Author Topic: Are wedding presents obligatory?  (Read 4264 times)

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Amara

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2013, 02:08:58 PM »
I'm in a pretty terrible financial situation right now (lost work due to illness), so that's a lot of money.

Jess, please don't go. I know you want to and I know how much you care. And I think those who are suggesting ways of cutting costs (carpooling) are being kind. But I have been in your situation where even one dollar makes a difference. So I say this with all kindness. Take care of yourself. Your friends, assuming they care about you as much as you obviously care about them, will understand. They will love a simple handmade card or a handwritten letter from you that wishes them well and shares some memories, hopes, and dreams. That is the best thing you can do for yourself right now, and I think that must be your first priority.

Shoo

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2013, 03:28:03 PM »
I'm in a pretty terrible financial situation right now (lost work due to illness), so that's a lot of money.

Jess, please don't go. I know you want to and I know how much you care. And I think those who are suggesting ways of cutting costs (carpooling) are being kind. But I have been in your situation where even one dollar makes a difference. So I say this with all kindness. Take care of yourself. Your friends, assuming they care about you as much as you obviously care about them, will understand. They will love a simple handmade card or a handwritten letter from you that wishes them well and shares some memories, hopes, and dreams. That is the best thing you can do for yourself right now, and I think that must be your first priority.

Absolutely this.

SpikeMichigan

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2013, 05:42:21 PM »

 I completely agree with those that said I'd be devastated if a friend didn't come to my wedding because they couldn't birng a gift. Gifts are supposed to be beside the point, but as we've seen so many times on here, there's often this general understanding that weddings and gifts are inherently linked.

 Most of the wedding invites I've seen here in the UK have a note in the invitation stating that gifts are in no way expected, but for those who wish to buy one, heres a link to the registry. Now, from lurking on here, I've gathered that this would be considered a vulgar thing to do, but I can't help but feel it may be better than the 'dont mention gifts at all' rule, in that you wouldn't get people who might avoid the wedding entirely simply because of the lack of ability to buy a gift.

squeakers

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2013, 09:32:55 PM »
I always thought you weren't supposed to take a gift to the actual wedding or reception anyway.  That you were to send them either beforehand to the bride's parent's home or the couple's home or to send them after the couple got back from their honeymoon to their new home. You also have a year to give a gift.

 You have been given some nice tips on how to cut corners to actually go.  Now you have to decide if your friend is worth scrimping for.  Would the wedding and reception be the highlight of your year? Something you can look back as a happy moment?  If not.. just send a card and maybe a gift (later, when finances are better).
"I feel sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." "It is so low, in fact, that Miss Manners feels sure you would not want to resort to it yourself, even in your own defense. We do not believe in retaliatory rudeness." Judith Martin

gramma dishes

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2013, 10:08:14 PM »
I'm in a pretty terrible financial situation right now (lost work due to illness), so that's a lot of money.

Jess, please don't go. I know you want to and I know how much you care. And I think those who are suggesting ways of cutting costs (carpooling) are being kind. But I have been in your situation where even one dollar makes a difference. So I say this with all kindness. Take care of yourself. Your friends, assuming they care about you as much as you obviously care about them, will understand. They will love a simple handmade card or a handwritten letter from you that wishes them well and shares some memories, hopes, and dreams. That is the best thing you can do for yourself right now, and I think that must be your first priority.


Absolutely this.


I'm in total agreement with both Amara and Shoo here.  Write them a beautiful letter telling them how much they mean to you absolutely.  But please don't attend a wedding that you know will cause you very real financial hardship.

If they don't really care about you all that much, you might find that you've spent literally your very last penny on them only to find that they are angry that you didn't give them more.  If the HC really loves you, they'll understand and would not want you to suffer just to attend their wedding.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2013, 10:54:31 PM »
Repeat after me this quote from Miss Manners:

"There is no such thing as an obligatory gift."
"There is no such thing as an obligatory gift."
"There is no such thing as an obligatory gift."

She doesn't say "except in the case of weddings." More and more, the word "gift" has become corrupted to mean anything but what it is----a gift is something you choose to make, it is never required. Period. Full stop. It doesn't matter if the wedding hosts are paying $1,000 per plate. A gift is never, never obligatory.

Actually, she does, assuming the wedding invitation is accepted.

For example, in this column, the writer had been informed that he was obligated to send a wedding gift just because he'd received an invitation, even though he declined. Miss Manners quickly set that straight, but also said (bolding mine):
Quote
A wedding invitation requires an immediate response, accepting or declining it. Anyone who accepts presumably cares enough to comply with the convention of sending a present. Those who also care but are prevented from attending may want to send something, but need not.
I recall seeing similar statements in other Miss Manners columns/books, including scolding someone who spent the money to attend an out-of-town wedding for a couple they were not close to and didn't send a gift. However, she also says that people should give gifts within their means, and scoffs at the idea that a wedding guest is obligated to give a gift of a certain value to "cover their plate," etc. By my reading of Miss Manners, a wedding gift is required if you plan to attend, but it can be as inexpensive as it needs to be, as long as it's thoughtful.

BabylonSister

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2013, 10:27:40 AM »
I agree that wedding gifts are not mandatory if one cannot afford it or chooses not to attend, but I feel the need to point out that the Emily Post website, of all places, had this to say:


 
http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/a-guide-for-guests/763-reuters-be-a-gracious-wedding-guest-not-a-royal-pain


 
Quote
3. Send a gift. If you are invited to the wedding ceremony itself, and not just a reception, you should send a gift, whether you will attend or not.


 
And
http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/a-guide-for-guests/493-guests-at-same-sex-unions
Quote
Whether you can attend or not, the invitation obliges you to send a wedding gift.


It irks me that such a reputable etiquette source propagates the notion of invitation as an invoice.

 

CluelessBride

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #37 on: January 20, 2013, 01:35:03 PM »
I agree that wedding gifts are not mandatory if one cannot afford it or chooses not to attend, but I feel the need to point out that the Emily Post website, of all places, had this to say:


 
http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/a-guide-for-guests/763-reuters-be-a-gracious-wedding-guest-not-a-royal-pain


 
Quote
3. Send a gift. If you are invited to the wedding ceremony itself, and not just a reception, you should send a gift, whether you will attend or not.


 
And
http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/a-guide-for-guests/493-guests-at-same-sex-unions
Quote
Whether you can attend or not, the invitation obliges you to send a wedding gift.


It irks me that such a reputable etiquette source propagates the notion of invitation as an invoice.

 

I've always interpreted that to mean that an invitation to a wedding that you would attend if you could obligates you to send a gift. Basically, if you are declining because you don't know/like the couple (or their family) or don't know why you were invited then you don't need to send a gift. But if the wedding invitation itself was reasonable, you should probably send a gift even if you don't attend. Which of course still doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money on a gift.

This is also one of those issues I answer differently from each side. If a couple asked me whether or not everyone they invited should send a gift I would say "no". But if an invitee asked me if they should give a gift even though they couldn't make the ceremony, I would say "yes", with the stipulation that any gift should be within budget.

BabylonSister

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #38 on: January 20, 2013, 02:06:34 PM »
I agree.  I think if you're family, you're pretty much expected/obligated to send a gift.  I cannot imagine not sending a gift to a cousin, for instance.  But if , say, a woman whose father used to work with my SO , and whom I have met once, sends me an invitationto her wedding, she'll probably get a nice card from me but that's it.  The article on emilypost.com did not convey that, for me.  It really just said "if you're invited, you must send a gift."  I find that very bothersome.

Roe

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #39 on: January 20, 2013, 02:11:02 PM »
No one is ever obligated to send a gift.  A nicely worded letter or card is all you need to send.  If you can afford it and really, really want to go, go and enjoy the wedding.  Write your friend a beautiful letter and I'm sure she will be touched. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2013, 02:39:13 PM »

And
http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/a-guide-for-guests/493-guests-at-same-sex-unions
Quote
Whether you can attend or not, the invitation obliges you to send a wedding gift.


It irks me that such a reputable etiquette source propagates the notion of invitation as an invoice.

It doesn't. I don't think you have a full reading of Emily Post.

I used to have Emily Post on my desk at work. In the *book*, the writer goes on to say, "this is assuming that the only invitations you receive are from people who are being appropriate when they send them." And it says something like, "when you think  you got an invitation just because you're on their Christmas card list, don't sent a present."

I don't know if that qualification shows up elsewhere.

BabylonSister

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #41 on: January 20, 2013, 02:47:43 PM »

And
http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/a-guide-for-guests/493-guests-at-same-sex-unions
Quote
Whether you can attend or not, the invitation obliges you to send a wedding gift.


It irks me that such a reputable etiquette source propagates the notion of invitation as an invoice.

It doesn't. I don't think you have a full reading of Emily Post.

I used to have Emily Post on my desk at work. In the *book*, the writer goes on to say, "this is assuming that the only invitations you receive are from people who are being appropriate when they send them." And it says something like, "when you think  you got an invitation just because you're on their Christmas card list, don't sent a present."

I don't know if that qualification shows up elsewhere.


You are correct, I don't have Emily Post's book and that disclaimer makes perfect sense.  I do feel bad for the people who only read on there and feel obligated to send a gift to all and sundry just because they got that envelope in the mail.

White Lotus

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2013, 02:40:52 PM »
I do believe the PPs who say EP said such a bizarre thing -- but how gift-grabby is that?  I get an invitation so I must send a gift?  Cue thousands of the clueless inviting people they barely know for all the wrong reasons, and thinking that is Just Fine because EP said so!  Because the Prof is, well, a prof, we get lots of invitations and accept very few.  I make a point of painting cards (you can buy blank cards made of watercolor paper) now and then, and we write a congratulatory note, sign and send.  It is an original piece of art they can frame if they like, so I guess we are covered either way, but....   I would hate to think we get those invitations not because people want to inform us of something big happening in their lives and want us to participate if we can but because it obligates us somehow to send a gift. 

katycoo

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2013, 06:15:56 PM »
I always thought you weren't supposed to take a gift to the actual wedding or reception anyway.  That you were to send them either beforehand to the bride's parent's home or the couple's home or to send them after the couple got back from their honeymoon to their new home. You also have a year to give a gift.

Regional.  In Australia it is very common and accepted to take the gift to the reception. It is only where you purchase from a registry that has delivery is sending them earlier utilised.

And I don't know of anyone here who thinks its ok to send a gift up to a year after the event.

I usually do send a gift to weddings I cannot attend, but a card would be the bare minimum.  I've never been invited to a wedding I wouldn't genuinely want to attend or gift to.

Mikayla

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Re: Are wedding presents obligatory?
« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2013, 08:00:16 PM »

And I don't know of anyone here who thinks its ok to send a gift up to a year after the event.



If you want to hear something even more scary, one of the more popular internet iterations of this is that the happy couple has a year to send thank you notes.  I've seen this many times in several places.