Author Topic: Are wedding presents obligatory?  (Read 4439 times)

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kareng57

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2013, 10:27:01 PM »
My thoughts on this matter are conflicting. I think the wedding couple should not feel that their guests are obliged to give them a gift, but I feel that wedding guests are obliged to bring one. I think the gift could be a nice card with a promise that a material gift will be delivered in the near future, though.

I know that the general consensus is that attending a wedding obligates one to give a gift, but honestly I'd be crushed if a friend felt she/he couldn't attend my wedding because they couldn't afford a gift.
i agree in both places.

So my suggestion to you would be, go.
If your friends have any "quality" to them, it'll matter more than you know; and they'd rather have your presence than a present.

Think of something small to give them as a wedding present--a bottle of wine that's $7 but has a label you think they'd like, or a $15 cookbook that has some recipes that you *know* will taste great. A $5 gadget that you happen to *know* they don't have and truly believe they will find useful.

In ANY of these (or whatever you choose), include a personal note explaining why this is a useful/valuable/tasty/specific-to-them item.

Then if you think you want to give them a more valuable present, give it months later when your finances have recovered.

But you may find that your gift and the a note may be something they really treasure, and your gift-giving urge (and obligation) may be satisfied.

My rule is: "Never attend someone's wedding unless you feel an irresistible urge to give them a wedding present."

POD.  When I was married, way back, one friend we invited to the wedding - and were delighted to have there - was in grad school at the time.  We were used to socializing with him in ways that were inexpensive, knew he had a tight budget, and certainly did not expect him to give a wedding gift of significant cost.  But, I remember well being delighted with a ceramic container he gave us labelled "Coffee" - it was kept on our kitchen counter holding coffee beans and was a lovely daily reminder of him.  I'd guess a similar item could now be found for around or under $10. 

We would have still wanted him at the wedding without a gift.  Just offering the above as an example of an inexpensive wedding gift that was cherished.  Also to note that if you are close to the happy couple, they may already understand that your current finances are not such that a more expensive wedding gift is not feasible.


Yes - technically weddings (unlike showers) are not gift-giving events, although it's true that the great majority of guests do give them.  I too would have been quite unhappy if I learned, after the fact, that an invitee had declined due to being unable to afford a gift.

A card, with or without an inexpensive gift, is fine IMO.  A considerate HC will be pleased that you managed to be able to attend.

JeseC

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2013, 10:57:56 PM »
It's some travel involved - without a gift it would cost me about $60 to go.  That's of course assuming that I don't spend the night and don't purchase any food there.  I'm in a pretty terrible financial situation right now (lost work due to illness), so that's a lot of money.

CluelessBride

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2013, 11:02:58 PM »
Miss Manners on gifts for destination weddings (emphasis mine):

Quote
Destination weddings: If guests are spending substantial amounts to travel to destination weddings, are guests expected to bring gifts of the same value of attending a local wedding without travel costs?

Miss Manners: The two expenses are not related. People who cannot or do not care to spend the money to travel should not go. Those who choose inconvenient locations should not expect everyone to swallow that inconvenience. In any case, wedding presents should not cost more than the givers can comfortably afford.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2010/03/11/DI2010031103184.html   Last question at the bottom. 


sweetonsno

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2013, 11:10:18 PM »
I think it's fabulous that you want to share this wonderful event with her, and I agree that your presence is gift enough. However, I also understand your desire to bring a gift.

I suggest bringing a hand-made gift. Here are some ideas that are free or really cheap:
- a set of word puzzles to entertain them en route to the honeymoon (Mad Libs, word search, scrambles, etc)
- homemade honey mead (if you have access to cheap honey and empty bottles)
- cake mix/cookie mix in a jar (the just add wet ingredients type)
- a little cookbook of your favorite recipes
- a holiday decoration that would be unique to them
- some herb or potpourri sachets from your garden
- a storybook about how they met and fell in love

kareng57

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2013, 11:14:36 PM »
It's some travel involved - without a gift it would cost me about $60 to go.  That's of course assuming that I don't spend the night and don't purchase any food there.  I'm in a pretty terrible financial situation right now (lost work due to illness), so that's a lot of money.


You know your friends better than we do.

If you give a card, or only a small gift, and if your friends are high-maintenance types who will never let you forget it - then decline and stay home.

If you know that they will sincerely want you there no matter what - then, go.

Shoo

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2013, 11:53:25 PM »
It's some travel involved - without a gift it would cost me about $60 to go.  That's of course assuming that I don't spend the night and don't purchase any food there.  I'm in a pretty terrible financial situation right now (lost work due to illness), so that's a lot of money.

If you were my friend, I'd feel terrible if attending my wedding made your financial struggle even harder.

Weddings are really important ---  to the couple getting married.  Just the fact that you are even considering putting yourself into dire financial straits to attend the wedding shows how much you care about these folks.  But do yourself a favor and skip it.  They'll understand and you won't be hurting yourself financially.

TootsNYC

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2013, 11:55:30 PM »
Here's the handmade gift I gave that made the biggest impact:

I make a cookbook with all the recipes that I thought the novice-cook bride & groom would find easy AND interesting.

I photocopied them off.
I wrote notes in the margin.
I put together a list of the spices I thought would be worth her while to buy at the beginning.
I stuck them each on an index card, punched a hole in the corner, and slid them onto a 3-inch binder ring.

She still uses that--decades later.

Since I photocopied them at work (sorry, boss!), and I had some 4x6 index cards, it only cost me for the binder ring.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2013, 11:57:25 PM »
It's some travel involved - without a gift it would cost me about $60 to go.  That's of course assuming that I don't spend the night and don't purchase any food there.  I'm in a pretty terrible financial situation right now (lost work due to illness), so that's a lot of money.


You know your friends better than we do.

If you give a card, or only a small gift, and if your friends are high-maintenance types who will never let you forget it - then decline and stay home.

If you know that they will sincerely want you there no matter what - then, go.

Best advice, ever.

Shoo

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2013, 11:57:35 PM »
But it's not really the present that's the problem, is it?  It's the trip itself.

The OP can't afford to go.

JeseC

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2013, 12:40:39 AM »
But it's not really the present that's the problem, is it?  It's the trip itself.

The OP can't afford to go.

Yeah sort of.  I feel really bad because it's local and it's not even that much money in the grand scheme of things.  It wouldn't even be $100 to travel.  And I already said I'd be there, before I knew any of this mess was coming up.

Millionaire Maria

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2013, 01:02:26 AM »

But it's not really the present that's the problem, is it?  It's the trip itself.

The OP can't afford to go.

Yeah sort of.  I feel really bad because it's local and it's not even that much money in the grand scheme of things.  It wouldn't even be $100 to travel.  And I already said I'd be there, before I knew any of this mess was coming up.

Is anyone else from your area travelling there? Can you car pool?

I am of this opinion:

My thoughts on this matter are conflicting. I think the wedding couple should not feel that their guests are obliged to give them a gift, but I feel that wedding guests are obliged to bring one.

But I also feel the same way that many other posters do in that I would not want a friend to decline to attend because they could not bring a gift.

I am also the type who would pay the sixty dollars in order for my friend to attend. I'm not saying that you should solicit money from the HC, but would letting them know that you're having a hard time figuring out a way to get to the wedding maybe result in them helping you out? Like hooking you up with someone who could drive you?

Other posters have given you lots of ideas for inexpensive gifts. I understand that this is challenging financially, but I do hope that you find a way to attend that doesn't put you in a compromising position.
People everywhere enjoy believing in things they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know. –Brooks Atkinson

cicero

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2013, 03:20:47 AM »
I've skipped events where I know that the  "entrance price" expected gift is "cover your plate and then some" (it's a cultural thing). I am fine with this for the most part but there have been times in my life when i really couldn't afford to give them anything and so I didn't go.

however, for other people, I will go to the event and either not give a gift or give something meaningful and inexpensive. When I got married way back when for the first time, most of our friends were starving students who either went in together and bought us a nice gift (where each person contributed a small amount) or bought us something nice but inexpensive or gave nothing. I was so happy that people came to our wedding that I didn't really care.

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Hmmmmm

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2013, 12:55:10 PM »
It's some travel involved - without a gift it would cost me about $60 to go.  That's of course assuming that I don't spend the night and don't purchase any food there.  I'm in a pretty terrible financial situation right now (lost work due to illness), so that's a lot of money.

Jese, it sounds like you are going through a rough patch and attending a wedding for a friend would help raise your spirits and for that you are willing to scrimp in other areas to have enough to travel to the event.  If that is the case, attend the event, take a card and write a  hearfelt note.  And then a year from now when things are better off for you, send them a small gift.

audrey1962

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2013, 01:10:42 PM »
Wedding presents are not obligatory. Good wishes are. You can express yours in a nice card.

audrey1962

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2013, 01:13:31 PM »
But it's not really the present that's the problem, is it?  It's the trip itself.

The OP can't afford to go.

Yeah sort of.  I feel really bad because it's local and it's not even that much money in the grand scheme of things.  It wouldn't even be $100 to travel.  And I already said I'd be there, before I knew any of this mess was coming up.

Can you car pool with someone?