Author Topic: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?  (Read 26512 times)

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Yvaine

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Can we please stop with the "well, it's not like they were obviously that traditional because they had two brides" remarks?  It wouldn't change the fact that the behavior was rude.

Thank you. I was wondering how to phrase the same thing.

*inviteseller

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First off, I have heard the cover the plate rule, but how the heck does anyone know how much that is??  Are you supposed to ask the couple?  And second off,  as we would discuss at my work (stationery/invitation boutique), it is an invitation to a party thrown by the couple (or their parents), so why is it expected the guest should cover the cost of it?  Keep in mind, we were very picky on etiquette at our job, but it raised our hackles to hear a bride and her entourage talking about who they were going to invite, and someone would say "Oh, you don't want X, they don't give enough cash/big enough gift."  My understanding is, the couple is inviting the people they love and want to share this special day with, but if they are inviting people solely to get cash, why send invitations?  Go to a JP and then send out invoices!  And maybe Joe (who just got laid off and has 2 kids) can only afford $25, but great aunt Ethel gives $500, so, as my one friend said when I was helping her address her thank you's, every thing is appreciated because that person came, celebrated, and had fun.

 Also, and this may be regional (I am in Pennsylvania) but I have been to some really wonderful wedding receptions with spectacular food and drinks, and no one ever paid $100-$200 a head!  My step brother's beautiful wedding 3 years ago had an incredible buffet with 4 meats, carving stations, 6 different sides and an open bar and it still was no where near that!  I think the most I have ever heard was one of my closest friends whose was $75 a head due to it being sit down (buffet would have been cheaper but her MIL, who wasn't spending a penny would NOT hear of a buffet). 

snowdragon

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If the guests are supposed to make concessions to the cultural expectations of the HC, should not the HC be aware and make allowances for the cultural traditions of the guests?


I think they were both rude.

Minmom3

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This has nothing whatever to do with culture and everything to do with that bride being a horrendous hosebeast.

Her comments were so rude I don't even know where to begin.

THAT, I think, is the definitive comment on this entire mess.  What a colossal train wreck! 
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

kareng57

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When I read the original article, I totally missed the two brides part.

I'd be tempted to read up on Croatian/Italian wedding traditions, print out a list of all the ones that require a groom or best man, and tell them that I'd present their cheque when they had the marriage annulled, married someone of the traditional gender, and worked their way through the appropriate traditions.

But I find personally it really annoying when someone yells "Cultural tradition" for something that benefits them at the expense of others (large monetary presents) but is very quiet when the cultural tradition is something that would inconvenience them (cultural prohibitions against both pre-marital sex/cohabitation *and* same sex marriages that would traditionally leave them as social outcasts or get them disowned). If you're allowed to pick and choose, you have to grant your guests the same privilege.

Overall, I definitely agree.  But I do think that overall, guests do owe hosts some respect re gifts.  Not necessarily cover-your-plate - but say, for example, they find out that the preferred gift in the HC's ethnic group is cash.  (And I mean finding out by word-of-mouth, not by an insert in the invitation).  Maybe the invited guests don't really like giving cash, but I think it would be somewhat rude to give a boxed-gift instead, in an attempt to prove their point.  And even if they do that, it doesn't give the HC the right to be anything but gracious about it.

TootsNYC

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The only mention of it would come from an older relative who knows that the amount wasn't in keeping with what that person had received previously or doesn't reflect the closeness of the relationship.  The bride and groom, however, even if they are sitting in the same room when such a remark is made are supposed to express nothing but gratefulness.

And in my Croation IL family (now my family), the brides and grooms are actually pretty damned adamant about NOT revealing that info to the Aunt Mafia. I know, because I've heard them complain to one another about it.

And one bride directly told me her mom had asked her, and she'd refused with mild outrage. She finally relented and told her mom the total amount of gift money (which she didn't tell me; she only told me the story because it involved my husband's gift check, which was for $xx3.17; her mother said, "who gave you seventeen cents?!").

NyaChan

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The only mention of it would come from an older relative who knows that the amount wasn't in keeping with what that person had received previously or doesn't reflect the closeness of the relationship.  The bride and groom, however, even if they are sitting in the same room when such a remark is made are supposed to express nothing but gratefulness.

And in my Croation IL family (now my family), the brides and grooms are actually pretty damned adamant about NOT revealing that info to the Aunt Mafia. I know, because I've heard them complain to one another about it.

And one bride directly told me her mom had asked her, and she'd refused with mild outrage. She finally relented and told her mom the total amount of gift money (which she didn't tell me; she only told me the story because it involved my husband's gift check, which was for $xx3.17; her mother said, "who gave you seventeen cents?!").

Ah but the elderly relatives are smart - they've long been training their young'uns that "no" is an unacceptable response to any request  ;)

LadyR

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The only mention of it would come from an older relative who knows that the amount wasn't in keeping with what that person had received previously or doesn't reflect the closeness of the relationship.  The bride and groom, however, even if they are sitting in the same room when such a remark is made are supposed to express nothing but gratefulness.

And in my Croation IL family (now my family), the brides and grooms are actually pretty damned adamant about NOT revealing that info to the Aunt Mafia. I know, because I've heard them complain to one another about it.

And one bride directly told me her mom had asked her, and she'd refused with mild outrage. She finally relented and told her mom the total amount of gift money (which she didn't tell me; she only told me the story because it involved my husband's gift check, which was for $xx3.17; her mother said, "who gave you seventeen cents?!").

Ah but the elderly relatives are smart - they've long been training their young'uns that "no" is an unacceptable response to any request  ;)

My MIL demanded and DH gave in, though only for "her" guests. After my shower, she sat there with mr, tallying the gifts. It was super awkward. Especially when she started to get upset thwt one of her friend's hadn't iven us cash, until we explained she had given us $400 pots. To ne honest, A felt really weird getting cash gifts at a shower.


Kiara

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The thing is, just because somebody is Italian-American doesn't mean that they are having a wedding that observes Italian wedding traditions (same with Chinese-Americans having a traditional Chinese wedding and so on).  I don't know that the guests would have had any reason to think that these brides intended a "traditional Italian wedding" or even that there was anything else traditional about it, other than their expectations of money. Do we know the ethnicity of the other bride?  If she is German why wouldn't guests expect German traditions to be upheld?

This.  My family is of Croatian and Slovak descent, and none of us believed in giving cash, or covering your plate, or anything.  So even "traditions" vary from person to person.

thedudeabides

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1. Brides were rude, and stupidly so, for asking for the receipt back.

2. Guests escalated by pointing out that rudeness.

3. Brides upped the ante by further denigrating the gift, continuing their fruitless search for more money, and insisting their cultural traditions reign supreme.

4. Givers should have cut their losses by severing the friendship and being glad they got off relatively cheaply for their pains.  I get why they started asking if they had missed something important, though: If someone I knew suddenly flipped sh*t on me over something like a wedding gift and saying that all their friends thought I was a horrible person for giving it, I'd be wondering when I had slipped into the Twilight Zone, too.

5. Brides topped off the terribleness by telling a newspaper that the gift was so bad they leave it out for their friends and family to make fun of.  Klassy, klassy, klassy.

I think the givers ended up being rude, too, but the brides take the rudeness cake, and I hope they get shunned as a result.

TootsNYC

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My MIL demanded and DH gave in, though only for "her" guests. After my shower, she sat there with mr, tallying the gifts. It was super awkward. Especially when she started to get upset thwt one of her friend's hadn't iven us cash, until we explained she had given us $400 pots. To ne honest, A felt really weird getting cash gifts at a shower.

I'm w/ you--cash gifts at at shower is just strange. It is *not* required at a Croatian shower, though my MIL has mostly given up and now buys something smallish but tucks a check inside. "Let them buy something they really want or need." (and considering that she's transferring a huge chunk of economic power, I can totally understand her not wanting it to go to waste.)

But I think she'd actually look down on someone who just stuck a check in a card and didn't bring a gift! She'd think that was really lazy.


AnnaJ

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A question for those familiar with the 'covering your plate' idea - I know that no one here has said they agreed with it - do these people still believe they are hosting?  To me it would be a rather convoluted way of paying for dinner and entertainment, not as a guest but as a paying customer, so I honestly don't see the hosting - but that's my view and what I like about EH is that there are posters who are very good at explaining other points of view. 

LibraryLady

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This has been extremely eye-opening for a simple girl from Texas.    :o

1.  The attitude of the original bride/groom
2.  The expectation of receiving cash only as a gift (although from eHell my eyes have been opened to that)
3.  Covering your plate.  Most weddings I have attended were receptions only.  The last one I remembered attending was a 1st cousin, once removed.
4.  While I do understand that many couples already have all that they need, I still prefer to give a 'something' other than cash as a gift (my age and
      culture I suppose).

Wow, just wow, from all the posts.  I am such a white-bread, country-bred, middle-class 60 yr. old , never been any-where (out of Texas), shown anything, woman.     ???

WillyNilly

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A question for those familiar with the 'covering your plate' idea - I know that no one here has said they agreed with it - do these people still believe they are hosting?  To me it would be a rather convoluted way of paying for dinner and entertainment, not as a guest but as a paying customer, so I honestly don't see the hosting - but that's my view and what I like about EH is that there are posters who are very good at explaining other points of view.

The thing with "cover your plate" is that, much like people have said with the cultural expectation of money, is that its an attitude its acceptable for the guest/giver to have, the host/gift receiver is supposed to (and usually do) accept any/all gifts (even if just a card with well wishes) graciously and evenly. So yes, these hosts still very much consider themselves hosts.

The point of "cover your plate" is the mentality 'oh how wonderful and generous of them to host me, but really they shouldn't have gone to such trouble! They are just starting out, they need those funds as seed funds to start a life, I really must find a way to repay them... I know! I'll give them a gift that covers what they have just spent on me.' Sort of the same idea as when you have that one friend who always hosts people because they have the biggest living room, so you try to make sure you bring the pizza, or the parents that always insist on buying the adult kids dinner so the adults kids slip some cash into their parents pocket discreetly when the parent doesn't notice.

As far as people wondering how you know how much "per plate" would cost to cover it? You guess. You think about your own experiences, you consider the formality and location of the party, and you guess, maybe even padding the number a bit. You might get it wrong, and you'd never know, because again this is supposed to be something only gift givers consider, not ever the gift receivers or hosts. Its supposed to be a gracious thought process, not an invoicing thought process.

camlan

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A question for those familiar with the 'covering your plate' idea - I know that no one here has said they agreed with it - do these people still believe they are hosting?  To me it would be a rather convoluted way of paying for dinner and entertainment, not as a guest but as a paying customer, so I honestly don't see the hosting - but that's my view and what I like about EH is that there are posters who are very good at explaining other points of view.

The thing with "cover your plate" is that, much like people have said with the cultural expectation of money, is that its an attitude its acceptable for the guest/giver to have, the host/gift receiver is supposed to (and usually do) accept any/all gifts (even if just a card with well wishes) graciously and evenly. So yes, these hosts still very much consider themselves hosts.

The point of "cover your plate" is the mentality 'oh how wonderful and generous of them to host me, but really they shouldn't have gone to such trouble! They are just starting out, they need those funds as seed funds to start a life, I really must find a way to repay them... I know! I'll give them a gift that covers what they have just spent on me.' Sort of the same idea as when you have that one friend who always hosts people because they have the biggest living room, so you try to make sure you bring the pizza, or the parents that always insist on buying the adult kids dinner so the adults kids slip some cash into their parents pocket discreetly when the parent doesn't notice.

As far as people wondering how you know how much "per plate" would cost to cover it? You guess. You think about your own experiences, you consider the formality and location of the party, and you guess, maybe even padding the number a bit. You might get it wrong, and you'd never know, because again this is supposed to be something only gift givers consider, not ever the gift receivers or hosts. Its supposed to be a gracious thought process, not an invoicing thought process.

This. My mother never told me about "covering the plate," but when all nine of us were invited to a wedding, she did worry about how much that would cost the bride and groom. So when a wedding invitation included the whole family and not just Mom and Dad, she did buy a more expensive gift than the usual $100 gift of china from the Happy Couple's registry. Probably the more expensive gift still didn't cover the cost of hosting and feeding all nine of us, but Mom was trying to make things balance out a bit more.

For one wedding, I gave a gift of the couple's china that they register for--about $150. As the wedding weekend wore on, I realized that if I had attempted to "cover the plate" I would have had to get a much more expensive gift. Everyone was invited to the rehearsal dinner, which was a huge catered affair in a rented venue. Then the guided tour of the city the following morning. Then the wedding in what was clearly a very expensive venue, plus the food and open bar. Then the catered morning-after breakfast.

It was the most expensive wedding I've ever attended. There's no way I could have "covered the plate." There's no way I could even estimate the cost--the wedding was in a very different part of the country from where I live. Although in this instance, I'm not sure either the bride or groom has ever heard the expression or would expect their guests to do so.
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