Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: TeamBhakta on July 03, 2013, 11:41:07 AM

Title: Your gift was only $100
Post by: TeamBhakta on July 03, 2013, 11:41:07 AM
A reader sent an email to HP's wedding section, about a bride disappointed to receive $100 from the reader and her boyfriend

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/02/wedding-gift_n_3535780.html
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: rose red on July 03, 2013, 11:50:31 AM
Yet another couple who thinks their "guests" are there to pay for their wedding.  These people should just start mailing a bill with the invitations.  If I'm suppose to cover my plate (among other things), I'd rather just go out to a restaurant of my own choice.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Hillia on July 03, 2013, 11:52:41 AM
The etiquette and general 'decent human being' fail aside, where on earth did that bride learn to write?  The email was almost unintelligible. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: camlan on July 03, 2013, 11:53:11 AM
This is the part that stuck out to me:

Quote
Mike and I both have already paid for everything else including decor, photography, attire etc and didn't expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well.

So the Happy Couple were willing to pay for their clothing, and the decorations and photos, but expected their guests to contribute the entire amount of the food and drink consumed.

So the Happy Couple wanted to throw a party, but thought their guests should pay for the party. And when they didn't pay enough, the Happy Couple let them know, retroactively, about the cover charge.

Crass and tasteless. And rude, rude, rude.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Amava on July 03, 2013, 12:08:23 PM
People really need to learn to host parties they can afford.
Gifts ought to be a bonus, not a way of funding the wedding...
But of course, I'm preaching to the choir here.  :D
 
In my opinion people need to stop being slaves to the wedding industry.
It is perfectly possible to get married without going into debt for expensive clothes, rings, fancy venues, flowers, cake, limousines, etc.
If you have the means and /want/ to spend money you have on expensive stuff? Go for it. No judgement from me. Your money, your wishes, your day, your choice.
But if you don't have money? Find alternatives, and hold your head high, because your wedding is just as good as an expensive one. Viable alternatives, to be clear: not "expecting money from your guests".

Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on July 03, 2013, 12:43:28 PM
Quote
...just for the cocktail + reception alone the plate per person is 200$ (as per a normal wedding range with open bar is about...

I wonder where on earth this took place? I live in NYC - one of the most expensive cities in the country by many estimations - and just got married in October. My DH and I found dozens of truly elegant places where the per person cost of cocktail hour, and 3-5 course sit-down plated meal, plus 5 hours of top shelf open bar was between $90-125.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: CakeBeret on July 03, 2013, 01:15:59 PM
I could go on about "entitlement these days", but I won't. :)

One reader comment suggested "I wouldn't say anything but I'd post it on Facebook and tag her. She should be publicly embarrassed for that."

I have to wonder if this would be rude.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: nuit93 on July 03, 2013, 01:34:57 PM
Well, I must be a rude SS for only giving $50 when that's all I could afford.

Some people's children...
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: emwithme on July 03, 2013, 04:25:10 PM
I got married last September.  Most of our wedding gifts were cash.

We came nowhere near close to "covering" the cost of the day - and didn't expect to.  It was our decision to spend 12,000 on our wedding.  It was our decision to invite people based on our relationship to them, rather than wondering "who will give us what?"


Our gifts averaged around 100 and we were stunned with each card we opened!

We received some truly generous gifts - and I wrote individual thank you cards for each; I would never contact anyone to say their gift "wasn't good enough".  In fact, I appreciate the 25 received from my best friend from school (married to her teenage sweetheart, SAHM with three small children) more than the 500 we received from DH's rich cousin (and her richer husband), simply because I know the impact it (along with the five of them coming to the wedding 120 miles away from where they live) will have had on their finances.


 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Cat-Fu on July 03, 2013, 04:34:14 PM
I'm kind of laughing about this. It's just too ridiculous:
Quote
I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike's and I wedding

That is what I'd expect a waitress to say if she didn't get tipped!

I do kind of wonder if part of it is that the couple in question abused the open bar, which led to the high per plate cost? At my brother's wedding, some of his bro friends went a little overboard at the open bar and drank literally everything in the restaurant. My brother was not too happy about the bill (and about the bartenders who weren't refusing service!)
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on July 03, 2013, 04:44:55 PM
I'm kind of laughing about this. It's just too ridiculous:
Quote
I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike's and I wedding

That is what I'd expect a waitress to say if she didn't get tipped!

I do kind of wonder if part of it is that the couple in question abused the open bar, which led to the high per plate cost? At my brother's wedding, some of his bro friends went a little overboard at the open bar and drank literally everything in the restaurant. My brother was not too happy about the bill (and about the bartenders who weren't refusing service!)

I had open bar at my wedding. It was the same price whether everyone over imbibed on top shelf or if no one drank a drop. I would consider what you are describing as a "open tab bar" not an "open bar", I would never sign a contract like that! Guests should feel free to enjoy anything that is offered in the amount it is offered. If your bother wanted a cut off point, he should have arranged for one (like a "per person" drink limit, or for the bartenders to contact him once the tab hit a certain price), if he didn't communicate a limit, its silly to be mad at the bartenders - their loyalty is going to be to their employers and try to make as much money for the house as possible.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Coruscation on July 03, 2013, 04:49:56 PM
I know someone who got married a few years ago and the cost was $200 per person, but that included rooms at the resort for the bridal party and bride and grooms parents the night before and the night of the wedding, among other things. The total cost was divided among the guests to arrive at the price per head.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Amava on July 03, 2013, 04:58:42 PM
I'm kind of laughing about this. It's just too ridiculous:
Quote
I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike's and I wedding

That is what I'd expect a waitress to say if she didn't get tipped!

I do kind of wonder if part of it is that the couple in question abused the open bar, which led to the high per plate cost? At my brother's wedding, some of his bro friends went a little overboard at the open bar and drank literally everything in the restaurant. My brother was not too happy about the bill (and about the bartenders who weren't refusing service!)

I don't think that was the case, because a bride who is shameless enough to send an email like that, would certainly include "And you took scandalous advantage of our open bar!!" if that had been the case, and also because the bride wrote: "because just for the cocktail + reception alone the plate per person is 200$ (as per a normal wedding range with open bar is about)" indicating that the cost was not unexpected.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Katana_Geldar on July 03, 2013, 05:38:41 PM
If you don't want people to have expensive drinks at your wedding, then tell the bar staff!

As for the money, I was wondering if the couple was Asian as your cash gift is expected to cover your plate. But there's no excuse for this either way.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: chicajojobe on July 03, 2013, 06:58:37 PM
If you don't want people to have expensive drinks at your wedding, then tell the bar staff!

As for the money, I was wondering if the couple was Asian as your cash gift is expected to cover your plate. But there's no excuse for this either way.

It's not just an Asian thing anymore.
I knew someone who did this. She went though her list of guests and what they gave, and if the cost of the gift didn't seem like it would cover the cost of the meal she grumbled, "I"m never talking to this person again!"

Besides, I may not be Asian myself, but I'm pretty sure that even if the couple was Asian and this was a faux pas in their culture it would still be considered unforgivably rude to specifically call them out about it on social media.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: blarg314 on July 03, 2013, 07:50:57 PM
I'm kind of laughing about this. It's just too ridiculous:
Quote
I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike's and I wedding

Okay, that indicates a basic lack of logic.

Generally, people write the cheque for a wedding before actually attending the wedding. So unless they psychically knew that it wasn't going to be up to their standards and wrote the cheque accordingly, they couldn't base the amount on their satisfaction with the wedding.

That's the whole logical problem with the cover your plate logic, by the way. The couple might have spent $20 per person, or they might have spent $500. Unless the invitation includes an invoice, the couple doesn't know. Even after the wedding you don't know - maybe they got an amazing deal, or maybe they got overcharged.

And of course, you could also pro-rate your cheque based on how much you actually consumed. If you had dietary restrictions and could only eat the potatoes, then you only owe them $20 instead of $200, even for a nice meal. If it's an open bar and you're a non drinker? You should get a 50% discount.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Bluenomi on July 03, 2013, 07:56:10 PM
Sounds like the couple wanted their big fancy wedding but didn't want to pay for it and assumed all their guests would. Tough luck there, people give presents based on what they want to give and can afford not what the HC spent!

When looking at our gifts I didn't even think about how they related to what we'd paid for the reception. Or more accuratly what my parents paid.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: diesel_darlin on July 03, 2013, 08:05:03 PM
Wow. I just dont understand people. When I got married, my husband and I planned the wedding that WE COULD AFFORD. (which is now being revealed that my SIL thought it was a Jerry Springer trashy wedding. LOL)

Some people gave me expensive things, some people did not. Some people gave me nothing.  Every gift was appreciated the same because I know how hard extra money is to come by. Even the people who gave nothing, as I was happy that they even came! 

I guess basically what I am trying to say is don't have a wedding you cannot afford.  >:(
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Isometric on July 03, 2013, 08:30:36 PM
If the "expectation" is to give a gift that covers your plate, about 5 of the guests at our wedding would be deemed acceptable to this bride. When we were married 2 years ago prices ranged from $90-$150pp for food&alcohol package.

There's not even a strong enough word for this type of greediness.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Bales on July 03, 2013, 08:50:16 PM
I'd want to write back and tell the bride that nothing about the wedding dissatisfied me, but her idea of a thank you note stinks.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Rohanna on July 03, 2013, 10:36:10 PM
I'll have to admit that my husband fell into a cover-your-plate thought.... after the wedding I think he was glad I kept a lot of costs down when he realized not everyone gave presents like his parents! He wasn't ungrateful but it was definately an eye-opener for him. He assumed that because his (not the least bit wealthy parents) always gave at least $100, that he could just multiply the number of guests by 50 and reach our budget. It was definately a struggle on my part to convince him that we couldn't count on *anything*, and that we shouldn't spend more than we could afford to completely "lose".

Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: TheaterDiva1 on July 03, 2013, 11:14:12 PM
Quote
...and didn't expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well.

Huh?  They didn't expect to pay for their own reception?  What - the fairy godmother couldn't make it?
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Twik on July 04, 2013, 08:49:42 AM
I'm kind of laughing about this. It's just too ridiculous:
Quote
I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike's and I wedding

That is what I'd expect a waitress to say if she didn't get tipped!

That is exactly the language that she is using, Cat Fu - as if she had been providing a service, rather than hosting a party. Very strange.

I think part of the problem is that people watch too much (ir)reality TV. They see, say, a Kardashian wedding. They think "this is how weddings are done - this is how they MUST be done". They order as fancy a wedding as possible, and expect to pay for it with the wedding gifts, which will be (in their minds) the same as what the Kardashians get. However, since their friends and relatives are not jetsetters, they instead get only ordinary working people can afford. Reality slaps the (not so) Happy Couple in the face.

I would hate to think that wedding advisers out there are telling people to expect to pay off their wedding, even make a profit, from the gifts. This is completely antithetical to true hosting.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Thipu1 on July 04, 2013, 09:37:47 AM
Quote
...and didn't expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well.

Huh?  They didn't expect to pay for their own reception?  What - the fairy godmother couldn't make it?

This sort of attitude is nothing new.

It's been several decades but I remember the Wedding of a friend from college. 

At the reception, the groom, bride and their parents retired go a side room with all the envelopes
from the guests.  They were trying to figure out if they had received enough 'loot' to pay for the reception. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Twik on July 04, 2013, 09:56:33 AM
Of course, *one* guest not contributing to her expectations shouldn't have thrown her wildly over budget, so I assume she's writing dozens of these notes, to most (if not all) of her guests.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: BarensMom on July 04, 2013, 12:10:52 PM
The posters that come from the "cover your plate" rule keep leaving out that one little detail: 

- How are we (the guests) supposed to know how much the "cover your plate" fee is exactly? 
- Are we supposed to pester the bride, groom, MOB, FOB, etc., to find out the name of the venue/caterer and call them to find out the exact amount, including taxes and tips?   
- If the plate amount is $XX.45, do you round the amount up or down? 
- What if it's a potluck reception at a free to members church hall? In that case, would $10-$15 be the appropriate amount to cover your plasticware and napkins?
-If you can't afford to "cover your plate," are you allowed to state that in your declination?

The whole thing boggles my mind.

 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on July 04, 2013, 01:36:53 PM
The posters that come from the "cover your plate" rule keep leaving out that one little detail: 

- How are we (the guests) supposed to know how much the "cover your plate" fee is exactly? 
- Are we supposed to pester the bride, groom, MOB, FOB, etc., to find out the name of the venue/caterer and call them to find out the exact amount, including taxes and tips?   
- If the plate amount is $XX.45, do you round the amount up or down? 
- What if it's a potluck reception at a free to members church hall? In that case, would $10-$15 be the appropriate amount to cover your plasticware and napkins?
-If you can't afford to "cover your plate," are you allowed to state that in your declination?

The whole thing boggles my mind.

 

Honestly this has been explained plenty of times in threads before.

It just seems like some people want to just relentlessly pick apart the "cover your plate" mentality as horrible without even bothering to try to understand its a very generous and lovely thought process.

"Cover your plate" is a mentality that a giver should have. Not the receiver. Understand that, please. It is the fundamental first and most strict rule in the whole mentality; it is the very point of the mentality, the whole darn philosophy in fact. Anyone who laments a guest not covering their plate is a gimme pig plain and simple and that has nothing to do with "cover your plate" it has to with them personally being ungrateful greedy piggies.

The idea of "cover your plate" is that a guest would think to themselves "oh how wonderful and lovely and generous for them to host us. Oh! But they are starting out their new life, they really shouldn't have gone to such expense! Here let me give as generously as I can to try to have them come out ahead at the end of the day. I want them to truly have seed money for life, not simply to have them recoup their expenses and come out the same or poorer on the other end of this wonder party."

As for figuring out how much "per plate" costs - simply put, you guess and round up. Its not an invoice situation, its a situation of the giver wanting their hosts to come out ahead. Do guests miss the mark? Of course they do, as a regular matter of course. They might not ever know it though, since its never appropriate for the receiver to be anything except grateful for whatever they receive - even if all they get is a card wishing them well. But the point of "cover your plate" is a very gracious, loving, not always possible but when it is lovely, generous mentality. It is not the awful, devious, greed, math-heavy, investigation requiring scenario so many posters on these boards like to make it out to be.

(And for the record, I would say, having lived my whole life in a "cover your plate" culture of both family and friends, and having lived in NYC, not a cheap place by any means, that $100 from a young couple just out of college would absolutely fall well within the bounds of perfectly acceptable within a 'cover your plate' culture.)
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Hmmmmm on July 04, 2013, 03:02:24 PM
WillyNilly you have provided the above a few times and your explanation was the first time I understood the concept. I think it's like people like me who come from environments where no seating charts and buffet dinners are preferred. We see it as offering guests more choice in who and where they want to sit and more freedom to mill about. Also a wider selection of food choices. Others see it as horribly confusing for guests and complain of difficulty of carrying a plate of food back to their chosen seat. And if you've only attended a buffet wedding done poorly, you will never change your opinion.

Most of us only hear the cover your plate scenario when we hear stories of families opening envelopes during the reception to pay off the caterer, or a couple like in this story complaining that someone didn't give a large enough check or gave a physical gift.

I am curious about a few things if you don't mind.

Say a couple attends a wedding at a country club and they know the average cost per head is $100 so they give $200. When they arrive, they find it's caviar and Dom for cocktail hour, an 8 course dinner featuring  lobster and chateaubriand, and premium wines flowing through out. Does the couple feel badly knowing they've in no way covered the real cost if their meal?

And is the cover your plate based on the cost of the catering meal only, so say $60 person for food and $40 for open bar so an expected $100. Or is it based on the total cost of the reception(catering, band, decorations, service charges) and then divided by the total number of guests.  I am assuming the guests are not trying to cover the cost of the entire wedding.

And lastly, say a couple is invited to two weddings for brothers of friends of theirs. One brother is having a lavish affair and they figure $150 per plate so give a gift of $300. The second brother is having a modest event, so closer to $70 per plate. Would the couple feel comfortable giving one couple $300 and the other $150?
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: LeveeWoman on July 04, 2013, 04:13:21 PM
If I'm hosting, be it a wedding reception or a regular dinner, I'm paying for everything with no expectation of compensation. To expect someone to pay for her meal iby giving a gift is not hosting.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Roe on July 04, 2013, 04:56:56 PM
Even with WillyNilly's explanation, I still don't think "cover your plate" mentality is actually hosting esp with all of Hmmmmm's questions.  Those are fair questions.  Cover your plate just doesn't make sense to me. 

I agree with LeVeeWoman, if guests are expected to pay for their meal, then they aren't being hosted. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on July 04, 2013, 05:10:03 PM
Even with WillyNilly's explanation, I still don't think "cover your plate" mentality is actually hosting esp with all of Hmmmmm's questions.  Those are fair questions.  Cover your plate just doesn't make sense to me. 

I agree with LeVeeWoman, if guests are expected to pay for their meal, then they aren't being hosted. 

Then you didn't understand my explanation.

"Cover your plate" has nothing, zero, zinch, totally absolutely nothing to do with hosting. At all. If a host even breathes mention of "cover your plate" that host is a greedy gimme pig. "Cover your plate" is a mentality for guests only. And even when those exact same guests turn around and host something, they must never think in terms of "cover your plate".

I always try to cover my plate at a wedding. When I got married, I truly did not care or consider if my guests gave more or less value then what it cost me to host them. Truly I did not. Even not the guests who I know also live by the "cover your plate" mentality.

As to your questions Hmmmmm, some people take "cover your plate" to the extreme they arrive at a wedding with a blank check and write the amount in when they see the level of hosting. But for most people its more just a guess. And if they get there and see their guess was wrong, oh well so be it, the gift is what the gift is.

As far as the two very different levels of hosting, its more like, if you adjust, and not everyone does, and know your hosts paid $150 a head you might try to give $350 (cover your plate + $50 gift) and if they spent $70 a head, it'd probably be $200 ($140 + 60 gift). Me? I don't calculate anything. I assume the average cost of a wedding in my area is $100 a head give or take $15. So everyone (in my area or otherwise) gets $200-250 from me & DH (depending on how flush I am at the moment, how close I am to them, if I gave a shower gift, etc). If they spent $150 a head, oh well. If they spent $70 a head, whoo-hoo. But either way in my mind we have "covered our heads" because I have hit up the average cost.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Venus193 on July 04, 2013, 06:26:48 PM
If I'm hosting, be it a wedding reception or a regular dinner, I'm paying for everything with no expectation of compensation. To expect someone to pay for her meal iby giving a gift is not hosting.

You win this thread.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Katana_Geldar on July 04, 2013, 06:36:44 PM
Quote
The idea of "cover your plate" is that a guest would think to themselves "oh how wonderful and lovely and generous for them to host us. Oh! But they are starting out their new life, they really shouldn't have gone to such expense! Here let me give as generously as I can to try to have them come out ahead at the end of the day. I want them to truly have seed money for life, not simply to have them recoup their expenses and come out the same or poorer on the other end of this wonder party."

As for figuring out how much "per plate" costs - simply put, you guess and round up. Its not an invoice situation, its a situation of the giver wanting their hosts to come out ahead. Do guests miss the mark? Of course they do, as a regular matter of course. They might not ever know it though, since its never appropriate for the receiver to be anything except grateful for whatever they receive - even if all they get is a card wishing them well. But the point of "cover your plate" is a very gracious, loving, not always possible but when it is lovely, generous mentality. It is not the awful, devious, greed, math-heavy, investigation requiring scenario so many posters on these boards like to make it out to be.

I am beyond stunned by this, absolutely staggered by the concept of wanting to make sure they start their life with seed money funded by others. I have never heard of it--and I'm not exactly young any more. While I understand what you are saying WillyNilly, I couldn't disagree more. For me, it is far too close to begging not to be related. I realize the couple is not doing it but perpetuating the concept throughout society does.

I would never--and I mean never regardless of how I am related to the HC--do this. I wouldn't attend any function where the social mentality included this. I need my seed money for myself. I have saved it for myself. I have never asked or implied for help. Neither would I take advantage of an "acceptable social mindset" were I to get married again. I find it so appalling and, yes, rude that I would rather bow out of any social event, weddings included, where it had found a home.

Un-frigging-believable.

Well, this is what happens in some cultures. You're expected to over your plate and then some, depending on how close you are to the couple. Of course, weddings are not the only occasions where money is expected to be given.

http://chineseculture.about.com/od/chinesefestivals/a/Chinese-Wedding-Gifts.htm

Traditional Italian weddings also have cash gifts. Have you seen The Godfather?

And if you have a problem with this still, read my signature. There are customs carried out by other cultures that other people find rude.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Venus193 on July 04, 2013, 06:38:53 PM
OK.... I've just decided to watch The Godfather tomorrow.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Amara on July 04, 2013, 07:03:58 PM
I apologize to all eHell members. What I wrote was not intended to be offensive to other cultures' practices. I wrote my comments thinking of how I was brought up without even thinking of others. How dumb, especially on an etiquette site. I have removed the original post and am now lecturing myself for that rude forgetfulness. I am sorry.
 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Katana_Geldar on July 04, 2013, 07:12:10 PM
When I first mentioned the cover your plate thing, I did refer to Asian cultures. As well as what the couple in the OP did would be considered as crass by then. It's about how generous the giver feels, not how much the HC thinks they should get.

With weddings, you can tie yourself in a knot for different countries expectations. For example, I know in the US I know bridal showers are more common and registry details are given then. Here in Australia, they're not as common and registry details are acceptably sent with invites.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on July 04, 2013, 07:38:47 PM
Quote
The idea of "cover your plate" is that a guest would think to themselves "oh how wonderful and lovely and generous for them to host us. Oh! But they are starting out their new life, they really shouldn't have gone to such expense! Here let me give as generously as I can to try to have them come out ahead at the end of the day. I want them to truly have seed money for life, not simply to have them recoup their expenses and come out the same or poorer on the other end of this wonder party."

As for figuring out how much "per plate" costs - simply put, you guess and round up. Its not an invoice situation, its a situation of the giver wanting their hosts to come out ahead. Do guests miss the mark? Of course they do, as a regular matter of course. They might not ever know it though, since its never appropriate for the receiver to be anything except grateful for whatever they receive - even if all they get is a card wishing them well. But the point of "cover your plate" is a very gracious, loving, not always possible but when it is lovely, generous mentality. It is not the awful, devious, greed, math-heavy, investigation requiring scenario so many posters on these boards like to make it out to be.

I am beyond stunned by this, absolutely staggered by the concept of wanting to make sure they start their life with seed money funded by others. I have never heard of it--and I'm not exactly young any more. While I understand what you are saying WillyNilly, I couldn't disagree more. For me, it is far too close to begging not to be related. I realize the couple is not doing it but perpetuating the concept throughout society does.

I would never--and I mean never regardless of how I am related to the HC--do this. I wouldn't attend any function where the social mentality included this. I need my seed money for myself. I have saved it for myself. I have never asked or implied for help. Neither would I take advantage of an "acceptable social mindset" were I to get married again. I find it so appalling and, yes, rude that I would rather bow out of any social event, weddings included, where it had found a home.

Un-frigging-believable.

I must admit I'm totally baffled at how this appalling. May I ask why do you give (or do you give) wedding gifts at all?

For me the reason for wedding gifts has always been to help a new, perhaps young, but either way just starting off new family seed their life. Whether you give them financial seeds (cash), or a house ware seeds (a toaster), or culture seeds (art or a giftcard for night out), etc in the end it all boils down to the guests - the friends and family and community leaders - giving gifts specifically with the intent of getting the new family started; giving them seeds from which to start their new life and new family.

If you have no intent, to the point of being "beyond stunned" and finding it "appalling" and "far too close to begging" why give any gift at all? Why not just give a card with well wishes and be done with it? (Which perhaps is what you do... and quite honestly that's fine too.)
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Bluenomi on July 04, 2013, 07:51:26 PM
Quote
...and didn't expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well.

Huh?  They didn't expect to pay for their own reception?  What - the fairy godmother couldn't make it?

This sort of attitude is nothing new.

It's been several decades but I remember the Wedding of a friend from college. 

At the reception, the groom, bride and their parents retired go a side room with all the envelopes
from the guests.  They were trying to figure out if they had received enough 'loot' to pay for the reception.

This will be why HCs are now expected to pay for the reception before the event! We had to have our payment finalised a week before the wedding
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: nuit93 on July 04, 2013, 08:45:48 PM
Even with WillyNilly's explanation, I still don't think "cover your plate" mentality is actually hosting esp with all of Hmmmmm's questions.  Those are fair questions.  Cover your plate just doesn't make sense to me. 

I agree with LeVeeWoman, if guests are expected to pay for their meal, then they aren't being hosted. 

Then you didn't understand my explanation.

"Cover your plate" has nothing, zero, zinch, totally absolutely nothing to do with hosting. At all. If a host even breathes mention of "cover your plate" that host is a greedy gimme pig. "Cover your plate" is a mentality for guests only. And even when those exact same guests turn around and host something, they must never think in terms of "cover your plate".

I always try to cover my plate at a wedding. When I got married, I truly did not care or consider if my guests gave more or less value then what it cost me to host them. Truly I did not. Even not the guests who I know also live by the "cover your plate" mentality.

As to your questions Hmmmmm, some people take "cover your plate" to the extreme they arrive at a wedding with a blank check and write the amount in when they see the level of hosting. But for most people its more just a guess. And if they get there and see their guess was wrong, oh well so be it, the gift is what the gift is.

As far as the two very different levels of hosting, its more like, if you adjust, and not everyone does, and know your hosts paid $150 a head you might try to give $350 (cover your plate + $50 gift) and if they spent $70 a head, it'd probably be $200 ($140 + 60 gift). Me? I don't calculate anything. I assume the average cost of a wedding in my area is $100 a head give or take $15. So everyone (in my area or otherwise) gets $200-250 from me & DH (depending on how flush I am at the moment, how close I am to them, if I gave a shower gift, etc). If they spent $150 a head, oh well. If they spent $70 a head, whoo-hoo. But either way in my mind we have "covered our heads" because I have hit up the average cost.

The whole concept of covering one's plate still bugs me.  It seems like if a couple is throwing a very modest reception because it's the only reception within their means, they should not be deserving of a lesser gift than a couple that had the means to throw a more lavish reception.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on July 04, 2013, 08:56:49 PM
Even with WillyNilly's explanation, I still don't think "cover your plate" mentality is actually hosting esp with all of Hmmmmm's questions.  Those are fair questions.  Cover your plate just doesn't make sense to me. 

I agree with LeVeeWoman, if guests are expected to pay for their meal, then they aren't being hosted. 

Then you didn't understand my explanation.

"Cover your plate" has nothing, zero, zinch, totally absolutely nothing to do with hosting. At all. If a host even breathes mention of "cover your plate" that host is a greedy gimme pig. "Cover your plate" is a mentality for guests only. And even when those exact same guests turn around and host something, they must never think in terms of "cover your plate".

I always try to cover my plate at a wedding. When I got married, I truly did not care or consider if my guests gave more or less value then what it cost me to host them. Truly I did not. Even not the guests who I know also live by the "cover your plate" mentality.

As to your questions Hmmmmm, some people take "cover your plate" to the extreme they arrive at a wedding with a blank check and write the amount in when they see the level of hosting. But for most people its more just a guess. And if they get there and see their guess was wrong, oh well so be it, the gift is what the gift is.

As far as the two very different levels of hosting, its more like, if you adjust, and not everyone does, and know your hosts paid $150 a head you might try to give $350 (cover your plate + $50 gift) and if they spent $70 a head, it'd probably be $200 ($140 + 60 gift). Me? I don't calculate anything. I assume the average cost of a wedding in my area is $100 a head give or take $15. So everyone (in my area or otherwise) gets $200-250 from me & DH (depending on how flush I am at the moment, how close I am to them, if I gave a shower gift, etc). If they spent $150 a head, oh well. If they spent $70 a head, whoo-hoo. But either way in my mind we have "covered our heads" because I have hit up the average cost.

The whole concept of covering one's plate still bugs me.  It seems like if a couple is throwing a very modest reception because it's the only reception within their means, they should not be deserving of a lesser gift than a couple that had the means to throw a more lavish reception.

No gift giving philosophy is without its flaws.
I think the point behind the "cover your plate" is supposed to be, essentially don't cost the couple money plus give a bit above. So in theory, if one couple is spending $200 per plate and another couple is spending $35 per plate, getting $400 and $70 respectively is the exact same gift - in essence in both cases the couple broke even between out-put and in-come.

Does it always work out that way? Of course not, there are so many factors at play - the giver not knowing the exact cost per "plate", other wedding associated costs, money coming from various sources (parents paying, etc), etc. But the mentality is that it evens out.

In reality, modest weddings, and DIY and especially creatively 'budget' weddings tend to do better with this method. For example, I said personally I give based on the average cost of a wedding in my area. So if a couple has a very expensive wedding my gift probably falls short of them recouping anything. Whereas the budget wedding is still getting the same gift for me, based on the average costs, and therefore while the same dollar amount, they are getting more money as a gift then they spent hosting.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Roe on July 04, 2013, 08:59:51 PM
Even with WillyNilly's explanation, I still don't think "cover your plate" mentality is actually hosting esp with all of Hmmmmm's questions.  Those are fair questions.  Cover your plate just doesn't make sense to me. 

I agree with LeVeeWoman, if guests are expected to pay for their meal, then they aren't being hosted. 

Then you didn't understand my explanation.

"Cover your plate" has nothing, zero, zinch, totally absolutely nothing to do with hosting. At all. If a host even breathes mention of "cover your plate" that host is a greedy gimme pig. "Cover your plate" is a mentality for guests only. And even when those exact same guests turn around and host something, they must never think in terms of "cover your plate".

I always try to cover my plate at a wedding
. When I got married, I truly did not care or consider if my guests gave more or less value then what it cost me to host them. Truly I did not. Even not the guests who I know also live by the "cover your plate" mentality.


Actually, I do understand what you are saying, I just don't happen to agree with it.

The fact that it's part of the culture means that it's understood.  Even if the host doesn't mention it, the guests do feel the obligation of covering their meal.  That in itself is what makes that idea rude to me.  You don't have to agree, that's fine. I see why you wouldn't agree with it since you are used to it and it's part of your culture.  I, however, am not part of that culture and I see it as rude. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: AnnaJ on July 04, 2013, 09:29:50 PM
What makes me uncomfortable about 'cover your plate' is that there is no sense of your relationship with the bride or groom; my close family and friends receive more expensive gifts, less close family or friends or children of friends not as much.  I would not deliberately 'underpay', but frankly tend to spend based on my own relationship with the couple.

Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: blarg314 on July 04, 2013, 09:37:01 PM
I give gifts based on what I afford and how close I am to the couple.  I pay zero attention to the type of reception the couple is hosting when buying gifts  - backyard BBQ or fancy country club, open bar or dry, sit down steak dinner or home-made buffet.  Close family and very close friends will get a bigger gift than I normally give.

To be honest, I'd feel pretty uncomfortable sitting down trying to work out how much someone was planning to spend on their reception to figure out how much I should spend on their wedding gift (or for that matter, whether I could afford to go or not). As far as I'm concerned, unless I'm consulted, what they are spending on their wedding is not really any of my business.


Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: jedikaiti on July 04, 2013, 09:59:12 PM
Unless the couple tell you the dollar amount, how do you know how much to give, if you are "covering your plate"?

Also, this means that if, for example, the beloved friend or sibling of the HC is recently unemployed and can't afford a however-expensive dinner, they either have to go into (possibly serious) debt, or skip the wedding of someone they are very close to, because they can't afford a sufficient gift.

That is what I do not like about the "cover your plate" theory. The cheap but meaningful gift I got from an old friend is appreciated at least as much as any generous check or expensive whatevers. It's the thought, not the dollar value.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: sammycat on July 04, 2013, 10:38:28 PM
I give gifts based on what I afford and how close I am to the couple.  I pay zero attention to the type of reception the couple is hosting when buying gifts  - backyard BBQ or fancy country club, open bar or dry, sit down steak dinner or home-made buffet.  Close family and very close friends will get a bigger gift than I normally give.

Exactly.

I'd never heard of 'cover your plate' until this site, and I find the whole idea ludicrous. The financial costs of the wedding are no one's business but those paying for it, and it wouldn't even occur to me to try and work out how much it cost them per person, let alone then pay "my share".

I give weddings gifts (always a "thing", never cash), based on my relationship to the couple and finances at the time. Everything else (ie. breakdown of cost per guest, location, etc) is irrelevant.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: shhh its me on July 04, 2013, 11:05:14 PM
Even with WillyNilly's explanation, I still don't think "cover your plate" mentality is actually hosting esp with all of Hmmmmm's questions.  Those are fair questions.  Cover your plate just doesn't make sense to me. 

I agree with LeVeeWoman, if guests are expected to pay for their meal, then they aren't being hosted. 

Then you didn't understand my explanation.

"Cover your plate" has nothing, zero, zinch, totally absolutely nothing to do with hosting. At all. If a host even breathes mention of "cover your plate" that host is a greedy gimme pig. "Cover your plate" is a mentality for guests only. And even when those exact same guests turn around and host something, they must never think in terms of "cover your plate".

I always try to cover my plate at a wedding. When I got married, I truly did not care or consider if my guests gave more or less value then what it cost me to host them. Truly I did not. Even not the guests who I know also live by the "cover your plate" mentality.

As to your questions Hmmmmm, some people take "cover your plate" to the extreme they arrive at a wedding with a blank check and write the amount in when they see the level of hosting. But for most people its more just a guess. And if they get there and see their guess was wrong, oh well so be it, the gift is what the gift is.

As far as the two very different levels of hosting, its more like, if you adjust, and not everyone does, and know your hosts paid $150 a head you might try to give $350 (cover your plate + $50 gift) and if they spent $70 a head, it'd probably be $200 ($140 + 60 gift). Me? I don't calculate anything. I assume the average cost of a wedding in my area is $100 a head give or take $15. So everyone (in my area or otherwise) gets $200-250 from me & DH (depending on how flush I am at the moment, how close I am to them, if I gave a shower gift, etc). If they spent $150 a head, oh well. If they spent $70 a head, whoo-hoo. But either way in my mind we have "covered our heads" because I have hit up the average cost.

I think it might help if you reverse it to a "Cover my plate" philosophy.  Myself I think of it more as a cost of living increase to wedding gifts over the years.  It doesn't matter what type of reception the couple hosted everyone on the of the same closeness gets about the same gift based on what I can afford.   But my idea of what was generous went up with wedding cost not fuel , insurance or housing costs.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: perpetua on July 05, 2013, 04:00:48 AM

As for figuring out how much "per plate" costs - simply put, you guess and round up.

If I were expected to cover my plate *and* 'guess' how much that amount should be I'm afraid I would get it badly wrong and end up insulting the couple anyway, simply because I can not conceive of a world in which one meal would cost over 100, unless Gordon Ramsay himself was cooking and serving it to me on a gold platter.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: MamaMootz on July 05, 2013, 08:01:58 AM
I think I would not be able to let this go, were I the person on the receiving end of such a Facebook message.

Dear Bride,

Don't worry about what you received being what you will give back when it comes to my wedding, as you will not be invited.

then I would defriend and go on about my life, counting the $100 as a lesson learned. Even if you shamed her or tried to explain anything to her, it would be wasted effort - this person has shown the note receipient who she is - would be a shame to ignore that.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: chicajojobe on July 05, 2013, 08:04:51 AM
When I first mentioned the cover your plate thing, I did refer to Asian cultures. As well as what the couple in the OP did would be considered as crass by then. It's about how generous the giver feels, not how much the HC thinks they should get.

With weddings, you can tie yourself in a knot for different countries expectations. For example, I know in the US I know bridal showers are more common and registry details are given then. Here in Australia, they're not as common and registry details are acceptably sent with invites.

Precisely!
I will acknowledge that I am neither Chinese nor Italian. However, I would bet money that in both cultures, although there is a somewhat universal expectation that the guests should want to cover the cost of their plate...it would also be considered rude for the hosts to confront a guest who did not on Facebook, tell them "we did not expect to have to pay for a large part of our reception", make the assumption that they would be invited to the guest couple's future wedding, and flat out state "when that happens we'll give you the same you gave us".
These objections are not insults to anyone's culture.
What the bride did was rude and entitled by almost anyone's standards.
Also, the guest in question stated that she was a recent college graduate who had student loans and at the moment was only working part-time. I have been in her situation except I was somewhat better off because I didn't have any student loan debt, but when all you can find is part time work coughing up $100 is a no small feat! The guest's gift was very generous given her situation. The bride, however, made assumptions about the guest couple's life (you both work and live together, you could afford to give more than $50 each!), and made it clear she felt she deserved more than they gave which, as WillyNilly described it, is not in the spirit of the 'cover your plate' mentality because that should be about how much the guests feel the HC deserves, not how much they feel they deserve.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: siamesecat2965 on July 05, 2013, 08:06:23 AM
I give gifts based on what I afford and how close I am to the couple.  I pay zero attention to the type of reception the couple is hosting when buying gifts  - backyard BBQ or fancy country club, open bar or dry, sit down steak dinner or home-made buffet.  Close family and very close friends will get a bigger gift than I normally give.

To be honest, I'd feel pretty uncomfortable sitting down trying to work out how much someone was planning to spend on their reception to figure out how much I should spend on their wedding gift (or for that matter, whether I could afford to go or not). As far as I'm concerned, unless I'm consulted, what they are spending on their wedding is not really any of my business.

I do this as well. A lot of my friends got married right out of college, and while I attended all of their weddings, I was making next to nothing, so was only able to give modest gifts, and even that was a stretch. Some weddings were small and on a budget, others, paid for by their parents, were much fancier, and I'm sure, cost quite a bit. My gifts were based on a. how much I could spend and b. what the couple liked, their lifestyle, etc.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on July 05, 2013, 08:17:09 AM
When I first mentioned the cover your plate thing, I did refer to Asian cultures. As well as what the couple in the OP did would be considered as crass by then. It's about how generous the giver feels, not how much the HC thinks they should get.

With weddings, you can tie yourself in a knot for different countries expectations. For example, I know in the US I know bridal showers are more common and registry details are given then. Here in Australia, they're not as common and registry details are acceptably sent with invites.

Precisely!
I will acknowledge that I am neither Chinese nor Italian. However, I would bet money that in both cultures, although there is a somewhat universal expectation that the guests should want to cover the cost of their plate...it would also be considered rude for the hosts to confront a guest who did not on Facebook, tell them "we did not expect to have to pay for a large part of our reception", make the assumption that they would be invited to the guest couple's future wedding, and flat out state "when that happens we'll give you the same you gave us".
These objections are not insults to anyone's culture.
What the bride did was rude and entitled by almost anyone's standards.

Also, the guest in question stated that she was a recent college graduate who had student loans and at the moment was only working part-time. I have been in her situation except I was somewhat better off because I didn't have any student loan debt, but when all you can find is part time work coughing up $100 is a no small feat! The guest's gift was very generous given her situation. The bride, however, made assumptions about the guest couple's life (you both work and live together, you could afford to give more than $50 each!), and made it clear she felt she deserved more than they gave which, as WillyNilly described it, is not in the spirit of the 'cover your plate' mentality because that should be about how much the guests feel the HC deserves, not how much they feel they deserve.

Exactly! This behavior is rude by all standards, absolutely including the "cover your plate" stance.

Even among those with the "cover your plate" mentality there are several factors at play always. the first being the hosts are supposed to be happy with whatever they get, even just an empty card with only well wishes written in it. Second is, and this speaks to perpetua's issue a few posts earlier, the whole concept is based on a guess. And guesses are based on on our own varied personal experiences (your locale, your experiences, your budget, etc). So a young, just starting out adult might honestly never conceive of a party costing more then $50 pp - from that guest the $100 gift is a very very generous offer. The receiver should always assume the very best of every guest (isn't that why they were invited? because the B&G love and respect them?)
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: fountainof on July 05, 2013, 09:16:07 AM
As a guest I have a kind of "cover your plate" philosophy.  I give a generous gift, that should typically at least be able to cover my plate but I won't give extra just because someone chooses a really expensive wedding.  So for example, one of my cousins had a huge fancy 400 people affair and another an smaller less fancy venue.  I gave generous gifts that were the same amount ($250).  My gift sould have been able to cover my plate in both situations, just the less expensive wedding the cousin ended up with more after-wedding money left.  I think that is fair, one cousin chose to spend all my wedding gift on the wedding and the other probably was able to buy themselves something.  Seems fair to me.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 05, 2013, 11:22:59 AM
The posters that come from the "cover your plate" rule keep leaving out that one little detail: 

- How are we (the guests) supposed to know how much the "cover your plate" fee is exactly? 


 

I knew someone who completely believes in this rule.  To the point where she "regrets" inviting certain people to her wedding because it cost (her parents) $100 per person yet they only gave HER $20.  Since her parents paid for her wedding, I fail to see why this would be a problem to her since she was still ahead.

Also, when SHE attends weddings she will pronounce to anyone listening that she does not buy a wedding gift until after she has attended the wedding and estimated how much was spent on her.  Only then will she decide how much to spend on the HC.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 05, 2013, 11:56:51 AM

When I give a gift it is based solely on my relationship to the couple AND what I can afford at the time, because I do not link gift giving to hosting level at all, regardless of whether I am the host or guest at the time.  I truly believe that we cheapen the word gift when we start saying that we must make sure not to cost the "hosts" any money.  If I give $200, I am giving a $200 gift, not a $50 gift and a $150 entrance fee.  The entire amount is purely a gift, one given voluntarily and with love and without a thought of "paying my way".  I would prefer it that way as both a guest AND a host and I would hate the thought as a host that people gave more than they could reasonably afford just to try to help me pay for my event. 

I can't wrap my mind around a thought process where the hosts shouldn't have to spend any of their own money for the event that they desire.  I host lots of parties and of course it costs money to host!  That's what hosting means, in fact.  The host is responsible for costs and I as the guest am supposed to enjoy the event without worrying if I am costing the host money.  Those are not the feelings that guests are supposed to be dealing with when they are invited to an event. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: BarensMom on July 05, 2013, 12:30:33 PM

When I give a gift it is based solely on my relationship to the couple AND what I can afford at the time, because I do not link gift giving to hosting level at all, regardless of whether I am the host or guest at the time.  I truly believe that we cheapen the word gift when we start saying that we must make sure not to cost the "hosts" any money.  If I give $200, I am giving a $200 gift, not a $50 gift and a $150 entrance fee.  The entire amount is purely a gift, one given voluntarily and with love and without a thought of "paying my way".  I would prefer it that way as both a guest AND a host and I would hate the thought as a host that people gave more than they could reasonably afford just to try to help me pay for my event. 

I can't wrap my mind around a thought process where the hosts shouldn't have to spend any of their own money for the event that they desire.  I host lots of parties and of course it costs money to host!  That's what hosting means, in fact.  The host is responsible for costs and I as the guest am supposed to enjoy the event without worrying if I am costing the host money.  Those are not the feelings that guests are supposed to be dealing with when they are invited to an event.

Indeed.  Do we now extrapolate that to, when invited to someone's home, we have to interrogate/determine/guess what the host is serving and "cover our plate" with a hostess gift of exactly that same amount?

I did not come from a "cover your plate" culture.  The last two weddings I attended, I gave a $450 Kitchenaid Mixer and a $40 serving tray with a $75 gift card - the cost of the gift depended upon my relationship with the couple, not some cost calculation.  In my culture, you either host or you don't - you don't expect a guest to pay for your hospitality - that negates the entire meaning of the word.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Betelnut on July 05, 2013, 01:24:50 PM
Plus, I don't give cash gifts--always things.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Roe on July 05, 2013, 01:48:13 PM

I truly believe that we cheapen the word gift when we start saying that we must make sure not to cost the "hosts" any money. 

I can't wrap my mind around a thought process where the hosts shouldn't have to spend any of their own money for the event that they desire.  I host lots of parties and of course it costs money to host!  That's what hosting means, in fact.  The host is responsible for costs and I as the guest am supposed to enjoy the event without worrying if I am costing the host money.  Those are not the feelings that guests are supposed to be dealing with when they are invited to an event.

Bingo!  I agree with everything Miranova wrote.  (esp the bolded)
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Hmmmmm on July 05, 2013, 03:08:50 PM
Even with WillyNilly's explanation, I still don't think "cover your plate" mentality is actually hosting esp with all of Hmmmmm's questions.  Those are fair questions.  Cover your plate just doesn't make sense to me. 

I agree with LeVeeWoman, if guests are expected to pay for their meal, then they aren't being hosted. 

Then you didn't understand my explanation.

"Cover your plate" has nothing, zero, zinch, totally absolutely nothing to do with hosting. At all. If a host even breathes mention of "cover your plate" that host is a greedy gimme pig. "Cover your plate" is a mentality for guests only. And even when those exact same guests turn around and host something, they must never think in terms of "cover your plate".

I always try to cover my plate at a wedding. When I got married, I truly did not care or consider if my guests gave more or less value then what it cost me to host them. Truly I did not. Even not the guests who I know also live by the "cover your plate" mentality.

As to your questions Hmmmmm, some people take "cover your plate" to the extreme they arrive at a wedding with a blank check and write the amount in when they see the level of hosting. But for most people its more just a guess. And if they get there and see their guess was wrong, oh well so be it, the gift is what the gift is.

As far as the two very different levels of hosting, its more like, if you adjust, and not everyone does, and know your hosts paid $150 a head you might try to give $350 (cover your plate + $50 gift) and if they spent $70 a head, it'd probably be $200 ($140 + 60 gift). Me? I don't calculate anything. I assume the average cost of a wedding in my area is $100 a head give or take $15. So everyone (in my area or otherwise) gets $200-250 from me & DH (depending on how flush I am at the moment, how close I am to them, if I gave a shower gift, etc). If they spent $150 a head, oh well. If they spent $70 a head, whoo-hoo. But either way in my mind we have "covered our heads" because I have hit up the average cost.

Thanks fir answering. I hoped most people come up with an average for a wedding gift and give that.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Rohanna on July 05, 2013, 04:40:45 PM
I do find it funny- not wrong, just funny that it's perfectly acceptable to change the generousity of your gift depending on "how close you are to the couple", but that if the hosts change the quality of serving for the guests according to how they feel about them, it causes outrage.

So if I don't really like Cousin Betty I can acceptably give her an inexpensive gift, but Cousin Betty can't offer only her favourite guests lobster and champagne.

I wonder why that is ... it's not because the gifting isn't "public" because it functions the same way at Showers where the gifts are often opened publicly.

Personally I match my gift to the venue for people I don't know well - I suppose it's a modified "cover your plate" and I do "above" that for people I am close to. I'd never drop below reciprocating what I felt the level of hosting was- if I really wasn't close enough to them or didn't like them enough for that I wouldn't simply send my regrets. I guess being from a town with relatively limited options for weddings it's fairly easy to guess- a wedding at the local "hall" always features x/y/z and cost around $20pp, so I'd probably gift around $75 for the two of us to go to a co-worker/random relatives wedding. A wedding at BigFancy hotel features menus that start at a minumum of $30-50pp so I'd probably be more likely to gift $100-125. It's not written in stone, but it's just how it's *done* around here. It's like, I'd probably just bring some fruit or a bag of chips if my friend invites me to a "hey I have a ton of hot dogs and some leftover salad" BBQ, but I would bring a hostess gift of some nice wine if she hosted a formal dinner party. Nothing says you have to do either, but it's kind of the unwritten rule where I am.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 05, 2013, 06:07:46 PM
I am completely 100% opposed to the concept of covering one's plate, from the point of view of either hosts or guests. People need to give parties they can afford to give, and that includes people getting married. If you can't afford a big party, you can't afford a big party. It is not my job to help pay for your party, no matter how much I appreciate being a guest.

Because I care about you, I will buy a present, but I buy something that meets my budget, and people who live within their means get as good a gift as people who think they need huge weddings they can't afford.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Sharnita on July 05, 2013, 06:27:13 PM
The posters that come from the "cover your plate" rule keep leaving out that one little detail: 

- How are we (the guests) supposed to know how much the "cover your plate" fee is exactly? 


 

I knew someone who completely believes in this rule.  To the point where she "regrets" inviting certain people to her wedding because it cost (her parents) $100 per person yet they only gave HER $20.  Since her parents paid for her wedding, I fail to see why this would be a problem to her since she was still ahead.

Also, when SHE attends weddings she will pronounce to anyone listening that she does not buy a wedding gift until after she has attended the wedding and estimated how much was spent on her.  Only then will she decide how much to spend on the HC.

Out of curiosity, did her parents know about the $20 gift and did they take issue with it?
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Sharnita on July 05, 2013, 06:36:16 PM
I don't use the "cover your plate" model.  I do get "I want to be generous with people who have been generous with me" model but I would hope people could/would take a broader approach.  Let's say I had to call Ralph to help me when my tire blew on a cold winter road a couple of winters ago.  And his wife to be has been really encouraging when I went through a tough time at at work.  I have always been able to trust them when I have shared something in confidence.  They might have a dry wedding, modestly priced food, etc but they have been extremely generous with me.  One way I might acknowledge that is with my wedding gift. If I can afford it maybe my gift is $200.

Now when I get married my reception my be more lavish because that is what I want.  Let's say Ralph and his wife attend.  Perhaps they give a gift that is $20.  Perhaps that is truly all they can afford.  Maybe the "plate" cost more than that.  They have still been generous to me in our relationship and it is possible that giving me that $20 gift is more of a financial hit to them than my $200 gift was to me.

Measuring generosity in a relationship based on a gift given in one evening seems like a really poor idea.

Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 05, 2013, 08:25:14 PM
The posters that come from the "cover your plate" rule keep leaving out that one little detail: 

- How are we (the guests) supposed to know how much the "cover your plate" fee is exactly? 


 

I knew someone who completely believes in this rule.  To the point where she "regrets" inviting certain people to her wedding because it cost (her parents) $100 per person yet they only gave HER $20.  Since her parents paid for her wedding, I fail to see why this would be a problem to her since she was still ahead.

Also, when SHE attends weddings she will pronounce to anyone listening that she does not buy a wedding gift until after she has attended the wedding and estimated how much was spent on her.  Only then will she decide how much to spend on the HC.

Out of curiosity, did her parents know about the $20 gift and did they take issue with it?

I honestly don't know and didn't think to ask.  It just seemed petty the way she was remembering exactly who gave the "cheap" gifts and that she never should have invited them because they cost more than they gave.  It was literally the first time I'd heard of that mentality.  This was over 10 years ago though.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 05, 2013, 08:26:45 PM
I don't use the "cover your plate" model.  I do get "I want to be generous with people who have been generous with me" model but I would hope people could/would take a broader approach.  Let's say I had to call Ralph to help me when my tire blew on a cold winter road a couple of winters ago.  And his wife to be has been really encouraging when I went through a tough time at at work.  I have always been able to trust them when I have shared something in confidence.  They might have a dry wedding, modestly priced food, etc but they have been extremely generous with me.  One way I might acknowledge that is with my wedding gift. If I can afford it maybe my gift is $200.

Now when I get married my reception my be more lavish because that is what I want.  Let's say Ralph and his wife attend.  Perhaps they give a gift that is $20.  Perhaps that is truly all they can afford.  Maybe the "plate" cost more than that.  They have still been generous to me in our relationship and it is possible that giving me that $20 gift is more of a financial hit to them than my $200 gift was to me.

Measuring generosity in a relationship based on a gift given in one evening seems like a really poor idea.

Completely agree.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: nuit93 on July 05, 2013, 11:42:30 PM
I am completely 100% opposed to the concept of covering one's plate, from the point of view of either hosts or guests. People need to give parties they can afford to give, and that includes people getting married. If you can't afford a big party, you can't afford a big party. It is not my job to help pay for your party, no matter how much I appreciate being a guest.

Because I care about you, I will buy a present, but I buy something that meets my budget, and people who live within their means get as good a gift as people who think they need huge weddings they can't afford.

See, this is what makes sense to me too.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: LeveeWoman on July 06, 2013, 12:10:12 AM
Even with WillyNilly's explanation, I still don't think "cover your plate" mentality is actually hosting esp with all of Hmmmmm's questions.  Those are fair questions.  Cover your plate just doesn't make sense to me. 

I agree with LeVeeWoman, if guests are expected to pay for their meal, then they aren't being hosted. 

Then you didn't understand my explanation.

"Cover your plate" has nothing, zero, zinch, totally absolutely nothing to do with hosting. At all. If a host even breathes mention of "cover your plate" that host is a greedy gimme pig. "Cover your plate" is a mentality for guests only. And even when those exact same guests turn around and host something, they must never think in terms of "cover your plate".

I always try to cover my plate at a wedding. When I got married, I truly did not care or consider if my guests gave more or less value then what it cost me to host them. Truly I did not. Even not the guests who I know also live by the "cover your plate" mentality.

As to your questions Hmmmmm, some people take "cover your plate" to the extreme they arrive at a wedding with a blank check and write the amount in when they see the level of hosting. But for most people its more just a guess. And if they get there and see their guess was wrong, oh well so be it, the gift is what the gift is.

As far as the two very different levels of hosting, its more like, if you adjust, and not everyone does, and know your hosts paid $150 a head you might try to give $350 (cover your plate + $50 gift) and if they spent $70 a head, it'd probably be $200 ($140 + 60 gift). Me? I don't calculate anything. I assume the average cost of a wedding in my area is $100 a head give or take $15. So everyone (in my area or otherwise) gets $200-250 from me & DH (depending on how flush I am at the moment, how close I am to them, if I gave a shower gift, etc). If they spent $150 a head, oh well. If they spent $70 a head, whoo-hoo. But either way in my mind we have "covered our heads" because I have hit up the average cost.

Speaking for myself only, I understand your explanation.

I don't agree with it.

Please, do not mistake disagreement with an inability to understand.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: perpetua on July 06, 2013, 02:37:26 AM
I am completely 100% opposed to the concept of covering one's plate, from the point of view of either hosts or guests. People need to give parties they can afford to give, and that includes people getting married. If you can't afford a big party, you can't afford a big party. It is not my job to help pay for your party, no matter how much I appreciate being a guest.

Because I care about you, I will buy a present, but I buy something that meets my budget, and people who live within their means get as good a gift as people who think they need huge weddings they can't afford.

See, this is what makes sense to me too.

This is what I'd do too. Likewise, guests need to give gifts that they can afford to give, and I'm not going to go into debt for someone else's wedding.

I'd look at the registry (or 'wedding list', as we call them here) and choose something that I could afford. If it was my very best friend or someone I was very close to I may go a little over budget for something special but at the end of the day, if I don't have the money for it, no amount of needing to cover my plate is going to magic that extra cash out of thin air.

I assume that the hosts are employing the same model and having the wedding they can afford. If they're not, well - that isn't my problem, I'm afraid. I've done my bit: picked something off the wedding list, which is what they asked for.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: marcel on July 06, 2013, 10:06:55 AM
I must admit I'm totally baffled at how this appalling. May I ask why do you give (or do you give) wedding gifts at all?

For me the reason for wedding gifts has always been to help a new, perhaps young, but either way just starting off new family seed their life. Whether you give them financial seeds (cash), or a house ware seeds (a toaster), or culture seeds (art or a giftcard for night out), etc in the end it all boils down to the guests - the friends and family and community leaders - giving gifts specifically with the intent of getting the new family started; giving them seeds from which to start their new life and new family.

If you have no intent, to the point of being "beyond stunned" and finding it "appalling" and "far too close to begging" why give any gift at all? Why not just give a card with well wishes and be done with it? (Which perhaps is what you do... and quite honestly that's fine too.)
WillyNilly, I have bolded the sentences above, because this is exactly why I find the cover your plate mentality ridiculous. You are giving gifts for people to start out their new lives. These people have already organised the wedding party and presumably done this in such a way that it will not give them financial problems in their daily lives, so there is no reason to look at how much money they have spend.

The logic of covering your plate, to me is only saying that richer people (who can afford more expensive parties) and people who can not plan financialy deserve bigger gifts then poorer people. That is a mentality that I will never have. If I give a gift at a party, it is based on several things: My relationship to the gift recipients, the occasion, my financial situation, the gifts I can find that I want to give. It is not based on the size of the party or financial situation of the host.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: gollymolly2 on July 06, 2013, 10:59:57 AM
I try to "cover my plate" at weddings, but it's just a factor in how much I give. And I disagree that it's a "ridiculous" or offensive way of gift-giving. People have to figure out how much to spend on wedding gifts - if any individual person wants to make sure they're not a financial burden on the wedding couple, I don't think that's a bad thing.

Heres how it works for me - my normal gift is $200. If I'm really close/not close to the couple, I adjust. If there's something in particular I want to get them outside the $200 range, I adjust. And if I happen to know how much my plate costs, I adjust.

For example, I have a good friend who is getting married, and we've spoken a lot about the wedding, including the costs. From those conversations, I happen to know that the cost per plate is just over $200 per person. So if my boyfriend and I attend, it will cost them about $450 more than if we declined. I don't feel Obligated to cover my plate - they're the ones who chose the caterers and they're the ones who chose to invite me. And by factoring in my plate, I'm not going to say "okay, they're paying 222.50 per plate, so I will write a check for $455." But I probably will give something more than my normal $200.


Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: fountainof on July 06, 2013, 11:44:06 AM
I use cover your plate as just a part of deciding what I will give, howover, I have a cap on the reasonableness of what you are paying per plate as 7 course meals are an extra that you don't need to provide and mostly gets thrown away.  As I mentioned, I give also based on relationship but I do consider relatives at the same level (i.e. cousin, 2nd cousin, niece, nephew, etc) when giving as well.  So I wouldn't give a cousin I liked more more money but I would maybe give a best friend more money.

When gifting it is a combination of criteria.  What I can afford is the least considered as I generally could afford more than I would gift.  So I consider - the cost of wedding, the relationship with the couple, the level of inflation since a similar family/friend event, what I gave at other weddings, what people gave me at my wedding, what people have gifted for my DD, etc...  It isn't an exact science, I try to both be fair amongst friends and not punish those who are more frugal as I don't care about the fancy carp at weddings and would be happy to attend a reception at McDonalds as much as I would a fancy wedding.  So for that reason, I have an average cover your head for the area ($100) and if you choose to serve lobster, I won't give more just because of that.  I also won't give more just because I am in a better financial situation that others.  You would think no one would expect that, but in my experience they seem to.
 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: *inviteseller on July 06, 2013, 12:51:34 PM
The first time I ever heard the 'cover your plate' idea was when I started working in the wedding industry 13 years ago and to be honest, I find it tacky.  If I am invited to a wedding solely for my money, by all means, please do not send me an invoice invitation.  If you (general) want that fairy tale BWW that is on every reality TV show, by all means have it, but it is beyond classless to expect guests to pay for it.  Invitations say "request the pleasure of your company", not bring a blank check to pay the bill at the end of the night.  I have been to plenty of weddings in my adult life, some small and simple, some huge lavish affairs and each time I gave either a gift or a check (and a few times both) in keeping with my budget.  I have been generous with what I had but I will not go into debt for anyone.  If cover your plate is so common and accepted, why not have waiters just bring everyone a bill at the end of the meal?  Because it is a ridiculous notion that the guests have to pay for any party that you (general) throw. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 06, 2013, 02:56:17 PM
There is no way that Dh and I would give someone $450 for a wedding gift.  I'm sorry, but no.  We make decent money but I have never in my life received a gift that large and won't be giving one that large to anyone but maybe my own children when they get married.  If that ever becomes the new expectation, we will stop going to weddings.  It's all getting completely out of control.  In my lifetime, it used to be that buying someone one place setting of their wedding china was considered a nice gift (in the $40-$50 range).  And that's from one couple, not per person.  Now we have multiplied that by a factor of 10?  Sorry, that inflation is just too high.  If I'm "paying for my plate", which I don't agree with anyway, I will take myself out to a VERY nice dinner for far less than that. 

Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: rose red on July 06, 2013, 04:03:12 PM
I usually give a gift at the shower, and $50 at the wedding.  If that's not enough then that couple can leave me off your next guest list.  Happily, I've never experienced any disdain for my gifts.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Roe on July 06, 2013, 04:04:21 PM
  If I'm "paying for my plate", which I don't agree with anyway, I will take myself out to a VERY nice dinner for far less than that.

Pod!

If guests are expected to "cover their plate"  and pay for the reception...doesn't that mean they should get some say in the type of food served?  The band? Decor? 

 ;)
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: camlan on July 06, 2013, 04:48:54 PM
If the wedding present is supposed to help a couple start out on their new lift together, then it would have to do *more* than "cover the plate." If the gift covers the cost of the meal, then the newly wed couple is basically breaking even. You haven't given them a gift to help them get started. You have helped them avoid going into debt.

Back in the days when the bride's parents paid for the wedding, a gift did help the newlyweds get a start on life. But now that the newlyweds are hosting their own weddings, you'd have to double or triple the value of the gift in order to do more than just covering the cost of the wedding.

Which is one of the reasons I don't bother with the whole "cover the cost" thing. I have a set amount of money I spend on gifts for a wedding. It gets divided between the shower gift and the wedding gift. The amount can go up, if the wedding is for someone I'm really close to, but it doesn't go down. It is not the responsibility of a guest to have to worry and think about the type of reception the Happy Couple is going to have, or how much it will cost. I'm not a mind reader.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 06, 2013, 05:37:37 PM
If a couple's primary concern is getting started in life, it makes no sense for them to have that expensive of a wedding, and it is not my responsibility to bail them out of that bad choice.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: kckgirl on July 06, 2013, 06:18:09 PM
You know, that woman would have really been ticked off with me. I have never given that much ($100) for any friend's wedding, and I don't plan to ever start doing so.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Roe on July 06, 2013, 06:34:51 PM
You know, that woman would have really been ticked off with me. I have never given that much ($100) for any friend's wedding, and I don't plan to ever start doing so.

See, that's the thing, the more people try to explain away the "cover your plate" mentality, the more people will feel obligated to meet that "payment."  That's why, to me, it doesn't matter why anyone would consider it "okay" IMO, it's not okay and never will be.  Period. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: CakeEater on July 06, 2013, 08:57:13 PM

When I give a gift it is based solely on my relationship to the couple AND what I can afford at the time, because I do not link gift giving to hosting level at all, regardless of whether I am the host or guest at the time.  I truly believe that we cheapen the word gift when we start saying that we must make sure not to cost the "hosts" any money.  If I give $200, I am giving a $200 gift, not a $50 gift and a $150 entrance fee.  The entire amount is purely a gift, one given voluntarily and with love and without a thought of "paying my way".  I would prefer it that way as both a guest AND a host and I would hate the thought as a host that people gave more than they could reasonably afford just to try to help me pay for my event. 

I can't wrap my mind around a thought process where the hosts shouldn't have to spend any of their own money for the event that they desire.  I host lots of parties and of course it costs money to host!  That's what hosting means, in fact.  The host is responsible for costs and I as the guest am supposed to enjoy the event without worrying if I am costing the host money.  Those are not the feelings that guests are supposed to be dealing with when they are invited to an event.

Indeed.  Do we now extrapolate that to, when invited to someone's home, we have to interrogate/determine/guess what the host is serving and "cover our plate" with a hostess gift of exactly that same amount?
I did not come from a "cover your plate" culture.  The last two weddings I attended, I gave a $450 Kitchenaid Mixer and a $40 serving tray with a $75 gift card - the cost of the gift depended upon my relationship with the couple, not some cost calculation.  In my culture, you either host or you don't - you don't expect a guest to pay for your hospitality - that negates the entire meaning of the word.


Regarding the bolded - I don't think anyone has suggested anything like that. That's a completely different situation.

Many posters are saying that they understand WillyN illy's explanation, then go on to say something like the above. "you don't expect a guest to pay for your hospitality - that negates the entire meaning of the word."

The whole point of 'cover your plate', as WillyNilly explained, is that it is not an expectation of the hosts. It doesn't enter their heads that their guests should cover their plate. They decide on their budget and pay for their wedding in whatever way they they can afford. They invite the people they would like to host.

Then, as they open each gift, and find that Aunt Mary gave them $20, and Aunt Susan gave them an entire set of china, they are equally delighted with each gift that they should receive anything at all, and grateful that their friends and relations thought so well of them that that they attended their wedding, and were as generous as they were.

Truly, from the polite hosts' point of view, that's what is in their heads, I promise. No-one expects their guests to give $xxx as an entrance fee, or has a private laugh because Aunt Mary guessed the cost of her dinner so badly. No-one expects people to google venues and find the exact cost of their meal. These all seem to be reasons that people have given for not liking the system, and seriously, from the polite hosts' perspectives, it's truly not expected.

Of course, there are rude people, like the example in the OP, who wreck any system.

As some others have pointed out - there are different methods for determining how much we spend on any gift. This is just one system that guests might use as a guide. Not for hosts to use an an expectation.

Others use closeness to the couple as a guide, or maybe some people give every couple whose wedding they ever attend a flat rate of $100 regardless of their relationship. Which of those is more fair? Is it fair to rank your friends and relations in a list from closest to furthest and have a chart with a monetary value based on their ranking? What if you like the bride, but not the groom - does the couple as a pair slip down the rankings in that case, and attract a lesser gift? What about the second system there. Do you give $100 from now until 2050, or index with inflation?

There's some level of ridiculousness in every system for deciding how much to spend on a gift for a wedding. I'm not sure why this particular system for guests to use when deciding on a value of a gift garners quite so much bile, as compared to the others. As hosts we need to understand that everyone has very different systems and amounts they can afford, and be grateful for any gift received, which they should be doing, regardless of how their guests decide how much to give.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: sammycat on July 07, 2013, 01:19:04 AM
See, that's the thing, the more people try to explain away the "cover your plate" mentality, the more people will feel obligated to meet that "payment."  That's why, to me, it doesn't matter why anyone would consider it "okay" IMO, it's not okay and never will be.  Period.

Not me.  Never in a million  years.

You know, that woman would have really been ticked off with me. I have never given that much ($100) for any friend's wedding, and I don't plan to ever start doing so.

Same here. I always give an actual present, not cash/cheque. I'm not even really comfortable giving ITunes cards, but as that is what most teenagers seem to want these days, I'm getting over that one.

With the exception of my children and DH, no one ever has, or ever will, receive such a high amount from me for any sort of present/occasion. It's just the not the norm where I am anyway, and if I was to receive anything like some of the (high) amounts described here (in either cash or presents), I'd be mortified.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: chicajojobe on July 07, 2013, 11:12:35 AM
Okay, we all agree that the bride in the OP was rude. I'm not defending her, I want to make that clear.

However, I get that the 'cover your plate' mentality doesn't appeal to everyone, but I feel like there's a lot of interesting assumptions being thrown around here.

Some examples:  "Cover your plate really means"...

1. Keeping the couple from going into debt by putting the onus on the guests to pay for a wedding the couple couldn't afford.
- No one knows that the couple threw a wedding they couldn't afford. In the case of the bride from FB that may be, but in a general sense the couple may have thrown a wedding they could afford, and if the guests were of the cover your plate mentality their thought would be that the couple threw such a lovely party, but they're starting their lives out together so it'd be nice for them to be able spend that money (that they did have) on other things.

2. It means you'd be invited to the wedding only for your money.
- This is possible that a gimme couple might do, but one having a no cash gifts wedding easily could too. "Wealthy guests might be more likely to give expensive gifts compared to less wealthy guests, so by inviting people with money we'll get nicer things!"
Plus, from the way I understand WillyNilly's explanation, the couple would never sit down and say "Oh we can't invite so-and-so because they're unemployed, so they might not be able to cover their plate!" Financial assets would not even figure into who the couple invited, it would just be whomever they wanted to share their day. The initiative to give a gift that at least covers the cost of the plate comes from the guest.

3. It means rich couples will get more than not-so-rich couples because they can afford more cost per plate which the guests then cover.
Logically this may be true, but the way I see it rich couples getting more is usually going to happen no matter how the guests choose how big a gift to give. Think about it.
With only a few explanations, rich couples will probably have rich guests because they tend to have rich family members, friends, and colleagues. So their gifts, even there are no cash gifts, will probably end up being bigger, more expensive things than the gifts that are given to a couple who isn't rich.

4. It means quid pro quo
WillyNilly has said that it does not have to be precise. It is a guess, and the couple is expected to be happy with whatever they get whether it covers that particular guest's plate or not.

I'd never heard of 'cover your plate' before except that one person who went through her guest list and decided who she was mad at based on whether they cover their place. That really disgusted me, but hearing what it's really supposed to be...I think I am okay with it.
When it's done properly, (ie: it's the guest's idea not the hosts) It doesn't seem any more greedy or unfair than regular gift giving.
I might even keep that in mind at any weddings I'm invited do. It won't be my only factor in picking a gift, but I'll consider it.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 07, 2013, 12:45:53 PM
I'm not sure why there is this insistence that we don't understand Willynilly's explanation.  I understand it just fine, I just don't agree with it nor like it.  We can agree to disagree, but continuing to insist that we just don't understand is both untrue and a little condescending.  The only thing "cover your plate" has done long term is to push the average cost of a wedding gift MUCH higher than used to be expected.  I don't see a good reason why wedding gifts should increase in value far more than inflation, so I think it has overall contributed to the feeling that guests can no longer afford to go to weddings where they otherwise might have.  I find that sad.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on July 07, 2013, 01:09:14 PM
I'm not sure why there is this insistence that we don't understand Willynilly's explanation.  I understand it just fine, I just don't agree with it nor like it.  We can agree to disagree, but continuing to insist that we just don't understand is both untrue and a little condescending.  The only thing "cover your plate" has done long term is to push the average cost of a wedding gift MUCH higher than used to be expected.  I don't see a good reason why wedding gifts should increase in value far more than inflation, so I think it has overall contributed to the feeling that guests can no longer afford to go to weddings where they otherwise might have.  I find that sad.

POD.  Well stated.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: chicajojobe on July 07, 2013, 01:16:49 PM
I was not saying that people simply don't understand the concept, and I acknowledged that not everyone likes it.

Agreeing to disagree is fine.

What I WAS saying is that people were making a lot of assumptions about the motives and financial/life situations of people who are okay with it.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 07, 2013, 01:38:37 PM
If people did things only based on internal reasoning or motivation, this would never be a problem, because no one would ever know or feel pressured to do the same.  The problem is that the "cover your plate" message has been passed around AS IF it's an actual expectation and that guests would be rude not to follow it.  I am not saying that anyone posting here thinks that way or has told anyone else that they "need" to cover their plate.  However, multiple times in my life I have heard this passed along as if it is actually the way things must be done.  And that is the problem I have with it.  Whatever calculations people want to do in their own head for their own reasons I have no issue with.  I have an issue when the expression gets used so much that it is distorted into "to behave like a proper guest, you must cover your plate and then add extra".  I'm not even saying it comes from the hosts.  To me it doesn't matter where it comes from, at some point it was put out there in the culture as the new expectation and I wish it would go away.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Shoo on July 07, 2013, 01:42:36 PM
If people did things only based on internal reasoning or motivation, this would never be a problem, because no one would ever know or feel pressured to do the same.  The problem is that the "cover your plate" message has been passed around AS IF it's an actual expectation and that guests would be rude not to follow it. 

Exactly.  I've heard that wedding sites like TheKnot.com tout this as a hard and fast "rule."  It's disturbing that so many B&G's actually believe that it *is* a rule.  It absolutely is NOT.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on July 07, 2013, 02:25:05 PM
I'm not sure why there is this insistence that we don't understand Willynilly's explanation.  I understand it just fine, I just don't agree with it nor like it.  We can agree to disagree, but continuing to insist that we just don't understand is both untrue and a little condescending. The only thing "cover your plate" has done long term is to push the average cost of a wedding gift MUCH higher than used to be expected.  I don't see a good reason why wedding gifts should increase in value far more than inflation, so I think it has overall contributed to the feeling that guests can no longer afford to go to weddings where they otherwise might have.  I find that sad.

Huh? I first heard of the practice almost 30 years ago from my father, who learned it from his parents were each born between 1900-1915. When was this magical time when the expectation was lower? "Cover your plate" might be distasteful to some, that's fine, but its not a new concept.



As for many people saying when they host they would never ever want their guests to want to think in terms of "cover your plate" I don't believe it, it think its a semantics problem not a thought process problem. "Cover your plate" in other terms is simply known as "reciprocation" and it is the standard norm of good manners. If Couple A hosts Couple B for dinner (at home, at a restaurant, at their beach house, etc) then its pretty reasonable to expect Couple B reciprocate at some point - either by hosting a dinner themselves, or taking Couple A to an attraction or something... And I really find it hard to believe so very many posters here would be totally cool with always being the ones who hosted (dinners, drinks, parties, whatever) and never having friends reciprocate in any manner. After a few times of hosting most people feel a bit put off not being hosted/having something nice done for them in return.

Reciprocation can come in many forms: dinner for dinner, dinner for handiwork, handiwork for pet sitting, party hosting for buying a few rounds in the bar, or presents for party hosting. For a simple dinner, its easy to put off reciprocating to another time ("next time, dinner is on us!" or you give a birthday present in April, and receive one in October) but with big formal weddings, a person might feel they want to reciprocate more promptly because they have no idea when, or even if, they can ever reciprocate in kind. Hence the "cover your plate" mentality... which again is totally on the side of the guest, not the gift receiver. It goes back to that thought process of "oh wow the B&G are going to such an extent to host us, this is so lovely, oh they shouldn't have! They are young and starting off..."
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Roe on July 07, 2013, 02:57:33 PM
I'm not sure why there is this insistence that we don't understand Willynilly's explanation.  I understand it just fine, I just don't agree with it nor like it.  We can agree to disagree, but continuing to insist that we just don't understand is both untrue and a little condescending.  The only thing "cover your plate" has done long term is to push the average cost of a wedding gift MUCH higher than used to be expected.  I don't see a good reason why wedding gifts should increase in value far more than inflation, so I think it has overall contributed to the feeling that guests can no longer afford to go to weddings where they otherwise might have.  I find that sad.

Thank you for saying this. I understood the explanation just fine. I just don't agree with it and to keep reading that I don't understand it is, to put it mildly, quite annoying. 

If people did things only based on internal reasoning or motivation, this would never be a problem, because no one would ever know or feel pressured to do the same.  The problem is that the "cover your plate" message has been passed around AS IF it's an actual expectation and that guests would be rude not to follow it. 

Exactly.  I've heard that wedding sites like TheKnot.com tout this as a hard and fast "rule."  It's disturbing that so many B&G's actually believe that it *is* a rule.  It absolutely is NOT.

Pod, pod, pod. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 07, 2013, 03:11:57 PM
As for many people saying when they host they would never ever want their guests to want to think in terms of "cover your plate" I don't believe it, it think its a semantics problem not a thought process problem. "Cover your plate" in other terms is simply known as "reciprocation" and it is the standard norm of good manners. If Couple A hosts Couple B for dinner (at home, at a restaurant, at their beach house, etc) then its pretty reasonable to expect Couple B reciprocate at some point - either by hosting a dinner themselves, or taking Couple A to an attraction or something... And I really find it hard to believe so very many posters here would be totally cool with always being the ones who hosted (dinners, drinks, parties, whatever) and never having friends reciprocate in any manner. After a few times of hosting most people feel a bit put off not being hosted/having something nice done for them in return.

Reciprocation can come in many forms: dinner for dinner, dinner for handiwork, handiwork for pet sitting, party hosting for buying a few rounds in the bar, or presents for party hosting. For a simple dinner, its easy to put off reciprocating to another time ("next time, dinner is on us!" or you give a birthday present in April, and receive one in October) but with big formal weddings, a person might feel they want to reciprocate more promptly because they have no idea when, or even if, they can ever reciprocate in kind. Hence the "cover your plate" mentality... which again is totally on the side of the guest, not the gift receiver. It goes back to that thought process of "oh wow the B&G are going to such an extent to host us, this is so lovely, oh they shouldn't have! They are young and starting off..."

I still disagree. Reciprocation is not about how much money is spent, either on entertainment or gifts. If I am invited out by someone, they take me out someplace that meets their budget, and then I should reciprocate by doing something that meets my budget. The whole problem is with the concept of reciprocation being tied into how much is spent.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 07, 2013, 03:13:49 PM
I'm not sure why there is this insistence that we don't understand Willynilly's explanation.  I understand it just fine, I just don't agree with it nor like it.  We can agree to disagree, but continuing to insist that we just don't understand is both untrue and a little condescending. The only thing "cover your plate" has done long term is to push the average cost of a wedding gift MUCH higher than used to be expected.  I don't see a good reason why wedding gifts should increase in value far more than inflation, so I think it has overall contributed to the feeling that guests can no longer afford to go to weddings where they otherwise might have.  I find that sad.

 If Couple A hosts Couple B for dinner (at home, at a restaurant, at their beach house, etc) then its pretty reasonable to expect Couple B reciprocate at some point - either by hosting a dinner themselves, or taking Couple A to an attraction or something... And I really find it hard to believe so very many posters here would be totally cool with always being the ones who hosted (dinners, drinks, parties, whatever) and never having friends reciprocate in any manner. After a few times of hosting most people feel a bit put off not being hosted/having something nice done for them in return.



This is not what this thread is about in the slightest.  I haven't seen anyone suggest that relationships don't require a degree of reciprocity.  In my mind the better example of reciprocity would be Couple A invites Couple B to their wedding, so couple B invites Couple A to their wedding.  But at neither event should the guests have to worry about whether their gift covers their plate or not.  The couple hosting is in charge of the expenses for their own event.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: camlan on July 07, 2013, 03:19:20 PM
As for many people saying when they host they would never ever want their guests to want to think in terms of "cover your plate" I don't believe it, it think its a semantics problem not a thought process problem. "Cover your plate" in other terms is simply known as "reciprocation" and it is the standard norm of good manners. If Couple A hosts Couple B for dinner (at home, at a restaurant, at their beach house, etc) then its pretty reasonable to expect Couple B reciprocate at some point - either by hosting a dinner themselves, or taking Couple A to an attraction or something... And I really find it hard to believe so very many posters here would be totally cool with always being the ones who hosted (dinners, drinks, parties, whatever) and never having friends reciprocate in any manner. After a few times of hosting most people feel a bit put off not being hosted/having something nice done for them in return.

Reciprocation can come in many forms: dinner for dinner, dinner for handiwork, handiwork for pet sitting, party hosting for buying a few rounds in the bar, or presents for party hosting. For a simple dinner, its easy to put off reciprocating to another time ("next time, dinner is on us!" or you give a birthday present in April, and receive one in October) but with big formal weddings, a person might feel they want to reciprocate more promptly because they have no idea when, or even if, they can ever reciprocate in kind. Hence the "cover your plate" mentality... which again is totally on the side of the guest, not the gift receiver. It goes back to that thought process of "oh wow the B&G are going to such an extent to host us, this is so lovely, oh they shouldn't have! They are young and starting off..."

I still disagree. Reciprocation is not about how much money is spent, either on entertainment or gifts. If I am invited out by someone, they take me out someplace that meets their budget, and then I should reciprocate by doing something that meets my budget. The whole problem is with the concept of reciprocation being tied into how much is spent.

This. Pretty much all the etiquette mavens agree that while reciprocating hosting is necessary, it is the thought that counts. Wealthy friends take you to a five star restaurant? You can reciprocate with tea and cookies at your house, or hot dogs at the beach, or a movie. It it the hosting/being hosted that gets reciprocated, not the amount of money spent on said hosting. Emily Post goes so far as to say that particularly good guests, who make a host's life easier by chatting with other guests and in other ways assisting the hosts, may not have to host at all--they reciprocate by being such good guests. (But she admits it is not all guests who can do this, however.)
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 07, 2013, 03:22:36 PM
I'm not sure why there is this insistence that we don't understand Willynilly's explanation.  I understand it just fine, I just don't agree with it nor like it.  We can agree to disagree, but continuing to insist that we just don't understand is both untrue and a little condescending. The only thing "cover your plate" has done long term is to push the average cost of a wedding gift MUCH higher than used to be expected.  I don't see a good reason why wedding gifts should increase in value far more than inflation, so I think it has overall contributed to the feeling that guests can no longer afford to go to weddings where they otherwise might have.  I find that sad.

 When was this magical time when the expectation was lower?

Your point could have been made without the sarcasm. 

Obviously I can only speak to my own experiences and this is something that I personally never heard until about 10 years ago, and then it was suddenly everywhere and it seemed as if everyone believed it to be a rule where it previously wasn't.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: CakeEater on July 07, 2013, 03:35:32 PM
If people did things only based on internal reasoning or motivation, this would never be a problem, because no one would ever know or feel pressured to do the same.  The problem is that the "cover your plate" message has been passed around AS IF it's an actual expectation and that guests would be rude not to follow it.  I am not saying that anyone posting here thinks that way or has told anyone else that they "need" to cover their plate.  However, multiple times in my life I have heard this passed along as if it is actually the way things must be done.  And that is the problem I have with it.  Whatever calculations people want to do in their own head for their own reasons I have no issue with.  I have an issue when the expression gets used so much that it is distorted into "to behave like a proper guest, you must cover your plate and then add extra".  I'm not even saying it comes from the hosts.  To me it doesn't matter where it comes from, at some point it was put out there in the culture as the new expectation and I wish it would go away.

If people did things only based on internal reasoning or motivation, this would never be a problem, because no one would ever know or feel pressured to do the same.  The problem is that the "cover your plate" message has been passed around AS IF it's an actual expectation and that guests would be rude not to follow it. 

Exactly.  I've heard that wedding sites like TheKnot.com tout this as a hard and fast "rule."  It's disturbing that so many B&G's actually believe that it *is* a rule.  It absolutely is NOT.

So it's not a problem with the system, but with the idea that it must be followed by everyone? Then that's not the fault of the system. The system works fine.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Vall on July 07, 2013, 03:36:39 PM
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on July 07, 2013, 06:14:32 PM
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

Thank you. I don't are what rule anyone else uses to determine their git giving either. But it is mighty insulting when people insist, repeatedly, and condescendingly that the rule some people personally - and silently - use is "cover your plate", its horrible and rude, and just an all-around bad way to think. Everyone should give along the lines they feel comfortable giving. But its highly stand-offish for people to act like "cover your plate" is some terrible mindset for a gift giver to have, when truly when applied properly its a very loving and generous and thoughtful way - not the only loving, generous or thoughtful way, but validly one such - to give.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Mopsy428 on July 07, 2013, 07:28:56 PM
I do find it funny- not wrong, just funny that it's perfectly acceptable to change the generousity of your gift depending on "how close you are to the couple", but that if the hosts change the quality of serving for the guests according to how they feel about them, it causes outrage.

So if I don't really like Cousin Betty I can acceptably give her an inexpensive gift, but Cousin Betty can't offer only her favourite guests lobster and champagne.

I wonder why that is ... it's not because the gifting isn't "public" because it functions the same way at Showers where the gifts are often opened publicly.

Personally I match my gift to the venue for people I don't know well - I suppose it's a modified "cover your plate" and I do "above" that for people I am close to. I'd never drop below reciprocating what I felt the level of hosting was- if I really wasn't close enough to them or didn't like them enough for that I wouldn't simply send my regrets. I guess being from a town with relatively limited options for weddings it's fairly easy to guess- a wedding at the local "hall" always features x/y/z and cost around $20pp, so I'd probably gift around $75 for the two of us to go to a co-worker/random relatives wedding. A wedding at BigFancy hotel features menus that start at a minumum of $30-50pp so I'd probably be more likely to gift $100-125. It's not written in stone, but it's just how it's *done* around here. It's like, I'd probably just bring some fruit or a bag of chips if my friend invites me to a "hey I have a ton of hot dogs and some leftover salad" BBQ, but I would bring a hostess gift of some nice wine if she hosted a formal dinner party. Nothing says you have to do either, but it's kind of the unwritten rule where I am.

Regarding the bolded, are you talking about the wedding gifts? I've never been to a wedding where the bride and groom opened them in front of everyone.

Also, the two scenarios--the hosts treating one set of guests differently and the guests determining what they give to people are two totally different things. If a couple hosts a party, they should be treating everyone the same. All their guests are at the party. It's rude to treat one set of guests differently because you are essentially telling one group, "You're important to be here, but not important enough to get 'the good stuff'."

Gifts are an entirely different matter. Gifts are not required. Furthermore, they are between the hosts and the gift giver. They occur on different occasions. It's not like the other couples know what I'm getting or have given everyone else.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Shoo on July 07, 2013, 07:50:23 PM
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

Thank you. I don't are what rule anyone else uses to determine their git giving either. But it is mighty insulting when people insist, repeatedly, and condescendingly that the rule some people personally - and silently - use is "cover your plate", its horrible and rude, and just an all-around bad way to think. Everyone should give along the lines they feel comfortable giving. But its highly stand-offish for people to act like "cover your plate" is some terrible mindset for a gift giver to have, when truly when applied properly its a very loving and generous and thoughtful way - not the only loving, generous or thoughtful way, but validly one such - to give.

I can see this -- it makes sense.  The problem is when the recipients come to expect it.  A bigger problem is when the recipients, who have come to expect it, actually make it known that it's what they expect.  That's totally crass.  Having it in your own mind that it's what you, personally, like to do is absolutely fine, and, like you said, kind of a nice way of looking at things. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: POF on July 07, 2013, 08:52:07 PM
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

Thank you. I don't are what rule anyone else uses to determine their git giving either. But it is mighty insulting when people insist, repeatedly, and condescendingly that the rule some people personally - and silently - use is "cover your plate", its horrible and rude, and just an all-around bad way to think. Everyone should give along the lines they feel comfortable giving. But its highly stand-offish for people to act like "cover your plate" is some terrible mindset for a gift giver to have, when truly when applied properly its a very loving and generous and thoughtful way - not the only loving, generous or thoughtful way, but validly one such - to give.

I can see this -- it makes sense.  The problem is when the recipients come to expect it.  A bigger problem is when the recipients, who have come to expect it, actually make it known that it's what they expect.  That's totally crass.  Having it in your own mind that it's what you, personally, like to do is absolutely fine, and, like you said, kind of a nice way of looking at things.


Shoo, I think you summed it up very nicely, the methodology used to determine the amount to gift is the prerogative of the giver, NOT the recipient. I gift based on my budget and how close I am to the couple.  There have been times when I could not afford to give a large $$ gift to a close friend, but I went to the wedding and I gave what I could.  A friend will understand that.  Likewise - I would be horrified if a friend put themselves in a financial bind or did not attend my wedding because they could not afford a gift.



Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Hmmmmm on July 07, 2013, 09:20:33 PM
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

Thank you. I don't are what rule anyone else uses to determine their git giving either. But it is mighty insulting when people insist, repeatedly, and condescendingly that the rule some people personally - and silently - use is "cover your plate", its horrible and rude, and just an all-around bad way to think. Everyone should give along the lines they feel comfortable giving. But its highly stand-offish for people to act like "cover your plate" is some terrible mindset for a gift giver to have, when truly when applied properly its a very loving and generous and thoughtful way - not the only loving, generous or thoughtful way, but validly one such - to give.

I can see this -- it makes sense.  The problem is when the recipients come to expect it.  A bigger problem is when the recipients, who have come to expect it, actually make it known that it's what they expect.  That's totally crass.  Having it in your own mind that it's what you, personally, like to do is absolutely fine, and, like you said, kind of a nice way of looking at things.

I have no issue with givers using this method for deciding what to give. But the unfortunate result is after 3 generations in a region or social group decide it is a standard, then the recipients begin to expect it as standard. We've had stories on this sight about patents wanting to beef up the kids gifts so that other family members won't gossip about the lower dollar amount. I don't see how you get away from this effect as along as the majority of a community all subscribe to this standard.

Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: MommyPenguin on July 08, 2013, 09:29:23 AM
Others use closeness to the couple as a guide, or maybe some people give every couple whose wedding they ever attend a flat rate of $100 regardless of their relationship. Which of those is more fair? Is it fair to rank your friends and relations in a list from closest to furthest and have a chart with a monetary value based on their ranking? What if you like the bride, but not the groom - does the couple as a pair slip down the rankings in that case, and attract a lesser gift? What about the second system there. Do you give $100 from now until 2050, or index with inflation?

There's some level of ridiculousness in every system for deciding how much to spend on a gift for a wedding. I'm not sure why this particular system for guests to use when deciding on a value of a gift garners quite so much bile, as compared to the others. As hosts we need to understand that everyone has very different systems and amounts they can afford, and be grateful for any gift received, which they should be doing, regardless of how their guests decide how much to give.

I don't think there's a ranking system quite in the way you're saying, where if you "like the bride but not the groom" they slip in the rankings.  It's more that you're more likely to give a larger gift to somebody you really love, and a smaller gift to somebody who is a passing acquaintance.  So it might be quite normal for the parents to give their daughter a gift of $1000, but a sister to give her brother $200, and a man to give his best friend $100, and a woman to give her coworker $20.  I mean, surely most people don't give exactly the same value of Christmas presents to all people they know, regardless of how close they are.  They usually spend more on their immediate family, a bit less on friends, and there are probably plenty of acquaintances that they don't exchange gifts with at all.  This is just how relationships work, where you often exchange within closer relationships at a higher rate.  I'd be astounded and a bit uncomfortable if, say, a coworker gave me a $500 gift.  Of course, my wedding was closer to $50 a head, I think.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Rohanna on July 08, 2013, 12:00:50 PM
I would never give any couple a lower gift than I would feel comfortable giving a family member- whether I gave someone above that amount because I could afford to. I think it would be tacky to feel that "well I'll take a free meal and some entertainment off of you, but I don't really like you enough to give you a decent gift". If I don't like you enough to be generous within my budget, then I shouldn't take advantage of your hosting.

So if my personal "minimum" for a comfortable local wedding gift in this region is around $75 then everyone gets that - and of you're someone very close to me if give more than that if I could- but I would never say "eh I don't really know/like Betty from HR very much - so I'll let her host me but I'm. Only giving her a cheap gift . I'd give her the same as I give everyone- the cost for the person to host me doesn't vary with how much they like *me* so why should my gift reflect that?
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 08, 2013, 12:18:20 PM
I don't spend the same amount on everyone. How much I spend has nothing to do with how much they spend hosting me. If my brother gets married and has a small wedding, he will get a bigger present than someone I hardly know who has a huge wedding. Although I can't imagine why someone who hardly knows me would invite me anyway.

The present should IMO not be tied to the cost of the event at all in any way. They are two different issues and should be two different issues. It is not payment for going to the event and shouldn't be treated that way.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: magicdomino on July 08, 2013, 12:36:48 PM
I don't spend the same amount on everyone. How much I spend has nothing to do with how much they spend hosting me. If my brother gets married and has a small wedding, he will get a bigger present than someone I hardly know who has a huge wedding. Although I can't imagine why someone who hardly knows me would invite me anyway.

The present should IMO not be tied to the cost of the event at all in any way. They are two different issues and should be two different issues. It is not payment for going to the event and shouldn't be treated that way.

This is my position as well.  My nieces and nephews got about $100 worth of gift (assuming I knew about the wedding), anyone else gets about $50.  Quite frankly, I can't afford any more than that.  If I had to pay over $100 for all receptions, I wouldn't be going to any.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Vall on July 08, 2013, 12:39:39 PM
I would never give any couple a lower gift than I would feel comfortable giving a family member- whether I gave someone above that amount because I could afford to. I think it would be tacky to feel that "well I'll take a free meal and some entertainment off of you, but I don't really like you enough to give you a decent gift". If I don't like you enough to be generous within my budget, then I shouldn't take advantage of your hosting.

So if my personal "minimum" for a comfortable local wedding gift in this region is around $75 then everyone gets that - and of you're someone very close to me if give more than that if I could- but I would never say "eh I don't really know/like Betty from HR very much - so I'll let her host me but I'm. Only giving her a cheap gift . I'd give her the same as I give everyone- the cost for the person to host me doesn't vary with how much they like *me* so why should my gift reflect that?
There have been many posters who have stated that their gift giving does not reflect the possible hosting costs but as far as I can remember, no one has stated this as their feelings on the subject.

Besides that, I think that the description of a "decent" gift would vary greatly.  I really don't see us all having the same idea of what constitutes a "decent" wedding gift for all people.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Ginger G on July 08, 2013, 01:20:49 PM
Quote
I give gifts based on what I afford and how close I am to the couple.  I pay zero attention to the type of reception the couple is hosting when buying gifts  - backyard BBQ or fancy country club, open bar or dry, sit down steak dinner or home-made buffet.  Close family and very close friends will get a bigger gift than I normally give.

This is exactly my take on gift giving as well.

I had never heard of the "cover your plate" mentality until about 4 years ago and I've been to lots of weddings.  I guess it's just not a "thing" in my area (southeastern US).  My boyfriend's nephew was getting married on Long Island and he wanted me to go even though we had only been together about 6 months (but we knew we were in it for the long haul at that point!).  It cost us quite a bit in travel expenses since we wanted to spend a few days visiting his family.  I think between the two of us we were able to eek out about $150 in cash for their gift.  I was even a little shocked by that since I had never given cash before but the BF insisted. 

Well, time went by and I asked my BF if he had received a thank you note.  He told me he had not, and in fact had been admonished by his sister (groom's mother) that our gift did not come close to covering our plates at the very expensive country club wedding.  I was truly stunned by this and quite frankly, pissed off.  It took more money than we even had for travel, hotel, food and other associated costs.  I wish I hadn't even gone even though the trip had been otherwise quite enjoyable.  He then went on to tell me a story about how when he was living with his sister's family for a few months many years ago, she got mad at him because he didn't give her kids Valentine's Day gifts, so I guess that tells you something about that family's mindset about gifts...

Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Twik on July 08, 2013, 02:29:22 PM
I would never give any couple a lower gift than I would feel comfortable giving a family member- whether I gave someone above that amount because I could afford to. I think it would be tacky to feel that "well I'll take a free meal and some entertainment off of you, but I don't really like you enough to give you a decent gift". If I don't like you enough to be generous within my budget, then I shouldn't take advantage of your hosting.

So if my personal "minimum" for a comfortable local wedding gift in this region is around $75 then everyone gets that - and of you're someone very close to me if give more than that if I could- but I would never say "eh I don't really know/like Betty from HR very much - so I'll let her host me but I'm. Only giving her a cheap gift . I'd give her the same as I give everyone- the cost for the person to host me doesn't vary with how much they like *me* so why should my gift reflect that?

So, would this mean I would have to give exactly the same value of gift to someone who had invited me from work because, hey, they had a few extra spaces available on their list, versus my only sibling?

If a parent has, in the past, given the down-payment on a home to his/her child, does that mean that parent must give the same gift to every HC who subsequently invites them?
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Rohanna on July 08, 2013, 03:46:43 PM
No, I said I wouldn't give a wedding gift that I wouldn't I've to a relative. If I wouldn't feel bad giving my sister $100, or a gift basket, or a card because that's what I liked to give or all I could afford - then I would give that to a friend or co-worker. If I could do more, then I would for my sister (and did). I would never give a small gift I'd feel cheap giving to my sister or other close friend, because if someone has offered to host me at an important life event it's really not fair to accept their generosity and take part without fulfilling what I feel is my part - to gift them with something nice - whether it's monetary, handmade or off a registry. If I really felt so "eh" about a wedding that I didn't want to give them a nice present I think it would be politer on my part to simply not go. If a "nice present" to you *is* a card and handmade soap- cool! If that's all you can afford- fine. The couple should in almost every circumstance take a gift to be meant well and given with good spirit.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: *inviteseller on July 08, 2013, 04:12:53 PM
I don't use any other mathematical/friendship/family theories for gifting other than what is in my bank account and if Cousin Joe gets mad because he only received $100 from me and I should have given more because I am family or he sees I have a job or whatever misplaced idea he has, then he is welcome to give it back to me.  I am a single mother raising 2 girls on my own and if someone thinks that by inviting me, I had better be covering my plate so they can pay for their reception that I had no input in, then by all means, do not invite me.  Unfortunately, the wedding business has gotten out of hand in convincing brides they have to have the biggest and most expensive of everything and then these SS's are let down when life smacks them in the face because their guests actually have their own financial things to take care of and are not able to cough up $400 for a wedding gift.  I know very very few people who ever received more than $200 from a gifter at a wedding, and it was usually a parent or grandparent that gave that.  Whatever a person is able to give, the receiver should be grateful to get.  If you want a money making venture, have a carnival..have rides, a petting zoo, snacks, games and sell tickets. 

The last few days I have asked some friends about the cover your plate idea, and most just laughed.  My step brother, who was married a few years ago said the thought of asking his friends and family to make sure to cover their food and drink was laughable.  He said they were thrilled to throw the party and have their nearest and dearest there that it didn't matter what people gave..or in the case of Step sister and her hubby and son (who was not invited) didn't..that didn't matter to them as long as everyone ate, drink and was merry.  That is how to throw a reception!
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Redneck Gravy on July 08, 2013, 04:16:11 PM
I have a lot of nieces & nephews - I give the exact same amount to each for their graduations, weddings, first babies. That way there here is no whispering that "Aunt Redneck loves one more than the other."  And there have been times that I have had to really scrimp to cover that amount - other times I could have given more but stuck to my original amount.   

Now if they choose to have a $20 plate or a $200 plate at their wedding reception that is on them.  They are still getting $$$ from me, period.

Here is a thought just to throw out there - at a recent wedding there was a big thank you during the toasting to the caterers who DONATED the catering of the meal.  They were old friends of the groom and donated the FOOD and their LABOR.  Now how would one backup and "cover the cost of their plate" then?   If you are of the mentality of covering your plate would you ask for a refund - I think not.

I still think it is just the entitled tackiness of today's society to question a gift that's been given. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Redneck Gravy on July 08, 2013, 04:17:57 PM
"Whatever a person is able to give, the receiver should be grateful to get.  If you want a money making venture, have a carnival..have rides, a petting zoo, snacks, games and sell tickets."   

Pod to *inviteseller
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Hmmmmm on July 08, 2013, 04:37:48 PM
No, I said I wouldn't give a wedding gift that I wouldn't I've to a relative. If I wouldn't feel bad giving my sister $100, or a gift basket, or a card because that's what I liked to give or all I could afford - then I would give that to a friend or co-worker. If I could do more, then I would for my sister (and did). I would never give a small gift I'd feel cheap giving to my sister or other close friend, because if someone has offered to host me at an important life event it's really not fair to accept their generosity and take part without fulfilling what I feel is my part - to gift them with something nice - whether it's monetary, handmade or off a registry. If I really felt so "eh" about a wedding that I didn't want to give them a nice present I think it would be politer on my part to simply not go. If a "nice present" to you *is* a card and handmade soap- cool! If that's all you can afford- fine. The couple should in almost every circumstance take a gift to be meant well and given with good spirit.

I think that is the big cultural disconnect I have.

The monetary value of my gift to you has nothing to do with my feelings about you are your marriage.

This to me is the wedding guest-wedding couple social committment:
You invite me to share and witness your life long committment to another person. You thank me for being present at this important event by hosting me to a reception that follows the wedding ceremony. Whether it is a punch and cake or multi-course 6 hour reception is your call. My responsibility as a guest is to show up to the ceremony on time in appropriate dress and to truly wish the couple well. I also have the responsibility to participate in a socially accpetable manner during both the ceremony and the reception to further assure they couple has a wonderful start to their new life. I give a gift to the couple, whether I attend or not, to further wish them well and to mark the event of their marriage.

Reading posts that say something like (not saying you used this wording) "The couple is hosting me to a great event so I need to compensate them for their trouble/cost of hosting me" really bothers me.  The couple (or family member) ASKED for me to join them and to witness their unity. My gift back to them is to come and rejoice with them. I didn't ask to be invited to a party or event. If choosing to attend the event I've been invited to ends with attending and being a gracious guest.

I think it's your comment of "has offered to host me at an important life event" that bothers me most. They have ASKED you to give of your time to witness and share in an important event in THEIR lives. I am honoring them by my presence. They are not honoring me by inviting me to attend. That is why wedding invitations say "The honour of our presence is requested".... not "You are being granted the opportunity to witness the marriage of...."
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Jaelle on July 08, 2013, 07:34:08 PM
I think some of the issues that are creeping in about the "cover your plate" mentality ...even as a gift-givers' philosophy ... come from the fact that it's not taking place in a vacuum. I don't think you can completely divorce "gift-gifting" philosophies from "gift-getting" philosophies.

If this is a mentality that it is considered polite and proper to have (that you should try to cover your plate if invited to a celebration), then it's only natural that, over time, those inviting people to their events will come to expect that, yes, people will cover their plates. And then it's a small step to "Well, let's have a bigger wedding because people will be covering their plates anyway."

It might not even be such an egregious thing ... just "Oh, I really had my heart set on that wonderful wedding cake. It was just like I always dreamed of ... but we really can't afford it. Well ... it will get paid for with the gifts anyway ... why shouldn't we splurge just a little ..."

And then if gifts are not what the cover-your-plate standard ... conscious or not ... dictates, it could see it being disillusioning. And while politer people would think "Oh well!" or just be silently upset about it, some might lash out.  :-\
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 08, 2013, 07:44:00 PM
Also, the gift-givers eventually become the gift-receivers, and they might assume others should follow their rule.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: MariaE on July 09, 2013, 02:47:36 AM
I'm still amazed that $100 is considered "only"! That's more than I gave even my sisters and best friends!
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: sammycat on July 09, 2013, 03:21:32 AM
I'm still amazed that $100 is considered "only"! That's more than I gave even my sisters and best friends!

Ditto!  It seems absurd to me. It's also one of the reasons I prefer to give an actual present - no one can then know for sure how much I spent. (Or didn't spend - I'm not called the Bargain Queen for nothing).
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: magicdomino on July 09, 2013, 09:29:57 AM
I'm still amazed that $100 is considered "only"! That's more than I gave even my sisters and best friends!

Same here, except my much older siblings married when I was a child.  The last couple of nephews to get married got $50 worth of items off their registry, although I didn't go to their weddings.  My family is more or less lower middle class; $100 isn't in most people's budget.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Redwing on July 09, 2013, 09:51:35 AM
I'm still amazed that $100 is considered "only"! That's more than I gave even my sisters and best friends!

Ditto!  It seems absurd to me. It's also one of the reasons I prefer to give an actual present - no one can then know for sure how much I spent. (Or didn't spend - I'm not called the Bargain Queen for nothing).


This is also me.  I have never been able to give the amount of cash that seems expected from what I read in this thread.  However, my primary reason for giving a gift and not cash (and I do this for other things, graduations, etc.), is that I'm hoping the recipient remembers my gift.  "Oh, this is the bracelet Aunt Redwing gave me for my college graduation."  Money gets spent, sometimes on things like food or the gas bill.  I'm hoping to create a memory.   For weddings, I generally buy off their registry.  They must want the item, they registered for it.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Winterlight on July 09, 2013, 10:20:34 AM
I do find it funny- not wrong, just funny that it's perfectly acceptable to change the generousity of your gift depending on "how close you are to the couple", but that if the hosts change the quality of serving for the guests according to how they feel about them, it causes outrage.

So if I don't really like Cousin Betty I can acceptably give her an inexpensive gift, but Cousin Betty can't offer only her favourite guests lobster and champagne.

I wonder why that is ... it's not because the gifting isn't "public" because it functions the same way at Showers where the gifts are often opened publicly.

Personally I match my gift to the venue for people I don't know well - I suppose it's a modified "cover your plate" and I do "above" that for people I am close to. I'd never drop below reciprocating what I felt the level of hosting was- if I really wasn't close enough to them or didn't like them enough for that I wouldn't simply send my regrets. I guess being from a town with relatively limited options for weddings it's fairly easy to guess- a wedding at the local "hall" always features x/y/z and cost around $20pp, so I'd probably gift around $75 for the two of us to go to a co-worker/random relatives wedding. A wedding at BigFancy hotel features menus that start at a minumum of $30-50pp so I'd probably be more likely to gift $100-125. It's not written in stone, but it's just how it's *done* around here. It's like, I'd probably just bring some fruit or a bag of chips if my friend invites me to a "hey I have a ton of hot dogs and some leftover salad" BBQ, but I would bring a hostess gift of some nice wine if she hosted a formal dinner party. Nothing says you have to do either, but it's kind of the unwritten rule where I am.

If you choose to host some people at big cookouts and others at formal dinners, then you will obviously tailor things to the occasion. But within those events, you should be treating all your guests as equals. If I invited Cousin Betty to one of those formal dinners and didn't give her champagne because I don't like her as much as Cousin Lucetta, I think we'd all agree that was horrribly rude. However, if I found that it was easier to host Cousin Betty at those big cookouts because she tried to start a food fight at the formal dinner, I think people would understand that as well.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 09, 2013, 10:27:10 AM
Cousin Betty can invite only her favorite people to the event where lobster and champagne are served, but everyone at that event should be offered lobster and champagne. This does not obligate Cousin Betty to always entertain with lobster and champagne. She is free to invite less favorite people for a less expensive meal if she wants, and everyone at that meal should be offered the same thing.

What you serve at an event is very public. Everyone sees what everyone is getting. But when I send a gift to my brother, and I send a gift to someone I worked with 6 years ago, they don't know what the other person got. And even if people do know each other, it isn't public knowledge what the other person got and they shouldn't be talking about something private. There is no way for the knowledge of what you serve one person at a dinner to be private from other people at that dinner.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Hmmmmm on July 09, 2013, 11:40:26 AM
I do find it funny- not wrong, just funny that it's perfectly acceptable to change the generousity of your gift depending on "how close you are to the couple", but that if the hosts change the quality of serving for the guests according to how they feel about them, it causes outrage.

So if I don't really like Cousin Betty I can acceptably give her an inexpensive gift, but Cousin Betty can't offer only her favourite guests lobster and champagne.
I wonder why that is ... it's not because the gifting isn't "public" because it functions the same way at Showers where the gifts are often opened publicly.

snip

If you choose to host some people at big cookouts and others at formal dinners, then you will obviously tailor things to the occasion. But within those events, you should be treating all your guests as equals. If I invited Cousin Betty to one of those formal dinners and didn't give her champagne because I don't like her as much as Cousin Lucetta, I think we'd all agree that was horrribly rude. However, if I found that it was easier to host Cousin Betty at those big cookouts because she tried to start a food fight at the formal dinner, I think people would understand that as well.

For the bold, you can't go to a party jointly hosted to honor the birthdays of Cousin Betty and Cousin Luccetta and take a gift of $100 for the one you liked and a $10 gift for the one you don't.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Winterlight on July 09, 2013, 12:38:24 PM
Agreed! How many times have people posted that their child was at the family Christmas and received socks or something else cheap while Favored Child got hundreds of dollars of toys from Grandpa?
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: chicajojobe on July 09, 2013, 12:39:31 PM
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

Thank you. I don't are what rule anyone else uses to determine their git giving either. But it is mighty insulting when people insist, repeatedly, and condescendingly that the rule some people personally - and silently - use is "cover your plate", its horrible and rude, and just an all-around bad way to think. Everyone should give along the lines they feel comfortable giving. But its highly stand-offish for people to act like "cover your plate" is some terrible mindset for a gift giver to have, when truly when applied properly its a very loving and generous and thoughtful way - not the only loving, generous or thoughtful way, but validly one such - to give.

This was my point exactly!
I really don't care how any person chooses to give gifts. I think going by closeness of relationship, by how much you can afford (as this couple did) or by 'cover your plate', when done properly, are all fine.
If someone doesn't like the idea of 'cover your plate' because it requires thinking about the cost of the wedding, which they find tacky for guests to do at all, then by all means don't!

However, it was all of the attaching motives and social problems (like classism) to the idea that really bothered me because that's assuming a lot about people who think this way.
Even saying that it's a problem when the HC comes to expect it is just as true for any form of gift giving. The bride actually violated 2 in the OP, 1-cover your plate, 2-what you can afford (she assumed the guest couple could afford more). It would also be rude for a bride to be angry if her sister's gift was not as lavish as a 2nd cousin's because she expected bigger gifts from people closer to her.

That's why I'm saying, it's fine if you don't like the idea, don't want to use it to pick your gifts, and wouldn't want people giving you gifts ever thinking that way...but I don't think this way of thinking is any worse than any other form of gift giving.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 10, 2013, 11:46:05 AM
I haven't seen a single person saying that someone's private motivations are wrong or "horribly rude".  I just think it's hugely naive to believe that this idea stops at private motivations.  If it did, none of us ever would have heard of it, brides wouldn't be expecting it, and we wouldn't have stories like this even happening.

It's impossible to spread an idea for gift givers only to privately follow without gift receivers starting to expect it.  And that is exactly what has happened.  People in the last 10-20 years have spent more and more money on their weddings....I happen to believe that part of the reason for that is that they expect their guests to cover it.

Of course there are plenty of gracious hosts who would never act the way the bride in this article did....but there enough of these stories to convince me that the very idea of "cover your plate" has lead to a lot of bad and rude behavior by hosts.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on July 10, 2013, 12:10:25 PM
No, I said I wouldn't give a wedding gift that I wouldn't I've to a relative. If I wouldn't feel bad giving my sister $100, or a gift basket, or a card because that's what I liked to give or all I could afford - then I would give that to a friend or co-worker. If I could do more, then I would for my sister (and did). I would never give a small gift I'd feel cheap giving to my sister or other close friend, because if someone has offered to host me at an important life event it's really not fair to accept their generosity and take part without fulfilling what I feel is my part - to gift them with something nice - whether it's monetary, handmade or off a registry. If I really felt so "eh" about a wedding that I didn't want to give them a nice present I think it would be politer on my part to simply not go. If a "nice present" to you *is* a card and handmade soap- cool! If that's all you can afford- fine. The couple should in almost every circumstance take a gift to be meant well and given with good spirit.


Reading posts that say something like (not saying you used this wording) "The couple is hosting me to a great event so I need to compensate them for their trouble/cost of hosting me" really bothers me.  The couple (or family member) ASKED for me to join them and to witness their unity. My gift back to them is to come and rejoice with them. I didn't ask to be invited to a party or event. If choosing to attend the event I've been invited to ends with attending and being a gracious guest.

I think it's your comment of "has offered to host me at an important life event" that bothers me most. They have ASKED you to give of your time to witness and share in an important event in THEIR lives. I am honoring them by my presence. They are not honoring me by inviting me to attend. That is why wedding invitations say "The honour of our presence is requested".... not "You are being granted the opportunity to witness the marriage of...."

TOTAL POD.

I do not accept the idea that merely accepting an invitation means that I am taking advantage of someone and their hospitality. 

And as a host I would feel insulted if any of my guests felt that they had to pay me back monetarily. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Roe on July 10, 2013, 03:54:22 PM
No, I said I wouldn't give a wedding gift that I wouldn't I've to a relative. If I wouldn't feel bad giving my sister $100, or a gift basket, or a card because that's what I liked to give or all I could afford - then I would give that to a friend or co-worker. If I could do more, then I would for my sister (and did). I would never give a small gift I'd feel cheap giving to my sister or other close friend, because if someone has offered to host me at an important life event it's really not fair to accept their generosity and take part without fulfilling what I feel is my part - to gift them with something nice - whether it's monetary, handmade or off a registry. If I really felt so "eh" about a wedding that I didn't want to give them a nice present I think it would be politer on my part to simply not go. If a "nice present" to you *is* a card and handmade soap- cool! If that's all you can afford- fine. The couple should in almost every circumstance take a gift to be meant well and given with good spirit.


Reading posts that say something like (not saying you used this wording) "The couple is hosting me to a great event so I need to compensate them for their trouble/cost of hosting me" really bothers me.  The couple (or family member) ASKED for me to join them and to witness their unity. My gift back to them is to come and rejoice with them. I didn't ask to be invited to a party or event. If choosing to attend the event I've been invited to ends with attending and being a gracious guest.

I think it's your comment of "has offered to host me at an important life event" that bothers me most. They have ASKED you to give of your time to witness and share in an important event in THEIR lives. I am honoring them by my presence. They are not honoring me by inviting me to attend. That is why wedding invitations say "The honour of our presence is requested".... not "You are being granted the opportunity to witness the marriage of...."


TOTAL POD.

I do not accept the idea that merely accepting an invitation means that I am taking advantage of someone and their hospitality. 

And as a host I would feel insulted if any of my guests felt that they had to pay me back monetarily.


HUGE, HUGE POD, POD, POD to both Miranova and Hmmmmm!  Thank you both for expressing my feelings exactly!
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: mw8242 on July 18, 2013, 04:15:36 PM
I think it's a cultural thing - and everyone is not going to agree. I personally cannot image going to a wedding and not covering my plate because I grew up with that mentality and my big extended family grew up with that mentality. I attend a lot of weddings and the last one was for a good friend of mine at a nice country club, I gave $150 and that was the norm in my circle.

Everyone has different backgrounds and different norms. Just as you(general) can't imagine paying that much to attend a wedding I(me only) can't imagine paying less, it would make me uncomfortable. Weddings are awesome and amazing things to celebrate and my friend definitely didn't have a spreadsheet out ticking off who paid "enough" and who didn't, to me it's part of the social contract I have with my family and group of friends in my region.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: *inviteseller on July 18, 2013, 07:55:48 PM
I think it's a cultural thing - and everyone is not going to agree. I personally cannot image going to a wedding and not covering my plate because I grew up with that mentality and my big extended family grew up with that mentality. I attend a lot of weddings and the last one was for a good friend of mine at a nice country club, I gave $150 and that was the norm in my circle.

Everyone has different backgrounds and different norms. Just as you(general) can't imagine paying that much to attend a wedding I(me only) can't imagine paying less, it would make me uncomfortable. Weddings are awesome and amazing things to celebrate and my friend definitely didn't have a spreadsheet out ticking off who paid "enough" and who didn't, to me it's part of the social contract I have with my family and group of friends in my region.


That is fine if your family brought you up to believe in doing that and you try to do it, but the problem comes in to play when the HC start kvetching at people for NOT doing it.  I guess if my friend has a lavish, worthy of it's tv show wedding, I have to miss it because I cannot cough up the big bucks to pay for my and my dates meals.  Not everyone can afford large gifts and , as I have taught my own DD's, it is the thought that counts.  I personally would be thrilled that my friends came than with wondering if they were picking up the tab, because honestly that is what 'cover my plate' means to me.  And if my friends did not appreciate $100, which is nothing to sneeze at, because it just was not up to their standards, I would hope they would not invite me.  I don't want to be invited somewhere wondering if I was being judged by my gift instead of the fact they liked me enough to share in their special day.

 I guess, by some views here, that when I host large picnics bar b que's for my DD's birthdays where I spend a ton on food so there is plenty of choices and enough to go around, I need to quit inviting my good friends, a family of 4, who eat quite a bit, but have only brought small dollar store gifts because their gift is not up to snuff.   Or do I continue to invite them because we enjoy their company, I am glad they have good appetites, and be glad, knowing they have little disposable  income, that they thought to pick out a few things that she does like.  A host invites the people they want to spend special events with, not just their checkbooks.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: MariaE on July 19, 2013, 12:50:02 AM
I think it's a cultural thing - and everyone is not going to agree. I personally cannot image going to a wedding and not covering my plate because I grew up with that mentality and my big extended family grew up with that mentality. I attend a lot of weddings and the last one was for a good friend of mine at a nice country club, I gave $150 and that was the norm in my circle.

Everyone has different backgrounds and different norms. Just as you(general) can't imagine paying that much to attend a wedding I(me only) can't imagine paying less, it would make me uncomfortable. Weddings are awesome and amazing things to celebrate and my friend definitely didn't have a spreadsheet out ticking off who paid "enough" and who didn't, to me it's part of the social contract I have with my family and group of friends in my region.

Mw8242, does that mean that if you're invited to a wedding at a time in your life where you can't afford to "cover your plate" that you have to decline? Or does the CYP culture make allowances for that?
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: mw8242 on July 19, 2013, 07:36:27 AM
First off cyp is not a hard & fast rule and again the bride & groom are not ticking off those that paid enough. It is a guideline and again for me(just me) it's one I welcome so I am comfortable. I know that weddings aren't what they originally were with young couples just starting out and while yes people save for the wedding they want it's nice if they got that money back to start life with together. To me that's different than throwing a bbq. And is there judgement of those that don't pay enough? NO! It's a guideline and every person has their own culture that helps them make decisions and for me this is a common one. It may not be for others but then again they may have other things in their culture that I just don't understand but are completely normal to them, no judgement.

And if I couldn't afford the cover my plate guideline I'd still go if I wanted to go to the wedding. In most cases for me(just me) I usually know a wedding is coming  for months and can save slowly and I have up to a year after to send my gift and again saving $5 or $10 a week over the year and a half could easily net me what I want to give the couple to celebrate their wedding.

I understand from first glance it seems like a bill or cover charge but again I note that it's cultural and that thought never even crossed my mind, it's just how I(just me) celebrate with the couple.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Sharnita on July 19, 2013, 09:17:48 AM
I guess it seemd like a limited view of celebrating the couple and your relationship with them. Like I mentioned, I might have a friend who.comes out to help me with.a blown tire in the middle of a cold winter night. I might care for somebody's relative for an afternoon to give them respite. We volunteer food for gradiations and weddings withput being asked. We collect mail and wayer flowers for friends when thy are on vacation. There are lots of things we do pver the courde of a relationship that have great value but if we tried to figure the dollar value of everuthing and "cover" it the approach would kind of cheapen the gestures on a way. With people you really love you are generous in your way as and tjey are generous in theirs. In a really loving relarionship it is equal in the long run, in its own way.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: mw8242 on July 19, 2013, 09:36:46 AM
And using the guideline I could give more of course. I guess I don't go to weddings of people I'm not really close to so to me it evens out and one event does not cheapen my overall relationship with people. I chose to celebrate with them and the gift is separate for me. Again everyone has their own experiences and until this board I never thought of the cyp thought as a bill for hospitality,  it's just they way things go in my world.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: TootsNYC on July 20, 2013, 11:18:27 AM

I think part of the problem is that people watch too much (ir)reality TV. They see, say, a Kardashian wedding. They think "this is how weddings are done - this is how they MUST be done". They order as fancy a wedding as possible, and expect to pay for it with the wedding gifts, which will be (in their minds) the same as what the Kardashians get. However, since their friends and relatives are not jetsetters, they instead get only ordinary working people can afford. Reality slaps the (not so) Happy Couple in the face.


Except that the Kardashian-type weddings never "cover their costs" in wedding gifts either!!!

Honestly, in my ILs' family, even with the voluntary "cover your plate" attitude of the older and more-well-off relatives, you still don't break even.

I think that Sharnita is right, with people you really love, you are generous on each side and it pretty much evens out. And that's why lower-financial-value gifts are usually seen as having a very high *true* value when they're given by people who don't have much. (Which is the antidote to the C.Y.Plate attitude, and indeed it does exist inside and alongside the C.Y.Plate approach.)
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on July 20, 2013, 11:36:35 AM
My experience with this isn't good.  When I was in my 20s, a good friend got married. He married into a wealthy family in a big city from a culture where CYP is the norm, and this is where I learned about CYP. I was fresh out of college and not making much money, so I could barely afford to go to the big city to go to the wedding, but I did, and I got a present I could afford and put a lot of thought into it, but it wasn't huge or expensive. I think it was like $50, which felt like a lot back then. I never got a thank you note and never heard from either of them again, and later heard from a mutual friend that the bride was offended that I hadn't paid more like $200, and in cash. The person who told me this didn't say it to shame me but to call the bride a money grabber, but I have always felt bad about this. The fact is that when people make this a "thing to do" people DO expect it, and the fact that it's part of a culture doesn't make it OK. Rude things are rude regardless of whether a group of people has gotten together and decided they think it's OK.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Redneck Gravy on July 22, 2013, 12:16:38 PM
I've got another wedding invitation to deal with (this is my third this summer).  This is a very, very dear friend of mine's daughter.  It is a simple ceremony at an outdoor venue with the reception at someone else's home (BYOB the invitation says  ??? ).

There was a list of registries in the invitation and I am going to buy something off that list, I plan to spend $50 plus but not $100 I generally feel $50 is in my budget for everyone I know. 

I do not take into account that I had to travel and stay overnight for the last two weddings, my gifting budget is my gifting budget.  I am not getting this one more because it is a local wedding or less because it is my third one this summer.  I feel like $50 is fair and if I couldn't afford that I would feel terrible.  If it were a fancy wedding with a fancy dinner I would probably just stay home because I don't feel inclined to dress up but I would still spend about $50 on the gift.   

I don't believe in CYP.  Either you want me there or you don't, if you plan to mentally invoice me please save your energy.       
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Idlewildstudios on July 22, 2013, 05:00:03 PM
Before I came this website I had never heard of CYP before.  I give what I can afford at the time.  I don't understand how people can CYP without knowing what the catering budget is.  Or is there some sort of standard per plate cost?  You can't even go by what is being served.  At a cousin's wedding they had a reception immediately after the ceremony for everyone ( a full dinner followe later for family and close relatives).  It was simply a white cake covered in white chocolate curls and sparkling cider.  Sounds simple.  We later found out the chocolate and the pear cider were imported from out of state at great cost and the cake and cider reception was actually very, very spendy.

CYP sounds very off putting to me.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Roe on July 24, 2013, 08:30:40 AM
I don't understand how people can CYP without knowing what the catering budget is.

CYP sounds very off putting to me.

Or your guests budget. What if they can't afford the $100 per person plate?  Do you still invite them? Or maybe they can make payments? 

It sounds very off-putting to me too.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: mbbored on July 25, 2013, 12:36:34 AM
The logic of covering your plate, to me is only saying that richer people (who can afford more expensive parties) and people who can not plan financialy deserve bigger gifts then poorer people. That is a mentality that I will never have. If I give a gift at a party, it is based on several things: My relationship to the gift recipients, the occasion, my financial situation, the gifts I can find that I want to give. It is not based on the size of the party or financial situation of the host.

This is my philosophy. Last summer two friends from the same club got married (not to each other). One is a lawyer who married another lawyer and they had a 150 person wedding on a boat with an open bar that featured signature cocktails, three course seated dinner, latin jazz band, etc. The other person is a nurse married to a store clerk. They rented a community hall and the food was buffet style prepared by the couple's families and featured a cooler of beer and somebody's laptop hooked up to the sound system. I gave the same priced gift to both, about $20 (I'm a grad student).

This summer two classmates are getting married, again, not to each other. One is having a country club wedding paid for by her parents, the other had a picnic in the park that they paid for themselves. I'm closer to both of them, and have a slightly better budget this summer, so I'm giving both $50 gifts.

If I tried to cover my plate, I probably couldn't afford to go to either of the fancier weddings. Also, that would mean that the couples who are already better off or who have family support would get more expensive gifts than the friends who are scraping by and trying to stay within their budgets.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Coruscation on July 25, 2013, 12:49:12 AM
Before I came this website I had never heard of CYP before.  I give what I can afford at the time.  I don't understand how people can CYP without knowing what the catering budget is.  Or is there some sort of standard per plate cost?  You can't even go by what is being served.  At a cousin's wedding they had a reception immediately after the ceremony for everyone ( a full dinner followe later for family and close relatives).  It was simply a white cake covered in white chocolate curls and sparkling cider.  Sounds simple.  We later found out the chocolate and the pear cider were imported from out of state at great cost and the cake and cider reception was actually very, very spendy.

CYP sounds very off putting to me.

They don't but they can think they do. I've been reading the archives and one submitter wrote in to tell about being reamed out by the groom for not covering her plate and notes that the grooms gift at her wedding didn't cover his plate. But he obviously thought it did.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Jones on July 25, 2013, 08:18:11 AM
Wasn't there a story on Hell's Bells in which the RSVP card asked guests to pay up front for their dinners?

http://weddinghellsbells.com/?p=6423
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: chicajojobe on July 26, 2013, 09:45:57 PM
I don't understand how people can CYP without knowing what the catering budget is.

CYP sounds very off putting to me.

Or your guests budget. What if they can't afford the $100 per person plate?  Do you still invite them? Or maybe they can make payments? 

It sounds very off-putting to me too.

All of those questions have been answered.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Roe on July 27, 2013, 03:51:34 PM
I don't understand how people can CYP without knowing what the catering budget is.

CYP sounds very off putting to me.

Or your guests budget. What if they can't afford the $100 per person plate?  Do you still invite them? Or maybe they can make payments? 

It sounds very off-putting to me too.

All of those questions have been answered.

I disagree.  Regardless, that doesn't mean we can't continue to respond to someone's comments or posts, does it?  (honestly asking)
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Idlewildstudios on July 27, 2013, 06:03:02 PM
I made an observation related to my experience and with my confusion on the whole CYP idea.  I didn't realize I was beating a dead horse, so to speak.   I was just contributing to the discussion.  I didn't realize that contributing or discussion was discouraged after an answer was supposedly reached.  Not being snarky, just feeling a bit like I was put into my place without needing to be.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Specky on July 29, 2013, 04:32:23 PM
The concept/expectation of CYP is why my DH and I have, for years, declined all wedding invitations. 
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Shoo on August 10, 2013, 10:41:10 AM
I made an observation related to my experience and with my confusion on the whole CYP idea.  I didn't realize I was beating a dead horse, so to speak.   I was just contributing to the discussion.  I didn't realize that contributing or discussion was discouraged after an answer was supposedly reached.  Not being snarky, just feeling a bit like I was put into my place without needing to be.

Just because someone expresses their opinion, it doesn't mean a question has been "answered" difinitively.  There is always room for more discussion.  The attitude of, "I already answered your question" is rude, IMO.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Rohanna on August 10, 2013, 06:59:32 PM
On the other hand it's kind of off putting to keep asking the same questions without acknowledging that people have answered them- it starts to feel like people are only asking to get their opinions validated instead of actually looking for clarification. Statements disagreeing with the answer or new questions/clarification questions are different.

Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: baglady on August 12, 2013, 06:37:58 PM
I think it's a cultural thing - and everyone is not going to agree. I personally cannot image going to a wedding and not covering my plate because I grew up with that mentality and my big extended family grew up with that mentality. I attend a lot of weddings and the last one was for a good friend of mine at a nice country club, I gave $150 and that was the norm in my circle.

Everyone has different backgrounds and different norms. Just as you(general) can't imagine paying that much to attend a wedding I(me only) can't imagine paying less, it would make me uncomfortable. Weddings are awesome and amazing things to celebrate and my friend definitely didn't have a spreadsheet out ticking off who paid "enough" and who didn't, to me it's part of the social contract I have with my family and group of friends in my region.

The bolded wording bugs me, because people shouldn't be "paying to attend a wedding." Yes, we spend money to attend -- for a gift, clothes, travel, hotel (if needed). But weddings shouldn't have a cover charge -- implied via CYP or (horrors!) assessed ahead of time. This is not what hosting is about.

WillyNilly, I think it is a lovely gesture for a guest to decide to give a generous monetary gift with the intention of helping the couple offset the cost of putting on the wedding/reception. But as you have stated, that is a call for the guests to make, not the hosts. And snubbing or berating guests after the fact for not covering their plates is the height of boorishness, IMO.

What if there is no reception? What if the bride and groom elope, or have a private ceremony at city hall? What if there is a reception but I can't attend? If I love the HC, I would still want to give them a gift to wish them well and help them start their new life together. Should I not do that because they didn't spend any money on me?

Bottom line: If you're hosting, you host the event you can afford, whether that's punch and cake, potluck, or a seven-course meal at the country club with the Manhattan String Quartet playing. If you're a guest, you give the gift you can afford and feel moved to give, whether that's a $10 kitchen utensil, a $20 gift card or a big fat check. And if the hosts have stayed within their budget and not overextended themselves with the expectation that they'll be reimbursed by the gifts, then what they *do* get is gravy.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: Redneck Gravy on August 13, 2013, 12:54:48 PM

Bottom line: If you're hosting, you host the event you can afford, whether that's punch and cake, potluck, or a seven-course meal at the country club with the Manhattan String Quartet playing. If you're a guest, you give the gift you can afford and feel moved to give, whether that's a $10 kitchen utensil, a $20 gift card or a big fat check. And if the hosts have stayed within their budget and not overextended themselves with the expectation that they'll be reimbursed by the gifts, then what they *do* get is gravy.


Well said baglady and I agree!

I have no issues with registries, it helps me choose something I know the HC will like.  I have a serious issue with the HC requesting "monetary gifts in lieu of traditional gifts"

Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: miranova on August 17, 2013, 11:38:27 AM
Another reason why "cover your plate" bothers me is the implication that "well, you are only covering your own cost, and if you don't you are actually costing the host money".  No.  The fact that the couple is having a wedding reception at all is what is costing them money.  A big part of those costs are fixed regardless of whether or not I attend.  The food/drinks are the only variable cost but even then, most caterers have a minimum number of people they will cook for, and the couple certainly can and should expect that a certain percentage of people that they invite will in fact show up and eat.  So to me, I look at the reception as a sunk cost for the couple.  They are paying for a reception no matter what, a few people showing up or not does not change the total bill in a significant manner.  They are paying to have the event itself, hopefully full of people they care about.  Therefore 100% of what a guest gives is adding to the couple's financial situation, not only the portion above food costs.  The reception is already paid for and done regardless and is a sunk cost.
Title: Re: Your gift was only $100
Post by: WillyNilly on August 19, 2013, 08:34:44 PM
...WillyNilly, I think it is a lovely gesture for a guest to decide to give a generous monetary gift with the intention of helping the couple offset the cost of putting on the wedding/reception. But as you have stated, that is a call for the guests to make, not the hosts. And snubbing or berating guests after the fact for not covering their plates is the height of boorishness, IMO.

What if there is no reception? What if the bride and groom elope, or have a private ceremony at city hall? What if there is a reception but I can't attend? If I love the HC, I would still want to give them a gift to wish them well and help them start their new life together. Should I not do that because they didn't spend any money on me?...

Well of course snubbing and/or berating someone is unacceptable. That type of behavior is on the individual and cannot be blamed on a tradition founded in generosity. No reasonable person, regardless of their stance on CYP, should ever begrudge a gift given with love and good intent.

As for the no reception part. To me, well I'd probably still give the couple $100-300 depending on relationship and how flush I was at the time. Because I'm guessing what a reception dinner should, in my head, cost, and basing my gift on that. So if I have to imagine the whole dang party, whats the difference?

I don't understand how people can CYP without knowing what the catering budget is...

And that's how this ^ question gets answered. You guess. Same with the question of a poor person, or a young person just starting out on their own; to them $25 might be the highest they can even fathom to spend on a nice dinner, when they throw parties they are budgeting a few bucks per guest, etc. So to them (and therefore from them) a 25 gift is in keeping with CYP... at least it is when CYP is done right (which is to say is a totally one sided, based solely on the givers generosity, gift giving method).