Author Topic: Rude to not give a wedding gift?  (Read 7768 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2013, 05:46:06 PM »
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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).

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Manners is incapable of saying "bachelorette") parties, a rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, a dinner, a dance and the next day's brunch until everyone concerned has been worn to a frazzle. And that they all require presents.
Only the ceremony and a celebration immediately after have the full sanction of etiquette; the rest is for those who have the stamina. A true engagement party is one at which the bride's father announces the engagement as a surprise, and showers are solely at the discretion of friends."

This quote rings weird and I wonder what the beginning of the sentence was. It sounds like she is bemoaning people thinking gifts are required for all these wedding sub-events, and saying that having a shower is not automatic and your friends have to throw it for you. As I understand showers, they are specifically for giving gifts, and you wouldn't go if you didn't want to give one.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2013, 05:47:00 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
Manners is incapable of saying "bachelorette") parties, a rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, a dinner, a dance and the next day's brunch until everyone concerned has been worn to a frazzle. And that they all require presents.
Only the ceremony and a celebration immediately after have the full sanction of etiquette; the rest is for those who have the stamina. A true engagement party is one at which the bride's father announces the engagement as a surprise, and showers are solely at the discretion of friends."

But no gifts are really "required". I thought there was something about not having to give several gifts, so if you already gifted once to the happy couple, that was all that should be expected.
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." Douglas Adams

TootsNYC

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2013, 05:49:41 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".

I too would never take issue with a gift that wasn't "enough." And I probably wouldn't notice if only one or two presents hadn't been given, or I'd notice but give a lot of weight to the *attention* they gave me. But a high percentage like that? I'd be hurt.

In my world, a shower is a separate (smaller) gift, and you invite a much smaller circle than the wedding list.   In other people's worlds, the shower invitees are "all the women invited to the wedding," and that gift is the only gift given.

No other event requires a gift--not the next-day brunch, not the rehearsal dinner, not the bachelorette!!! None of them. In fact, I think it's a faux pas to BRING a gift to those events.

DottyG

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2013, 05:51:12 PM »
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This quote rings weird and I wonder what the beginning of the sentence was.

I had the wrong quote in there - copied the wrong person.  Look again.  I've already corrected it.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2013, 05:57:35 PM »
Quote
This quote rings weird and I wonder what the beginning of the sentence was.

I had the wrong quote in there - copied the wrong person.  Look again.  I've already corrected it.

I went back to read the update...that's what I did for the shower gift -- something small and more amusing, and then a "real" gift for the wedding. But I saw many, what I would consider to be, "wedding" gifts given at the shower, and can't imagine that those people should give a second one.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2013, 05:59:21 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."

Well I think that comes down to cultural and community norms. In my circles, even when I was young and broke-broke-broke I knew the acceptable bare minimum wedding gift from a single person was $50... and that still was pretty cheap and we're talking 15-20 years ago. The norm now in my circles is $75-100 as a low number with many many people tucking $150-400 in the card. And all the while I know that in other areas, $25 is considered generous - knowledge I only have because of the internet. No one I know in person has ever verbalized such a low number as normal - not any guy I have ever dated, not any member of the various wedding parties I have been in, not any of my friends casually mentioning what they gave, not either of my parents, or my sibling speaking about gifts, etc. In my circles $75 is a modest gift indeed.

So its very well she didn't say anything about $75 to tick anyone off, its simply a norm she was raised with and used in her essay.

Now that said, at my wedding I got plenty of cards without any money in them, and I did get one with $25. I did not think poorly or anything of the giver. At all. In fact I was quite overwhelmed by getting so many cards and gifts at once, that even the empty cards where almost too much to bear due to emotional overload of love and warmth and gratitude. But because it was out of the norm I remember it. Just like the remember who gave me a much higher check then the norm - not because I cared or judged them, but simply because as a human out of the norm stuff sticks out in my memory.

But there are also "norms" of giving a small shower gift and a larger wedding gift, or only giving a shower gift. or giving two gifts of equal value. just like norms vary about bringing the gift to the reception (in my area cards are brought to the reception but generally never physical gifts). In some areas cash is the normal gift with physical objects not generally given as wedding gifts, in other areas the norm is to give an item not money. People write about what they know about, so for her the $75 is a norm, not necessarily a greedy grasp.

Lynn2000

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2013, 06:05:08 PM »
Okay, not to muddy the waters, but I always thought of showers as primarily gift-giving occasions, pretty much the only time when a gift was not optional if you attended (although the gift could certainly be something like a heartfelt note instead of a "thing").

If I attend both a shower and the actual wedding for someone, I plan to give a gift for both and budget accordingly. So if I can only spend $50 total on gifts, I can split it $25/25 or $20/30 or whatever. If there was a "thing" I wanted to give that cost about $50 on its own, I would give that for one occasion (I don't think it would really matter which) and do the heartfelt note for the other, so that at neither event am I empty-handed. I do think that if you don't care enough about the couple to give them something, even a card with a brief message, you shouldn't be attending the wedding and accepting their hospitality for that.

One suggestion: I've encountered the idea several times that people have up to a year after the wedding, to send wedding gifts to someone. This often gets conflated with the idea that the HC has up to a year after the wedding to send TY notes for the wedding gifts, and I can't remember which of them is actually correct, if either. Anyway, I wonder if it's possible that a lot of the guests believe this, and for some reason a large number of them are just putting off giving their gift for a while? Procrastination, finances, whatever.

Story: My friend Amy and I had a mutual friend, Joe, who was getting married in February. I was invited to the wedding but declined to attend; Amy wasn't invited at all, well sort of, that was kind of a mess. ANYWAY, I was going to send a gift even though I wasn't going, and Amy wanted to send a gift too, so she suggested we pool our money and I agreed. We went shopping together and bought the gift, and she said she would take care of mailing it. This was probably in December or January, so a month or two before the wedding.

Fast-forward to July. We had the wedding of another friend coming up in August and we had agreed to do the same thing, pool our money for a gift. We were out shopping for it and I said, completely joking, "Hey, you remembered to send Joe's gift, right?" Cue an expression from Amy. No, she hadn't sent it yet! For a wedding that was five months earlier! She just "hadn't gotten around to it." Of course, since it was my gift, too, it looked like *I* hadn't sent Joe anything. Finally she got it done sometime in the fall and included a note to Joe explaining that it was all her fault, which I appreciated.

Now granted, I didn't actually attend Joe's wedding. But, suppose I had, thinking Amy had sent the gift ahead of time, and then months later I found out she hadn't. I would've looked like one of those guests who'd helped myself to the wedding hospitality without leaving so much as a "congrats" card.  :o
~Lynn2000

m2kbug

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2013, 06:06:26 PM »
I was a little surprised at the modest $75 too, but chalked it up to "in your world."  So often you see shows for "dressing on a budget," and the costs, to me, are way outside of "inexpensive," but I figured it was just me.  Perhaps in certain fields and what people wear, what they earn, it would be considered a bargain.  Who knows. 

I also wondered if there was more going on with this couple, especially when the one woman was observed to write out a check for a different family member.  This article has a feel of the bride keeping tabs on who gave what, how much, and if another couple got more/less, etc., which I hope isn't what she's doing in real life.

I always thought to bring a gift for the wedding was required.  I have known people who register for such insanely expensive things (name brand, hoity toity), there's no way I could afford it - maybe a washcloth or a spoon.  I do my best to stick to the registry, but no problem going "off script" and I can only work within my budget.  It seems like the guests could have done a little something more, which brings me back to wondering if there is a little more to this story than meets the eye.  It still seems rude, though, to not at least bring something like a card or a nice set of spatulas or something, don't you think?

NyaChan

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2013, 06:10:37 PM »

Story: My friend Amy and I had a mutual friend, Joe, who was getting married in February. I was invited to the wedding but declined to attend; Amy wasn't invited at all, well sort of, that was kind of a mess. ANYWAY, I was going to send a gift even though I wasn't going, and Amy wanted to send a gift too, so she suggested we pool our money and I agreed. We went shopping together and bought the gift, and she said she would take care of mailing it. This was probably in December or January, so a month or two before the wedding.

Fast-forward to July. We had the wedding of another friend coming up in August and we had agreed to do the same thing, pool our money for a gift. We were out shopping for it and I said, completely joking, "Hey, you remembered to send Joe's gift, right?" Cue an expression from Amy. No, she hadn't sent it yet! For a wedding that was five months earlier! She just "hadn't gotten around to it." Of course, since it was my gift, too, it looked like *I* hadn't sent Joe anything. Finally she got it done sometime in the fall and included a note to Joe explaining that it was all her fault, which I appreciated.

Now granted, I didn't actually attend Joe's wedding. But, suppose I had, thinking Amy had sent the gift ahead of time, and then months later I found out she hadn't. I would've looked like one of those guests who'd helped myself to the wedding hospitality without leaving so much as a "congrats" card.  :o

This happened to me too only the gift never got to the bride at all.  I was going to be out of the country and a previously close friend from High School who had all but disappeared off the grid once she met her new boyfriend was getting married.  While I was very unhappy about the way she treated our group of friends after meeting him, I still cared for her and left her gift with a mutual friend to take with her.  It stayed in the trunk of her car for nearly two years at which point I figured it wasn't worth the trouble anymore.  She at least mentioned to the bride that I had given her something to pass on, but I always felt a little guilty about not having given her a gift.

Sharnita

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2013, 06:18:36 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".

I too would never take issue with a gift that wasn't "enough." And I probably wouldn't notice if only one or two presents hadn't been given, or I'd notice but give a lot of weight to the *attention* they gave me. But a high percentage like that? I'd be hurt.

In my world, a shower is a separate (smaller) gift, and you invite a much smaller circle than the wedding list.   In other people's worlds, the shower invitees are "all the women invited to the wedding," and that gift is the only gift given.

No other event requires a gift--not the next-day brunch, not the rehearsal dinner, not the bachelorette!!! None of them. In fact, I think it's a faux pas to BRING a gift to those events.

Yeah, actually if an entire 1/3 of the guests didn't have any sort of gift or card I would wonder if there had been some sort of theft.

Lynn2000

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2013, 06:23:21 PM »
Sharnita hit on another thing I was wondering about. Okay, I admit I haven't read the original story, so I might be about to sound dumb. But, has it been considered and dismissed that there might have been some sort of mishap? Like a bunch of gifts misdelivered because the address on one registry was wrong, or a bunch of cards stolen from the wedding reception? That can be awkward to investigate, because you're not supposed to be asking people if they got you something, and they're not supposed to be complaining that you didn't send a TY note...
~Lynn2000

Altarrose

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2013, 08:28:48 PM »
Super long time lurker making my first post! =) I didn't read the original story either but did want to chime in because I can relate to the premise of this thread.

My husband and I got married last June and had a small but formal wedding. We only had 60 guests and among them were many friends in their young to mid twenties. I would say probably 1/4 of the guests did not give a gift or card. For the most part I believe they felt a "cheap" gift was inappropriate and thus felt it was better to give nothing at all.

I had a similar situation at my baby shower where I had a few close friends make up excuses to decline the event a day or two before it happened. Both later confessed that they wanted to come but could not afford a gift and were embarrassed. I do wish the guests that attended my wedding could have bothered with a card, but they are good friends and I do appreciate the travel costs they incurred to attend and would much rather have had them there than had them decline due to inability to afford a gift.

TootsNYC

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2013, 08:47:00 PM »
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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).

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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.

These are not equal--the advice you are quoting does not even address whether shower gifts are REQUIRED.

It only says that they are supposed to be trivial.

In fact, the mere fact that she says shower gifts are not to be comparable to wedding presents indicates that BOTH are required.

TootsNYC

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2013, 08:48:05 PM »
Also, you all really DO need to *go read the original piece*.

Seriously--don't comment until you have done so. It would be very easy for people to go off on a tangent about her rudeness, and in fact she wrote a very, very thoughtful and nuanced essay.


peaches

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Re: Rude to not give a wedding gift?
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2013, 08:54:21 PM »

In fact, the mere fact that she says shower gifts are not to be comparable to wedding presents indicates that BOTH are required.

That's how I read it.