Author Topic: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?  (Read 26439 times)

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Pen^2

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As I've mentioned before, everyone in my family except me has coeliacs disease. Even youngest DD, 10, knows that if someone gives her a gift that is not gf she just thanks them, puts it to one side, and we deal with it later. And trust me she is NOT the poster child for good manners.

There are so many things wrong with this story it blows my mind.

The guest said that he'd seen them eating non-gluten free pasta earlier so I think the whole can't eat pasta thing is just another excuse to try and get money instead of the gift basket.

Ooh, that reminds me of a very similar tactic customers used to try. I worked at an ice-cream place for a while, and very suddenly one year we started getting gluten-free requests. It went from zero (I'd never even heard the word 'gluten' before) to about 10% of all customers. Without exaggeration. It was crazy. A fad diet for nearly all of them, I'm sure. The next year it dropped back down to almost zero. The only gluten-free customer since was a nice boy who explained he was a celiac and could he please have a bowl instead of a cone and sorry if it's any trouble. He got extra ice-cream for free  :)

We'd get people order whatever big massive dessert they could (all of our things had every single ingredient listed directly below the dessert name and it's picture). They would then proclaim loudly how we had to give them their money back and give them a free dessert of their choosing because they were gluten-free and what we evil peons had cruelly forced on them was deadly. Despite, you know, the replacement dessert they wanted would also have gluten in it--every single person who tried this always named a dessert with waffle cone in it. Idiots. The owner would always explain to them patiently, as one does a to any other small child, that the ingredients were listed, and despite reading clearly being taxing for them, if they had special dietary requirements then they needed to make the teensy extra effort and read the word "wheat" in large print two inches below the name of the dessert.

A lot of people tried this. We used to keep a tally of who would serve the most customers who were like this. The most I ever got in a day was 46, but once someone got over seventy (I forgot exactly how many).

It's possible the bride is a celiac who is extremely rude and self-entitled. But this is so similar to what I've described, that I suspect she is just a run-of-the-mill money-grubber. "Oh, you gave me something I don't want? Um, yeah, I suddenly have a medical condition which means you have to give me money instead! Ooh I'm so clever"

wyliefool

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If a wedding is intended to make money for one's future, then spending $35000 on it is a really bad investment decision. They should have had a potluck at the local park. And bouncers to collect the entry fee.

siamesecat2965

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While I agree that when giving a gift, you should respect certain cultural and religious traditions, i.e. no gifting of port or alcohol to muslims, and some of the other examples mentioned, but these two took the cake. They were just rude and entitled.

I also have to say I really hate the old "must give enough to cover your plate" attitude. A wedding is not a fundraiser, and if you can't afford to throw the wedding of your dreams, without the expectation you will "make back" what you paid, in monetary gifts, then you need to scale it back to something you CAN afford.

The brides were rude; yes it may be traditional in some cultures to gift money, but what if you can't afford to gift what would be considered a "decent" amount?  In my area, money is given as a gift, but way back when, when I was just out of college, and everyone I knew was getting married, I simply couldn't afford to fork over $100 or more as a gift, so in each and every case, I purchased a nice gift, and all were well received. I tailored each one to the HC, knowing their lifestyle, and what they liked or disliked.

My favorited was someone I knew a little more than casually, but wasn't best friends with. She had picked out cream china with gold trim. I found this lovely, sort of crackled glass serving platter, with a wide, gold band around it. I thought it would coordinate nicely with her china choice. She loved it, and it didn't cost me and arm and a leg either!

WillyNilly

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The thing that gets me about "cultural" traditions in this sense... this did not take place in Italy or Croatia. This happened in Canada. I wonder if either bride has even spent more then at most a few months - if even a single day - in Italy or Croatia, or if they planned to live there, or follow all the other details of those cultures? Because it seems to me when you invite a Canadian, to a wedding in Canada, where you live and work, its pretty reasonable to expect to get a gift that follows Canadian gift giving culture.

kherbert05

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The brides are using culture as an excuse for their horrible behavior. The unscientific poll now shows 88.67% in favor of the gift givers. (I suspect those of us from here have thrown the poll in the gift givers favor.)
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*inviteseller

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This was not a big Italian wedding or a big Croatian wedding, so let's just throw that excuse out.  Actually, it wasn't a traditional wedding at all !  I have never been 'invoiced' for my attendance at a wedding, nor has anyone ever been less than gracious in thanking me for whatever gift I could afford because they were just so thrilled to have their friends there.  This woman just showed herself to be a gimmie pig for not only being rude about the gift but then telling her exactly what the low end amount she needs to give was.   And the line about not knowing about wedding gifting?  That was so patronizing...never assume what you don't think is appropriate is what everyone else feels.

Ginger G

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“Weddings are to make money for your future …

Really?  This is great news!  My BF and I have been putting off getting married because we don't yet have enough savings to pay for the reception we would like.  If I had known that weddings = profit, we would have gotten married a couple of years ago!   ::)


Eden

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I just ... wow! I hope the couples in the four weddings I'm attending this month don't have the same reaction to the hand-decorated serving platters I'm giving them. Am I spending less than I would if I just gave cash? yes. But does that make my gift rude? I hope not!

Corvid

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The thing that gets me about "cultural" traditions in this sense... this did not take place in Italy or Croatia. This happened in Canada. I wonder if either bride has even spent more then at most a few months - if even a single day - in Italy or Croatia, or if they planned to live there, or follow all the other details of those cultures? Because it seems to me when you invite a Canadian, to a wedding in Canada, where you live and work, its pretty reasonable to expect to get a gift that follows Canadian gift giving culture.

Exactly.  They live in Canada and I cannot believe they don't have some idea of what weddings in Canada entail outside of the traditions of their own ethnic backgrounds.  I think it's their excuse for being called out on such blatant gimme-piggery.  The statement "Weddings are to make money for your future...not to pay for peoples meals" pretty much says it all.

Honestly, "you ate steak, chicken, booze, and a beautiful venue" and "I lost out on $200 covering you and your dates plate"...good grief.  Unfortunately, this isn't an uncommon attitude.  To everyone who thinks this way, let me tell you that most people could probably have a better time with much better food at a lovely restaurant for a lot less money and a lot less hassle, so that is really a pretty dreadful argument.  As much as you are honoring someone by inviting them to your reception, they are honoring you by attending.

TootsNYC

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I love the bit where they are quoting the back and forth email exchange between brides and guests:

"Newlyweds: “Weddings are to make money for your future … not to pay for peoples meals. Do more research. People haven’t gave gifts since like 50 years ago!"

I had no idea weddings are for making money!


My MIL is Croatian, and she is FIRMLY of the belief that you should give something of value that exceeds the price of your meal. Because she *does* believe that the purpose of wedding gifts is to set the couple up for the future.

But I don't think she'd accept this sort of thinking for the marrying couple--it's the attitude the GIVERs should have. And she might think it's OK for the couple to decide privately that someone was a cheapskate for not giving a generous present, but she'd never approve of confronting them. (She once said to me, with some heat, that ethnic Americans (i.e., whose ethnic roots are several generations removed) are not generous enough--"They give wedding gifts as if was just a party!")

And the first generation in her family is heavily influenced by the Croation-ness of the family.
So I can see that truly being a factor in the expectations of what a wedding should be like, and what the gift-giving should be like.

But in that family, there's no way they wouldn't all of them sign on for the concept that any gift is a generous one. Certainly they'd never say something like this directly to someone!

KarenK

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The brides are using culture as an excuse for their horrible behavior. The unscientific poll now shows 88.67% in favor of the gift givers. (I suspect those of us from here have thrown the poll in the gift givers favor.)

Oddly enough, the "Is it tacky?" poll is about 50/50.  ;D For the record, I don't think it was.

Regardless whether you think the gift was tacky or not, The bride was extremely rude! I don't know how anyone can possibly argue with that fact. I doubt there is any culture on this earth that would condone berating a gift giver for what the giftee perceives as an inadequate gift.

Winterlight

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 "you ate steak, chicken, booze, and a beautiful venue"

No wonder the bride is upset- her guests ate the venue!! :)


Seriously, though, Laura sounds like a nasty spoilt brat. The polite thing to do is accept the gift, even if it's not to your taste, and then set it aside to donate or toss if it's totally unusable. It's not like they were giving chocolates to someone who's allergic, as happened to a poster here.
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Eden

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The brides are using culture as an excuse for their horrible behavior. The unscientific poll now shows 88.67% in favor of the gift givers. (I suspect those of us from here have thrown the poll in the gift givers favor.)

Oddly enough, the "Is it tacky?" poll is about 50/50.  ;D For the record, I don't think it was.

I do think the gift was odd. Marshmallow whip? But not necessarily tacky or rude. Short of gifts that blatantly disregard someone's known and obvious moral positions, I can't really think of any gift being rude.


Thipu1

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I agree that the Brides were incredibly rude. 

Here, in NYC, money is a standard Wedding gift because most couples seem pretty well established before the Wedding.  Still, objects are given and appreciated. 

The thing I find ghastly about this story is the escalation.  Neither side seems able to let the matter rest.  I truly believe that, if the parties were speaking face-to-face, things would never have reached the level it did. 


fountainof

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I generally turn down wedding invites of people I only casually know just because in my area "cover your plate" is the norm and people will gossip about you if you don't provide a high enough gift.  I am not a big fan of weddings anyway so why would I want to waste a whole day going to one where if I don't gift enough I will be considered a cheapo.  Do brides like this one think everyone is just dying to attend and throw tons of money at them?  I guess guests should consider it a honour to spend their hard earned money on a brat, I prefer to give my money to grateful, appreciative people.

ETA: I can see being generous if the married couple was being reasonable with expenses but just because you want to have a crazy expensive venue or excessive decorations doesn't mean I should have to gift you more than someone who has a more simple affair.  I gift the amount in correspondence with the relationship with the person, not how much they spent on the wedding.  I do gift what I consider pretty generously but then again I only go to weddings of people that actually care about me not just some random acquaintance.

To be honest, if a bride sent me such texts I wouldn't just let it go.  However, I would be better at being coy about it and letting her sink herself rather than being too overt where I would be considered behaving poorly.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 11:03:49 AM by fountainof »