedding gift because most couples seem pretty well established before the Wedding.  Still, objects are given and appreciated. 

The thing I find ghastly about this story is the escalation.  Neither side seems able to let the matter rest.  I truly believe that, if the parties were speaking face-to-face, things would never have reached the level it did. 

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: fountainof on June 20, 2013, 09:56:07 AM
I generally turn down wedding invites of people I only casually know just because in my area "cover your plate" is the norm and people will gossip about you if you don't provide a high enough gift.  I am not a big fan of weddings anyway so why would I want to waste a whole day going to one where if I don't gift enough I will be considered a cheapo.  Do brides like this one think everyone is just dying to attend and throw tons of money at them?  I guess guests should consider it a honour to spend their hard earned money on a brat, I prefer to give my money to grateful, appreciative people.

ETA: I can see being generous if the married couple was being reasonable with expenses but just because you want to have a crazy expensive venue or excessive decorations doesn't mean I should have to gift you more than someone who has a more simple affair.  I gift the amount in correspondence with the relationship with the person, not how much they spent on the wedding.  I do gift what I consider pretty generously but then again I only go to weddings of people that actually care about me not just some random acquaintance.

To be honest, if a bride sent me such texts I wouldn't just let it go.  However, I would be better at being coy about it and letting her sink herself rather than being too overt where I would be considered behaving poorly.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 20, 2013, 09:59:02 AM
Neither side seems able to let the matter rest.  I truly believe that, if the parties were speaking face-to-face, things would never have reached the level it did.

I agree that part of what was so horrible was that the gift-givers launched into attack mode. The brides were rude to them, but they were completely rude right back. In fact, THEY made it personal with direct insults! I have to say I don't admire them particularly either.

And yeah, it's easy to be nasty by email, and I think that influenced the gift givers just as much.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Klein Bottle on June 20, 2013, 10:35:04 AM
The thing that gets me about "cultural" traditions in this sense... this did not take place in Italy or Croatia. This happened in Canada. I wonder if either bride has even spent more then at most a few months - if even a single day - in Italy or Croatia, or if they planned to live there, or follow all the other details of those cultures? Because it seems to me when you invite a Canadian, to a wedding in Canada, where you live and work, its pretty reasonable to expect to get a gift that follows Canadian gift giving culture.

This is my thinking, as well, and applies to the USA, too.

I'm half Italian and have been to my share of Italian weddings.    ;D  There is a small contingent, especially in a certain area of the country, where "cover your plate" is the expected norm, but I have never heard of anyone confronted about not doing so.  It's not just tacky and rude to belittle a gift given; it's also mean and hurtful.  The bride was completely out of line.

We received a food basket, (a nice one from Hickory Farms), as a wedding gift, and it was among our favorite gifts received. 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: heartmug on June 20, 2013, 10:41:40 AM
I was just at a wedding (the groom is 100% Italian) at a country club a couple of months ago.  I gave a $50 gift off their registry and we wrote a check for $100.  I have no idea if that covered the dinner for me, DH, and our dd.  I don't know the prices.

That bride is beyond rude.  You thank a person for their gift, for coming to your wedding, and you never ever correct them as to what you think is proper etiquette.  Wow.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: HGolightly on June 20, 2013, 10:51:21 AM
A number of years ago we attended a wedding for a work friend. The invite did not specify presentation only so I put together a movie themed gift basket with their favourite treats and a $100 gift card. Months passed, no thank you note. CW asks another in front of me if they got their thank you note and "subtly" mentions that only the people who gave"real gifts " got thank you notes. The "real gifts" were just the money gifts. I declined attending her subsequent baby showers.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: NyaChan on June 20, 2013, 11:02:52 AM
I'm not seeing where it talks about their ethnic background - what am I missing?

Fourth paragraph from the bottom up.
Laura's Italian and her bride is Croatian.

ohhh thanks!
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: NyaChan on June 20, 2013, 11:06:54 AM
A number of years ago we attended a wedding for a work friend. The invite did not specify presentation only so I put together a movie themed gift basket with their favourite treats and a $100 gift card. Months passed, no thank you note. CW asks another in front of me if they got their thank you note and "subtly" mentions that only the people who gave"real gifts " got thank you notes. The "real gifts" were just the money gifts. I declined attending her subsequent baby showers.

 :o That's horrible!!  I would have loved that gift!  I just don't get people sometimes.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: saki on June 20, 2013, 11:13:56 AM
Obviously, the bride was very rude here.  I do, though, also think that the gift basket wasn't a great gift either - I sort of feel like, if you're going to go that route, it should be with foodstuffs that you now that the couple (both of them - not just the one you know best) really like and it doesn't sound like that was the case here.  One of our wedding gifts was a BBQ cookbook - I'm vegetarian.  We sent a polite thank you note but I do also think that it was a very poor choice of gift.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: sparksals on June 20, 2013, 11:19:19 AM
A number of years ago we attended a wedding for a work friend. The invite did not specify presentation only so I put together a movie themed gift basket with their favourite treats and a $100 gift card. Months passed, no thank you note. CW asks another in front of me if they got their thank you note and "subtly" mentions that only the people who gave"real gifts " got thank you notes. The "real gifts" were just the money gifts. I declined attending her subsequent baby showers.


So you gave a gift AND money and they didn't think that was good enough?  WOW!  DId they expect you to go through the Presentation line? 


For those that don't know, Presentation is a Manitoba tradition.  The wedding party lines up like a receiving line and the guests present the envelope to the HC.  It is very common for an invitation to say 'presentation'.  It is not done in any other part of Canada that I know of. 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: nuit93 on June 20, 2013, 11:26:13 AM

ETA: I can see being generous if the married couple was being reasonable with expenses but just because you want to have a crazy expensive venue or excessive decorations doesn't mean I should have to gift you more than someone who has a more simple affair.  I gift the amount in correspondence with the relationship with the person, not how much they spent on the wedding.  I do gift what I consider pretty generously but then again I only go to weddings of people that actually care about me not just some random acquaintance.


"Cover Your Plate" bugs me too.  Just because a couple throws a more simple affair doesn't mean it's appropriate to give them less of a gift.  Not that gift should ever be expected, but using the cost of the event as a determinate for the value of a gift strikes me as wrong.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Shoo on June 20, 2013, 11:28:10 AM

ETA: I can see being generous if the married couple was being reasonable with expenses but just because you want to have a crazy expensive venue or excessive decorations doesn't mean I should have to gift you more than someone who has a more simple affair.  I gift the amount in correspondence with the relationship with the person, not how much they spent on the wedding.  I do gift what I consider pretty generously but then again I only go to weddings of people that actually care about me not just some random acquaintance.


"Cover Your Plate" bugs me too.  Just because a couple throws a more simple affair doesn't mean it's appropriate to give them less of a gift.  Not that gift should ever be expected, but using the cost of the event as a determinate for the value of a gift strikes me as wrong.

Besides that, how are people supposed to know how much their food costs?  The whole concept is ridiculous.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: nuit93 on June 20, 2013, 11:38:24 AM

ETA: I can see being generous if the married couple was being reasonable with expenses but just because you want to have a crazy expensive venue or excessive decorations doesn't mean I should have to gift you more than someone who has a more simple affair.  I gift the amount in correspondence with the relationship with the person, not how much they spent on the wedding.  I do gift what I consider pretty generously but then again I only go to weddings of people that actually care about me not just some random acquaintance.


"Cover Your Plate" bugs me too.  Just because a couple throws a more simple affair doesn't mean it's appropriate to give them less of a gift.  Not that gift should ever be expected, but using the cost of the event as a determinate for the value of a gift strikes me as wrong.

Besides that, how are people supposed to know how much their food costs?  The whole concept is ridiculous.

Well, in a couple cases I knew because the at least one part of the couple was close to me.  One was my sister and I knew they were spending $100/head because her FH wanted an open bar.  Another was a close friend of mine who was having the catering done by a local trade school so they got a really great deal, about $15/person for a buffet and an open beer/wine bar.

I didn't ask either time other than to enquire how wedding planning was going.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Eden on June 20, 2013, 11:45:32 AM
Neither side seems able to let the matter rest.  I truly believe that, if the parties were speaking face-to-face, things would never have reached the level it did.

I agree that part of what was so horrible was that the gift-givers launched into attack mode. The brides were rude to them, but they were completely rude right back. In fact, THEY made it personal with direct insults! I have to say I don't admire them particularly either.

And yeah, it's easy to be nasty by email, and I think that influenced the gift givers just as much.

Agreed
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: mbbored on June 20, 2013, 11:50:43 AM
The brides are using culture as an excuse for their horrible behavior. The unscientific poll now shows 88.67% in favor of the gift givers. (I suspect those of us from here have thrown the poll in the gift givers favor.)

Oddly enough, the "Is it tacky?" poll is about 50/50.  ;D For the record, I don't think it was.

I do think the gift was odd. Marshmallow whip? But not necessarily tacky or rude. Short of gifts that blatantly disregard someone's known and obvious moral positions, I can't really think of any gift being rude.

I agree the gift of snack foods was an odd choice. Unless I know the couple really well I prefer to shop off the registry so I can guarantee they'll like the gift.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: MyFamily on June 20, 2013, 11:53:46 AM
http://www.thespec.com/news-story/3845206-have-your-say-about-the-wedding-gift-firestorm/

The link above was posted in SS thread in the coffee break folder - it answers some questions that are raised here - including the fact that the gift basket wasn't just marshmallow fluff and sour candies. 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: BabyMama on June 20, 2013, 12:02:25 PM
I love the bit where they are quoting the back and forth email exchange between brides and guests:

"Newlyweds: “Weddings are to make money for your future … not to pay for peoples meals. Do more research. People haven’t gave gifts since like 50 years ago!"

I had no idea weddings are for making money!

If they could somehow make money from a 210 guest wedding at $100 a plate, perhaps they'd like to be my financial planners. Otherwise... ::)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: kareng57 on June 20, 2013, 12:07:37 PM

ETA: I can see being generous if the married couple was being reasonable with expenses but just because you want to have a crazy expensive venue or excessive decorations doesn't mean I should have to gift you more than someone who has a more simple affair.  I gift the amount in correspondence with the relationship with the person, not how much they spent on the wedding.  I do gift what I consider pretty generously but then again I only go to weddings of people that actually care about me not just some random acquaintance.


"Cover Your Plate" bugs me too.  Just because a couple throws a more simple affair doesn't mean it's appropriate to give them less of a gift.  Not that gift should ever be expected, but using the cost of the event as a determinate for the value of a gift strikes me as wrong.

Besides that, how are people supposed to know how much their food costs?  The whole concept is ridiculous.


Well - if it's a quite close-knit ethnic circle, it might be the case that most Italian weddings in the community take place at the local Italian Cultural Centre, for example.  So most of the guests are very familiar with the place and probably have a good idea of the catering prices because they've also been involved with planning weddings there.

Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not defending the "cover your plate" tradition.  But it's a longstanding one in some areas, and my guess is that the hosts would not be upset if guests contacted them to try to get an idea of the appropriate $ amount.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Tea Drinker on June 20, 2013, 12:30:48 PM
The problem is, when people say "cover the plate" I start thinking "OK, how much of my expenses do I put against that?" If I fly to your wedding, do you owe me a gift?

The last wedding I went to, I believe we gave the happy couple some maple syrup--because I knew they like it, and it's readily available in New York but not in Wales. Yes, we took the opportunity to make a vacation out of it: I showed my husband London (including a museum exhibit I knew he'd like), and I stayed over in Wales a few days after the wedding. But even if we had just flown over for the wedding and back, airfare plus one night's hotel would have cost significantly more than our friends paid to host us at the wedding. But that wasn't the point: the point was to be there when someone I love got married.

Threads like this make me feel very lucky in my friends.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: LadyR on June 20, 2013, 12:39:30 PM
The thing that gets me about "cultural" traditions in this sense... this did not take place in Italy or Croatia. This happened in Canada. I wonder if either bride has even spent more then at most a few months - if even a single day - in Italy or Croatia, or if they planned to live there, or follow all the other details of those cultures? Because it seems to me when you invite a Canadian, to a wedding in Canada, where you live and work, its pretty reasonable to expect to get a gift that follows Canadian gift giving culture.

If they are anything like my husband, then they're upbringing may have been fairly insular. My ILs friends are all Croatian, they attended a Croatian church, sent their kids to Croatian school on the weekends (though they went to normal Catholic school during the week), banked at a Croatian bank, etc. Its a huge community and though my ILs have been here for 40+ years, they have done very little mixing with non-Croatians. The first non-Croatian wedding my husband went to was for a university friend of his and he was in his late 20s by this point.

Quote
And the first generation in her family is heavily influenced by the Croation-ness of the family.
So I can see that truly being a factor in the expectations of what a wedding should be like, and what the gift-giving should be like.

This. If the brides are first generation born here then those are the traditions they have been raised with. I'm not saying it makes it right, my MIL would be horrified by their behavior and would have taken her children to town for it, but at the same time my MIL also demanded a list of who gave what after the wedding so she could make sure to 'match' it.

And yes, $100 per person is pretty ingrained as an expectation (my ILs have actually topped up DH and I's gift in the past to family weddings as they knew money was tight for us, but wanted to make sure we gave an appropriate amount). You are also expected to give at least $100 cash as a shower present.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: HelenB on June 20, 2013, 12:40:18 PM
I was thinking of the section where they say that culturally, you expect to get that much at your wedding, and you expect to spend that much per wedding as time goes on.

My step-mother-in-law is of Croatian and Italian background.  She was determined to invite all her friends to our wedding, because she had gone to the weddings of their children, and this was the chance to get a payback.  We declined to dis-invite our friends so that we could get bigger $$$ from her friends.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: heartmug on June 20, 2013, 12:46:05 PM
I was just at a wedding (the groom is 100% Italian) at a country club a couple of months ago.  I gave a $50 gift off their registry and we wrote a check for $100.  I have no idea if that covered the dinner for me, DH, and our dd.  I don't know the prices.

That bride is beyond rude.  You thank a person for their gift, for coming to your wedding, and you never ever correct them as to what you think is proper etiquette.  Wow.

Y'all are making good points.  At this same wedding there was an open bar.  I have no idea who paid for that (bride or groom's parents, or the happy couple) but I could factor in that DH had one beer and dd and I had water only so we saved them money.  This was DH's cousin so we knew very little about the wedding.  No one discussed details with us and we are fine with that.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on June 20, 2013, 01:06:52 PM
A friend of mine was marrying an Italian guy.  Her future FIL wanted to invite this friend of his to the wedding.  Only he didn't know his full name or his address.  My friend was so frustrated planning that wedding; she's the one who gave me the sage advice, 'Find yourself a nice orphan!'   ;D

But she was telling me that in her husband-to-be's family, it wasn't unusual for the patriarch of each family unit to hold onto the card envelop with the money, leaving it unsealed, throughout the reception.  And then take money out of it for each perceived slight at the wedding/reception.   :o

The wedding and reception were lovely.  I spent about $100, giving them a great portable grill and propane tank, that I delivered before the wedding so they wouldn't have to cart it around.  They used that thing until it completely wore out.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Winterlight on June 20, 2013, 01:12:14 PM
I do have to say that Marshmallow Giver's response:

Quote
you should just be happy your sham of a marriage is legal dude!

was disgusting and incredibly offensive.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: nuit93 on June 20, 2013, 01:30:21 PM
I do have to say that Marshmallow Giver's response:

Quote
you should just be happy your sham of a marriage is legal dude!

was disgusting and incredibly offensive.

Me too.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: White Lotus on June 20, 2013, 01:45:49 PM
In a country of immigrants or one with varying cultures, the best you can do is be polite according to your own norms or the norms of the couple's culture, if you know them.  If you receive a gift outside the norms of your culture -- in DH's culture, money is Not Done; in mine, money is ALL that is done -- you thank the giver sincerely for his/her/their kindness, recognizing that things are done differently by different groups in different places. And that is it.  People are giving you gifts!  It is not up to the recipient to dictate those gifts.  I would be delighted with a jar of Fluff and a box of crisped rice!  What DH makes with that and a cube of butter is something we both enjoy.  Imaginative, inexpensive (which might count for the giver) and makes for a fun evening of making, eating and movie watching.  If it was something we couldn't eat, like most of Hickory Farms (we are veg), DH would probably take it to his office, so it would be enjoyed by those who do eat it, and that would also give us both pleasure -- which is the point, isn't it?
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: lmyrs on June 20, 2013, 02:04:58 PM
My mother is second generation Croatian and they have the "cover your plate" attitude in that family. (Though it doesn't have to actually be with cash - a suitably priced gift is fine too.) BUT, like Toots said, that's the attitude that the gift giver is expected to have. The gift receiver is expected to love every gift that comes to them. If I had pulled that attitude on one of my wedding guests, I would have been shunned by my entire family. Even if they were secretly thinking that the gift giver was too cheap or wrong in some way, I would not be able to show my face after displaying that kind of behaviour.

I have a good friend who is very prominent in the local Italian cultural scene. (He's second generation Italian.) We actually used his connections to secure the Italian cultural centre for our own wedding reception. We had a reception only (no ceremony that day) and it started around 8pm so we had sandwiches and a bunch of other foods put out at 10:30pm but no full meal. My friend was horrified when I was telling him about our wedding plans. He could not believe that we were not having a full $150/plate meal. I explained that we simply couldn't afford it. He explained that it didn't matter because everyone would know to bring an envelope with at least $200 cash in it. That is truly how all the weddings he'd been to worked. (He's not married.)

I can sort of see how if you grow up in that type of culture, you may be disappointed that things didn't work out like you thought they would. I can also see why it may be frustrating to be a bride or a groom in that culture and want to have the "wedding you can afford" and not be allowed to because of family or cultural pressures on you. ("Allowed to" is strong, but you know what I mean? You get so much pressure to live up to your cultural norms.) And while the second generation may have been really insular in their community, usually the third generation has a multi-cultural friend base and they know that those folks don't follow the same cultural norms and would be horrified at the idea of spending $200 on a wedding gift for a friend. So all these things collide and turn into a giant mess.

But, geez, the brides in this case could not have handled this worse. Part of being in that third (or later) generation is understanding that not everyone grew up in your culture and if you want them there, you have to accept that they don't know all your secret handshakes and things that are "normal" or "just what's done" aren't really once you leave your own community.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 20, 2013, 03:22:34 PM

And yes, $100 per person is pretty ingrained as an expectation (my ILs have actually topped up DH and I's gift in the past to family weddings as they knew money was tight for us, but wanted to make sure we gave an appropriate amount). You are also expected to give at least $100 cash as a shower present.

My MIL has actually told us what we should be giving. Or asked us, and then told us it wasn't enough.
(and she has asked about who gave our kids what for what occasion, so she can "match" it as well; why the other grandma assumes that we'd reveal this info to MIL, I don't know, but I'm sure that she (other grandma) does assume that)


And my MIL thinks that's it's not very generous to give less than what you *think* it costs them to entertain you at the wedding. Because, then, you've actually cost the couple money. She thinks the couple should come out ahead. Oh, sure, i you're broke, you don't give as much, but it's not going to happen on her watch, so to speak.

Her sons have had to get pretty grim to get her to butt out of their gift giving.

I think some of this comes because they realize that the wedding couple "has" to invite people. They recognize the *obligation* of them being invited to a wedding, and there's a part of them that acknowledges that this is a burden to the couple. Inviting them was NOT optional for the couple. So they want to be sure that the couple doesn't end up worse off for living up to that obligation. They don't regard the wedding as a

Note that as lmyrs points out (and I said before): This is how they believe the gift GIVER should think. It would be beyond rude for the recipient to say the tiniest thing. (Now, there might be gossiping about how cheap someone was, if the Aunt Mafia thought the gift giver ought to be more flush than that. They regard the giving of wedding gifts to be as strong an obligation as paying rent or making the car payment, and I think they believe that people should be prepared for it always. So barring any known financial issues like a layoff, they expect you to live within your means, and "your means" *includes* appropriately sized gifts.)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: gellchom on June 20, 2013, 03:42:32 PM
I agree that the Brides were incredibly rude. 

Here, in NYC, money is a standard Wedding gift because most couples seem pretty well established before the Wedding.  Still, objects are given and appreciated. 


Why would couples in NYC be more likely to be established before marriage?  That's not my experience.

I agree with Toots - guests should try to take the couple's cultural/geographical/etc. customs and expectations into account when deciding what to give.  That doesn't mean they have to conform to it, unless of course it is something that would be considered outright offensive.  But if you want to know whether your gift will seem cheap or strange, then do your research and then decide what to do. 

I recently attended a Persian wedding in Israel as a last-minute add-on guest.  The groom was my daughter's fiance's first cousin, and when she found out I was visiting his mother very nicely called her sister-in-law and insisted they bring me so we could all meet.  Now, I live in the midwest, where wedding gifts are usually more modest than the east coast or Israel, and are often things, not cash.  I felt like I was in the position of a "plus one," whom I would not expect to bring a separate gift, KWIM?  But I decided to give a small gift, anyway.  I knew that cash is always the gift in Israel, and I wanted to make a good first impression, but I thought that under the circumstances $50 or so would be really nice -- I mean, I would consider that a very generous gift from a "plus one" in my city.  Good thing I asked an Israeli friend: he told me that anything under $100 would seem really cheap.  I didn't HAVE to give that much, of course, but it was good to get the information before making my choice.

But the bride's response was absolutely unforgivable, and would have been even if the gift had been something that the giver didn't know was something truly offensive.

We keep a kosher home.  Once a Thanksgiving guest brought us a big package of pork sausage as a gift.  He was from Vietnam and I'm sure didn't have a clue about this. We thanked him nicely, put it aside, and the next day donated it someplace or gave it to someone.

I can only imagine what this bride said to people who didn't give the anything at all.

And, even as an advocate of same-sex marriage for over forty years, I too have to laugh at this bride citing "tradition" as her excuse for shaking down her guests.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: goddessofpeep on June 20, 2013, 03:47:19 PM
I always wondered when it came to the "cover your plate" idea, how on earth are you supposed to know how much to spend?  I mean, you can sometimes get an idea of the expense of the wedding from the quality and style of the invitations, but you never really can be sure. 

I once attended a wedding that must've cost somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million dollars to put on.  The bride and groom both paid for it as they were both well off. They really wanted their wedding, their way, and both of them were very sweet to everybody who attended.  We knew it was going to be a nice wedding, and we had to go(it was my husband's boss' wedding, and attendance was mandatory), but we had NO idea what we were in for.  They didn't have a photographer, they had a whole crew.  The had a separate film crew to do the video.  It was at one of the nicest resorts in one of the most expensive areas in one of the most expensive States in the country.  They had a custom dance floor made because they couldn't find one for rent in the proper shade of brown.  They even had furniture made specially for a lounge they made for guests to relax around the bar.  I have no idea what the per plate cost of that wedding was, but I'm sure it was more than a month's worth of pay for my husband.

We gave them a nice gift, but I'm sure it was nowhere near what the food for us alone cost them.  We got a lovely thank you note from the couple within a few weeks of them returning from their honeymoon.  I always found it very interesting that the people who had the most expensive wedding that I'm probably ever going to attend were also the ones who were the least concerned about how much they were "getting back" from the guests.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: WillyNilly on June 20, 2013, 03:57:55 PM
I agree that the Brides were incredibly rude. 

Here, in NYC, money is a standard Wedding gift because most couples seem pretty well established before the Wedding.  Still, objects are given and appreciated. 


Why would couples in NYC be more likely to be established before marriage?  That's not my experience.

Polls, census, wedding industry folks, etc, all pretty much agree people in large cities - and NYC s by far the biggest in the country - tend to get married later in life. The national average age for brides is 27, the average bride in NYC is 32. The older someone is, the more likely they are to be well established in the home dept.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: cwm on June 20, 2013, 04:06:58 PM
I personally would check the cultural traditions of people before planning a wedding gift. I'd hate to be the only person to show up at a Chinese wedding, for example, without a red envelope of money.

That being said, I think it boils down to a pull vs. push of gifts that gets discussed a lot. It's not up to the HC to push their culture (or gift registry) onto anyone else, it's up to the guests to pull that information out. And if they end up giving something that's not on the registry or that doesn't cover their cost of the meal, then if it's a thoughtful gift (which it sounds like this was) I don't see a problem with it.

I detest the idea that guests should somehow magically know how much the HC is paying for them and get a gift worth at least that much. I was my sisters maid of honor and I still don't know how much she paid for the reception at her wedding. It wasn't within my duties or responsibilities to know, and it wasn't discussed. Any of my friends who have gotten married have done so on an extremely tight budget. Does that mean they're less deserving of gifts than a HC who can afford to pay $200 a head for catering? Would it change things if it was a close relative who had an inexpensive reception? I would give them more than a co worker for their wedding, regardless of how much it cost to have me as a guest because of my relationship with them. I give based on my personal relationship with the HC, not by how much money they spend on their wedding. To me, that information is between the HC and whoever is being paid to host/cater the event.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: cattlekid on June 20, 2013, 04:20:44 PM
My husband is Serbian and I could have written a lot of the responses about the expectations around Serbian/Croatian weddings regarding invitations, gift giving etc. 

I have often felt that Serbian weddings are pain inflicted from generation to generation.  Your parents got the pain from their parents and your parents are intent on passing that pain on to you.  For the "happy" couple, weddings are so fraught with cultural expectations to live up to that all individual expression is squelched from the get-go.  We had so many guests at our wedding that I never met beforehand and never saw afterwards but they were "required" invitations issued by my ILs.  By the time you get to your honeymoon, you never want to hear the word "wedding" again for months or even years. 

Then you have the gift giving expectations as well.  Of course, you are expected to cover your plate, plus more.  I finally got to the point where we started declining invitations if we didn't know the B&G well enough to be willing to shell out $250 for our gift, plus at least $100 for a shower present.  I've had two weddings and two christenings in the last five weeks and we are tapped out for the rest of the summer. 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Hmmmmm on June 20, 2013, 04:50:13 PM
I had never heard of the cover your plate idea until reading EHell.  Growing up, the price of your gift was based on 1)how close you were to the couple 2)your financial situation. It had nothing to do with whether you attended the wedding or not or the cost of the wedding attended.

If you were wealthy Great Aunt Martha, you were probably going to give one of the more expensive china pieces, whether she attends the wedding or not. Aunt Jill who has 2 kid at home and another in college is probably going to buy a place setting and Jill, her DH, and the 2 at home kids and maybe the college one will all be in attendance. Cousin Adam who graduated college last year and was in his first year of teaching, is probably going to give a place setting of flatware. And Sheila who you volunteer with one Sat a month is probably going to give a nice picture frame.  Mom's next door neighbor may gift a set of fingertip towels she has hand embroidered. The expectation that these 5 guests should all give a gift of the same monetary value because they all attended the same function is just very foreign concept to me. 

I understand a couple who grew up in a culture where every one gave a monetary gift equal to the per head cost having that expectation, but only expect if they only invited guests who are members of that culture. As a host you should not expect to force your cultural expectations on everyone else. If you want a "pay at the door" wedding, then only invite people you are comfortable with that model.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: camlan on June 20, 2013, 05:05:41 PM
My college roommate relayed to me a very difficult conversation she had had with her fiance when they were engaged. He had started adding up the anticipated amounts of money his side of the family would be giving as wedding presents, then asked her what she thought her family would give. He was stunned when she told him they would be giving presents--you know, the china that was Great-Grandmother's that they had just received from Great-Aunt Bertha? That *was* their wedding present.

He, in his turn, was stunned when she refused to tell all the guests on her side to give money, not actual gifts. She said it would be extremely rude to do so, but he thought the guests would be rude for not giving money.

They were from two different ethnic groups, but had been born and lived in the same city growing up.

So cultural expectations are there. But it is rude to hold someone to an expectation they don't know exists.

And the whole email exchange between the two parties leaves both of them looking bad.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: BarensMom on June 20, 2013, 05:21:54 PM
What a pair of rude brides!  Even if the gift wasn't culturally correct, they should've sucked it up and wrote a proper thank you, then donated/given/trashed it.

Looking at the picture of the sample, I see at least 10 items at an approximate cost of $5/item = $50.  For the most part, baskets aren't cheap, my guess is that a basket of that quality would be around $100+.  The givers also had gifted them a card for Macaroni Grill(?) to cover dinner, which had to be around $50. There's your $200 right there.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: blarg314 on June 20, 2013, 05:31:58 PM

When I read the original article, I totally missed the two brides part.

I'd be tempted to read up on Croatian/Italian wedding traditions, print out a list of all the ones that require a groom or best man, and tell them that I'd present their cheque when they had the marriage annulled, married someone of the traditional gender, and worked their way through the appropriate traditions.

But I find personally it really annoying when someone yells "Cultural tradition" for something that benefits them at the expense of others (large monetary presents) but is very quiet when the cultural tradition is something that would inconvenience them (cultural prohibitions against both pre-marital sex/cohabitation *and* same sex marriages that would traditionally leave them as social outcasts or get them disowned). If you're allowed to pick and choose, you have to grant your guests the same privilege.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Sharnita on June 20, 2013, 05:39:04 PM
The thing is, just because somebody is Italian-American doesn't mean that they are having a wedding that observes Italian wedding traditions (same with Chinese-Americans having a traditional Chinese wedding and so on).  I don't know that the guests would have had any reason to think that these brides intended a "traditional Italian wedding" or even that there was anything else traditional about it, other than their expectations of money. Do we know the ethnicity of the other bride?  If she is German why wouldn't guests expect German traditions to be upheld?
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: nuit93 on June 20, 2013, 05:39:11 PM
Can we please stop with the "well, it's not like they were obviously that traditional because they had two brides" remarks?  It wouldn't change the fact that the behavior was rude.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: EllenS on June 20, 2013, 05:48:31 PM
I think the real takeaways from this one are,
1) don't invite people you don't like or barely know to your wedding,
2)  don't invite more people or entertain more lavishly than you can afford - rule of thumb, if you care whether they "cover their plate", the wedding is too expensive for you.
3) if you don't know what the HC would really enjoy receiving, or know them well enough to understand their cultural expectations, think twice about why/whether you need to attend the wedding or send a gift at all.  A nice congratulatory note with your regrets is always perfectly polite.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Sharnita on June 20, 2013, 05:57:06 PM
Can we please stop with the "well, it's not like they were obviously that traditional because they had two brides" remarks?  It wouldn't change the fact that the behavior was rude.

I don't think it would be reasonable to expect people to know/predict "ethnic traditions" if the Italian-American bride was marrying a man, either.  I certainly wouldn't make the assumption because one person was Chinese-American (or both people were) unless they had mentioned the intent to honor those traditions. In a marriage where one person is Irish-American and the other is French-American, how would a guest predict which traditions "win"?
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Winterlight on June 20, 2013, 06:05:53 PM
I had never heard of the cover your plate idea until reading EHell.  Growing up, the price of your gift was based on 1)how close you were to the couple 2)your financial situation. It had nothing to do with whether you attended the wedding or not or the cost of the wedding attended.

If you were wealthy Great Aunt Martha, you were probably going to give one of the more expensive china pieces, whether she attends the wedding or not. Aunt Jill who has 2 kid at home and another in college is probably going to buy a place setting and Jill, her DH, and the 2 at home kids and maybe the college one will all be in attendance. Cousin Adam who graduated college last year and was in his first year of teaching, is probably going to give a place setting of flatware. And Sheila who you volunteer with one Sat a month is probably going to give a nice picture frame.  Mom's next door neighbor may gift a set of fingertip towels she has hand embroidered. The expectation that these 5 guests should all give a gift of the same monetary value because they all attended the same function is just very foreign concept to me. 

I understand a couple who grew up in a culture where every one gave a monetary gift equal to the per head cost having that expectation, but only expect if they only invited guests who are members of that culture. As a host you should not expect to force your cultural expectations on everyone else. If you want a "pay at the door" wedding, then only invite people you are comfortable with that model.

That's how it worked in my area. Some people might choose to give cash, but it wasn't an expectation.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: NyaChan on June 20, 2013, 06:30:48 PM

I think some of this comes because they realize that the wedding couple "has" to invite people. They recognize the *obligation* of them being invited to a wedding, and there's a part of them that acknowledges that this is a burden to the couple. Inviting them was NOT optional for the couple. So they want to be sure that the couple doesn't end up worse off for living up to that obligation. They don't regard the wedding as a

Note that as lmyrs points out (and I said before): This is how they believe the gift GIVER should think. It would be beyond rude for the recipient to say the tiniest thing. (Now, there might be gossiping about how cheap someone was, if the Aunt Mafia thought the gift giver ought to be more flush than that. They regard the giving of wedding gifts to be as strong an obligation as paying rent or making the car payment, and I think they believe that people should be prepared for it always. So barring any known financial issues like a layoff, they expect you to live within your means, and "your means" *includes* appropriately sized gifts.)

That really struck home with me.  Guests lists in my family are not about gathering your nearest and dearest, it is about making sure you don't accidentally offend someone that is related to you or that invited you in the past by not including them and whoever they think is supposed to be invited by virtue of attachment to them.  My cousin's wedding had over 1000 people attending - they were almost all connections of her parents and obligatory invites.  Attending years and years of weddings (I swear, there are weekends when they have to pick from 3 different invites at a time), racks up your obligations. 

The only mention of it would come from an older relative who knows that the amount wasn't in keeping with what that person had received previously or doesn't reflect the closeness of the relationship.  The bride and groom, however, even if they are sitting in the same room when such a remark is made are supposed to express nothing but gratefulness.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on June 20, 2013, 06:41:50 PM
This has nothing whatever to do with culture and everything to do with that bride being a horrendous hosebeast.

Her comments were so rude I don't even know where to begin.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: ChiGirl on June 20, 2013, 07:02:09 PM
Another awful detail from the original article: apparently, the happy couple keeps the gift basket on display in their home to show their visitors -- presumably to mock the givers' supposed cheapness.

I don't think you can ascribe that kind of rudeness to any particular cultural tradition.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: amylouky on June 20, 2013, 07:22:09 PM
I don't understand the "cover your plate" idea, and will not ever be worrying about sticking to it.
DH and I had a medium-priced wedding because that's what we could afford. I'm not going to shell out $200+ for us to attend someone's fancy schmancy wedding because they chose to plan a wedding that is beyond their means.

I think both sides in this situation were pretty horrible. You don't call someone out on a gift for being cheap. But the gift-givers responses were pretty rude and insulting, too.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: onikenbai on June 20, 2013, 07:40:47 PM
For those that don't know, Presentation is a Manitoba tradition.  The wedding party lines up like a receiving line and the guests present the envelope to the HC.  It is very common for an invitation to say 'presentation'.  It is not done in any other part of Canada that I know of. 

It's not a thing in Ontario.  I've never heard of it happening here.  We are more likely to have a wishing well, but I did have the rather unpleasant experience of the bridal party putting the well at the end of the receiving line and then making sure to remind each and every guest to make their donation to the well.  I found that rather tacky.  Kind of made me want to fish out all the random garbage I had in my purse and dump it in the well as my donation.

I have no problem with the gift givers putting together a basket of stuff, but I do question what they put into it.  Sour Patch Kids and Jolly Ranchers?  Really?  They couldn't have aimed a little higher on the junk food chain?  The gift looks more like something your mom throws together to get you through exams, not something to celebrate your marriage.  Admittedly the brides were the ones who took the picture and they downplayed the better quality stuff that was also in the basket, but the gift does have a post-frat party munchies run feeling about it.  I personally have given food as a wedding gift myself.  I gave an assortment of hand made jams and jellies which I had personally picked the fruit and made.  Anybody who makes their own preserves will know how much that actually costs these days.

The brides were totally inexcusable, but the gift givers don't get an etiquette pass on this.  This is a local story for me so it's been all over the news.  Yes, this is Canada.  This IS what our radio DJs talk about on our commute to and from work.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Yvaine on June 20, 2013, 08:44:37 PM
Can we please stop with the "well, it's not like they were obviously that traditional because they had two brides" remarks?  It wouldn't change the fact that the behavior was rude.

Thank you. I was wondering how to phrase the same thing.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: *inviteseller on June 20, 2013, 09:27:57 PM
First off, I have heard the cover the plate rule, but how the heck does anyone know how much that is??  Are you supposed to ask the couple?  And second off,  as we would discuss at my work (stationery/invitation boutique), it is an invitation to a party thrown by the couple (or their parents), so why is it expected the guest should cover the cost of it?  Keep in mind, we were very picky on etiquette at our job, but it raised our hackles to hear a bride and her entourage talking about who they were going to invite, and someone would say "Oh, you don't want X, they don't give enough cash/big enough gift."  My understanding is, the couple is inviting the people they love and want to share this special day with, but if they are inviting people solely to get cash, why send invitations?  Go to a JP and then send out invoices!  And maybe Joe (who just got laid off and has 2 kids) can only afford $25, but great aunt Ethel gives $500, so, as my one friend said when I was helping her address her thank you's, every thing is appreciated because that person came, celebrated, and had fun.

 Also, and this may be regional (I am in Pennsylvania) but I have been to some really wonderful wedding receptions with spectacular food and drinks, and no one ever paid $100-$200 a head!  My step brother's beautiful wedding 3 years ago had an incredible buffet with 4 meats, carving stations, 6 different sides and an open bar and it still was no where near that!  I think the most I have ever heard was one of my closest friends whose was $75 a head due to it being sit down (buffet would have been cheaper but her MIL, who wasn't spending a penny would NOT hear of a buffet). 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: snowdragon on June 20, 2013, 09:36:54 PM
If the guests are supposed to make concessions to the cultural expectations of the HC, should not the HC be aware and make allowances for the cultural traditions of the guests?


I think they were both rude.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Minmom3 on June 20, 2013, 09:48:59 PM
This has nothing whatever to do with culture and everything to do with that bride being a horrendous hosebeast.

Her comments were so rude I don't even know where to begin.

THAT, I think, is the definitive comment on this entire mess.  What a colossal train wreck! 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: kareng57 on June 20, 2013, 10:00:08 PM

When I read the original article, I totally missed the two brides part.

I'd be tempted to read up on Croatian/Italian wedding traditions, print out a list of all the ones that require a groom or best man, and tell them that I'd present their cheque when they had the marriage annulled, married someone of the traditional gender, and worked their way through the appropriate traditions.

But I find personally it really annoying when someone yells "Cultural tradition" for something that benefits them at the expense of others (large monetary presents) but is very quiet when the cultural tradition is something that would inconvenience them (cultural prohibitions against both pre-marital sex/cohabitation *and* same sex marriages that would traditionally leave them as social outcasts or get them disowned). If you're allowed to pick and choose, you have to grant your guests the same privilege.

Overall, I definitely agree.  But I do think that overall, guests do owe hosts some respect re gifts.  Not necessarily cover-your-plate - but say, for example, they find out that the preferred gift in the HC's ethnic group is cash.  (And I mean finding out by word-of-mouth, not by an insert in the invitation).  Maybe the invited guests don't really like giving cash, but I think it would be somewhat rude to give a boxed-gift instead, in an attempt to prove their point.  And even if they do that, it doesn't give the HC the right to be anything but gracious about it.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 20, 2013, 10:04:14 PM


The only mention of it would come from an older relative who knows that the amount wasn't in keeping with what that person had received previously or doesn't reflect the closeness of the relationship.  The bride and groom, however, even if they are sitting in the same room when such a remark is made are supposed to express nothing but gratefulness.

And in my Croation IL family (now my family), the brides and grooms are actually pretty damned adamant about NOT revealing that info to the Aunt Mafia. I know, because I've heard them complain to one another about it.

And one bride directly told me her mom had asked her, and she'd refused with mild outrage. She finally relented and told her mom the total amount of gift money (which she didn't tell me; she only told me the story because it involved my husband's gift check, which was for $xx3.17; her mother said, "who gave you seventeen cents?!").
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: NyaChan on June 20, 2013, 10:13:59 PM


The only mention of it would come from an older relative who knows that the amount wasn't in keeping with what that person had received previously or doesn't reflect the closeness of the relationship.  The bride and groom, however, even if they are sitting in the same room when such a remark is made are supposed to express nothing but gratefulness.

And in my Croation IL family (now my family), the brides and grooms are actually pretty damned adamant about NOT revealing that info to the Aunt Mafia. I know, because I've heard them complain to one another about it.

And one bride directly told me her mom had asked her, and she'd refused with mild outrage. She finally relented and told her mom the total amount of gift money (which she didn't tell me; she only told me the story because it involved my husband's gift check, which was for $xx3.17; her mother said, "who gave you seventeen cents?!").

Ah but the elderly relatives are smart - they've long been training their young'uns that "no" is an unacceptable response to any request  ;)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: LadyR on June 21, 2013, 12:24:24 AM


The only mention of it would come from an older relative who knows that the amount wasn't in keeping with what that person had received previously or doesn't reflect the closeness of the relationship.  The bride and groom, however, even if they are sitting in the same room when such a remark is made are supposed to express nothing but gratefulness.

And in my Croation IL family (now my family), the brides and grooms are actually pretty damned adamant about NOT revealing that info to the Aunt Mafia. I know, because I've heard them complain to one another about it.

And one bride directly told me her mom had asked her, and she'd refused with mild outrage. She finally relented and told her mom the total amount of gift money (which she didn't tell me; she only told me the story because it involved my husband's gift check, which was for $xx3.17; her mother said, "who gave you seventeen cents?!").

Ah but the elderly relatives are smart - they've long been training their young'uns that "no" is an unacceptable response to any request  ;)

My MIL demanded and DH gave in, though only for "her" guests. After my shower, she sat there with mr, tallying the gifts. It was super awkward. Especially when she started to get upset thwt one of her friend's hadn't iven us cash, until we explained she had given us $400 pots. To ne honest, A felt really weird getting cash gifts at a shower.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Kiara on June 21, 2013, 07:24:51 AM
The thing is, just because somebody is Italian-American doesn't mean that they are having a wedding that observes Italian wedding traditions (same with Chinese-Americans having a traditional Chinese wedding and so on).  I don't know that the guests would have had any reason to think that these brides intended a "traditional Italian wedding" or even that there was anything else traditional about it, other than their expectations of money. Do we know the ethnicity of the other bride?  If she is German why wouldn't guests expect German traditions to be upheld?

This.  My family is of Croatian and Slovak descent, and none of us believed in giving cash, or covering your plate, or anything.  So even "traditions" vary from person to person.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: thedudeabides on June 21, 2013, 09:12:45 AM
1. Brides were rude, and stupidly so, for asking for the receipt back.

2. Guests escalated by pointing out that rudeness.

3. Brides upped the ante by further denigrating the gift, continuing their fruitless search for more money, and insisting their cultural traditions reign supreme.

4. Givers should have cut their losses by severing the friendship and being glad they got off relatively cheaply for their pains.  I get why they started asking if they had missed something important, though: If someone I knew suddenly flipped sh*t on me over something like a wedding gift and saying that all their friends thought I was a horrible person for giving it, I'd be wondering when I had slipped into the Twilight Zone, too.

5. Brides topped off the terribleness by telling a newspaper that the gift was so bad they leave it out for their friends and family to make fun of.  Klassy, klassy, klassy.

I think the givers ended up being rude, too, but the brides take the rudeness cake, and I hope they get shunned as a result.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 21, 2013, 10:28:26 AM
My MIL demanded and DH gave in, though only for "her" guests. After my shower, she sat there with mr, tallying the gifts. It was super awkward. Especially when she started to get upset thwt one of her friend's hadn't iven us cash, until we explained she had given us $400 pots. To ne honest, A felt really weird getting cash gifts at a shower.

I'm w/ you--cash gifts at at shower is just strange. It is *not* required at a Croatian shower, though my MIL has mostly given up and now buys something smallish but tucks a check inside. "Let them buy something they really want or need." (and considering that she's transferring a huge chunk of economic power, I can totally understand her not wanting it to go to waste.)

But I think she'd actually look down on someone who just stuck a check in a card and didn't bring a gift! She'd think that was really lazy.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: AnnaJ on June 21, 2013, 10:36:14 AM
A question for those familiar with the 'covering your plate' idea - I know that no one here has said they agreed with it - do these people still believe they are hosting?  To me it would be a rather convoluted way of paying for dinner and entertainment, not as a guest but as a paying customer, so I honestly don't see the hosting - but that's my view and what I like about EH is that there are posters who are very good at explaining other points of view. 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: LibraryLady on June 21, 2013, 11:34:00 AM
This has been extremely eye-opening for a simple girl from Texas.    :o

1.  The attitude of the original bride/groom
2.  The expectation of receiving cash only as a gift (although from eHell my eyes have been opened to that)
3.  Covering your plate.  Most weddings I have attended were receptions only.  The last one I remembered attending was a 1st cousin, once removed.
4.  While I do understand that many couples already have all that they need, I still prefer to give a 'something' other than cash as a gift (my age and
      culture I suppose).

Wow, just wow, from all the posts.  I am such a white-bread, country-bred, middle-class 60 yr. old , never been any-where (out of Texas), shown anything, woman.     ???
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: WillyNilly on June 21, 2013, 11:37:38 AM
A question for those familiar with the 'covering your plate' idea - I know that no one here has said they agreed with it - do these people still believe they are hosting?  To me it would be a rather convoluted way of paying for dinner and entertainment, not as a guest but as a paying customer, so I honestly don't see the hosting - but that's my view and what I like about EH is that there are posters who are very good at explaining other points of view.

The thing with "cover your plate" is that, much like people have said with the cultural expectation of money, is that its an attitude its acceptable for the guest/giver to have, the host/gift receiver is supposed to (and usually do) accept any/all gifts (even if just a card with well wishes) graciously and evenly. So yes, these hosts still very much consider themselves hosts.

The point of "cover your plate" is the mentality 'oh how wonderful and generous of them to host me, but really they shouldn't have gone to such trouble! They are just starting out, they need those funds as seed funds to start a life, I really must find a way to repay them... I know! I'll give them a gift that covers what they have just spent on me.' Sort of the same idea as when you have that one friend who always hosts people because they have the biggest living room, so you try to make sure you bring the pizza, or the parents that always insist on buying the adult kids dinner so the adults kids slip some cash into their parents pocket discreetly when the parent doesn't notice.

As far as people wondering how you know how much "per plate" would cost to cover it? You guess. You think about your own experiences, you consider the formality and location of the party, and you guess, maybe even padding the number a bit. You might get it wrong, and you'd never know, because again this is supposed to be something only gift givers consider, not ever the gift receivers or hosts. Its supposed to be a gracious thought process, not an invoicing thought process.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: camlan on June 21, 2013, 11:51:36 AM
A question for those familiar with the 'covering your plate' idea - I know that no one here has said they agreed with it - do these people still believe they are hosting?  To me it would be a rather convoluted way of paying for dinner and entertainment, not as a guest but as a paying customer, so I honestly don't see the hosting - but that's my view and what I like about EH is that there are posters who are very good at explaining other points of view.

The thing with "cover your plate" is that, much like people have said with the cultural expectation of money, is that its an attitude its acceptable for the guest/giver to have, the host/gift receiver is supposed to (and usually do) accept any/all gifts (even if just a card with well wishes) graciously and evenly. So yes, these hosts still very much consider themselves hosts.

The point of "cover your plate" is the mentality 'oh how wonderful and generous of them to host me, but really they shouldn't have gone to such trouble! They are just starting out, they need those funds as seed funds to start a life, I really must find a way to repay them... I know! I'll give them a gift that covers what they have just spent on me.' Sort of the same idea as when you have that one friend who always hosts people because they have the biggest living room, so you try to make sure you bring the pizza, or the parents that always insist on buying the adult kids dinner so the adults kids slip some cash into their parents pocket discreetly when the parent doesn't notice.

As far as people wondering how you know how much "per plate" would cost to cover it? You guess. You think about your own experiences, you consider the formality and location of the party, and you guess, maybe even padding the number a bit. You might get it wrong, and you'd never know, because again this is supposed to be something only gift givers consider, not ever the gift receivers or hosts. Its supposed to be a gracious thought process, not an invoicing thought process.

This. My mother never told me about "covering the plate," but when all nine of us were invited to a wedding, she did worry about how much that would cost the bride and groom. So when a wedding invitation included the whole family and not just Mom and Dad, she did buy a more expensive gift than the usual $100 gift of china from the Happy Couple's registry. Probably the more expensive gift still didn't cover the cost of hosting and feeding all nine of us, but Mom was trying to make things balance out a bit more.

For one wedding, I gave a gift of the couple's china that they register for--about $150. As the wedding weekend wore on, I realized that if I had attempted to "cover the plate" I would have had to get a much more expensive gift. Everyone was invited to the rehearsal dinner, which was a huge catered affair in a rented venue. Then the guided tour of the city the following morning. Then the wedding in what was clearly a very expensive venue, plus the food and open bar. Then the catered morning-after breakfast.

It was the most expensive wedding I've ever attended. There's no way I could have "covered the plate." There's no way I could even estimate the cost--the wedding was in a very different part of the country from where I live. Although in this instance, I'm not sure either the bride or groom has ever heard the expression or would expect their guests to do so.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 21, 2013, 02:43:01 PM
A question for those familiar with the 'covering your plate' idea - I know that no one here has said they agreed with it - do these people still believe they are hosting?  To me it would be a rather convoluted way of paying for dinner and entertainment, not as a guest but as a paying customer, so I honestly don't see the hosting - but that's my view and what I like about EH is that there are posters who are very good at explaining other points of view.

Well in my experience, the people who focus on "covering the plate" are the GUESTS, *not* the couple nor the couple's parents.

And guests never believe they are hosting, nor do they believe they are paying customers. They still think of themselves as guests .They are simply compensating the bride and groom (or their parents) for the expenses that those folks were forced to undergo.

(I will admit that in this culture, there is a TINY bit more of an expectation that it will be a dinner dance, etc. Cake and punch wouldn't make a great impression.)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: It's good to be Queen on June 21, 2013, 03:30:32 PM
Miss Manners has this one exactly right, the couple (or their family) give the wedding they can afford and the guest gives the gift they can afford, the two are in no way related.  "Covering you plate" is not a recognized concept in etiquette.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Bookgirl on June 21, 2013, 04:34:31 PM
Reading this and all of these posts makes me glad that I don't have many weddings to attend in my circle! 

We've been married for 11 1/2 years.  I couldn't begin to tell you who gave us cash but I can darn sure tell you who gave us the microwave and the crock pot that we are still using to this day. 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Shoo on June 21, 2013, 05:09:05 PM
Miss Manners has this one exactly right, the couple (or their family) give the wedding they can afford and the guest gives the gift they can afford, the two are in no way related.  "Covering you plate" is not a recognized concept in etiquette.

And this is what I choose to believe is correct.  Makes life so much simpler.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: HoneyBee42 on June 21, 2013, 08:21:40 PM
Reading this and all of these posts makes me glad that I don't have many weddings to attend in my circle! 

We've been married for 11 1/2 years.  I couldn't begin to tell you who gave us cash but I can darn sure tell you who gave us the microwave and the crock pot that we are still using to this day.

And for that matter, I was married for 19 years, separated for 1 year before the divorce was finalized, and I've been divorced now for just over 2 years--and I *still* remember who it was who gave us (me) the Corningware set (3 of 5 pieces have survived, two pieces got broken during the 19 years).   
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: It's good to be Queen on June 21, 2013, 09:26:30 PM
I remember finding a book of all of the wedding presents my parents received (in 1958).  One gift, from two very elderly aunts was $4.00.  Considering how little money they had, that was a generous gift from them.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: kareng57 on June 21, 2013, 10:15:54 PM
Miss Manners has this one exactly right, the couple (or their family) give the wedding they can afford and the guest gives the gift they can afford, the two are in no way related.  "Covering you plate" is not a recognized concept in etiquette.

And this is what I choose to believe is correct.  Makes life so much simpler.


I agree completely, but etiquette does not necessarily equal tradition.

That's why I assert that, if you (generic) know that cash is the preferred gift for a wedding that you will be attending, it's kind of churlish to insist on giving a tangible gift instead.  Not rude, but churlish - it smacks of "teaching them a lesson" - in that some guests don't like giving cash.

That said, no one is obligated to "cover their plate".
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: proudmama on June 21, 2013, 10:17:51 PM
I remember finding a book of all of the wedding presents my parents received (in 1958).  One gift, from two very elderly aunts was $4.00.  Considering how little money they had, that was a generous gift from them.

I love stories like this.   :)  Sometimes, it's the smallest gifts that mean the most. 

We were married 16 years ago.  My cousin, his wife and 2 kids gave us $15 from the family.  I still remember that gift because I know that it was a lot to them and honestly, I didn't expect anything from them.  I was just happy that they were able to come spend the day with us (and I live in an area where 'cover the plate' is common). 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Thipu1 on June 22, 2013, 05:09:13 AM
It's true.  Sometimes, the least impressive gifts turn out to be the best. 

For some unknown reason, a relative of  Mr. Thipu gave us a book on Marco Polo as a Wedding gift.

  The contents of our bookcases have changed greatly over the 30 years of our marriage but that one is still there.  There's  just something about it that we love.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: ettiquit on June 22, 2013, 01:24:08 PM
I would probably decline an invitation to a wedding where I was expected to cover my plate. 

I also think that if you plan on having a traditional wedding (Chinese, Croatian, etc.) that it might be a good idea to include that info in the invite.  Whether you just point out that it's going to follow the traditions of that culture or take an extra steps and include information for where someone can go to read about it.  It won't guarantee that every guest will bring something that's appropriate for the tradition, but I do think some of the responsibility is going to fall on the couple if they have specific expectations about the gifts.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: gellchom on June 22, 2013, 01:45:50 PM
I would probably decline an invitation to a wedding where I was expected to cover my plate. 

I also think that if you plan on having a traditional wedding (Chinese, Croatian, etc.) that it might be a good idea to include that info in the invite.  Whether you just point out that it's going to follow the traditions of that culture or take an extra steps and include information for where someone can go to read about it.  It won't guarantee that every guest will bring something that's appropriate for the tradition, but I do think some of the responsibility is going to fall on the couple if they have specific expectations about the gifts.

I see your point, but I wouldn't do it.  How would you word it?  "The honor of your presence is requested at our traditional Croatian wedding"?  I would find that confusing, and possibly even a bit arrogant, as if their wedding were somehow more correctly traditional than other people's.  And no matter how you'd word it, it would also look to me like exactly what it really is: trying to direct gift-giving toward cash, which, like any other push toward a gift, is rude no matter what, the same as if they'd put "cash gifts requested" on the invitation.  That's my problem with the bolding: whether or not there is a traditional gift in the couple's community or culture, they are rude to ask or even hint for it unless and until asked what they'd like.  Whatever gift people give them, unless it is something the giver knew to be outright offensive, is by definition a lovely surprise.

That a polite guest tries to ascertain and, if possible, conform to what is considered appropriate in the couple's community, does not equal permission for the couple to try to push them to do so or be anything but gracious if they don't -- just like the existence of a registry does not make it rude to choose something elsewhere.  A gift is always voluntary and it is always the giver's choice, not the recipients'.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: CluelessBride on June 22, 2013, 02:38:35 PM
I would probably decline an invitation to a wedding where I was expected to cover my plate. 

I also think that if you plan on having a traditional wedding (Chinese, Croatian, etc.) that it might be a good idea to include that info in the invite.  Whether you just point out that it's going to follow the traditions of that culture or take an extra steps and include information for where someone can go to read about it.  It won't guarantee that every guest will bring something that's appropriate for the tradition, but I do think some of the responsibility is going to fall on the couple if they have specific expectations about the gifts.

I see your point, but I wouldn't do it.  How would you word it?  "The honor of your presence is requested at our traditional Croatian wedding"?  I would find that confusing, and possibly even a bit arrogant, as if their wedding were somehow more correctly traditional than other people's.  And no matter how you'd word it, it would also look to me like exactly what it really is: trying to direct gift-giving toward cash, which, like any other push toward a gift, is rude no matter what, the same as if they'd put "cash gifts requested" on the invitation.  That's my problem with the bolding: whether or not there is a traditional gift in the couple's community or culture, they are rude to ask or even hint for it unless and until asked what they'd like.  Whatever gift people give them, unless it is something the giver knew to be outright offensive, is by definition a lovely surprise.

That a polite guest tries to ascertain and, if possible, conform to what is considered appropriate in the couple's community, does not equal permission for the couple to try to push them to do so or be anything but gracious if they don't -- just like the existence of a registry does not make it rude to choose something elsewhere.  A gift is always voluntary and it is always the giver's choice, not the recipients'.

I'm with ettiquit, I'd probably decline to attend a wedding that was in a "cover your plate" culture, at least if the plate was more than I would have spent on the gift. Sorry, but I'm not going to break my budget because you want to have a very lavish party. But I also would't want to burden you with the cost of my plate if you expect to be able to recoup your costs. I'll send my regrets and a gift appropriate to our relationship.

To the bolded: I think as long as you make it about the different customs in general and don't make it about the gift expectations, it would be easy enough information to slip into an invite, especially if you put it on a a small insert instead of the invitation itself.  Even better if you can highlight a non-money/gift related tradition. "In homage to our heritage, we will be having a traditional Purple wedding, complete with a customary Purple People Eater cake wrestling ceremony."

That would mean people interested in following tradition or getting a heads up on unfamiliar customs could look into it a little further without sounding pushy. Then if those people googled traditional Purple wedding and found that wearing galoshes for the cake wrestling ceremony was recommended and that giving gifts that started with even letters was unlucky, they could plan accordingly.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: DragonKitty on June 22, 2013, 03:15:08 PM
I too am glad thar I do not have weddings that I need to attend.

I've a collection of gee-gaws to give as wedding gifts, if need be. I assure you  that they would not cover the expensive plates quoted here, because they were bought on sale years ago.  Close personal friends would probably get a different gift.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Possum on June 22, 2013, 03:34:01 PM

http://www.thestar.com/life/2013/06/19/wedding_gift_spat_spirals_out_of_control_after_bride_demands_to_see_receipt.html


Clearly the etiquette lines have not only been crossed here but completely obliterated  :-\ This did leave me wondering, however, if the happy couple's (in general- not this particular couple) cultural traditions should be considered when choosing a gift?
If the brides are from a culture where giving money is the normal thing, then, if the guest had known that, it would have been good if they'd that into consideration.  But by the same token, if the brides are surprised by a gift, they need to think about the culture of the guest.  Perhaps giving money is such a taboo for them that they couldn't bring themselves to do it, or perhaps they simply aren't aware of the brides' culture.

(I'm guessing, though, that this has much more to do with age and maturity than it does culture. I mean, one bride came down the aisle chewing gum!)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Penguin_ar on June 22, 2013, 03:34:10 PM
I've been to a few weddings that were "different" for one reason or another; for example an orthodox Jewish wedding with many non-Jewish guests, a traditional Chinese wedding in Ireland (not many Chinese there) and a couple of others.  In each case, the happy couple created a wedding website with some info on their traditions, things that would happen at the ceremony, what to expect/ to do etc.  For example the Jewish wedding had a strict dress code especially for the lady guests, and requested no outside snacks be brought in due to them being strictly kosher. The Chinese wedding did explain the tradition of the red money envelopes, but nowhere said it was required... it was just one in a list of wedding traditions they mentioned.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: siamesecat2965 on June 23, 2013, 12:16:15 PM
Miss Manners has this one exactly right, the couple (or their family) give the wedding they can afford and the guest gives the gift they can afford, the two are in no way related.  "Covering you plate" is not a recognized concept in etiquette.

And this is what I choose to believe is correct.  Makes life so much simpler.

I agree 100%. if it were not true, then I should not have attended any of the weddings I did in the few years after college, since I was poor as a churchmouse, and in no way would have been able to afford to give a gift equal to what "my plate" cost. What I did was give a gift that I could afford, and also that I knew my friends would like, based on their lifestyle, etc.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: WillyNilly on June 23, 2013, 12:39:09 PM
I would probably decline an invitation to a wedding where I was expected to cover my plate. 

I also think that if you plan on having a traditional wedding (Chinese, Croatian, etc.) that it might be a good idea to include that info in the invite.  Whether you just point out that it's going to follow the traditions of that culture or take an extra steps and include information for where someone can go to read about it.  It won't guarantee that every guest will bring something that's appropriate for the tradition, but I do think some of the responsibility is going to fall on the couple if they have specific expectations about the gifts.

I see your point, but I wouldn't do it.  How would you word it?  "The honor of your presence is requested at our traditional Croatian wedding"?  I would find that confusing, and possibly even a bit arrogant, as if their wedding were somehow more correctly traditional than other people's.  And no matter how you'd word it, it would also look to me like exactly what it really is: trying to direct gift-giving toward cash, which, like any other push toward a gift, is rude no matter what, the same as if they'd put "cash gifts requested" on the invitation.  That's my problem with the bolding: whether or not there is a traditional gift in the couple's community or culture, they are rude to ask or even hint for it unless and until asked what they'd like.  Whatever gift people give them, unless it is something the giver knew to be outright offensive, is by definition a lovely surprise.

That a polite guest tries to ascertain and, if possible, conform to what is considered appropriate in the couple's community, does not equal permission for the couple to try to push them to do so or be anything but gracious if they don't -- just like the existence of a registry does not make it rude to choose something elsewhere.  A gift is always voluntary and it is always the giver's choice, not the recipients'.

I'm with ettiquit, I'd probably decline to attend a wedding that was in a "cover your plate" culture, at least if the plate was more than I would have spent on the gift. Sorry, but I'm not going to break my budget because you want to have a very lavish party. But I also would't want to burden you with the cost of my plate if you expect to be able to recoup your costs. I'll send my regrets and a gift appropriate to our relationship.

To the bolded: I think as long as you make it about the different customs in general and don't make it about the gift expectations, it would be easy enough information to slip into an invite, especially if you put it on a a small insert instead of the invitation itself.  Even better if you can highlight a non-money/gift related tradition. "In homage to our heritage, we will be having a traditional Purple wedding, complete with a customary Purple People Eater cake wrestling ceremony."

That would mean people interested in following tradition or getting a heads up on unfamiliar customs could look into it a little further without sounding pushy. Then if those people googled traditional Purple wedding and found that wearing galoshes for the cake wrestling ceremony was recommended and that giving gifts that started with even letters was unlucky, they could plan accordingly.

I live smack dab in the middle of "cover your plate" culture - my father taught me the phrase when I was still in high school and certainly I have had friends (who obviously grew up in different households) mention the phrase as a personal code many times.

Let me please reiterate - its is not the mentality of the hosts/B&G even when they have that mentality when they are guests. I certainly did not consider whether my wedding guests "covered" the cost of hosting them. The $25 gift we received was just as appreciated as the $400 check - in fact my DH and I were rather touched by that $25 gift because we know it was a lot for that particular guest and we were really moved by his generosity; and trust me it cost a lot more then $25 per person to host our reception.

The "cover your plate" mentality carries on because it is a mentality of giving gifts, not receiving gifts. Its the giver's thought process of trying to be overly generous specifically at a wedding - the beginning of a couple's new life chapter. For example while I know countless people who believe in "cover your plate" its not a thought that extends to other formal parties like Sweet 16's, or other formal birthday parties, anniversary parties, retirement parties, welcome home or going away parties, etc. Some people might assign it to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or a formal communion or confirmation party, but its less prevalent even for those. It is firmly only the thought when giving a gift and its more about thinking "what would be super awesome generous of me to give" and since its a guess as to the amount anyway, its really just a basic thought process (not  rule) of where to start thinking about numbers.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: drzim on June 23, 2013, 01:50:22 PM
The detail that I found interesting was that the brides claimed that "no one else gave them a gift" and implied that they were the only ones who didn't give money.  But, if they got $$$ from 200+ people,  why were the brides so adamant about getting a receipt from the gift givers?  Especially since they considered it such a "cheap" gift?  Was that extra $50 so important?  I'd be willing to bet that they actually got many gifts and that they were indeed trying to raise some money to offset a wedding they couldn't afford.

The brides were obviously the rude ones here; but looking at the picture of the basket I do agree that it looks pretty cheap.  We got several gifts of that nature for our wedding, however we wrote gracious thank you notes and then quietly disposed of the gifts.  We never said anything to the givers.





Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: jaxsue on June 23, 2013, 03:41:23 PM
The thing that gets me about "cultural" traditions in this sense... this did not take place in Italy or Croatia. This happened in Canada. I wonder if either bride has even spent more then at most a few months - if even a single day - in Italy or Croatia, or if they planned to live there, or follow all the other details of those cultures? Because it seems to me when you invite a Canadian, to a wedding in Canada, where you live and work, its pretty reasonable to expect to get a gift that follows Canadian gift giving culture.

ITA. My family is in Canada, and judging by my experiences at Canadian weddings this couple's expectations are ridiculous.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: jaxsue on June 23, 2013, 03:44:55 PM
A number of years ago we attended a wedding for a work friend. The invite did not specify presentation only so I put together a movie themed gift basket with their favourite treats and a $100 gift card. Months passed, no thank you note. CW asks another in front of me if they got their thank you note and "subtly" mentions that only the people who gave"real gifts " got thank you notes. The "real gifts" were just the money gifts. I declined attending her subsequent baby showers.

That is awful! I would have loved your gift.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: jaxsue on June 23, 2013, 03:59:57 PM
I remember finding a book of all of the wedding presents my parents received (in 1958).  One gift, from two very elderly aunts was $4.00.  Considering how little money they had, that was a generous gift from them.

I love stories like that. I have a charming sterling silver dish that my maternal grandparents received as a wedding gift in 1922.  :)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Rohanna on June 23, 2013, 04:11:01 PM
I would not have particularly cared for the gift the writer gave (I prefer to pick out my own food due to multiple food sensitivities in my family), but I would *never* have responded in the way the couple did.

I got some absolutely wonderful gifts for my wedding, some bland ones, some cheap ones, some thoughtful ones and some ummm wha? ones and a couple folk who couldn't even give a card/write a note apparently- but everyone who gave something got a thank you card. I'll admit that in person I gushed a LOT more (aka when no one else was around) to the people who were extremely generous or kind - whether it was monetarily or in effort- I still have the hand-stitched wedding cross stitch up), but I don't think that is unfair. The only person I've ever complained to about the family of 7 who RSVP'd and then decided on that day  to "go to bingo" instead, and never even sent a card, was my husband- particularly as they were well known for their bad manners at parties and *I* hadn't wanted to invite them in the first place :P I certainly never sent them any nasty emails, though my evil side wishes I could have sent a bill  >:D

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: baglady on June 23, 2013, 04:30:50 PM
Culture, schmulture. Tradition, schmadrition. Sorry if I sound insensitive, but in *no* culture or tradition I know of is it considered OK to castigate the givers of a gift. You say thank you. If the gift is unsuitable or disappointing, you vent to your nearest and dearest, and you give or throw away the gift... but you do *not* tell the giver that the gift was unacceptable.

People give money gifts for two reasons: They don't know the couple enough to know exactly what they might want in terms of material goods, and they know that newlyweds can always use cash to buy things they will need to start married life -- not to help them recoup the costs of throwing a wedding they couldn't afford without getting it back in the form of monetary gifts.


Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Rusty on June 23, 2013, 06:08:48 PM
If the brides thought their gift was "cheap and nasty" then I think it correlates nicely with their subsequent reaction to the gift.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: StoutGirl on June 24, 2013, 11:50:17 AM
I was absolutely appalled by the brides' behavior, though the givers were not completely golden either.

Its not just heritage culture to consider sometimes, but lifestyle and geographic area.  I come from an Upper Midwest state that is primarily rural, though I have started to embrace the "city" ways.  Bridal shower gifts are typically $30 or less, $50 if you are very lucky.  I was incredibly surprised when I read on a couple of previous posts that $100 gifts are expected at showers.  Wedding gifts around here vary greatly, and it all depends how close in relationship you are.  We do not follow the cover the plate idea (and most of the weddings that I have been to are roughly $6 a plate).  I think that the biggest aspect that dominates gift value around here is reciprocity, like considering "what have they given us or have done for us over the years?"  Over the years my family has helped out with numerous friends' and family weddings: my mom has helped with the food, made quilts as gifts gifts that were pricey and time consuming, and my dad has helped run the farms during the wedding.  Honestly, if they gave me just a $5 gift if the time came for me, I would be a little upset, though I would certainly not say anything negative and send a thank you card.   

I think that I would actually be okay with the gift that was given in the article.  The basket can always be used, and food is always good.  I must not be hard to please!   :D
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 27, 2013, 08:36:15 AM
I remember finding a book of all of the wedding presents my parents received (in 1958).  One gift, from two very elderly aunts was $4.00.  Considering how little money they had, that was a generous gift from them.

I love stories like this.   :)  Sometimes, it's the smallest gifts that mean the most. 

We were married 16 years ago.  My cousin, his wife and 2 kids gave us $15 from the family.  I still remember that gift because I know that it was a lot to them and honestly, I didn't expect anything from them.  I was just happy that they were able to come spend the day with us (and I live in an area where 'cover the plate' is common).


My mom insisted I send a wedding invite to my grandfather's sister. Nobody had seen or spoken to her in decades because she'd moved many states away, and travel was just not easy for them. I felt awkward, but Mom said she'd be hurt ob e ignored.

I got a really nice note and a dark-green crocheted trivet/pot holder. One of my fave presents. (And she told her brother, my gramps, about the nice thank-you note I wrote. Phenomenal PR--you can't *buy* that.)

Quote
I think that the biggest aspect that dominates gift value around here is reciprocity, like considering "what have they given us or have done for us over the years?" 

Actually, that *IS* usually what's behind the concept of expensive shower presents, or even "covering your plate." Because for people who "cover their plate," they consider that the bride and groom *ARE* doing something for them. They're providing a wonderful party to attend.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: zyrs on June 27, 2013, 11:35:36 AM
I remember finding a book of all of the wedding presents my parents received (in 1958).  One gift, from two very elderly aunts was $4.00.  Considering how little money they had, that was a generous gift from them.

That was over 2 hours of average salary for the time.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Twik on June 27, 2013, 11:45:24 AM
I think the real problem is that the brides expected their wedding to be an "investment", with a net profit. Otherwise, even if a guest gives a gift they feel is inappropriately cheap, it can be laughed off, right? "Oh, that Frank, he'll squeeze a nickel until the beaver screams*, won't he?"

Instead, they've clearly lost sight of why they're hosting - that is, spending their own money so that their friends can be with them during a day when good feelings should be overflowing. Instead, it appears they viewed their wedding as a stage production, and one of the audience didn't pay for his ticket in full, so they're sending an invoice. This is really a terribly sad thing for them.

*This is in reference to the Canadian nickel, of course.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Slartibartfast on June 27, 2013, 11:53:07 AM
I think the real problem is that the brides expected their wedding to be an "investment", with a net profit. Otherwise, even if a guest gives a gift they feel is inappropriately cheap, it can be laughed off, right? "Oh, that Frank, he'll squeeze a nickel until the beaver screams*, won't he?"

Instead, they've clearly lost sight of why they're hosting - that is, spending their own money so that their friends can be with them during a day when good feelings should be overflowing. Instead, it appears they viewed their wedding as a stage production, and one of the audience didn't pay for his ticket in full, so they're sending an invoice. This is really a terribly sad thing for them.

*This is in reference to the Canadian nickel, of course.

Nah, the really fun ones are the couples spending their parents' money for a big bash.  Because you can't just ask your parents to give you several thousand dollars outright, but you can ask them to fund a lavish wedding and then expect your guests to pay you for the privilege of attending, right?  Then you get the money plus the big white wedding of your dreams!

(Nothing wrong with accepting your parents' help if it's offered - we did - but you still have the obligation to treat their money with the same care you'd treat your own!)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: gellchom on June 27, 2013, 05:39:55 PM
I believe that there are some communities/countries where very very large, lavish weddings are expected, and cash is ALWAYS the gift, and that's how they pay for the wedding.  So that's sort of "covering the plate," I guess -- it doesn't require a calculus of the amount spent on you, just a generous cash gift because it is understood that that's the way the wedding gets paid for.  Seems like it would usually end in a wash, but if that's how they do it, that's how they do it.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Roe on June 27, 2013, 07:11:43 PM
This has nothing whatever to do with culture and everything to do with that bride being a horrendous hosebeast.

Her comments were so rude I don't even know where to begin.

THAT, I think, is the definitive comment on this entire mess.  What a colossal train wreck!

Absolutely!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Dr. F. on June 27, 2013, 08:01:44 PM
I believe that there are some communities/countries where very very large, lavish weddings are expected, and cash is ALWAYS the gift, and that's how they pay for the wedding.  So that's sort of "covering the plate," I guess -- it doesn't require a calculus of the amount spent on you, just a generous cash gift because it is understood that that's the way the wedding gets paid for.  Seems like it would usually end in a wash, but if that's how they do it, that's how they do it.

This works if everyone understands and accepts the rules. That is less likely in a multicultural environment. If you're going to assume (with the apocryphal derivation of that word!) that everyone shares your understanding, you need to a) only invite those of the same culture whose assumptions will be the same, b) make your expectations clear in the invitation, or c) accept all gifts graciously, whether they meet your expectations or not.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no excuse for the lack of graciousness. The guests are not blameless, but I think their faults are less severe than the brides'. I would not have responded the same, but I accept that the provocation was extreme.

As a counter-example, I am reminded of a time I served as the bridesmaid for a good friend. I was flying to the wedding (a destination wedding) directly from about 3 hard weeks doing fieldwork. I had packed the dress and heels along with my hiking boots and field clothes. The wedding was 3 hours from my home and 9 hours from the field site. The bride had said that, as a bridesmaid, I didn't need to give them a wedding gift, but I couldn't go to a wedding without some sort of gift. So, I brought a nice hamper of various estate coffees and associated stuff. I called it "An Adaptive Radiation of Coffees".

It was a super-cheap, but heart-felt gift. The HC were delightful, and I got a wonderful thank you note from both of them. It was a lovely wedding, between two lovely people. I am still close to both of them.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: gellchom on June 27, 2013, 10:48:38 PM
I believe that there are some communities/countries where very very large, lavish weddings are expected, and cash is ALWAYS the gift, and that's how they pay for the wedding.  So that's sort of "covering the plate," I guess -- it doesn't require a calculus of the amount spent on you, just a generous cash gift because it is understood that that's the way the wedding gets paid for.  Seems like it would usually end in a wash, but if that's how they do it, that's how they do it.

This works if everyone understands and accepts the rules. That is less likely in a multicultural environment. If you're going to assume (with the apocryphal derivation of that word!) that everyone shares your understanding, you need to a) only invite those of the same culture whose assumptions will be the same, b) make your expectations clear in the invitation, or c) accept all gifts graciously, whether they meet your expectations or not.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no excuse for the lack of graciousness. The guests are not blameless, but I think their faults are less severe than the brides'. I would not have responded the same, but I accept that the provocation was extreme.

Oh, I quite agree (except that I wouldn't sanction choice (b), "make your expectations clear in the invitation").  And although unfortunately the guests were rude, too (in their correspondence, not in their choice of a gift!), this bride's behavior was absolutely inexcusable.  In fact, it's so bizarre, I have trouble believing it. 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on July 07, 2013, 02:43:35 AM
Someone of course correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's any culture out there that doesn't think it's egregiously out of line to complain about a gift to the giver.

One of the oddest gifts I ever got was a silly pair of green sequined and spangled suspenders, from my grandmother.  They had beaded candy canes and Christmas trees and stuff on them.  They were ridiculous.  But when I spoke to my grandmother over the phone on Christmas day, I thanked her for the suspenders and mentioned they'd been a real hit at work, omitting the fact that the day I'd worn them to work was a "wear your tackiest Christmas outfit" contest.  I was brought up this way, that no matter how awful a gift might be, you thank the giver sincerely and, if you don't want to keep the gift, you dispose of it discreetly later.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on July 07, 2013, 12:21:53 PM
Looking at that gift basket,and ignoring all the rest iof it, I think the guests were rude and tacky to give it.

"Life is delicious, enjoy..."  really?  I could see it being a housewarminig gift or a welcome to the neighborhood gift.  But, for a wedding?  Candy?  It flies in the face of the seriousness of the event.  Maybe some candy would be alright accompanied by something with a bit more gravitas.

It seems to me that the guests wanted to come off cute but ended up coming off cheap.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: CluelessBride on July 07, 2013, 01:05:32 PM
Looking at that gift basket,and ignoring all the rest iof it, I think the guests were rude and tacky to give it.

"Life is delicious, enjoy..."  really?  I could see it being a housewarminig gift or a welcome to the neighborhood gift.  But, for a wedding?  Candy?  It flies in the face of the seriousness of the event.  Maybe some candy would be alright accompanied by something with a bit more gravitas.

It seems to me that the guests wanted to come off cute but ended up coming off cheap.

I disagree that the gift was rude. Perhaps it missed the mark (its not what I would have given for a wedding), but sometimes that happens when you give a gift. But I think giving a gift can only be rude in extreme circumstances (for example giving something illegal or intentionally offensive).

Besides, looking from the picture, candy was only a part of the gift. It also contained all sorts of gourmet foods. And in this case, the giver knew the recipient from the food industry, and perhaps didn't know much else about her. But even if it was just candy, it still wouldn't be rude - just perhaps not the best gift.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on July 07, 2013, 01:13:27 PM
Looking at that gift basket,and ignoring all the rest iof it, I think the guests were rude and tacky to give it.

"Life is delicious, enjoy..."  really?  I could see it being a housewarminig gift or a welcome to the neighborhood gift.  But, for a wedding?  Candy?  It flies in the face of the seriousness of the event.  Maybe some candy would be alright accompanied by something with a bit more gravitas.

It seems to me that the guests wanted to come off cute but ended up coming off cheap.

I disagree that the gift was rude. Perhaps it missed the mark (its not what I would have given for a wedding), but sometimes that happens when you give a gift. But I think giving a gift can only be rude in extreme circumstances (for example giving something illegal or intentionally offensive).

Besides, looking from the picture, candy was only a part of the gift. It also contained all sorts of gourmet foods. And in this case, the giver knew the recipient from the food industry, and perhaps didn't know much else about her. But even if it was just candy, it still wouldn't be rude - just perhaps not the best gift.

Its not an appropriate wedding gift.  There are a lot of events for which is would be fine but not  a wedding.

I think as a guest you do need to do some math.  Yes, you are going because you are happy for the couple and not simply to get a nice dinner.  But, you are suppose to be considering what this coupe needs for getting their lives started and a basket of edibles really doesn't fit the bill.

I know that people here can come up with a million exceptions but that is not the point.  Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

And I think it is rude because its a rather thoughtless gift given the circumstances.  Perhaps it conveys the gift givers' philosphy of marriage which is also not appropriate, and the message.  not OK.  You say congratulations or happy for you, not To enjoy life.  That is too general and in this situation kind of condescending even.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on July 07, 2013, 01:32:17 PM
Maybe not in your circle.  It would be just fine in mine.  It certainly isn't thoughtless.  Those baskets can take a lot of time, money, and effort to put together. 

It certainly would be a very appropriate gift in my family and circle.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Shoo on July 07, 2013, 01:39:36 PM
Maybe not in your circle.  It would be just fine in mine.  It certainly isn't thoughtless.  Those baskets can take a lot of time, money, and effort to put together. 

It certainly would be a very appropriate gift in my family and circle.


I am certain there was a lot more thought put into that gift basket than it takes to hit "click" and purchase something off of someone's registry and have Amazon.com send it to them.

The expectations surrounding wedding gifts these days .... it's almost enough to make me hope I never receive another wedding invitation.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on July 07, 2013, 01:44:57 PM
The mere thought gives me the heebies, too!  I'm not a check writing service.  ;)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Vall on July 07, 2013, 02:16:10 PM
DH and I would have been thrilled to receive this gift for our wedding.  It might have been our favorite gift.  The wicker basket would be very useful and it was filled with fun things to eat.  In our circle---and especially in my DH's family---this would have been a completely appropriate gift.

But the bride in this situation was incredibly rude.  She reduced her own wedding to a fundraiser, which is very sad.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: hyzenthlay on July 07, 2013, 02:17:10 PM
Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

I think this is narrow minded. When I married we already had all the housewares we needed. We appreciated the new dishes and things, but would have been perfectly content with a very lovely basket (which would have been used for years) filled with things to snack on.

And of the gifts we got, after 15 years there are exactly two left. The rest have been broken or eventually given away in the case of all the picture frames. But I did buy myself a lovely large basket last summer  ;D
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Girlie on July 07, 2013, 02:31:24 PM
When my DH and I married, we got a HUGE range of gifts - some cheaper, some more expensive... One in particular that stands out was a gift bag filled with all of the non-perishable items required to make the gift-giver's favorite chili recipe (included on a hand-written card), along with a few boxes of cornbread mix, and an oven mitt and kitchen towels. The most expensive gift we received? No. The most useful? Not really, because my husband hates even the smell of chili, so I can't make it when he's home. Was it very sweet and thoughtful and much appreciated? Absolutely.

A wedding is about a marriage, first and foremost. Guests should only be invited because they are important to the bride and groom or their families. Because guests are invited for their company and their witness of such an important event, gifts should be considered secondary. I also had people who showed up for my wedding who didn't bring even a card. I'm not offended in the least - a little curious on some, I admit, but not offended, and I certainly would never even bring it up, much less berate them for a total lack of gift. I find it befuddling that anyone would be so crass as to embarrass or hurt people who were important enough to be invited to a wedding because of (a lack of) money spent.

I don't think this is a matter of culture, I think it's a matter of class.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: AnnaJ on July 07, 2013, 02:50:05 PM
I read somewhere that the giver of the basket said the brides had removed some of the (presumably more expensive) items from the basket before they photographed it, making it look 'cheaper' than it was when they gave it to the couple.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Roe on July 07, 2013, 03:08:25 PM
Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

I think this is narrow minded. When I married we already had all the housewares we needed. We appreciated the new dishes and things, but would have been perfectly content with a very lovely basket (which would have been used for years) filled with things to snack on.


Agree.  Plus, who says the B&G will use the money for something that is more "permanent". (?)  What if they use the money to buy fast food?  Is that not an acceptable use of the gift you gave? Would you then get upset?

Honestly, it's a gift!  You accept it with grace, regardless of what it is. Unless it's a passive way to put someone down (and I don't see how this gift was that) or illegal, you get over yourself and your "standards" and you say "thank you."  It doesn't matter if you throw the gift in the trash but what does matter is having enough class to accept the gift properly.  Going on FB to disparage the gift is not the right way to go.  I'm with the gift-giver in this scenario.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Raintree on July 07, 2013, 03:26:31 PM
The gift is kind of tacky (from the photo is appears to be just cheap junk food). A food basket of gourmet type stuff would be much better.

But the bride's response was way over the top. It's one thing to think, privately, "I can't believe she gave me a basket of junk food as a wedding present" but the appropriate response is a polite thank you note that includes a thank you for coming and sharing the special day.

If I were the gift-giver I would never speak to this person again.

As for "paying for their future" perhaps if that was what the happy couple really wanted, they should have had a small, quiet ceremony instead of blowing 34 grand on a wedding.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: ti_ax on July 07, 2013, 03:42:04 PM
The gift is kind of tacky (from the photo is appears to be just cheap junk food). A food basket of gourmet type stuff would be much better.
I read that the bride removed a lot of "gourmet type stuff" before taking the photo.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 07, 2013, 03:53:55 PM
The only gift that can be tacky is a gift that had no thought put into it, and a gift basket takes a lot to put together. Maybe their registry was full of really expensive stuff because they were afraid people wouldn't "cover their plate" otherwise, so they had to go off the registry, and they thought some fun snacks with a nice basket would be fun for evenings in front of a DVD for the newlyweds.

I hate when people judge gifts as tacky because it isn't what they would have chosen. Someone else might have had really good thoughts behind that gift and I think you should assume the best intent that you could reasonably believe to be true. Obviously there do exists gifts where you can't reasonably believe they cared, but a gift basket (and as said before, I read that the bride removed the nicer stuff before taking a photo to manipulate how people responded) isn't one of those gifts.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Raintree on July 07, 2013, 04:04:11 PM
Ah, OK, I missed the part about the good stuff being removed before the photo was taken.  And by "tacky" I didn't mean to pass judgement on the gift-givers; what was shown in the photo simply isn't what I'd think of as a good wedding present. Either way, I think the bride was just horrible and the ONLY proper response to this or any gift would be "thank you."
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on July 07, 2013, 04:12:40 PM
Just because it would be a "thing" in your circle of friends doesn't make it generally a good idea for a gift.

Obviously there is a lot of diversity of gift giving all over the planet and certain things are more acceptable in one group than another, but it is really apparent that in this particular circle it was decidedly not a "thing."

But, particularly for a formal event.  Presumably if the B&G are spending $100/plate this is not a casual BBQ in the backyard.

I still stand by it being generally tacky to give something more suited to a "welcome to the neighborhood gift" as a wedding gift.  And while it is never OK to not accept a gift graciously, it doesn't make it right.

Its interesting that in defending this basket that people think that they will use the basket forever--many of those baskets are just for looks unless you pay even more--and we could probably discuss the appropriateness of a basket for both a man and a woman as a wedding gift--that is really taste specific.

In this case, it was obviously the gift basket of edibles that was the gift--not a fine basket.

If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Also, a note on "just clicking"--these baskets can be bought by "just clicking" the same as a place setting or a toaster.  It's not so much the effort and thought that is put into the gift as what it says.  This one was cutesy.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 07, 2013, 04:18:56 PM
I don't think how much the bride and groom are spending has anything at all to do with how much you should spend on a gift. And some gift baskets are bought that way, but lots of people go to World Market or some such place and put together a gift basket.

I don't think the fact that it was largely consumables is relevant either. I think the only thing relevant is how much thought was put into it, and I think (again) we should assume good intent as much as we reasonably can. I don't think you can assume these people didn't care in the slightest. They might have put a lot of thought into it. The only people we can reasonably assume behaved poorly are the people who didn't graciously accept the gift.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on July 07, 2013, 04:28:04 PM
As I understand, the brides removed some more expensive items from the basket before photographing it, to make it look "cheaper"

Re the "cover your plate" thing.  I guess I better just straight up stop going to weddings, because I can't afford to give that much every time someone I know gets married.  I go to weddings because I want to celebrate an important life event with people I care about.  But if there's now some kind of standard as to how much should be spent on a wedding gift in order to 'cover my plate' (which I often can't afford to do) would the courteous thing to do be to decline?  What would you say?  "Sorry, I can't afford to come to your wedding?" Decline with no reason given and risk hurt feelings from the HC?  I've gone to weddings and given nothing more than a card wishing the HC well, because that was all I could afford to give.  That definitely doesn't cover a plate.  And if I'd been called out in it in public, like these gift-givers have, ("Oh em gee, GEH just got us a card.  Yeah, that's it!  Just a card!  No money in it or anything!  I know right!")  I would be so ashamed and embarrassed, I don't even have words.  As far as I know, there is NEVER a situation where it's all right to make someone feel so awful.  I can't imagine how hurt and embarrassed the givers in the OP felt. 

My personal feeling is that if someone invites you to a wedding, go, if you want to go.  Give the gift you can afford to give.  And if the recipients react like these two boorish women,  it reflects much worse on them than on you.  In areas where lavish weddings are common, well....just because something is a tradition doesn't mean it's a good idea.  If the HC throws a huge extravagant wedding that they can't afford, that's their own doing and their own problem to deal with and in no wise should guests be expected to pay for a wedding they had no say in.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: hyzenthlay on July 07, 2013, 04:46:22 PM
If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Then they didn't know you well enough to invite you, and you didn't know them well enough to accept.

Which frankly I think is the case in the letter as well. It sounds like a 'family' wedding and the friend was invited out of greed. And the friend shouldn't have accepted the invite, clearly she wasn't close enough the couple for an off mark gift to be forgiven.

But seriously, analyzing your weddings gifts is sad. The bride should have been enjoying the wedding, instead she's left sullen and in debt for a overpriced party.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: LadyR on July 07, 2013, 05:33:00 PM
The gift is kind of tacky (from the photo is appears to be just cheap junk food). A food basket of gourmet type stuff would be much better.
I read that the bride removed a lot of "gourmet type stuff" before taking the photo.

A friend of mine is in the Facebook group where this was first posted and yes, there was a lot of stuff taken out before the picture. The gifters had included a lot of PC Black Label items, which are fairly expensive. They probably spent between $50-$100 on the basket. I think it was a fun gift. One of favourite wedding gifts was a gift card to a restaurant, which we used to have a fate night. We'd have used a gift basket of food to have a stay in date-night.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Sharnita on July 07, 2013, 05:45:07 PM
Money given as a wedding gift is frequently used on the honeymoon so that would be hone as quickly as the basket of food.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: MommyPenguin on July 07, 2013, 05:56:53 PM
You know, somebody brought up parents paying for the wedding a few posts ago.  It seems like it used to be that parents would almost always pay for the wedding, and the bride would have a wedding based on what her parents could afford.  But in the past generation or so, more and more brides, instead of marrying while still living at their parents' house, or only a few short years out of the house working in a low-paying job like secretarial work, are now marrying after living on their own or with their fiance for 10 or more years, and often making very good salaries.  This has led to a trend of the couple themselves paying for the wedding.  But I wonder if that has also fueled some of the attitude of "cover your plate," because instead of the bride's parents paying for the wedding (and then the couple receiving gifts, many of which would be household items), the bride and groom are paying for the wedding themselves, meaning that they lose money, instead of gaining a small amount of money/household items.  So maybe it's because of the fact that it's the couple themselves paying for it that makes people feel more duty-bound to try to give a gift that covers their share of the wedding/reception costs, because they hate the idea of the bride and groom using money that they might have put towards the down payment on a house on the wedding instead.  Not that it isn't the couple's choice to do that, but... weddings are expensive! 

Our wedding was catered by an acquaintance who was going to culinary school and thus charged less, the reception was held in the church reception room (which we received a discount for because of all my dad's work in the church), my wedding dress was inexpensive by general standards, etc., and yet it was still quite a few thousands of dollars.  We did receive gifts, although they were mostly of the physical kind, four crockpots, that sort of thing.  The monetary gifts we got were very generous but nowhere near paying for the wedding.  But because my parents had saved for years and very generously gave us enough to cover most of the wedding, we were able to use most of the money given us towards our new house.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Cheapie on July 07, 2013, 06:05:14 PM
Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?

Touching on the question in the title of this thread, I would lean towards definitely ... if the cultural traditions are apparent to the invited guests.  If not, they need to give a gift that they can afford and that they truly think the HC can use/will enjoy.

DH and I lived in Hong Kong for three years due to a work transfer.  If he had refused to take the position, it would have sunk his career.  We were lucky enough to be invited to a traditional Chinese wedding of a colleague of his.  This man was in a 'lower' position in the company, but was considered upper-middle class in regards to Hong Kong society.  I did not know this couple at all but it was extremely important to them that my DH and I be at their reception.  The actual wedding ceremony was for family only.  Due to my DH's position in the company, we gave a red envelope of money that was more than we had given combined to all the weddings we had attended in the last 10 years!  It was hard for me as these people were not important to me like my family and friends, but I understood that it was a matter of "saving face" ... for the HC, not for my DH.  It would have been a huge insult to them in front of everyone they knew and loved if we had given a lesser gift.  They would have said nothing to us, but it would have come out eventually and it would have reflected on all of us ... but mostly on the HC.  It's just the way it is in that culture at that level of society. Oh, to make sure we didn't cause insult, my DH inquired about all this when he received he invitation.

As a side note, my being invited was a great honor.  I was the only female Westerner there.  My DH is Korean so he kind of 'blended in.  His supervisor was the only Caucasian male ... from New Zealand.  The meal had many courses that were so delicious ... until the shark fin soup was served.  I am morally against it, but did not want to insult so I ate a bite.  My DH ate the rest.  And yes, many eyes were upon me as I was also seven months pregnant and really stood out. ;D  The pregnancy gave me an out.  My DH told the FOG that my stomach was upset.  Their response was to try and insist that an ambulance come and take me to a hospital!  The hospitality at that wedding was one of the many highlights of living over there and I do not in any way regret giving such a large amount of money to people who were total strangers.  The honor of the invite more than made up for my initial misgivings about the amount.

But again, if we had given too little, I can't imagine that the HC would have reacted as the couple in the link did.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Marbles on July 07, 2013, 06:54:09 PM
If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Then they didn't know you well enough to invite you, and you didn't know them well enough to accept.

I disagree. I have no idea how many of my relatives decorate their homes or entertain themselves, but I would still attend their weddings and give them gifts.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: hyzenthlay on July 07, 2013, 07:17:59 PM
If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Then they didn't know you well enough to invite you, and you didn't know them well enough to accept.

I disagree. I have no idea how many of my relatives decorate their homes or entertain themselves, but I would still attend their weddings and give them gifts.

Relatives are one thing, friends and acquaintances another. For on thing family will be properly familiar with whatever your cultural standard is. That said, if you invite extended relatives and they give you cruddy gifts it's only to be expected when you invite people you really aren't close to.

Of course I think everyone's in agreement you still don't get to chastise them  ;D
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Aeris on July 07, 2013, 07:50:05 PM
Just because it would be a "thing" in your circle of friends doesn't make it generally a good idea for a gift.

Obviously there is a lot of diversity of gift giving all over the planet and certain things are more acceptable in one group than another, but it is really apparent that in this particular circle it was decidedly not a "thing."

But, particularly for a formal event.  Presumably if the B&G are spending $100/plate this is not a casual BBQ in the backyard.

I still stand by it being generally tacky to give something more suited to a "welcome to the neighborhood gift" as a wedding gift.  And while it is never OK to not accept a gift graciously, it doesn't make it right.

Its interesting that in defending this basket that people think that they will use the basket forever--many of those baskets are just for looks unless you pay even more--and we could probably discuss the appropriateness of a basket for both a man and a woman as a wedding gift--that is really taste specific.

In this case, it was obviously the gift basket of edibles that was the gift--not a fine basket.

If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Also, a note on "just clicking"--these baskets can be bought by "just clicking" the same as a place setting or a toaster.  It's not so much the effort and thought that is put into the gift as what it says.  This one was cutesy.

You are making an awful lot of blanket pronouncements from on high about The Way Things Are Donetm. What Queen or deity decided:

1) That wedding gifts are required to have gravitas. What's wrong with being cutesy? Is there no joy, no whimsy to be had in the world? Or perhaps you believe whimsy and joy are inappropriate for celebrating marriages - how sad. Anyway, how much gravitas does a toaster or a George Foreman grill have?

2) That giving a basket is only acceptable if it is a Fine Basket. Seriously?

3) That consumable items are inherently inappropriate. Money is essentially consumable, and we give that all the time. And dang, but this gift requires a lot more thought and effort than writing a check for the same value. And to conclude, as you implied in an earlier post, that a gift of consumables reflects the giver's philosophy on marriage - the hyperbolic judgment required for that leap is remarkable.

4) That this gift is 'more suited to a welcome to the neighborhood' or 'only appropriate for a casual backyard BBQ. I don't even know how you make this determination.

5) That it is inappropriate to wish the couple 'to enjoy life'. What a bitter and judgmental view of things, that simply telling someone 'to enjoy life' on occasion of their wedding might be met with such derision and scorn.


In short, I agree with a prior poster that this view is narrow minded. I also think the extraordinary judgment being laid down, simply because this gift does not meet your personal standards for How Wedding Gifts Are Supposed To Be is arrogant and mean-spirited.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on July 07, 2013, 07:54:12 PM
Just because it would be a "thing" in your circle of friends doesn't make it generally a good idea for a gift.

Obviously there is a lot of diversity of gift giving all over the planet and certain things are more acceptable in one group than another, but it is really apparent that in this particular circle it was decidedly not a "thing."

But, particularly for a formal event.  Presumably if the B&G are spending $100/plate this is not a casual BBQ in the backyard.

I still stand by it being generally tacky to give something more suited to a "welcome to the neighborhood gift" as a wedding gift.  And while it is never OK to not accept a gift graciously, it doesn't make it right.

Its interesting that in defending this basket that people think that they will use the basket forever--many of those baskets are just for looks unless you pay even more--and we could probably discuss the appropriateness of a basket for both a man and a woman as a wedding gift--that is really taste specific.

In this case, it was obviously the gift basket of edibles that was the gift--not a fine basket.

If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Also, a note on "just clicking"--these baskets can be bought by "just clicking" the same as a place setting or a toaster.  It's not so much the effort and thought that is put into the gift as what it says.  This one was cutesy.

You are making an awful lot of blanket pronouncements from on high about The Way Things Are Donetm. What Queen or deity decided:

1) That wedding gifts are required to have gravitas. What's wrong with being cutesy? Is there no joy, no whimsy to be had in the world? Or perhaps you believe whimsy and joy are inappropriate for celebrating marriages - how sad. Anyway, how much gravitas does a toaster or a George Foreman grill have?

2) That giving a basket is only acceptable if it is a Fine Basket. Seriously?

3) That consumable items are inherently inappropriate. Money is essentially consumable, and we give that all the time. And dang, but this gift requires a lot more thought and effort than writing a check for the same value. And to conclude, as you implied in an earlier post, that a gift of consumables reflects the giver's philosophy on marriage - the hyperbolic judgment required for that leap is remarkable.

4) That this gift is 'more suited to a welcome to the neighborhood' or 'only appropriate for a casual backyard BBQ. I don't even know how you make this determination.

5) That it is inappropriate to wish the couple 'to enjoy life'. What a bitter and judgmental view of things, that simply telling someone 'to enjoy life' on occasion of their wedding might be met with such derision and scorn.


In short, I agree with a prior poster that this view is narrow minded. I also think the extraordinary judgment being laid down, simply because this gift does not meet your personal standards for How Wedding Gifts Are Supposed To Be is arrogant and mean-spirited.

Since when did ehell become a place where insulting other posters was appropriate?  Should I even bother to read what you have written when you start off by insulting me?  I have opinions just like anyone else here.  The way that I express them isn't any different from the way that anyone else expresses theirs, including yours, except here, instead of discussing a topic --instead of giving your opinion on a TOPIC, you are discussing ME. 

I am not the topic.  What you are doing is very inappropriate!
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Shoo on July 07, 2013, 07:58:15 PM
Regarding cultures, is it the culture of the host or the guest that should matter?  If I'm invited to the wedding of someone whose culture is different from mine, how much research am I, as a guest, expected to do in order to not make a faux pas?

And, for that matter, why would I be expected to forego my culture in favor of theirs?  Is that some sort of etiquette rule I never heard of?
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Jones on July 07, 2013, 07:58:29 PM
The gift would be very appropriate in my area. I have a coworker who will marry next month; she said that she would be very grateful for a basket of goodies, whether pre-assembled by a company or put together by a dear friend.


Also, may I point out that the giver had given the brides a gift card as a bridal shower gift? Lots of people on this website have mentioned taking the value of a bridal shower gift into consideration when considering what to give for the wedding.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Aeris on July 07, 2013, 08:02:12 PM
Just because it would be a "thing" in your circle of friends doesn't make it generally a good idea for a gift.

Obviously there is a lot of diversity of gift giving all over the planet and certain things are more acceptable in one group than another, but it is really apparent that in this particular circle it was decidedly not a "thing."

But, particularly for a formal event.  Presumably if the B&G are spending $100/plate this is not a casual BBQ in the backyard.

I still stand by it being generally tacky to give something more suited to a "welcome to the neighborhood gift" as a wedding gift.  And while it is never OK to not accept a gift graciously, it doesn't make it right.

Its interesting that in defending this basket that people think that they will use the basket forever--many of those baskets are just for looks unless you pay even more--and we could probably discuss the appropriateness of a basket for both a man and a woman as a wedding gift--that is really taste specific.

In this case, it was obviously the gift basket of edibles that was the gift--not a fine basket.

If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Also, a note on "just clicking"--these baskets can be bought by "just clicking" the same as a place setting or a toaster.  It's not so much the effort and thought that is put into the gift as what it says.  This one was cutesy.

You are making an awful lot of blanket pronouncements from on high about The Way Things Are Donetm. What Queen or deity decided:

1) That wedding gifts are required to have gravitas. What's wrong with being cutesy? Is there no joy, no whimsy to be had in the world? Or perhaps you believe whimsy and joy are inappropriate for celebrating marriages - how sad. Anyway, how much gravitas does a toaster or a George Foreman grill have?

2) That giving a basket is only acceptable if it is a Fine Basket. Seriously?

3) That consumable items are inherently inappropriate. Money is essentially consumable, and we give that all the time. And dang, but this gift requires a lot more thought and effort than writing a check for the same value. And to conclude, as you implied in an earlier post, that a gift of consumables reflects the giver's philosophy on marriage - the hyperbolic judgment required for that leap is remarkable.

4) That this gift is 'more suited to a welcome to the neighborhood' or 'only appropriate for a casual backyard BBQ. I don't even know how you make this determination.

5) That it is inappropriate to wish the couple 'to enjoy life'. What a bitter and judgmental view of things, that simply telling someone 'to enjoy life' on occasion of their wedding might be met with such derision and scorn.


In short, I agree with a prior poster that this view is narrow minded. I also think the extraordinary judgment being laid down, simply because this gift does not meet your personal standards for How Wedding Gifts Are Supposed To Be is arrogant and mean-spirited.

Since when did ehell become a place where insulting other posters was appropriate?  Should I even bother to read what you have written when you start off by insulting me?  I have opinions just like anyone else here.  The way that I express them isn't any different from the way that anyone else expresses theirs, including yours, except here, instead of discussing a topic --instead of giving your opinion on a TOPIC, you are discussing ME. 

I am not the topic.  What you are doing is very inappropriate!

On the contrary, I am in no way discussing you as a person. What I *am* doing is taking serious issue with the way that you state your personal opinions on what makes a good wedding present. I am taking issue with the insulting and scornful way you have approached this topic, and the other people discussing it.

And no, there is actually a difference between the way that you state your opinions and how others do. Where other people say things like "I prefer to give wedding gifts that last longer" or even the more strongly worded "In my circle, generally people expect wedding gifts to have more durability", you have seemed hell bent on declaring your personal opinions as blanket rules that apply to all and sundry, and that anything that violates them is tacky, rude, and inappropriate. You have, in doing so, insulted everyone in this thread who has defended this gift or ever given anything like it that violates your personal wedding gift rules of gravitas, durability, and formality.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Hijinks on July 07, 2013, 08:05:34 PM
If I can find it, I get the HC a container off of their registry, and then I fill it with bars of my homemade stuff like soap, bath bombs, etc.  A lot of personal time and effort goes into making that stuff, so if someone doesn't like it and it doesn't cover the "cost" of my plate, they can go spit.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: snowdragon on July 07, 2013, 08:07:21 PM
If I can find it, I get the HC a container off of their registry, and then I fill it with bars of my homemade stuff like soap, bath bombs, etc.  A lot of personal time and effort goes into making that stuff, so if someone doesn't like it and it doesn't cover the "cost" of my plate, they can go spit.
I love this idea can I steal it?
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Vall on July 07, 2013, 08:08:36 PM
The gift would be very appropriate in my area. I have a coworker who will marry next month; she said that she would be very grateful for a basket of goodies, whether pre-assembled by a company or put together by a dear friend.


Also, may I point out that the giver had given the brides a gift card as a bridal shower gift? Lots of people on this website have mentioned taking the value of a bridal shower gift into consideration when considering what to give for the wedding.
If I remember correctly, the basket had a gift card included with it too.

We really would have been thrilled with this gift.  I know that people like different things and have different standards regarding wedding gifts but I would hate for someone to discourage a person from assembling a gift like that for me (not that I intend on re-marrying my DH).
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Aeris on July 07, 2013, 08:11:10 PM
If I can find it, I get the HC a container off of their registry, and then I fill it with bars of my homemade stuff like soap, bath bombs, etc.  A lot of personal time and effort goes into making that stuff, so if someone doesn't like it and it doesn't cover the "cost" of my plate, they can go spit.

What a lovely, thoughtful, and *personalized* gift. I would be so touched to receive something like that!
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Olympia on July 07, 2013, 08:13:45 PM
Just because it would be a "thing" in your circle of friends doesn't make it generally a good idea for a gift.

Obviously there is a lot of diversity of gift giving all over the planet and certain things are more acceptable in one group than another, but it is really apparent that in this particular circle it was decidedly not a "thing."

But, particularly for a formal event.  Presumably if the B&G are spending $100/plate this is not a casual BBQ in the backyard.

I still stand by it being generally tacky to give something more suited to a "welcome to the neighborhood gift" as a wedding gift.  And while it is never OK to not accept a gift graciously, it doesn't make it right.

Its interesting that in defending this basket that people think that they will use the basket forever--many of those baskets are just for looks unless you pay even more--and we could probably discuss the appropriateness of a basket for both a man and a woman as a wedding gift--that is really taste specific.

In this case, it was obviously the gift basket of edibles that was the gift--not a fine basket.

If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Also, a note on "just clicking"--these baskets can be bought by "just clicking" the same as a place setting or a toaster.  It's not so much the effort and thought that is put into the gift as what it says.  This one was cutesy.

You are making an awful lot of blanket pronouncements from on high about The Way Things Are Donetm. What Queen or deity decided:

1) That wedding gifts are required to have gravitas. What's wrong with being cutesy? Is there no joy, no whimsy to be had in the world? Or perhaps you believe whimsy and joy are inappropriate for celebrating marriages - how sad. Anyway, how much gravitas does a toaster or a George Foreman grill have?

2) That giving a basket is only acceptable if it is a Fine Basket. Seriously?

3) That consumable items are inherently inappropriate. Money is essentially consumable, and we give that all the time. And dang, but this gift requires a lot more thought and effort than writing a check for the same value. And to conclude, as you implied in an earlier post, that a gift of consumables reflects the giver's philosophy on marriage - the hyperbolic judgment required for that leap is remarkable.

4) That this gift is 'more suited to a welcome to the neighborhood' or 'only appropriate for a casual backyard BBQ. I don't even know how you make this determination.

5) That it is inappropriate to wish the couple 'to enjoy life'. What a bitter and judgmental view of things, that simply telling someone 'to enjoy life' on occasion of their wedding might be met with such derision and scorn.


In short, I agree with a prior poster that this view is narrow minded. I also think the extraordinary judgment being laid down, simply because this gift does not meet your personal standards for How Wedding Gifts Are Supposed To Be is arrogant and mean-spirited.

Brava, Aeris, brava. I'd much prefer a gift given with love over a gift given from a sense of obligation and "gravitas".
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Wordgeek on July 07, 2013, 08:29:39 PM
Aeris and Audrey Quest are both taking a little break from the forum.

Everyone else, carry on.

Edited for typo.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Hijinks on July 07, 2013, 08:39:54 PM
If I can find it, I get the HC a container off of their registry, and then I fill it with bars of my homemade stuff like soap, bath bombs, etc.  A lot of personal time and effort goes into making that stuff, so if someone doesn't like it and it doesn't cover the "cost" of my plate, they can go spit.
I love this idea can I steal it?

But of course :)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: POF on July 07, 2013, 08:44:17 PM
Did I receive gifts at my wedding that were not to my taste ? Of course I did, who doesn't.  Did I care - no.  I exchanged a duplicate here and there an I appreciated that people gave me a gift.

Most wedding presents where I grew up were simple things for your house, cash was considered only appropriate for close family members.

I received some very small gifts in terms of money or sophistication, some embroidered linens, a lovely XMAS ornament from a very down on his luck friend, some vases.  I never thought of my wedding in terms of loot. It was paid for by me - 6 months in advance, DH paid for the honeymoon.  We paid cash and did not go into debt for it. We were hosting it and the I wanted everyone to have a nice time and celebrate with us.

Its just nasty to call out someone on their gift. Its greedy, rude and shows bad breeding. Even if the gift was wildly inappropriate and I thought the basket was fine - honestly - I would have enjoyed it. You say thank you and move on.

I am just appalled -
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Hmmmmm on July 07, 2013, 08:51:36 PM
Looking at that gift basket,and ignoring all the rest iof it, I think the guests were rude and tacky to give it.

"Life is delicious, enjoy..."  really?  I could see it being a housewarminig gift or a welcome to the neighborhood gift.  But, for a wedding?  Candy?  It flies in the face of the seriousness of the event.  Maybe some candy would be alright accompanied by something with a bit more gravitas.

It seems to me that the guests wanted to come off cute but ended up coming off cheap.

I disagree that the gift was rude. Perhaps it missed the mark (its not what I would have given for a wedding), but sometimes that happens when you give a gift. But I think giving a gift can only be rude in extreme circumstances (for example giving something illegal or intentionally offensive).

Besides, looking from the picture, candy was only a part of the gift. It also contained all sorts of gourmet foods. And in this case, the giver knew the recipient from the food industry, and perhaps didn't know much else about her. But even if it was just candy, it still wouldn't be rude - just perhaps not the best gift.

Its not an appropriate wedding gift.  There are a lot of events for which is would be fine but not  a wedding.

I think as a guest you do need to do some math.  Yes, you are going because you are happy for the couple and not simply to get a nice dinner.  But, you are suppose to be considering what this coupe needs for getting their lives started and a basket of edibles really doesn't fit the bill.

I know that people here can come up with a million exceptions but that is not the point.  Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

And I think it is rude because its a rather thoughtless gift given the circumstances.  Perhaps it conveys the gift givers' philosphy of marriage which is also not appropriate, and the message.  not OK.  You say congratulations or happy for you, not To enjoy life.  That is too general and in this situation kind of condescending even.

I don't think math should enter in to selecting a wedding gift other than a review if your own budget, and there is nothing less permenant than money given then used to pay for a wedding reception. Or asking people to fund your honeymoon activities.

I seriously can't imagine being insulted by someone stating life is delicious or helping stock my pantry with gourmet items or providing me with goodies to snack on the day after the wedding.

We gave friends a nice insulated wine carry bag and 4 bottles of wine. They loved it and used the wine fir their first dinner party.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Sterling on July 07, 2013, 09:28:28 PM
Quote
Its not an appropriate wedding gift.  There are a lot of events for which is would be fine but not  a wedding.

I think as a guest you do need to do some math.  Yes, you are going because you are happy for the couple and not simply to get a nice dinner.  But, you are suppose to be considering what this coupe needs for getting their lives started and a basket of edibles really doesn't fit the bill.

I know that people here can come up with a million exceptions but that is not the point.  Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

And I think it is rude because its a rather thoughtless gift given the circumstances.  Perhaps it conveys the gift givers' philosphy of marriage which is also not appropriate, and the message.  not OK.  You say congratulations or happy for you, not To enjoy life.  That is too general and in this situation kind of condescending even.

Ok wow don't know where to start with that.

First off when people are getting married in their 30s you generally are not giving gifts to "set them up" in life because they already are.  As for permanent I can assure you the vase, picture frame or other such "serious" item will end up in the yard sale or donation bin.  It won't be some family heirloom passed down to their kids with a story of how they received it on their wedding day.  Especially not when dealing with people as rude as the couple in this story.

And I can't imagine anyone thinking "Enjoy life" as condescending. If they do it says more about their joyless life than it does the person who nicely gave their good wishes to couple.  And to imply that giving a consumable gift shows that the giver thinks marriage is just as temporary as candy is really over the top.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: StoutGirl on July 07, 2013, 09:32:53 PM
Hijinks, I love your idea!

I don't remember if it was on this forum or if it was on the actual Hells Bells page comments, but someone mentioned getting a picnic basket as a wedding gift and it went EVERYWHERE!  What a great gift for a 4-H family or someone who loves roadtripping!

On a side note, I have mentioned on the forum that I work retail.  I just wanted to share that last week, I was helping a woman with a registry.  She had a limited budget and ended up choosing a bread knife and cheese grater.  I suggested adding a loaf of artisan bread and some really good cheese (us Upper Midwesterners LOVE cheese!).  She thought that it was an amazing idea, one that she might not have thought of, and I think she was about to hug me!   
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: kareng57 on July 07, 2013, 10:56:40 PM
Maybe not in your circle.  It would be just fine in mine.  It certainly isn't thoughtless.  Those baskets can take a lot of time, money, and effort to put together. 

It certainly would be a very appropriate gift in my family and circle.


In my circle, too.

Overall, weddings should not be taken as an opportunity to "teach" others etiquette rules re gifts.  In some ethnic circles - cash is the norm (sometimes, showers are where tangible gifts are given).  Naturally the HC should graciously receive any gift, that goes without saying.  But, if the giver knows that the preferred gift is cash - then he/she is pretty rude to insist on giving a toaster or coffee maker.  Or, if hearing that the cash-gift is preferred in multiples of 20 (I'm being hypothetical) then it would be pretty nasty to give a gift of $130 (as opposed to $120 or $140) just to prove a point.

Again, I wish to emphasise that these are cases where the guests are well aware of the norms of the particular culture.

I am certain there was a lot more thought put into that gift basket than it takes to hit "click" and purchase something off of someone's registry and have Amazon.com send it to them.

The expectations surrounding wedding gifts these days .... it's almost enough to make me hope I never receive another wedding invitation.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Twik on July 08, 2013, 09:01:08 AM
There's no guarantee that any gift (even from the registry) will absolutely delight the recipient. You do the best you can.

It sounds like the guest in this story chose the sort of gift they would like themselves. It obviously wasn't to the receivers' taste, but the receiver should not have an expectation that all gifts will be exactly what they would have ordered from a personal shopper.

One acts grateful for all gifts, unless they have clearly been chosen to be insulting or obnoxious (such as a fur coat given to a well-known anti-fur activist).
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Winterlight on July 08, 2013, 11:54:14 AM
If I can find it, I get the HC a container off of their registry, and then I fill it with bars of my homemade stuff like soap, bath bombs, etc.  A lot of personal time and effort goes into making that stuff, so if someone doesn't like it and it doesn't cover the "cost" of my plate, they can go spit.

I think this is a lovely idea. I've also done things like a basket with two mugs and specialty coffees/teas/hot chocolates- I did this for a cousin's wedding and she was delighted.

The brides were incredibly rude and nasty. Even if they didn't like the gift, there was no call to send such tasteless texts.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: rigs32 on July 08, 2013, 12:24:52 PM
But, if the giver knows that the preferred gift is cash - then he/she is pretty rude to insist on giving a toaster or coffee maker.  Or, if hearing that the cash-gift is preferred in multiples of 20 (I'm being hypothetical) then it would be pretty nasty to give a gift of $130 (as opposed to $120 or $140) just to prove a point.

If this is true, then wouldn't a honeymoon registry be acceptable?  I believe they are considered by most to be rude. 

How would this preference be communicated?  By putting a note on the invitations?  That's also rude.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: ellebelle on July 08, 2013, 01:38:49 PM
They would have been scandalized by one of my wedding gifts.... a hard hat, ear plugs, and a large hammer.

It was from a friend in college who said that the ear plugs were for when my husband wanted to tune me out (not meant offensively), the hammer was to knock sense into my husband and the hat was to protect him from too much damage.  >:D
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: jibby on July 08, 2013, 01:49:47 PM
Quote
Its not an appropriate wedding gift.  There are a lot of events for which is would be fine but not  a wedding.

I think as a guest you do need to do some math.   Yes, you are going because you are happy for the couple and not simply to get a nice dinner.  But, you are suppose to be considering what this coupe needs for getting their lives started and a basket of edibles really doesn't fit the bill.

I know that people here can come up with a million exceptions but that is not the point.  Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

And I think it is rude because its a rather thoughtless gift given the circumstances.  Perhaps it conveys the gift givers' philosphy of marriage which is also not appropriate, and the message.  not OK.  You say congratulations or happy for you, not To enjoy life.  That is too general and in this situation kind of condescending even.

Ok wow don't know where to start with that.

First off when people are getting married in their 30s you generally are not giving gifts to "set them up" in life because they already are.  As for permanent I can assure you the vase, picture frame or other such "serious" item will end up in the yard sale or donation bin.  It won't be some family heirloom passed down to their kids with a story of how they received it on their wedding day.  Especially not when dealing with people as rude as the couple in this story.

And I can't imagine anyone thinking "Enjoy life" as condescending. If they do it says more about their joyless life than it does the person who nicely gave their good wishes to couple.  And to imply that giving a consumable gift shows that the giver thinks marriage is just as temporary as candy is really over the top.

I agree.  The bolded is one of the most crass things I have ever read, and I've been reading eHell stories since the Delphooey days.  I would be mortified and heartbroken if a friend declined my wedding invitation because they couldn't cover their plate.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: RebeccainGA on July 08, 2013, 02:45:23 PM
Quote
Its not an appropriate wedding gift.  There are a lot of events for which is would be fine but not  a wedding.

I think as a guest you do need to do some math.   Yes, you are going because you are happy for the couple and not simply to get a nice dinner.  But, you are suppose to be considering what this coupe needs for getting their lives started and a basket of edibles really doesn't fit the bill.

I know that people here can come up with a million exceptions but that is not the point.  Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

And I think it is rude because its a rather thoughtless gift given the circumstances.  Perhaps it conveys the gift givers' philosphy of marriage which is also not appropriate, and the message.  not OK.  You say congratulations or happy for you, not To enjoy life.  That is too general and in this situation kind of condescending even.

Ok wow don't know where to start with that.

First off when people are getting married in their 30s you generally are not giving gifts to "set them up" in life because they already are.  As for permanent I can assure you the vase, picture frame or other such "serious" item will end up in the yard sale or donation bin.  It won't be some family heirloom passed down to their kids with a story of how they received it on their wedding day.  Especially not when dealing with people as rude as the couple in this story.

And I can't imagine anyone thinking "Enjoy life" as condescending. If they do it says more about their joyless life than it does the person who nicely gave their good wishes to couple.  And to imply that giving a consumable gift shows that the giver thinks marriage is just as temporary as candy is really over the top.

I agree.  The bolded is one of the most crass things I have ever read, and I've been reading eHell stories since the Delphooey days.  I would be mortified and heartbroken if a friend declined my wedding invitation because they couldn't cover their plate.
Agreed. When we got married, yes, we got a very few lovely things (90% of the people that came to our wedding didn't give a gift or a card). The fancy cheese plate and matching spreader? Never used. The fancy candle holders? Never used. But the lady that made us up a lovely picnic basket with a gift card to a local grocery store to get the perishables to go with the crackers, condiments, bottle of champagne and chocolates? She will be remembered forever, because she thought about US. Not 'the wedding', but the people in it. And the lady who didn't give a card or a gift, but rolled up her sleeves and helped me get the wedding cake set up and insisted that I go sit down and she'd finish up the closing down of our church hall afterwards? An angel.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: zyrs on July 09, 2013, 12:40:37 AM
I have read all the stories in the archives and I remember many of them being about people who put stuff on their registry just so they could return it to the store and get the cash.  Which is just tacky.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: mbbored on July 09, 2013, 12:51:27 AM
If I can find it, I get the HC a container off of their registry, and then I fill it with bars of my homemade stuff like soap, bath bombs, etc.  A lot of personal time and effort goes into making that stuff, so if someone doesn't like it and it doesn't cover the "cost" of my plate, they can go spit.

What a lovely, thoughtful, and *personalized* gift. I would be so touched to receive something like that!

It is a lovely gift, but it's hardly personalized if you make the same thing for everybody. Personally if I don't know the couple well enough to say whether or not they have food or scent allergies or the way they decorate their home, I find it safer to buy off the registry. Yes, people should be grateful for gifts, but from my point of view part of the process is that the giver should take into consideration what the recipient would enjoy.

I'm not knocking homemade or off the registry gifts at all. Twice last summer I gave newlyweds a basket filled with kitchen towels and a variety of jams and sauces I canned myself. But I knew they enjoyed homemade items and cooking. I went to two other weddings, one for a coworker and one for a friend from a club, but I've never particularly discussed food or entertaining with them. Since I didn't know if they would use home-canned food, I bought them gifts off their registry figuring that way I was guaranteed to give people I like something they would enjoy.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Yvaine on July 09, 2013, 01:33:20 AM
If I can find it, I get the HC a container off of their registry, and then I fill it with bars of my homemade stuff like soap, bath bombs, etc.  A lot of personal time and effort goes into making that stuff, so if someone doesn't like it and it doesn't cover the "cost" of my plate, they can go spit.

What a lovely, thoughtful, and *personalized* gift. I would be so touched to receive something like that!

It is a lovely gift, but it's hardly personalized if you make the same thing for everybody. Personally if I don't know the couple well enough to say whether or not they have food or scent allergies or the way they decorate their home, I find it safer to buy off the registry. Yes, people should be grateful for gifts, but from my point of view part of the process is that the giver should take into consideration what the recipient would enjoy.

What she's saying, if I read it right, is that she buys something off the particular couple's registry (like if they registered for, I don't know, a laundry hamper) and then adding other items to it.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Oh Joy on July 09, 2013, 02:05:24 AM
I appreciate that there are lots of dimensions to what might be appropriate on all sides of the gift-giving.  But the concept of giving 'lasting' gifts for a wedding just feels right to me.  Not saying everyone has to feel the same way.   ;)

When I married a few years back (as a longtime homeowner in my thirties) all I cared was that our guests gave us something with good wishes.  For our guests' convenience we registered at a kitchenware store to upgrade some items, having in mind that these measuring cups and such would still be in our kitchen when we're great-grandparents.  One sweet guest bought us a bunch of expensive consumables from that store...I sincerely appreciated the gift, but it frankly felt a little strange to get food as a wedding gift, especially since she went to the trouble of going to this specific store and spent more than several registry items cost.  Again, totally appreciated, but it was a gift I'd prefer to give or receive for a birthday or housewarming than a wedding.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Charliebug on July 10, 2013, 02:03:01 AM
I just don't get it.  Why are gifts so hard to give and receive? Why does a dollar amount matter so much? Yes, there are people who will wrap up anything and bring it to the party but, at the end of the day, they brought something and even if they didn't YOU (general you) invited them. You (general you) wanted them to celebrate with you. Will anybody remember the exact amount of dollars each cousin, aunt, uncle, coworker, etc spent on any given thing or will they remember the happiest day of their life surrounded by the people they care about most? I do realize I am an idealist and I will never understand many materialistic things that so many people spend so much time focusing on.

Somewhere along the way the traditions and the reasons for things have been picked apart and only the "good" parts have carried on. Why spend $10k and up for a white bridal gown when you have lived with the father of your children for 5 years and white isn't fooling anybody? I don't know anybody who married right out of high school and lived on their own at 18 so there is hardly anything for friends and family to give as a "start up" gift. Money is all that is left and that is hollow and gone in a second, not to mention awkward to give when you don't have much. Can't we just all be grateful for what we have and anything we get?
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Yvaine on July 10, 2013, 01:02:28 PM
Somewhere along the way the traditions and the reasons for things have been picked apart and only the "good" parts have carried on. Why spend $10k and up for a white bridal gown when you have lived with the father of your children for 5 years and white isn't fooling anybody?

Funny you should talk about people forgetting the reasons for traditions while forgetting what the white dresses were for in the first place. The idea that they meant sexual "purity" is a more recent interpretation. Blue was the traditional color of purity, and most brides just wore their best dresses anyway. White came into vogue because Queen Victoria happened to wear it and people wanted to copy the queen's style, and it remained in style because a white dress is fundamentally impractical and so it carries a message of prosperity, as in "I can afford a dress I can't work in." All a white dress says is "I can afford a white dress and want to wear one." The snarky comment about people's sex lives is unnecessary and mean-spirited.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: cross_patch on July 10, 2013, 09:02:14 PM
Somewhere along the way the traditions and the reasons for things have been picked apart and only the "good" parts have carried on. Why spend $10k and up for a white bridal gown when you have lived with the father of your children for 5 years and white isn't fooling anybody?

Funny you should talk about people forgetting the reasons for traditions while forgetting what the white dresses were for in the first place. The idea that they meant sexual "purity" is a more recent interpretation. Blue was the traditional color of purity, and most brides just wore their best dresses anyway. White came into vogue because Queen Victoria happened to wear it and people wanted to copy the queen's style, and it remained in style because a white dress is fundamentally impractical and so it carries a message of prosperity, as in "I can afford a dress I can't work in." All a white dress says is "I can afford a white dress and want to wear one." The snarky comment about people's sex lives is unnecessary and mean-spirited.

100% this.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Aeris on July 10, 2013, 09:11:55 PM
If I can find it, I get the HC a container off of their registry, and then I fill it with bars of my homemade stuff like soap, bath bombs, etc.  A lot of personal time and effort goes into making that stuff, so if someone doesn't like it and it doesn't cover the "cost" of my plate, they can go spit.

What a lovely, thoughtful, and *personalized* gift. I would be so touched to receive something like that!

It is a lovely gift, but it's hardly personalized if you make the same thing for everybody. Personally if I don't know the couple well enough to say whether or not they have food or scent allergies or the way they decorate their home, I find it safer to buy off the registry. Yes, people should be grateful for gifts, but from my point of view part of the process is that the giver should take into consideration what the recipient would enjoy.

I'm not knocking homemade or off the registry gifts at all. Twice last summer I gave newlyweds a basket filled with kitchen towels and a variety of jams and sauces I canned myself. But I knew they enjoyed homemade items and cooking. I went to two other weddings, one for a coworker and one for a friend from a club, but I've never particularly discussed food or entertaining with them. Since I didn't know if they would use home-canned food, I bought them gifts off their registry figuring that way I was guaranteed to give people I like something they would enjoy.

I used poor wording. What I meant was that it was very personalized *from* the gifter. Not that it was personalized *for* the receiver. I would be very touched to receive something that was unique and special in that it was handmade by my friend, and in that the only possible way to receive such a gift would be for her to make it for me.

Off-registry gifts are always a bit more of a gamble in whether the person will be over the moon for them. But that doesn't make them automatically bad gifts (which I realize you weren't saying). For me, personally, I would always prefer unique gifts over commercial ones, even if it wasn't something I would have bought for myself.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: emwithme on July 12, 2013, 05:04:16 PM
One of my wedding gifts was a "Simon's Cat" calendar for this year, from a friend who isn't working because she is caring for both her elderly father and disabled (adult) daughter. 

I love this calendar, and every month DH and I stand and look at the picture, having a giggle and thanking J for making us laugh. 

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Lillie82 on July 12, 2013, 07:58:00 PM
I agree that the Brides were incredibly rude. 

Here, in NYC, money is a standard Wedding gift because most couples seem pretty well established before the Wedding.  Still, objects are given and appreciated. 

The thing I find ghastly about this story is the escalation.  Neither side seems able to let the matter rest.  I truly believe that, if the parties were speaking face-to-face, things would never have reached the level it did.

I agree. This was actually posted to the main site, and I commented that I didn't think the givers ended up coming across so well either. Maybe they didn't sink to the level of the brides...but they didn't exactly take the highest road. And now it's become public.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Jocelyn on July 12, 2013, 10:12:28 PM
RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: kareng57 on July 12, 2013, 10:39:49 PM
Looking at that gift basket,and ignoring all the rest iof it, I think the guests were rude and tacky to give it.

"Life is delicious, enjoy..."  really?  I could see it being a housewarminig gift or a welcome to the neighborhood gift.  But, for a wedding?  Candy?  It flies in the face of the seriousness of the event.  Maybe some candy would be alright accompanied by something with a bit more gravitas.

It seems to me that the guests wanted to come off cute but ended up coming off cheap.

I disagree that the gift was rude. Perhaps it missed the mark (its not what I would have given for a wedding), but sometimes that happens when you give a gift. But I think giving a gift can only be rude in extreme circumstances (for example giving something illegal or intentionally offensive).

Besides, looking from the picture, candy was only a part of the gift. It also contained all sorts of gourmet foods. And in this case, the giver knew the recipient from the food industry, and perhaps didn't know much else about her. But even if it was just candy, it still wouldn't be rude - just perhaps not the best gift.

Its not an appropriate wedding gift.  There are a lot of events for which is would be fine but not  a wedding.

I think as a guest you do need to do some math.  Yes, you are going because you are happy for the couple and not simply to get a nice dinner.  But, you are suppose to be considering what this coupe needs for getting their lives started and a basket of edibles really doesn't fit the bill.

I know that people here can come up with a million exceptions but that is not the point.  Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

And I think it is rude because its a rather thoughtless gift given the circumstances.  Perhaps it conveys the gift givers' philosphy of marriage which is also not appropriate, and the message.  not OK.  You say congratulations or happy for you, not To enjoy life.  That is too general and in this situation kind of condescending even.

I don't think math should enter in to selecting a wedding gift other than a review if your own budget, and there is nothing less permenant than money given then used to pay for a wedding reception. Or asking people to fund your honeymoon activities.

I seriously can't imagine being insulted by someone stating life is delicious or helping stock my pantry with gourmet items or providing me with goodies to snack on the day after the wedding.

We gave friends a nice insulated wine carry bag and 4 bottles of wine. They loved it and used the wine fir their first dinner party.


No matter what, I think that a list of gifts that could be considered permanent would be pretty limited.  Glasses can eventually break, even the most high-quality Egyptian cotton sheets will not last forever - etc.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: TootsNYC on July 12, 2013, 11:22:31 PM
Money given as a wedding gift is frequently used on the honeymoon so that would be gone as quickly as the basket of food.

But the memory would last. Or so people argue when they sign up for a honeymoon registry.

And in fact, I personally think many memories are far more valuable than expensive china, etc.

As is that Simon's Cat calendar. (Actually, if you keep that calendar, you'll have a record of all the stuff you did in your first year of marriage!)
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: TootsNYC on July 12, 2013, 11:27:32 PM
RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.

If the amount they come up with is too high for their bank balance, they round down. And they feel a teeny bit guilty.


Also, I don't think they worry about flowers and dresses and makeup. When I've seen my MIL do this, she really is only worried about the party. That's the part that she doesn't want couples to lose out on because of. They're paying for her food & drink, and they *have* to invite her, so she wants to be sure they don't end up in the hole because of it.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: perpetua on July 13, 2013, 01:54:49 AM
RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.


So as well as being expected to provide a gift of the correct monetary value, you're also expected to spend time and energy researching what that should be?

Sorry, no. I'm not going to spend my time doing detective work in order to attend your (you general) wedding without causing offence.

I don't think it's that people don't "get it", Toots. I get it. I just find it slightly... ridiculous.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Iris on July 13, 2013, 02:48:04 AM
RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.


So as well as being expected to provide a gift of the correct monetary value, you're also expected to spend time and energy researching what that should be?

Sorry, no. I'm not going to spend my time doing detective work in order to attend your (you general) wedding without causing offence.

I don't think it's that people don't "get it", Toots. I get it. I just find it slightly... ridiculous.

Pod. I understand it, I just don't think it's right or fair that someone who chooses to have an expensive wedding should get more of a gift from me than someone who doesn't. I find the idea that (say) my friend who had a gorgeous casual wedding in her parent's lovely yard would get a lesser present from me than my friend who had a lovely formal sit down meal at a function centre to be quite loathsome to be honest.

However I will admit that I have not yet reached the age of 'duty invites'. All family weddings occurred when I was a teenager and the younger generation haven't reached marrying age yet. Perhaps I would feel differently if I thought someone felt obligated to invite me.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: MariaE on July 13, 2013, 03:02:28 AM
RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.


So as well as being expected to provide a gift of the correct monetary value, you're also expected to spend time and energy researching what that should be?

Sorry, no. I'm not going to spend my time doing detective work in order to attend your (you general) wedding without causing offence.

I don't think it's that people don't "get it", Toots. I get it. I just find it slightly... ridiculous.

Pod. I understand it, I just don't think it's right or fair that someone who chooses to have an expensive wedding should get more of a gift from me than someone who doesn't. I find the idea that (say) my friend who had a gorgeous casual wedding in her parent's lovely yard would get a lesser present from me than my friend who had a lovely formal sit down meal at a function centre to be quite loathsome to be honest.

However I will admit that I have not yet reached the age of 'duty invites'. All family weddings occurred when I was a teenager and the younger generation haven't reached marrying age yet. Perhaps I would feel differently if I thought someone felt obligated to invite me.

Not to mention that it seems odd to base your gift giving on what the couple can afford rather than on what you can afford.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 13, 2013, 01:54:24 PM
It is just so contrary to the concept of "gift" that no explanation will ever make me accept it as OK. A gift is something given because you want to do something nice. It is not an exchange for a party invitation, or payment for dinner. Not even a party and dinner after a wedding.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Charliebug on July 13, 2013, 01:56:32 PM
It is just so contrary to the concept of "gift" that no explanation will ever make me accept it as OK. A gift is something given because you want to do something nice. It is not an exchange for a party invitation, or payment for dinner. Not even a party and dinner after a wedding.

POD
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Just Lori on July 13, 2013, 02:07:09 PM
Am I the only one who would feel strange if someone felt they had to cover their plate for a party I was hosting?  I'm hosting a party, not a fund raiser.  I invited people to my wedding because I wanted them there.  We paid for the wedding ourselves in cash, and we had our honeymoon and first home funded from our own bank accounts.  We didn't expect people to feel socially obligated to help pay the bill.  For me, and only for me, it takes a host/guest relationship and turns it into a business transaction.

I respect that this mindset is part of certain cultures, but I can't get my mind around it, and I hope it doesn't become an unofficial etiquette rule.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: CluelessBride on July 13, 2013, 05:54:48 PM
RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.

If the amount they come up with is too high for their bank balance, they round down. And they feel a teeny bit guilty.


Also, I don't think they worry about flowers and dresses and makeup. When I've seen my MIL do this, she really is only worried about the party. That's the part that she doesn't want couples to lose out on because of. They're paying for her food & drink, and they *have* to invite her, so she wants to be sure they don't end up in the hole because of it.

I think the problem I have with the cover the plate thing is the bolded. Everyone talks about it like its a culture/sub-culture.

If an individual says, "I personally like to guesstimate how much my plate will cost and give approximately that amount of cash" that's no different to me than someone who says, "I personally like to buy off the registry", or "I personally spend more on gifts for people who are closer to me", or "I like to give china", or "I like to give ______".  Basically it becomes a personal giving philosophy - and we are all entitled to have one.

But the second you (general) start talking about a culture, that implies that you expect others to be following the same set of rules. Even if you never call them out on it. Even if the couple never says they expect it.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Wordgeek on July 14, 2013, 04:12:36 PM
You are not getting it.

Ahem.  From my reading of the thread, I'd say people "get" what you're saying but disagree with you.  And they're allowed to do so.  Accept that yours is a minority opinion, at least on this board, and be gracious about it.  The world is not required to conform to your particular viewpoint.

You've racked up a few warnings recently, Toots.  Think carefully about how you choose to respond, because you're within a hair of taking an enforced break from posting. 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: gellchom on July 15, 2013, 02:29:09 PM
I understand what Toots is saying, though.  I like CluelessBride's take on things.  But for better or worse (no pun intended), there are families and communities in which this is so ingrained that even if everyone is perfectly polite about it, it will seem strange, to themselves and to others, if guests who are able to don't give cash gifts at least as large as a reaonable estimate of the cost of their "plate."

That doesn't mean that guests have to do it or that couples can demand it.  It doesn't mean that etiquette requires it.   The closest analogy that comes to mind is how giving a "thing" gift in a community where cash is the near-universal gift isn't a violation of etiquette but nevertheless seems unusual to people.

It just means that it is unrealistic to pretend that it won't feel to the givers, recipients, or anyone else like a deviation from the norm.  Of course it would still be rude for anyone to complain or to criticize.  But you can't stop people from feeling what they feel in terms of appropriateness, cheapness, and generosity, and those feelings will be based on what they are used to doing and seeing.  And many givers want -- even though etiquette doesn't require it - to feel like they are doing what is customary, or want to give a generous gift in light of the recipients' community, even if it isn't their own.  I think that is why Toots was stressing that this plays out from the givers' end, not the recipients'.  Is that right?
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Poppea on July 15, 2013, 03:03:33 PM
What I find most interesting about the entitled brides is the idea that "covering your plate" would ever include clothing, makeup/hair, photography, etc.  If your subscribe to CYP it means just that - the cost of the meal, drinks & entertainment at the reception.  Things that the HC have done to entertain the guests.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Twik on July 15, 2013, 03:38:31 PM
"Covering your plate" is, I think, a useful rule of thumb if you are new to a particular social scene, and the question is, "what is a generally acceptable wedding gift, if I don't want to stand out from the crowd? Is it $5? Is it $5,000?" The answer could veer towards either of those extremes, depending on what sort of social group you're looking at. A "standard" gift among the jet set will probably be higher than, say, a typical gift among a group of university students living off student loans and part-time jobs. The average cost of a meal served in that group would give you a ballpark figure of what the group's standards are, either frugal or extravagant.

However, I would be rather creeped out if I found my guests were doing detective work to figure out exactly how much I was spending for my wedding. And if one of the Kardashians decides to invite that nice young man who bags groceries for her to her upcoming nuptial, I don't think he should be expected to provide a gift that's exactly the same as her celebrity friends.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on July 15, 2013, 03:49:43 PM
I understand what Toots is saying, though.  I like CluelessBride's take on things.  But for better or worse (no pun intended), there are families and communities in which this is so ingrained that even if everyone is perfectly polite about it, it will seem strange, to themselves and to others, if guests who are able to don't give cash gifts at least as large as a reaonable estimate of the cost of their "plate."

That doesn't mean that guests have to do it or that couples can demand it.  It doesn't mean that etiquette requires it.   The closest analogy that comes to mind is how giving a "thing" gift in a community where cash is the near-universal gift isn't a violation of etiquette but nevertheless seems unusual to people.

It just means that it is unrealistic to pretend that it won't feel to the givers, recipients, or anyone else like a deviation from the norm.  Of course it would still be rude for anyone to complain or to criticize.  But you can't stop people from feeling what they feel in terms of appropriateness, cheapness, and generosity, and those feelings will be based on what they are used to doing and seeing.  And many givers want -- even though etiquette doesn't require it - to feel like they are doing what is customary, or want to give a generous gift in light of the recipients' community, even if it isn't their own.  I think that is why Toots was stressing that this plays out from the givers' end, not the recipients'.  Is that right?

Never ever from the recipients end.

It's the desire by the giver for the recipient to receive more than they are having to spend.

I went to the catered wedding of my friends' son.  Because we were family friends she invited not just my husband and I but our entire family--so, five people total.  My sons were not in a position to bring gifts, so this fell to me and my husband.  Giving them $50 or something I paid $50 for when they were likely spending over $150 just to host us left me in the position of feeling that I had just cost the couple $100 when my goal was to make sure that they got something from us.

I gave them a cash gift of twice what I thought we cost them.  Did they spend that money paying for flowers or a dress?  I don't know.  It's not really any of my business at that point.  But, from my end, when I know roughly how much a dinner buffet featuring roast beef and an open bar costs, I wanted to make sure that what I gave them was over and above what they likely paid to host us.

For me, it goes to reciprocation.  Sure, when someone hosts me for dinner at their house, I can reciprocate that.  But, I am unlikely to ever be inviting these people to a formal catered event.  If I don't cover my plate and more, I don't feel that I am living up to my social obligation of reciprocation because there just won't be an opportunity for it.

If I go out to a wedding and get a fine meal and free drinks that otherwise would have cost me x number of dollars, I don't feel comfortable about.  I feel like I am profiting at their expense, and this is the most important part--because I can afford to pay my own way.  I can afford to give over and above.

There have been times in my life when I could barely afford a gift and it didn't make me uncomfortable to attend and accept a level of hospitality that I could not reciprocate.  But, that's not the case anymore.

Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Hmmmmm on July 15, 2013, 04:50:08 PM

snip

Never ever from the recipients end.

It's the desire by the giver for the recipient to receive more than they are having to spend.I went to the catered wedding of my friends' son.  Because we were family friends she invited not just my husband and I but our entire family--so, five people total.  My sons were not in a position to bring gifts, so this fell to me and my husband.  Giving them $50 or something I paid $50 for when they were likely spending over $150 just to host us left me in the position of feeling that I had just cost the couple $100 when my goal was to make sure that they got something from us.

I gave them a cash gift of twice what I thought we cost them.  Did they spend that money paying for flowers or a dress?  I don't know.  It's not really any of my business at that point.  But, from my end, when I know roughly how much a dinner buffet featuring roast beef and an open bar costs, I wanted to make sure that what I gave them was over and above what they likely paid to host us.

For me, it goes to reciprocation.  Sure, when someone hosts me for dinner at their house, I can reciprocate that.  But, I am unlikely to ever be inviting these people to a formal catered event.  If I don't cover my plate and more, I don't feel that I am living up to my social obligation of reciprocation because there just won't be an opportunity for it.

If I go out to a wedding and get a fine meal and free drinks that otherwise would have cost me x number of dollars, I don't feel comfortable about.  I feel like I am profiting at their expense, and this is the most important part--because I can afford to pay my own way.  I can afford to give over and above.There have been times in my life when I could barely afford a gift and it didn't make me uncomfortable to attend and accept a level of hospitality that I could not reciprocate.  But, that's not the case anymore.

I guess I can understand your position relating to the bolded points. But as a hostess, I don't want to "receive more". It feels like it's undermining my hosting of you. It's like taking your Dad out to dinner and then finding out he slipped a $100 bill into your purse to cover his cost and more.  It's my party, it's my event. I've invited you to attend my celebration. I don't want you paying for it in any way.

I think also, the expecation of reciprocation must be regionally different. In experience, reciprocation just needs to occur, it doesn't need to be equal (I take my neice out to dinner, she invites me over for burgers). And if I've been invited as primarily the guest of the bride's parents, then reciprocating by having them over to dinner would be appropriate. 
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Rohanna on July 15, 2013, 04:53:38 PM
Isn't that just nit-picking a normal social dance? You don't *have* to give a hostess gift either, but it's nice. You don't *have* to send a friend flowers after the have surgery, but it's sweet. You don't *have* to think about making sure you give a young couple a gift above the cost of hosting you, but if it makes you happy and you can, what's the harm?

I don't ever do handmade gifts, and most of the time I don't particularly care for them- but that doesn't mean that I'd take my personal opinion of them as some kind of moral judgement against anyone who personally does it.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Aeris on July 15, 2013, 05:30:14 PM
Isn't that just nit-picking a normal social dance? You don't *have* to give a hostess gift either, but it's nice. You don't *have* to send a friend flowers after the have surgery, but it's sweet. You don't *have* to think about making sure you give a young couple a gift above the cost of hosting you, but if it makes you happy and you can, what's the harm?

I don't ever do handmade gifts, and most of the time I don't particularly care for them- but that doesn't mean that I'd take my personal opinion of them as some kind of moral judgement against anyone who personally does it.

Well, there's no harm directly. But if it does bleed into the expectations of HC's, that's a problem. But aside from that there's something inherently strange to me about a system whereby I give a substantially larger gift to a friend who chooses to throw a more expensive wedding than a friend who chose to throw a less expensive wedding. That strangeness is exacerbated if the reason the first friend chose a more expensive wedding is because she has more disposable income (or her parents do). Because what that means, in the net effect, is that you would essentially be giving a larger gift to the friend who is more affluent *because* she is more affluent. Something's wrong with that.

But even if they had the exact same income/assets - I'm rewarding the friend who chose a more expensive wedding with a greater share of my resources. I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Rohanna on July 15, 2013, 05:34:43 PM
There's nothing in cover your plate philosophy that states you can't give "more" to someone because you like them, only that the giver usually tries not to give less than what they think the average/norm/cost was. Some people do take it to extremes, but that's true of anything really. If your friend had a 10 dollar a plate backyard BBQ it's not like the CYP police are going to show up and pull cash out of your card because you really like her and want to give them $100.
Title: Re: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?
Post by: Aeris on July 15, 2013, 05:42:27 PM
There's nothing in cover your plate philosophy that states you can't give "more" to someone because you like them, only that the giver usually tries not to give less than what they think the average/norm/cost was. Some people do take it to extremes, but that's true of anything really. If your friend had a 10 dollar a plate backyard BBQ it's not like the CYP police are going to show up and pull cash out of your card because you really like her and want to give them $100.

Well, that's a fair point. But if the cheaper wedding comes first, you may end up with that difference by accident rather than design by trying to follow CYP for the second, more expensive wedding.

I understand the philosophy of CYP far more when it works out to a 'this is the cost per person of a typical wedding in our culture/social group/area of the country/etc, so I'm going to give a gift worth that plus a bit'. That would *generally* meet the goal of trying to leave the HC with a little more than they spent, but if someone decided to go hog wild and fancy above and beyond what's normal I wouldn't feel financially obligated to reward that. (And it would also provide an even larger windfall for any HC that chose to go cheaper than average).