Author Topic: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?  (Read 23446 times)

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Roe

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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!

Absolutely!!!!!!!!!!!

Dr. F.

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I believe that there are some communities/countries where very very large, lavish weddings are expected, and cash is ALWAYS the gift, and that's how they pay for the wedding.  So that's sort of "covering the plate," I guess -- it doesn't require a calculus of the amount spent on you, just a generous cash gift because it is understood that that's the way the wedding gets paid for.  Seems like it would usually end in a wash, but if that's how they do it, that's how they do it.

This works if everyone understands and accepts the rules. That is less likely in a multicultural environment. If you're going to assume (with the apocryphal derivation of that word!) that everyone shares your understanding, you need to a) only invite those of the same culture whose assumptions will be the same, b) make your expectations clear in the invitation, or c) accept all gifts graciously, whether they meet your expectations or not.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no excuse for the lack of graciousness. The guests are not blameless, but I think their faults are less severe than the brides'. I would not have responded the same, but I accept that the provocation was extreme.

As a counter-example, I am reminded of a time I served as the bridesmaid for a good friend. I was flying to the wedding (a destination wedding) directly from about 3 hard weeks doing fieldwork. I had packed the dress and heels along with my hiking boots and field clothes. The wedding was 3 hours from my home and 9 hours from the field site. The bride had said that, as a bridesmaid, I didn't need to give them a wedding gift, but I couldn't go to a wedding without some sort of gift. So, I brought a nice hamper of various estate coffees and associated stuff. I called it "An Adaptive Radiation of Coffees".

It was a super-cheap, but heart-felt gift. The HC were delightful, and I got a wonderful thank you note from both of them. It was a lovely wedding, between two lovely people. I am still close to both of them.

gellchom

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I believe that there are some communities/countries where very very large, lavish weddings are expected, and cash is ALWAYS the gift, and that's how they pay for the wedding.  So that's sort of "covering the plate," I guess -- it doesn't require a calculus of the amount spent on you, just a generous cash gift because it is understood that that's the way the wedding gets paid for.  Seems like it would usually end in a wash, but if that's how they do it, that's how they do it.

This works if everyone understands and accepts the rules. That is less likely in a multicultural environment. If you're going to assume (with the apocryphal derivation of that word!) that everyone shares your understanding, you need to a) only invite those of the same culture whose assumptions will be the same, b) make your expectations clear in the invitation, or c) accept all gifts graciously, whether they meet your expectations or not.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no excuse for the lack of graciousness. The guests are not blameless, but I think their faults are less severe than the brides'. I would not have responded the same, but I accept that the provocation was extreme.

Oh, I quite agree (except that I wouldn't sanction choice (b), "make your expectations clear in the invitation").  And although unfortunately the guests were rude, too (in their correspondence, not in their choice of a gift!), this bride's behavior was absolutely inexcusable.  In fact, it's so bizarre, I have trouble believing it. 

GreenEyedHawk

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Someone of course correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's any culture out there that doesn't think it's egregiously out of line to complain about a gift to the giver.

One of the oddest gifts I ever got was a silly pair of green sequined and spangled suspenders, from my grandmother.  They had beaded candy canes and Christmas trees and stuff on them.  They were ridiculous.  But when I spoke to my grandmother over the phone on Christmas day, I thanked her for the suspenders and mentioned they'd been a real hit at work, omitting the fact that the day I'd worn them to work was a "wear your tackiest Christmas outfit" contest.  I was brought up this way, that no matter how awful a gift might be, you thank the giver sincerely and, if you don't want to keep the gift, you dispose of it discreetly later.
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JoieGirl7

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Looking at that gift basket,and ignoring all the rest iof it, I think the guests were rude and tacky to give it.

"Life is delicious, enjoy..."  really?  I could see it being a housewarminig gift or a welcome to the neighborhood gift.  But, for a wedding?  Candy?  It flies in the face of the seriousness of the event.  Maybe some candy would be alright accompanied by something with a bit more gravitas.

It seems to me that the guests wanted to come off cute but ended up coming off cheap.

CluelessBride

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Looking at that gift basket,and ignoring all the rest iof it, I think the guests were rude and tacky to give it.

"Life is delicious, enjoy..."  really?  I could see it being a housewarminig gift or a welcome to the neighborhood gift.  But, for a wedding?  Candy?  It flies in the face of the seriousness of the event.  Maybe some candy would be alright accompanied by something with a bit more gravitas.

It seems to me that the guests wanted to come off cute but ended up coming off cheap.

I disagree that the gift was rude. Perhaps it missed the mark (its not what I would have given for a wedding), but sometimes that happens when you give a gift. But I think giving a gift can only be rude in extreme circumstances (for example giving something illegal or intentionally offensive).

Besides, looking from the picture, candy was only a part of the gift. It also contained all sorts of gourmet foods. And in this case, the giver knew the recipient from the food industry, and perhaps didn't know much else about her. But even if it was just candy, it still wouldn't be rude - just perhaps not the best gift.

JoieGirl7

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Looking at that gift basket,and ignoring all the rest iof it, I think the guests were rude and tacky to give it.

"Life is delicious, enjoy..."  really?  I could see it being a housewarminig gift or a welcome to the neighborhood gift.  But, for a wedding?  Candy?  It flies in the face of the seriousness of the event.  Maybe some candy would be alright accompanied by something with a bit more gravitas.

It seems to me that the guests wanted to come off cute but ended up coming off cheap.

I disagree that the gift was rude. Perhaps it missed the mark (its not what I would have given for a wedding), but sometimes that happens when you give a gift. But I think giving a gift can only be rude in extreme circumstances (for example giving something illegal or intentionally offensive).

Besides, looking from the picture, candy was only a part of the gift. It also contained all sorts of gourmet foods. And in this case, the giver knew the recipient from the food industry, and perhaps didn't know much else about her. But even if it was just candy, it still wouldn't be rude - just perhaps not the best gift.

Its not an appropriate wedding gift.  There are a lot of events for which is would be fine but not  a wedding.

I think as a guest you do need to do some math.  Yes, you are going because you are happy for the couple and not simply to get a nice dinner.  But, you are suppose to be considering what this coupe needs for getting their lives started and a basket of edibles really doesn't fit the bill.

I know that people here can come up with a million exceptions but that is not the point.  Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

And I think it is rude because its a rather thoughtless gift given the circumstances.  Perhaps it conveys the gift givers' philosphy of marriage which is also not appropriate, and the message.  not OK.  You say congratulations or happy for you, not To enjoy life.  That is too general and in this situation kind of condescending even.

Lorelei_Evil

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Maybe not in your circle.  It would be just fine in mine.  It certainly isn't thoughtless.  Those baskets can take a lot of time, money, and effort to put together. 

It certainly would be a very appropriate gift in my family and circle.

Shoo

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Maybe not in your circle.  It would be just fine in mine.  It certainly isn't thoughtless.  Those baskets can take a lot of time, money, and effort to put together. 

It certainly would be a very appropriate gift in my family and circle.


I am certain there was a lot more thought put into that gift basket than it takes to hit "click" and purchase something off of someone's registry and have Amazon.com send it to them.

The expectations surrounding wedding gifts these days .... it's almost enough to make me hope I never receive another wedding invitation.

Lorelei_Evil

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The mere thought gives me the heebies, too!  I'm not a check writing service.  ;)

Vall

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DH and I would have been thrilled to receive this gift for our wedding.  It might have been our favorite gift.  The wicker basket would be very useful and it was filled with fun things to eat.  In our circle---and especially in my DH's family---this would have been a completely appropriate gift.

But the bride in this situation was incredibly rude.  She reduced her own wedding to a fundraiser, which is very sad.

hyzenthlay

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Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

I think this is narrow minded. When I married we already had all the housewares we needed. We appreciated the new dishes and things, but would have been perfectly content with a very lovely basket (which would have been used for years) filled with things to snack on.

And of the gifts we got, after 15 years there are exactly two left. The rest have been broken or eventually given away in the case of all the picture frames. But I did buy myself a lovely large basket last summer  ;D

Girlie

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When my DH and I married, we got a HUGE range of gifts - some cheaper, some more expensive... One in particular that stands out was a gift bag filled with all of the non-perishable items required to make the gift-giver's favorite chili recipe (included on a hand-written card), along with a few boxes of cornbread mix, and an oven mitt and kitchen towels. The most expensive gift we received? No. The most useful? Not really, because my husband hates even the smell of chili, so I can't make it when he's home. Was it very sweet and thoughtful and much appreciated? Absolutely.

A wedding is about a marriage, first and foremost. Guests should only be invited because they are important to the bride and groom or their families. Because guests are invited for their company and their witness of such an important event, gifts should be considered secondary. I also had people who showed up for my wedding who didn't bring even a card. I'm not offended in the least - a little curious on some, I admit, but not offended, and I certainly would never even bring it up, much less berate them for a total lack of gift. I find it befuddling that anyone would be so crass as to embarrass or hurt people who were important enough to be invited to a wedding because of (a lack of) money spent.

I don't think this is a matter of culture, I think it's a matter of class.

AnnaJ

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I read somewhere that the giver of the basket said the brides had removed some of the (presumably more expensive) items from the basket before they photographed it, making it look 'cheaper' than it was when they gave it to the couple.

Roe

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Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

I think this is narrow minded. When I married we already had all the housewares we needed. We appreciated the new dishes and things, but would have been perfectly content with a very lovely basket (which would have been used for years) filled with things to snack on.


Agree.  Plus, who says the B&G will use the money for something that is more "permanent". (?)  What if they use the money to buy fast food?  Is that not an acceptable use of the gift you gave? Would you then get upset?

Honestly, it's a gift!  You accept it with grace, regardless of what it is. Unless it's a passive way to put someone down (and I don't see how this gift was that) or illegal, you get over yourself and your "standards" and you say "thank you."  It doesn't matter if you throw the gift in the trash but what does matter is having enough class to accept the gift properly.  Going on FB to disparage the gift is not the right way to go.  I'm with the gift-giver in this scenario.