Author Topic: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding  (Read 2720 times)

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Cami

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S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« on: January 10, 2013, 01:00:00 PM »
BG: Equal gifting is important in my dh's family. Gifts and their value are openly discussed. (I don't participate in those discussions, but they go on and have for decades.)
 
Generally, for a family wedding, my dh and I give a certain amount. Let's say it's $200.  We have always given that amount. It is considered generous by his family. I know this because, as mentioned above, his family openly discusses these matters.

I say generally we give $200, because ONCE, we did not.  It was for the wedding of Female Relative. Due to the couple's date and location choices, attending this wedding cost us the equivalent of two weeks' salary. In other words -- a LOT of money. We therefore simply could not afford to give the usual $200. Instead, all we could truly afford was, let's say, $20. (I will also note that we never received any verbal, written or even FB thank you for our attendance or our gift because the HC were "too busy" and "people who love us know we don't 'do' thank you notes".)

Current set up: Female Relative's sibling is now getting married. This couple too is making date and location choices that would necessitate a huge expenditure of funds that we simply cannot afford and we have sent our regrets.  (And my dh is preparing to stand firm against the inevitable backlash that will occur by our declining the invitation.)

Dilemma: Do we give the usual $200 to the latest HC or do we give them only $20 since that's what we gave to the sibling?

I have a feeling we can't win, but what would you do? What do you think is the lesser of two evils?

My inclination at the moment is to give the $200 as we WOULD have given that to Female Relative if we had not gone. BUT... the focus on the equal gifting is making me question my inclination.

Roe

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 01:17:47 PM »
If it were me, I'd give the usual, esp since you won't incur all the expense of attending the wedding. 

Margo

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 01:24:54 PM »
Can you give a non-financial gift where the value won't be obvious?

If not, give the $200. If any one is rude enough to question it you can explain that you couldn't afford it for sibling due to the cost of the travel etc to the previous wedding

Hmmmmm

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 01:27:17 PM »
I would give the amount you would normally give for a wedding. 

Cami

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 02:04:22 PM »

Thanks for the input!

Can you give a non-financial gift where the value won't be obvious?


Believe me, this particular family will do everything in their power to find out the actual monetary value of any gift. And if for some reason they learn/decide you bought something on sale instead of paying full price, well, then, "How dare you be so cheap?! If you reallllly loved us, you'd pay full price." The mother of this Female Relative once remonstrated an out-law like me for buying something on sale and told her - seriously, I was there and witnessed it -- that, "If you really loved the recipient, you would have waited until it wasn't on sale and paid full price. Failing that, you owed the recipient more gifts to equal the full price of the original gift."  ::)
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 04:40:29 PM by Cami »

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 04:20:28 PM »
I think you're right that you really can't win.  :-\ I would go with the $200, since you won't be incurring any other travel-related expenses. If anyone compares it with the sister's $20, you can tell them that traveling to the location she wanted was the bulk of your gift to her. Kinda sounds like she would have preferred if you gave $200 and didn't come.  ::)

Although, just typing that out makes me want to change my vote, to something like $100 or $50. You wouldn't want people think that if they hold their wedding in an expensive-enough location, they can invite lots of people, who will decline as it's too expensive but will still send $$$ gifts, thus allowing the couple to make/save more money. Wow, I didn't realize I had become so cynical about wedding stuff...  :-\
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ettiquit

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 04:28:45 PM »
Your DH's family sounds charming.

I'd give the $200.  Sure, there will be backlash, but I see no point in "punishing" this relative because of what happened with the last wedding.

peaches

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 05:07:43 PM »
I would give $200, because that's the amount you generally give, and it's what you two decided was appropriate for family weddings.

There is something to be said for being consistent in this type of giving. DH and I have given the same amount to each of our nieces and nephews when they married.

You can't project into the future and know whether this couple will send a thank you note. I wouldn't penalize them because someone else in the family didn't.

This is contingent on your being able to afford the $200 gift. If your circumstances have changed, then give whatever you can afford.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 05:10:28 PM by peaches »

Cami

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 06:21:04 PM »


You can't project into the future and know whether this couple will send a thank you note. I wouldn't penalize them because someone else in the family didn't.

I'm going to quote Dr Phil here and say that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. In the nearly 30 years this bride has been alive she has never sent one thank you note to us nor said thank you in person to us for any gift on any occasion. I'd be quite willing to bet the farm that behavior is not going to abruptly change for the better. I only mentioned the lack of gratitude to set the stage for the family dynamic in general as part of my "I don't think I can win" scenario.

Tea Drinker

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 06:58:21 PM »
If you can't win anyway, the question (and you know these people and we don't) is whether you will get more hassle if you give her $20, or stay home and just send a card, than if you give her $200. If I couldn't win anyway, I would at least minimize the amount I was putting on the table. On the other hand, it might be worth some amount of money to avoid hassle from various other relatives, depending on the size of the hassle.
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blarg314

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2013, 08:45:52 PM »

Okay, as I understand it;

- Your husband's family openly shares the monetary values of all gifts among themselves. They will go through a great deal of effort to figure out what the value of a gift is, down to caring whether or not it was on sale.

- If gifts aren't equal, they throw a hissy fit.

- They're going to hassle you for not spending money you can't afford to visit a wedding in an expensive location.

- If you send $20, you're going to get hassled for being cheap, and giving less than you had given to previous weddings.

- If you sent your normal generous $200 you will get hassled for not having sent the previous wedding $200, in spite of the fact that you spent a lot of money attending their wedding and couldn't afford the gift.

- If you do sent the $200, you send a precedent whereby you give expensive gifts if you can't make the wedding, and cheap ones if you can, thereby making your money more valuable to the family than your presence.

Frankly, it sounds like making $20 your standard wedding gift for the family is a wonderful idea. If you're going to be in trouble no matter which you do, go for the option that isn't going to set you back.

If they freak out and give you trouble, explain that you realized that your previous generous amount isn't always possible, depending on travel and other financial circumstances, so you decided to scale back to something you'd always be able to afford, and can therefore be completely fair.

What a pack of brats! 


katycoo

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2013, 08:46:13 PM »
Did you explain, in the $20 gift, the reason why the gift could not be as generous as the usual well known amount?

If you're not attending, I'd give the usual.

The Wild One, Forever

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2013, 08:46:23 PM »
Wow, these folks have really sucked all the joy out of gift giving, haven't they?

I would give the $200, since that is what you normally give, (where there are no extenuating circumstances such as her sister's long distance wedding), since, as you stated, there is no way you can win.
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TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2013, 09:15:34 PM »
Give the $200. And if ever it becomes a topic of conversation, you simply say, "It was so expensive to travel; we gave her the gift of our presence. That was all we could afford."
Many, many people expect that gifts for destination weddings would be smaller than gifts for at-home weddings; or that out-of-towners might not be able to afford as splurgy a present as those who don't have airfare to spend on.

You might face far less criticism than you think.


(I'm *sure* it cost you more than $200 to travel for that wedding.)

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Equal gifts -- family wedding
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2013, 09:17:10 PM »
Did you explain, in the $20 gift, the reason why the gift could not be as generous as the usual well known amount?

That would actually be very ungracious.