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.