Author Topic: Rude to not give a wedding gift?  (Read 7343 times)

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LadyL

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Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« on: June 07, 2013, 02:01:01 PM »
http://www.thefrisky.com/2013-06-07/girl-talk-are-wedding-gifts-optional/#more-910162

This article is by a bride who did not receive gifts from about 1/3 of the guests at her wedding. The comments are pretty harsh, calling her entitled and greedy, but she does mention the friend who gave her only a card with a nice note included and how she really treasured it, so I don't think it's about wanting material possessions. Personally I would probably wonder about this too, if I didn't get any acknowledgement from someone that they were at my wedding - a card with a note would be fine, or even a promise to bake me something delicious after the honeymoon or whatever. It does seem rude to show up completely empty handed and then never send a gift later. While I don't think hospitality is about reciprocity per se, I do think not even giving a card might send the message "I'm just here for the party."

What is the etiquette stance on this? Is it rude to go to a wedding and never give the HC a gift?

Aquamarine

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2013, 02:04:04 PM »
I am not sure of the exact etiquette stance on this.  For myself I would never dream of attending a wedding without a wedding gift having been sent to the bride's home in advance of the ceremony.  I would never, EVER take the present to the wedding itself, that presents a whole security and transportation hassle for the HC/their families.
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NyaChan

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2013, 02:07:28 PM »
Gifts are by definition optional.  However, the giving or not giving of a gift sends a message.  I think this couple was sent some pretty hurtful messages from their friends and family who did not give them a card at the least. 

Though I really have to wonder what kind of look they were giving that woman that she immediately cottoned on to their upset at not having been given a gift by her.  It made me wonder if something else was going on with the large numbers of people choosing not to gift.

Sharnita

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 02:11:47 PM »
There are some people I know well who i would want there who i know are really strapped - unemployed, paying for expensive medical costs, that kind of thing.  I would want to invite them but would not want them to feel like they had to do any sort of gift even though most people do indeed feel that way.  I might have a mutual friend make sure they knew ther was no expectation of anything and if I didn't see a gift I wouldn't think twice.

Now if I knew they had no issues like that I might wonder why there wasn't at least a token gift.  That being said, if there was at least a picture frame or something I don't imagine taking issue with a gift that wasn't "enough".

peaches

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 02:20:42 PM »
I can't imagine not giving a gift to a couple if I attended their wedding. They cared enough to invite me, I cared enough to go, why wouldn't I care enough to give them at least a token gift?

I can imagine situations where a token gift, or a card with a heartfelt message, would be all that someone could afford.

I don't think it's appropriate to "keep score" of what gifts have been given, by whom and how much, as a means of comparison or a way of judging one's friends and relatives.


cwm

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 02:39:33 PM »
I can't imagine being invited to a wedding and not getting the HC anything at all. At the very least, a card with a note in it will convey my congratulations to them without putting me back more than a few dollars. If they took the time to plan the wedding and extend an invitation to them, I think you owe them at least that token. If you can't afford an actual gift, or don't know them well enough to feel comfortable buying one, that's perfectly fine, but don't come completely empty-handed.

DottyG

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 02:43:12 PM »
My suspicion is that a lot of the people commenting on that article had a little nudge to their own conscience there.  I wonder if they are among the ones who come empty-handed to a wedding.  Yes, it's true that there might be additional things you've given a gift for, such as a shower or other event.  However, the usual practice is to give a more token gift for the shower and then a "real" gift for the actual wedding (not necessarily more expensive - just more of the "main" gift).  So the argument that "oh, I already gave them something" - as one person said - doesn't hold water.

I agree with this:

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Gifts are by definition optional.  However, the giving or not giving of a gift sends a message.  I think this couple was sent some pretty hurtful messages from their friends and family who did not give them a card at the least.

A card isn't expensive, but still shows the couple that you care.  And it's something the couple can keep and treasure as a reminder of a special day with those they love.


Two Ravens

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 02:44:06 PM »
I thought etiquette did require you to give a gift if you attend a wedding? It did not have to be an expensive gift, but some type of gift was necessary...

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2013, 02:44:23 PM »
I could not go to a wedding and not give the happy couple *something*.  If I was broke, I'd make something.  I make dishclothes so I could make a bunch of those for cheap, buy a cheap kitchen things and have something that cost me less than $20.

If someone was truly broke, I would still expect them to at least write a nice note.  It could be on lined paper, in a plain envelope but they should give something of themselves, if they can't afford to buy anything.

If you aren't willing to acknowledge the marriage in any way, why did you go?
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Ontario

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2013, 02:46:43 PM »
Miss Manners weighs in here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-a-wedding-invitation-is-not-an-invoice/2013/04/23/876cc3a8-a921-11e2-b029-8fb7e977ef71_story.html
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There is no such thing as an invoice for a wedding present. Neither a wedding invitation nor a formal announcement constitutes that. You give a wedding present because you want to indicate symbolically that you care about the couple.

Yes, there is a catch. That is that you should not be attending a wedding if you do not care about the couple (either truly, or because they are relatives and you are supposed to care), and therefore wedding guests give wedding presents. If you decline the invitation, or if you are not invited but receive an announcement, all that is required is that you send the couple good wishes.

kitchcat

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2013, 05:04:51 PM »
I think if you can't even be bothered to buy a card, you should not be attending the wedding. If you are that tight on money, you could at least write a thoughtful letter yourself on a blank $.99 card.

Not sending a congratulatory note at the minimum is rude IMO.
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LazyDaisy

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2013, 05:12:49 PM »
The guests should have given a card at the very least, but I wonder if some of them already gave gifts at a bridal shower or some other pre-wedding event. The author doesn't mention it. I think the etiquette is that if you give a gift at the shower, you aren't obligated to give a second one at the wedding... is that right? A good friend of mine just got married last week -- I gave her a small gift at the bridal shower, bought her drinks (and other contributions) for her bachelorette, and then a more substantial gift for the wedding. By the time the wedding rolled around, I'd already spent more than I had really intended to but I care for her.
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Thipu1

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2013, 05:21:49 PM »
I am not sure of the exact etiquette stance on this.  For myself I would never dream of attending a wedding without a wedding gift having been sent to the bride's home in advance of the ceremony.  I would never, EVER take the present to the wedding itself, that presents a whole security and transportation hassle for the HC/their families.

We also know and use the tradition of sending a gift, whether an object or a check, to the home of the Bride before the wedding.  This serves a dual purpose.  It avoids making the Wedding itself look like a gift-grab and, since gifts arrive over the course of a month or so,  writing Thank You notes is a breeze.  No matter how busy a BtB is, two or three notes a day is not a burden. 

It does seem odd that 1/3 of the guests at the Wedding in question brought or sent nothing.  There must be more going on here than we've been told. 


TeamBhakta

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2013, 05:35:38 PM »
I love how she says $75 is a "modest gift" to the couple. Um, no, that's a very generous gift to give. That's much needed bill paying money for most of us :o I have to wonder if her registry was  either over the top (ex $40 ice cream scoop) or she made a comment that rubbed people the wrong way ("I hope nobody cheaps out and gives a creative gift. Lame!") And if it's the second problem, maybe people felt like "Wow, I would skip the wedding but I already blew money on the plane tickets, hotel, etc. Well, I'll put on a polite face but no gift now." 

DottyG

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2013, 05:41:31 PM »
Quote
I think the etiquette is that if you give a gift at the shower, you aren't obligated to give a second one at the wedding... is that right?

You have it backwards.  According to Miss Manners, the shower gifts are not the ones that are "required" (for lack of better word).

Quote
Multiple showers are warranted only when the bride or the couple has more than one distinct set of intimate friends. They should not be catch-all occasions, and nobody should be expected to attend more than one. Anyway, shower presents should be charming but trivial, and not comparable to wedding presents.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 05:44:28 PM by DottyG »